Tandem Europe Participants: Sanaz & Rasha, Photo by Mariya Angelo
Tandem Europe Participants: Sanaz & Rasha, Photo by Mariya Angelo

Tandem Europe: Application closed

The application for Tandem Europe is closed. The extended deadline for submitting applications ended on Sunday 18 November 2018 (23:59 CET). Applicants will be informed on the selection latest in January 2019.

What is Tandem Europe?

For our new edition of Tandem Europe, we look for applicants who work across a variety of urban or rural areas and local contexts all over Europe.
Future Tandem Europe participants typically manage smaller or larger cultural organisations (non-profit or public funded), work for culturally engaged local administrations or run socially orientated creative enterprises. Our participants share a strong enthusiasm for creative discovery and innovation across European borders, societies, cultures, sectors and artistic disciplines. They embrace the joy of making new things happen together by engaging in unusual transnational encounters.
With Tandem, you join a growing community of cultural innovators and social change makers, who are deeply engaged in maintaining and reshaping a common European future.

How does it work?

Up to 32 applicants and their colleagues are invited to the Tandem Europe Partner Forum in 2019, where they find new networking opportunities and – most importantly – their potential Tandem partner.
Together with their new partner, they apply for the full programme with a collaboration idea and a first sketch of the Tandem partnership they envisage. For the main programme phase, up to 12 Tandems are selected. Each new collaboration pair benefits from a placement opportunity at their Tandem-partner organisation abroad, three peer-to-peer innovation, learning and networking meetings as well as financial and mentoring support to prototype their collaboration ideas.

Is Tandem for me?

Do you as an individual, organisation, local administration or creative enterprise engage in innovative cultural work or community based activities that tackle social challenges? – Then we encourage you to apply!

For the upcoming round of Tandem Europe, we aim to convene passionate pioneers and their groundbreaking initiatives from different social sectors. We look for participants, whose creative work addresses burning contemporary issues in our European societies – especially from those urban and rural communities that often have to tackle their local challenges outside mainstream public attention.

As Tandem Europe participant you should be very motivated to explore unconventional ways of working together with a European partner from abroad and engage in an innovative cultural collaboration with someone who you don’t know yet. You should be strongly interested in designing new formats and ideas for cultural-social work that engages European citizens in re-shaping their current and future realities.

Eligible to apply are:

Non-profit organisations, public institutions, civil society initiatives, innovative local administrations as well as creative or social enterprises that are engaged with cultural activities in their societies AND are based in one of the Council of Europe member states (plus Belarus & Kosovo)

If you like what you have read so far and you’re interested in applying, please continue to read the full call.

How to apply?

The extended deadline for submitting the applications ended on Sunday, 18 November 2018 (23:59 CET).


Applicants will be informed on the selection latest by January 2019.

Download a PDF version of the call

Illlustration by Erica Brisson.
Illlustration by Erica Brisson.

Why Tandem Europe?

Faced by the various crises (social, economic, political) during the past years and a rapidly growing discourse of closing borders rather than maintaining a culture of openness, unorthodox innovation initiatives have started to emerge all over Europe. Creative initiatives have started to experiment with new social designs and alternative economic strategies for addressing burning issues in their local working fields. They show the imaginative cultural power we need for finding new answers and fresh approaches to the current challenges in our societies and across Europe as a whole. Exceptional initiatives of cultural innovation often provide substantial meaning to people’s lives. They often put forward the pioneering ideas, new social alliances, alternative financing and collaborative working models that we need in order to influence change in the prevailing system.


By reaching out and connect across European borders, Tandem aims to support meaningful change locally. We strongly believe that mutual engagement with innovative colleagues from all over Europe inspires cross-pollination of new ideas conceived locally in order to generate new solutions on higher pan-European working levels.

Tandem makes change happen by investing in people, making their ideas and organisations more resilient, innovating their creative practice and supporting their communities. For the upcoming round, Tandem Europe supports up to 24 cultural innovators and social initiators and their organisations to step up their strategic game.

With the perspective of continuing to collaborate after the programme has completed, participants team up in Tandem pairs for about one year. They think, act and reflect about their existing and new practices and explore together how they can further contribute to safeguarding the idea of an open, more just, participative and human Europe as well as local communities that build on the potential of cultural innovation and social work across borders.

Illustration by Erica Brisson.
Illustration by Erica Brisson.

What is Tandem?

Tandem is a cultural collaboration and innovation programme that strengthens transnational connections among civil society actors in Europe and beyond. Tandem offers a space to build real, meaningful and sustainable relationships that can grow through shared social interests, enthusiasm for creative discovery and the joy of making new things happen together. We believe these experiences can contribute to increasing empathy, building resilient civil society structure and shaping a common future through cultural innovation. Our vision is to see networks of creative communities and innovators emerge from this programme, and our mission is to support the impact of their ongoing efforts.
The programme was co-created by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and MitOst in 2011 and so far has supported more than 300 cultural organisations, local administrations and socially orientated enterprises from over 200 local – urban and rural – communities inside and outside the EU.

What is Tandem Europe?

Tandem Europe started first in 2015 and is now going into its third round. It is tailor-made and co-created for and with its previous and upcoming participants, all of them working on creative solutions that make meaningful social innovation possible throughout Europe.

The programme builds on a strategic partnership between the Tandem founding partners (ECF and MitOst), foundations from Italy (Fondazione Cariplo), Greece (Stavros Niarchos Foundation) and Germany (Robert Bosch Stiftung), and NGOs from Portugal (4iS), Greece (COMM’ON) and Bulgaria (Ideas Factory).

Tandem Europe is a one-year long learning by doing programme that allows innovative creative initiatives to kick-start long-term collaboration on a European level. It offers participants a working placement with a partner abroad and engages their organisations in a joint social innovation or strategic development project of their own choice. Up to 24 participants accumulate international innovation know-how while realising one of up to 12 Tandem pilot projects that serve as prototypes for future tactical collaborations. Obtaining new insights from all over Europe strengthens participants’ impact locally and increases their operational and financial resilience.

Tandem Europe stimulates strategic thinking in organisational renewal processes, helps to create and sustain culturally and socially innovative effects across sectors, disciplines and borders and explores creative and collaborative solutions for contemporary challenges in our societies.

How does it work?

For one year, up to 24 participants from all 47 Council of Europe member states, Belarus and Kosovo will form up to 12 cross-border Tandems. Beginning of March 2019, up to 32 applicants and their colleagues join the Tandem Partner Forum where they can form a new European partnership with another Tandem candidate organisation of their choice. After the Partner Forum, a jury will select the most promising Tandem proposals for participation in the main programme phase.

Throughout the following year, selected participants realise a 2-week work placement at their new Tandem partner organisation. During their vocational visit, Tandem participants become directly involved with their partners’ organisational working environment and get hands-on insights into local socio-economic and cultural realities. Spending two mutual placement weeks together on site will provide participants with the necessary shared working time for co-designing, testing and realising their pilot collaboration initiatives. Each Tandem will receive modest start-up funding (€ 5000) for bringing their social innovation idea to life. Outcomes are showcased locally and in the framework of a presentation organised by Tandem at the end of the programme.

Illustration by Erica Brisson
Illustration by Erica Brisson

Project initiators and their colleagues of all 24 participating organisations will attend Tandem group meetings at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the process. These meetings allow for a mutual exchange of Tandem innovation and collaboration experiences with all other programme participants. All meetings will feature peer-to-peer group learning sessions among participants but also workshops with social innovation experts. The programme team will accompany and mentor all Tandem pilot collaborations from inception to completion.

Frequent group meetings will also add to a growing network of colleagues across all European locations involved. After the programme ends, participating organisations will therefore be able to build on viable European relations and new knowledge exchange contacts for scaling-up their Tandem pilot ideas towards a broader innovation impact. At the same time, participants join the growing Tandem network connecting them to cultural and social change makers all over Europe and beyond.

Who is it for?

We are looking for project initiators representing civil society organisations, public institutions, non-profit initiatives, innovative local administrations or social enterprises that:

– Are engaged in cultural work that proactively explores new ways of working and promote the goals and outcomes of their work through innovative formats

– Are promoting innovative ways of working for empowering people and communities to explore their individual creativity and increase their public engagement

– Engage in cultural innovation activities that tackle socio-economic challenges or reflect on larger cultural or societal questions in our communities

– Are working with cultural questions and content for involving people in social change and actively co-create communities around alternative social development models

– Explore unconventional ways of working on a small scale that nevertheless show potential for contributing to larger questions of public good (on a local and European level)

– Are prepared to scale their innovative working methodologies towards wider community outreach, especially in rural areas

– Are highly motivated to extend their local cultural work to new working areas, which contribute to alternative social and economic innovation processes all over Europe

– Develop creative solutions for a sustainable socio-economic development of and innovation in their communities, cities or regions, which is based on local needs

– Design new creative formats for engaging people in re-shaping social and economic realities of the local
environment they live in

– Are interested in finding new structural solutions, strategic development opportunities and alternative financing models for their organisations.

– Are ambitious to engage in strategic and lasting cooperation across national, cultural and mental borders

– Can rely on working structures that show sufficient financial and organisational capacity, are flexible and adaptive, socially responsible and respected in their working field

– Are early-to-mid career staff members with some decision-making responsibilities and/or senior professionals, who are strategically involved with the core mission of their organisation

– Are socially committed, empathic, culturally innovative, highly motivated, dynamic, open-minded personalities

– Are eager to experiment, ready for structural change, seize new opportunities, have an entrepreneurial spirit and the courage to take risks and fail forward.

– Have sufficient skills, experience and resources to engage in an intense international learning, reflection and innovation process that requires a minimum time investment of 10 working weeks throughout a one-year-long process

– Are based in one of the 47 CoE member states (and Belarus & Kosovo) and are fluent in English

Examples of current Tandem Europe Collaborations

What do we offer?

– Participation in a Partner Forum with up to 32 organisations from all over Europe (one applicant per organisation for the whole meeting, plus one colleague for the last two days of the meeting)

– 2 weeks abroad during a vocational placement at a new partner organisation

– 3 group meetings including peer-to-peer learning sessions and workshops with experienced trainers on social innovation

– Reimbursement of travel costs and living expenses during project events and placements

– € 5000 start-up funding for testing a shared pilot collaboration idea

– Expert-facilitated mentoring of pilot collaboration initiatives from inception to completion

– A showcase event to present the outcomes of all pilot collaboration initiatives

– Small-scale follow-up support to scale-up pilot ideas towards broader impact

– Access to a growing alumni network of cultural initiatives across Europe and its neighbourhood

Main programme events include:

A 4-day Tandem partner forum including workshops in the Balkans (location tbd.) 28.02 – 05.03.2019 (including travel days)

A 3-day kick-off meeting including workshops at the end of June 2019

A vocational placement of 12 days at individual Tandem partner locations across Europe (self-organised) between June 2019 and February 2020

A 3-day interim meeting including peer-to-peer learning sessions and workshops October 2019

A 3-day final learning and evaluation meeting February 2020

Selection Process

Selection of Tandem candidates to the Partner Forum is based on the quality of their individual application. The programme team and partner representatives will preselect up to 32 project initiators from all over Europe, whose organisations and initiatives represent a balanced mix of working fields, professional backgrounds, strategic interests, cultural ideas and the socio-economic challenges they address. We will invite those applicants, who best fulfil the criteria listed above. Deadline for submitting applications to participate in the Tandem Europe Partner Forum was 18 November 2018 (23:59 CET). Successful candidates will be informed latest by January 2019.

At the Partner Forum beginning of March, the Tandem team will guide all participants and their colleagues through an interactive mix of informal matchmaking and presentation sessions. All candidates will have sufficient time to identify and get to know their potential Tandem Europe partner before they actually form pairs and start drafting a concrete proposal for their international collaboration plans and pilot innovation initiatives.

The first 2 days, the applicant joins the Partner Forum individually; the last 2 days she will be joined by a colleague to test the new-found partnership and work on the Tandem application together. Shortly after the Partner Forum, up to 16 new Tandem pairs will submit their written proposals for assessment. The second selection process will be carried out by an external programme jury, which will choose the most promising Tandem proposals for participation in the main programme phase.

How to apply?

Read the FAQ

The extended deadline for submitting your application ended on Sunday 18 November 2018 (23:59 CET).


Julian Bootz