Tandem Regions
Tandem Regions

Tandem Regions: Manifesto

Read the Manifesto of Tandem Regions and learn more about the new Tandem programme, inspired and developed by Tandem alumni.

Cultural actors working within overlooked peripheral communities understand feelings of abandonment and disconnection but they also understand the power of community and possess a desire for social justice. They know that overlooked areas have as many advantages as disadvantages: they are urban outliers, maverick states and vanguard villages. They have agility and ability, strong communities, competencies and unique perspectives. If given the opportunity, these areas, urban or rural, can lead by example, operating easily and mobilising projects quickly by virtue of their size. Yet the prevailing model is one where such areas are excluded, representing neither power nor influence, and so must contend with policies and decisions being imposed from afar.

Tandem Regions is about finding a new model. It’s about starting with the assets (resources, people, environment, culture) of a given region. It’s about bringing together a plurality of perspectives (diversity of age, background, ethnicity, opinion, gender) in a spirit of community and exchange (listening and sharing).

It’s about creating a strong network of value-based organisations and individuals, and creating lasting change at policy level. Tandem Regions starts from the belief that local actors know their areas best and that through identifying challenges and partners, they can begin to create a vision for their area.

Tandem is rooted in a culture of solidarity, a key facet of which is sharing common practice. We believe it is only through collaboration that systems can change and adapt and that cultural exchange and inclusivity have a significant role to play in combating social fragmentation, exclusion, and political polarisation. The quality of exchange in Tandem Regions, both locally and internationally, aims to sow seeds of resilience and connection leading to long-term strategic change at policy level.


Tandem Regions makes space to deepen appreciation and understanding of the local, the polarities between the urban and the rural and to place that understanding in an international context. Common practice is to look out and up: What are the major centres doing? What can we expect from centrist policies? Should we aspire to be more like places of influence? This initiative flips that mode of thinking on its head and asks: What’s happening in the periphery where we are? What can we learn from our community? What do decision-makers and major centres have to learn from us? How can the local and international co-exist in a more symbiotic way?

The way we travel, socialise and work has been radically altered with internal migration affecting population densities across urban and rural areas alike. This presents a pivotal moment in which to explore how we understand the needs and make-up of regional, remote and marginalised areas; in which we can move away from a monoculture mentality and into a mode of thinking that prizes a plurality of experience. There is room for the local and the international.
It is the time to invest in inclusive, progressive, ground-up initiatives that shape a future rooted in solidarity and social justice; a future that values what is around us (people, environment, culture) and connects with international partners and colleagues, other change-makers in our network, to reform defective systems and policies.

Over the years, some Tandem alumni and partners have been discussing the situation in their regions – places that are under-resourced because they do not possess political, economic or geographic advantage. These conversations speak of progress, but lament the untapped potential for greater, lasting change.

Tandem Regions team
Tandem Regions team

From this observation, Tandem Regions emerged

Tandem Regions is a prototype initiative, a responsive programme that does not presuppose any one way of doing things.

Tandem Regions
builds on the experience, network and philosophy of a decade of Tandem programmes to create a new experimental initiative for communities in undervalued areas.

Tandem Regions’ consortium works and researches in order to understand the “territory” before drawing the map. It develops and co-ordinates between Local Prototyping, Cross-border Exchange and Policy Influencing, feeding each area with trans-local knowledge.
Tandem Regions grows and expands as the programme unfolds.

Areas of Trans-Local Development

Local Prototyping creates the opportunity to learn new skills, discuss and pilot out local ecosystems, identify challenges, partners and potential pathways for progress.
How is it where we live? What can be changed or improved? Who can help? How do we build a strategy?

Cross-border Exchange is the creation of a network of Regions’ partners. A space for drawing on collective experience, noting common points of intersection, discussing different approaches for change and bringing in potential new partners.
What do you know? What ideas and challenges do we share? What has worked for you before?

Policy Influencing is explored through a range of projects that focus on policy making and lasting, systemic change for citizens.

Tandem Regions was initiated by European Cultural Foundation (Netherlands), MitOst (Germany), 4is (Portugal), COMM’ON (Greece) and Ideas Factory (Bulgaria), coordinated by MitOst and developed by COMM’ON, Creative Scene (UK), Ideas Factory, Insha Osvita (Ukraine), Leeuwarden Fryslan 2028 (Netherlands), Museum Pfyn (Switzerland), R84 (Italy), 4iS
Tandem Regions is supported by European Cultural Foundation, Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy).