Startup Support Programme 2020

Trans Europe Halles calls for emerging civic initiatives with a focus on arts, culture and creativity that are located in re-purposed buildings to participate in the third edition of the Startup Support Programme. This time we’re looking for initiatives in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Trans Europe Halles is a network of people who believe that creativity, grass-roots initiatives and public activism can improve our lives and societies. We are striving to bring a positive change through the cultural revival of (post-industrial) neighbourhoods and its communities. We believe that our work matters and that it reinforces the future development of independent cultural and creative spaces in Europe.

We have always been supporting those who dare, who are curious and who have imagination. With this idea in mind, we launched the Startup Support Programme two years ago. This programme is addressing to socially engaged NGOs that are developing emerging cultural and creative spaces in repurposed buildings.

Within the Startup Support Programme, we carefully look at the challenges each project is having and set up a tailor-made scheme to move towards a sustainable future. This year we will focus on Caucasus countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, that have the potential for many inspiring cultural centres and creative hubs.

What is a Startup?

In our vision, a startup is a civic initiative that is situated in a re-purposed (industrial) building with a focus on creativity, arts and culture along with a Do-It-Yourself / Do-It-Together (DIY/DIT) approach. It is still in its preliminary phase, but is already self-sufficient (either economically or due to people’s dedication), though not yet sustainable.

What has been done within the programme so far?

The programme was launched in 2017 and we have supported six emerging centres in the Balkans and Eastern Europe so far.  Below you can find more information about the process, the participants and their challenges:

We are also proud to share with you a series of publications about the 6 participants of TEH Startup Support Programme:

What does the Startup Support Programme do?

From 2017 to 2021, the Startup Support Programme is investing in bringing emerging cultural and creative spaces to their next level of development through:

  • Expert consultation and coaching for their teams.
  • Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing involving other emerging spaces in our network.
  • Networking activities during our Conferences and Meetings
  • Access to TEH Capacity Building Programme and activities. (Check out our Capacity Building Programme)
  • Inspirational case studies of spaces in the startup phase.

For the third edition, we are looking for three emerging cultural and creative spaces from the Caucasus region to take part in the programme.

The program will run until July 2020. Eligible countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

You can apply for this programme if

  • You are not a TEH Member or Associate yet.
  • You are located in one of the three eligible countries mentioned above.
  • You are legally established as an organisation.
  • You are repurposing a building for creative, cultural and artistic uses.
  • You have a legal agreement – or you are in negotiation – with the owner of the building about its future use.
  • Your organisation has been operating inside the building for less than two years, or you are planning to work in it in 2020.

We are offering the following

• A scoping visit of two international experts, who have founded and run their own cultural and creative spaces. This visit aims to become familiar with your work and define what will be the best way to collaborate with Trans Europe Halles. After the scoping visit, a group of peers will work with you to address your main challenges. According to your needs, the outcomes will vary among developing a strategic plan, working on your organisational model, planning of renovating your building and community development.
• Situation analysis and organisational diagnosis.
• Coaching from TEH peers until July 2020, including a tailor-made workshop at your centre.
• Your case to be included in a publication about the programme.
• Access to a vibrant community of like-minded organisations in Europe.
• Become a TEH Associate for two years.

How does the selection process work?

Your application will be evaluated immediately after the call is closed by the programme’s Selection Committee. It includes five international experts selected among our member centres, our Executive Committee and the staff of our Coordination Office. We will announce the results a couple of days after the call is closed.

What do you commit to if you are selected?

If your cultural centre is one of the three lucky ones selected for this first edition of the programme, you commit to: • Actively participate in the programme.

  • Pay a participation fee of 300€. (Which covers two years of TEH associate membership fee, participation in the full program mentioned above.)
  • Present your work to TEH members during TEH Camp Meeting in Timisoara (Romania), 17-20 October 2019.
  • Deliver a short written report about the process, including visual documentation.

Experts you will be working with

Mykhailo Glubokyi – development director of IZOLYATSIA, a platform for cultural initiatives and IZONE creative community. Mykhailo has been working with IZOLYATSIA since it’s very beginning in 2011, then rebuilding the foundation after it has been forced to move to Kyiv. Now he is responsible for international communications and co-coordinates direction of cultural foundation in Ukraine and abroad. At the same time, he co-manages IZONE creative community hub to support further development of cultural and creative industries in Ukraine.

Chris Keulemans is a traveling writer, journalist and teacher. He is based in Amsterdam. In 1984 Chris founded the literary bookshop Perdu there. During the 90’s he was the director of De Balie, centre for culture and politics in Amsterdam. From 2006 to 2014 he was the founder and artistic director of cultural centre the Tolhuistuin in Amsterdam. Today, he works all across Europe. For TEH, he works on the Startup Support Programme, and has written the publications on the centers involved, which you can find here.

How can you apply?

If you wish to apply on behalf of your organisation, submit your online application before Sunday 1st September 2019 at 23:59 Central European Time.

If you have questions or need help with your application, contact our Capacity Building Director Michel Quéré at

The Startup Support Programme is part of the project Factories of Imagination, which is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

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