Irena Boljunčić Gracin
Rojc Association, Rojc, Croatia
We are one of the oldest and most dynamic cultural networks in Europe. We have been at the forefront of repurposing abandoned buildings for arts, culture and activism since 1983. We are based in Sweden and have 127 members in 36 different countries across Europe – from Spain to Ukraine.
Our three founding pillars are: People, Arts and Buildings.
People are at the heart of our network. People are both the driving force of our centres and their primary focus. We work hard for the benefit of our communities. Our ultimate goal is to build a society where all people can thrive.
Buildings are our micro-universes. We transform abandoned buildings with creativity and imagination into places where anything can happen. We use arts and culture to create spaces where people can have fun, feel empowered and get inspired.
We believe in the power of arts and culture to change the world for the better. We use art to transform the reality around us and our perception of it.
WHAT WE DO
We are a network of 127 cultural organisations from 36 European countries. Twice a year we meet to exchange knowledge, to start conversations and to connect with other cultural changemakers. Our meetings are a hotbed of new ideas and collaborations. They are always hosted by a different member – allowing us to get to know some of the challenges facing different regions. Our meetings reflect our diversity and explore topics that matter to us all. Find out where and when we are meeting next.
We also collaborate regionally and thematically through our Hubs. We launch projects together and form partnerships based on common interests, goals and ideas.
Throughout the year, we organise training workshops and seminars. We are specifically interested in business innovation and the organisational development of our member centres.
We strive for the professional development of our staff so they can offer the best support possible to all our members. We offer them opportunities to increase their leadership potential and to learn from their peers.
We also support emerging cultural initiatives in the Balkans, Eastern Partnership countries and South Mediterranean.
We aim to amplify the voice of the cultural and creative sector in Europe by influencing policy-making processes. We forge strategic partnerships with business, public administration and academia and get involved in events that can influence public policies.
Together with like-minded networks such as onthemove, Res Artis, European Music Council, NEMO, etc., we co-sign position papers, declarations and petitions addressing policy-makers. We also meet with local, national and regional policy-makers to tell them about our work and our mission.
Trans Europe Halles (TEH) was born in March 1983 when Philippe Grombeer was involved in setting up an arts centre in the former covered market in Brussels – Halles de Schaerbeek. He reached out to a few similar initiatives in Europe for help and six other cultural pioneers – Huset (Copenhagen, Denmark); Kultur Fabrik (Koblenz, Germany); Melkweg (Amsterdam, The Netherlands); Ny Scen (Gothenburg, Sweden); Pali Kao (Paris, France); and Rote Fabrik (Zürich, Switzerland) – answered his call. They all met together in Brussels that year and so started the dream.
Together they embarked on a journey that hasn’t always been easy. Europe was going through a lot of changes at the time: the fall of the Berlin Wall, the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, the expansion of the EU. These changes left abandoned sites all over Europe. We took them over. We revived them and used them for artistic experimentation.
Our initiatives were often greeted with derision by governmental ministers and local and regional authorities. Yet, we didn’t give up. We fought side by side for our beliefs. Together we reclaimed more than 110 spaces in Europe. By the end of the twentieth century, the value of these neglected spaces had increased exponentially, which only made us more confident in our work.
Today, we are an established European cultural network. Our potential has been recognised by the Creative Europe Programme, which has awarded us with a four-year network grant for the period of 2017-2021. This grant has supported our core activities and allowed us to expand our programme to the Balkan and Eastern Partnership regions.
Over the last decade, we have joined a number of cooperation projects: Creative Lenses (2015); Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities (2018); and DISCE – Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Creative Economies (2019). These projects have raised our profile and established our position as a reference point for the sector.
What is next? We will continue expanding and growing stronger as a network. And we will work harder than ever to contribute to a more democratic, inclusive and pluralistic Europe.
We are a community with transparent, human-centred and democratic governance. We make all our decisions together during our Annual Meetings. During our biannual meetings, we always hold a formal General Assembly where we approve the budget, final accounts, network strategy or elect a new Executive Committee. Every member has one vote, regardless of the size of the centre.
Every other year we elect a new Executive Committee, which is our governing and policy-making body. It consists of a minimum of five and a maximum of eight people. This is the current Executive Committee elected from 2019 to 2021.
Rojc Association, Rojc, Croatia
Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki, Finland
Ufafabrik, Berlin, Germany
Kulturfabrik Esch/Alzette, Luxembourg
Village Underground, London, UK
Tou Scene, Stavanger, Norway
Stanica, Zilina, Slovakia
Zo Centro Culture, Catania, Italy
Our Ambassadors work hard to make sure we survive and develop as a network. Today they are our advocates who promote us and our values to the outside world.
Meet our Ambassadors
Annette Wolfsberger, The Netherlands
Antti Manninen, Finland
Birgitta Persson, Sweden
Cor Schlösser, The Netherlands
Emma Ernsth, Belgium
Erik Backer, The Netherlands
Fazette Bordage, France
Katarina Zivanovic, Serbia
Paul Bogen, United Kingdom
Pekka Timonen, Finland
Philippe Grombeer, Belgium
Sabina Schebrak, Austria
Sandy Fitzgerald, Ireland
Xavi Perez, Spain
Trans Europe Halles is co-funded by the Swedish Arts Council and the City of Lund, Sweden. Our project Factories of Imagination is funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. The project Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Creative Economies is funded by the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Union. The project Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities is funded by the European Commission. The Region of Skåne, Sweden, funds the International Resource Office.
We grew. We developed. We improved. But we couldn’t have done any of our work without the support and encouragement of our partners. They believe that what we do matters.
TEH Coordination office until recently had been based at Mejeriet.
We are also a partner with Gala Green Art Lab Alliance.
Everyone is welcome to attend our meetings. However, Camp Meetings (they take place in autumn) are more member-driven and raise questions that are primarily interesting within the network. Spring Conferences are more open and might be better suited for the general public. Yet, if you are interested in the topic of any of our meetings do not hesitate to register. You can find information about the upcoming meeting here.
The main difference is that members are more involved in the development of the network. They can vote during General Assemblies that take place at our biannual meetings. Plus, members have more opportunities to participate in the events and trainings that we organise.
No, you are not. Yet, we encourage you to attend as often as you can. The more active you are, the more benefits you gain from being part of TEH family.
No, we have independent governance. However, we work closely with many local and European public institutions.