The Network Project

The Network Project (TNP) is the next network grant Trans Europe Halles has been given to deploy activities for our members in the upcoming 3 years.  

It’s a special time for the network as its turning 40 in 2023, a big milestone to be celebrated at the Bia-annual conference in Leipzig, May 2023. All the accumulated knowledge and experience will be shared through all sorts of activities contributing to the resilience and innovation of the cultural sector.  

Basic Information

Title: The Network Project (TNP) 
Duration: 1-1-22 until 31-12-2024 
Funder: Creative Europe, EU Commission 
Project lead: Ella Overkleeft ella@teh.net 

Main objectives 

Throughout TNP’s 3 main objectives, TEH will work to heal and creatively restart the cultural sector, to consolidate its foundations and structures and enable it to be more resilient, sustainable and to keep growing, ready to face future crises: 

  1. PEOPLE: To support and enhance cultural professionals’ well-being by empowering and enabling them to become more resilient through life-long learning, networking and sharing accumulated knowledge, whilst facilitating TEH’s organisational transformation towards more agile and sustainable ways of financing, working and governing. 
  2. BUILDINGS: To expand the network’s capacity and expertise on the sustainable regeneration and repurposing of buildings in both urban and rural areas, by increasing network members knowledge and developing partnerships. 
  3. ART&CULTURE: To advocate for and to increase the understanding and recognition of the independent arts and culture sector (locally, nationally, and internationally) by nourishing existing and developing new relationships with advocacy groups, local governments, and other cross sectoral organisations. 

Our methodologies and approach

  1. Rhizome. A concept taken from botany, has no beginning, no end, only a middle from which it grows. Rhizomes are acentric networks composed of offshoots running in all directions and multiple sites of exit and entry. A rhizomatic approach to thinking favors networks, system-thinking and open group-based solutions over hierarchical linear thinking and closed, expert-based problem-solving. 
  1. Learning organisation. Another methodology TEH will be using, is the concept of the learning organisation, which entails peer learning, horizontal management, continuous transformation, lifelong learning, etcetera. A learning organisation is a group of people working together collectively to continuously enhance their own capacities to create results they really care about. Peer- learning or action-based learning are vital elements of this methodology. The idea behind action-based learning is the principle that learners are active agents rather than passive recipients of information.  
  1. “Inreach”. In opposition to “Outreach” practices, targeting different communities to incite them to come to the cultural space, without necessarily questioning the space itself, “Inreach” is a form of engaged curatorial practice that brings different cultural protocols, social economies and new ways of working into cultural spaces to transform them from within. Coined by British-Guyanese-Canadian contemporary art curator Emelie Chhangur, “Inreach” practices use experiential education, public engagement and the curatorial to further the cause of art in the community, to place the community as the heart of the new cultural space, to constitute new ideas around hospitality, to advocate for places where artists and audiences from all horizons and backgrounds feel welcome, represented, and to create contexts that ensure communities have agency over their own aesthetic expression. It is the first time this curatorial practice will be tested as a methodological tool outside of the museum environment and put into practice in our different centres. 
  1. External expertise. Besides working a lot with our own members expertise, we acknowledge the fact that not all knowledge is present in the network, and we need to bring it on from external actors. If we zoom out and take this approach as well for the whole organisational structure it means we need external expertise on all levels of the organisation, this includes the governance level. TEH too will investigate enhancing the capacities on the governance level and change from a one- tier model to a two-tier model with the possible addition of an international multidisciplinary advisory board of high-profile sectorial experts.  
  2. Co-creation. Most of TEH member centres are ‘multidisciplinary’ centres, meaning they work with and offer several different artistic and cultural practices. These ‘melting pots’ of creativity bring out the most innovate and beautiful results. We recognise the power of co-creation within a discipline but also cross-sectoral. During this project we encourage our members to collaborate with local governments, and community groups and we stimulate this by organising activities where a joint effort is needed to create and outcome. Forms of co-creation can be hackathons or roundtable sessions. In our evaluation methodology we make use of ‘co-evaluation partners’: TEH members centres with experience and interest in evaluation, to build their capacity to contribute their evaluation expertise within the network. The role will include several tasks: to input into the design of the evaluation framework making it more collaborative, to be involved in gathering data for the evaluation at conferences and camp meetings, sharing learning about the evaluation process within the network, acting as a champion for peer-to-peer learning about evaluation within the network.  

Core Activities 

Wellbeing Hours 
Well-being as a path towards personal and organisational development.
Bottom-up programme where members can collaborate with a local expert/coach to host work on the resilience and well-being of their team/close community.  

Start-up programme 
Our more established members can provide valuable knowledge and accessibility to e.g., civil society actors, policy makers and funding schemes to local emerging cultural centres. We call this the ‘lighthouse’ model. 

Staff-exchange 
A must-have in each network project: staff members of our cultural centres can swop places to learn about and experience different ways of working.  

Hubs 
Over the years we have formed several geographical and topic-based hubs. As the networking is growing the hubs are becoming more important. During this project we’ll continue with existing hubs and start three new ones: Sustainable Building hub, Mediterranean hub and the Youth/Audience development hub. Coordinated by the office in Lund in collaboration with member coordinators, to facilitate project design, fundraising and peer-peer learning. 

Self learning resources 
This is a series of member + external expert designed online sessions zooming in on a topic and providing tools for our members to integrate in in their own practices.  

City visits, networking & advocacy meetings 
Over the years, TEH has built up  many case studies and best practices. We will bring this collective expertise towards different cities in Europe, share it outside our own network. We will systematically meet with local governments and advocacy groups from various backgrounds and expand our collaborations overseas and build new partnerships in benefit of our members. 

Additinal activities and outcomes

  • Due to the 40th birthday of the network a short film will be made about the past & future of the network, 
  • We are taking evaluation and data collection to the next level working with external partner: Tialt
  • A pilot to test the possibility of a ‘proximity office’ will be performed.
  • Many strategic visits will be made by the coordination office staff to our member centres and their local stakeholders.
  • TEH office and member centres will offer services to external parties via consultancies. 

TEH Networking Events – Bi-Annual Meetings across Europe

2022 
26-29 May- Studio Alta, Prague link
22-25 September- Not Quite, Sweden link 

2023 
11-14 May- Moritzbastei & Halle 14, Leipzig, Germany
TBD October- Gozu, Malta 

2024  
TBD 

How can you engage in the project?