The objective of the project is to analyse three interconnected foundations of the “European Capital of Culture” initiative (sense of belonging, social inclusion and urban development) as drivers of Community integration and cohesion in the cross-border spaces of the European Union. The CECCUT project aims to encourage interactions between researchers, public actors and representatives of civil society concerned by these themes. To this end, a series of complementary activities will be carried out in both French and English languages

Activity 1

Teaching through academic seminars (researchers and students) spread over the three years of the project on the following themes:

  • Year 1: sense of belonging
  • Year 2: social inclusion
  • Year 3: urban development in a cross-border context (when a border city has a European Capital of Culture project)
    • These seminars will have an international dimension thanks to the mobilisation of researchers at the international scale and to the theme addressed, i.e. the cross-border dimension of cultural policies at the heart of the presentations.

      PIn addition, a comparison between European Capitals of Culture and other Cultural Capitals around the world will be highlighted in these seminars to show the specific European features in this field. A total of 36 interventions are planned over the duration of the project on the basis of having two researcher interventions and one student intervention per year within each partner institution.

      These seminars mobilise the data collected through the proposed research (Activity 3). They also feed into the defined products (Activity 2) and events open to public actors and civil society (Activity 4).


Activity 2

Products for the attention of cities supporting a cross-border cultural project

In addition to the website dedicated to the project, which constitutes an Observatory of European Capitals of Culture in a cross-border situation, two other supports will be produced.

  • The first is a guide of good practices for cities wishing to bring a European Capital of Culture project with a cross-border dimension or for cities that have already developed a European Capital of Culture project and wish to relaunch large-scale cultural policies with a European dimension, such as the cities of Lille (France) and Mons (Belgium).
  • The second is an evaluation guide comprising a series of indicators. This makes it possible to identify how the European Capital of Culture initiative and the cultural policies resulting from it can be a vector for integration and Community cohesion at the level of cross-border urban regions in the short and medium term.
  • These products will be realized in three phases: content organisation (Year 1), information gathering (Years 2 and 3), writing and publishing (Year 3). The website including the online observatory and the two guides are based on data collected through teaching (Activity 1), research (Activity 3) and events held (Activity 4). These products are realised in French and English. A paper edition in 100 copies is planned for each of the two guides and the digital version of the guides will be available on the project website. Paper and digital dissemination will target cultural and cross-border cooperation actors in Europe and globally.


Activity 3

Research on the role of the European Union's internal and external borders in relation with a sense of belonging, social inclusion and urban development at cross-border level. This is for when a border city has a European Capital of Culture project or is pursuing major cultural policies after having been European Capital of Culture.

This research includes scholars and students. A comparative approach between European Capitals of Culture and cultural capitals located in non-European cross-border contexts is one aspect of the research to identify in particular the potential added value of initiatives carried out in Europe. This research would then be disseminated and brought to the attention of the international academic sphere.

The research activity runs over the three years of the project and is based on three sources of information related to the other activities:

  1. cross-transfers of content between network partner researchers and associated researchers during the different network activities (Activities 1 and 4)
  2. field work carried out in European Capitals of Culture with the assistance of Master students
  3. information collections carried out through the relations developed with public and civil society actors in the definition of products (Activity 3) and the different scheduled events (Activity 4)

This research generates two products: conference proceedings linked with the applied research carried out by students under the supervision of professors (which will be downloadable from the website) and academic articles published in international journals (with emphasis on open access). Five articles are being considered over the three years.


Activity 4

Five events for researchers, public actors in charge of cultural policies and representatives of civil society related to culture

Following a launch conference (Year 1) aiming at presenting the network's objectives and highlighting the challenges of European Capital of Culture projects with a cross-border dimension, three workshops are planned on the basis of one per year on the following themes:

  • Sense of belonging (Year 1)
  • Social Inclusion (Year 2)
  • Urban Development (Year 3)

Lastly, a final conference is organised (Year 3). The researchers and students involved in the teaching (Activity 1) and research conducted (Activity 3) are mobilised in these meetings. The final conference is an opportunity to present the products realised (Activity 2). The communication of these various events (with French-English and other language interpretation) is done via the dedicated website (Activity 2) and by sending information about a listing including cultural and cross-border collaboration actors in Europe and around the world.

These events are filmed and available on the partners' websites to ensure optimal dissemination of the interventions. These meetings will be in the cities of Esch-sur-Alzette, Lille, Mons and Timisoara.

In parallel with these five events, researchers will attend a series of international conferences on cultural, urban and cross-border issues in order to disseminate the work carried out within the framework of the CECCUT network on the basis of five conferences per partner.