A cultural collaboration programme designed to strengthen civil society in Europe
At a time when the UK's future in Europe remains the subject of delay, extensive conjecture and continued political posturing, it's great to still be forging links with communities across Europe in various projects and initiatives, and our recent involvement with Tandem Fryslan was no exception.
Based in Amsterdam TANDEM Europe is an initiative instigated by the European Cultural Foundation in partnership with Berlin-based MitOst aimed at promoting cultural collaborations that strengthen civil society in Europe and neighbouring regions.
So, our engagement in Tandem Fryslan was an exciting and empowering sharing of ideas, perspectives and culture developed around Leeuwarden-Fryslan 2018, European Capital of Culture.
The central theme for LF2018 was 'iepen mienskip' (open community) which focused our minds on exploring cultural interventions that could encourage new approaches to the challenges faced by the rural Fryslan region.
From November 2017 to November 2018 Ben from Walk the Plank was matched with Thillie, his counterpart in the Netherlands, to explore ideas and potential solutions for a range of issues facing local communities, the idea being that the cross cultural exchange model would facilitate the exchange of similar experiences across Europe.
Then in October 2018, as part of this cross-cultural exchange Thillie visited Cobden Works for our October Fun Palace to see how we engage with our local communities.
"Working with someone who does a similar job to me in a different country has given me some incredible insights and experiences, in particular a very interesting understanding on how, in the Netherlands, there is much less of a distinction between participants and volunteers. From her viewpoint, Thillie was interested to see how we made connections with our various local communities." Ben Turner
An illustrated story of the Tandem Fryslan project can be found here. Thanks to illustrator Isobel Pickup and story advisor Roger Hill.
Also, read Ben's Tandem Fryslan blog
Also, read our thoughts on Brexit