What distracted us from COVID in 2021? Our year in review

What distracted us from COVID in 2021? Our year in review

Transforming society through culture


The year 2021 started with a familiar scenario in a wannabe post-COVID society. But in reality, we were still far from the more stable situation everyone was hoping for. Taking that context into account, we started to look at how our specialist skills could contribute to the development of the culture and creative sector. 

We turned to the transformative force that we operate together with artists and cultural workers. Together with b.creative – the international network of young cultural and creative entrepreneurs – we produced a Manifesto for a Modern Cultural Policy. The document lists policy actions required for culture to work as a strategic agent of transformation. It shows the multidimensional impact of cultural policy. 

This work is now being used to support the drafting of a Council of  Europe Recommendation on the way culture can help to address global challenges.

Culture to support mutual understanding and economic development in North Macedonia


With the aim of supporting the development of the local cultural and creative ecosystem, KEA is advising on the restructuring of the  Ministry of Culture in North Macedonia as well as the Film and Heritage protection agencies as part of the EU’s work to support administrative reform and prepare the country for EU accession. This year-long wide-ranging technical assistance project included the assessment of the policy strategy formulation process and recommendations.

This work builds on previous experiences in the West Balkans, a priority area for the EU, notably in Albania, Kosovo and Serbia.  Culture is seen as an important factor of economic development, social cohesion, peace and stability in the region.  We are constantly striving to show the relevance of culture and cultural policy in achieving those objectives. 


Helping financial institutions make their way into cultural investment


We’ve been continuing to move forward with the implementation of capacity building schemes for financial institutions making use of the Guarantee Facility for CCS. 

The ‘CCS Guarantee Facility’, a €250 million guarantee fund launched in June 2016 to address gap financing in CCS has been rolled out in 21 countries expecting to provide over € 2.5  billion of financing to SMEs. 

The Facility, managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) on behalf of the European Commission, is designed to strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors by providing guarantees to participating financial intermediaries.

According to the EIF this funding targets the financial needs of almost six thousand SMEs supporting over 41,000 jobs across Europe.  

KEA is proud to contribute in building bridges between the cultural sector and financial intermediaries. The programme is still running in 2022 and this year we will be active in Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands and Romania. 


Raising awareness on the role of sport in the context of regional and local development


During 2021 we carried out several capacity building exercises and workshops around the EU related to sports and regional development. We worked along with local authorities and sports organisations in Portugal, France and the Netherlands acting as a bridge connecting these two worlds, the sports sector and the local governments, supporting sport projects to improve their impact.

Our continued support to the SHARE initiative plays an instrumental role for sport to be adequately considered for regional development and to build bridges between the sport movement and local authorities. We also published the study “Mapping of innovative practices in the EU to promote sport outside of traditional structures” which shows the way that the practice of sport is evolving and how policies adapt to these changes.

For this new year 2022, as part of the SHARE initiative, we will examine how sports can contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy, sustainable development solutions and a  greener sports sector. Similarly, we will explore the role of sports in urban planning and in promoting an active lifestyle through innovative solutions.


Developing digital tools to spread information on the EU financing available to CCS and to support matchmaking between cultural entrepreneurs


Access to EU funding is often a daunting maze. With a view to improve information on funding available across the various EU programmes we developed visualisation tools:  the EU- funding  support  for audiovisual and news media sectors describing the funding opportunities for the Cultural and Creative Sectors. 

For b.creative, the international network for young and creative entrepreneurs, we launched a matchmaking tool enabling mentoring and collaboration between members of the network. 


Stepping up event organisation through hybrid formats 


As hybrid events became the new normal, we developed such an event in the context of the Horizon 2020 project ILUCIDARE on the role of cultural heritage in innovation and international relations. 

The ILUCIDARE Playground “Heritage Voices Out!” was  a 2-day full hybrid event of plenary sessions, workshops, heritage espressos and panel discussions integrating 15 online speakers and 13 virtual project booths (showcasing information documents, photos, videos).



Our research and communication expertise was mobilised in the following projects 


  • Cicerone – KEA is involved in this large research project involving major European universities to consider Global Production Network (GPN) as an alternative way to collect data on CCS.
  • Cultural Heritage in Action – In the project lead by Eurocities, KEA animated workshops with representative of local authorities throughout Europe to share various successful experiences of cultural investment with impact.
  • Connecting Cinemas. What was our role ? What expertise is required ? The project aimed at emphasising the role of cinema as a cultural hub in rural areas and establishing a networked infrastructure to share digital and cross-border events.
  • Orfeo and Majnun. – KEA worked on the evaluation of an  intercultural and multilingual music theatre project supported by Creative Europe. The evaluation  shows the importance of art ( production of an opera) and cultural participation to address social cohesion in an urban context.
  • MESOC. This Horizon funded research project is aimed at  developing a variety of tools for  cities and regions to better understand the social impact of cultural investment. 

You can find all KEA studies here.

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