The Forum d’Avignon, Bilbao Metropoli 30 and the european centre for creative economy (ecce) make call for cultural and creative actions to become drivers and catalysts in urban development. This one year transnational network, called CATALYSE, is financially feasible thanks to a European Union Culture Program’s grant. 

As the ‘strategy 2020’ European Union is interested in culture and creativity as drivers for change, the three partners Forum d’Avignon (France), Bilbao Metropoli-30 (Spain) and the European Centre for Creative Economy (ecce) (Germany), created a European network Catalyse to enhance the contribution of culture and creative industries and what they 'catalyze' for the future of European territories. This collective work will continue until April 2014 - through the realization of studies, concrete proposals and International Meetings : Forum Avignon Ruhr (June 2013, 27th & 28 th), Forum d’Avignon (November 2013, 21th ,22 th, & 23 th), and Forum Avignon Bilbao (March 2014, 5th to 7 th) and model urban actions in order to showcase how culture and creativity can concretely push and catalyse the future of territories.

Catalyse Agenda 2013-2014

This European network and cooperation project is meeting the three specific objectives of the EU Culture Programme:  to support the trans-national mobility of people working in the cultural sector, to encourage the trans-national circulation of artistic and cultural works and products and to encourage intercultural dialogue.

=> More information about the Catalyse call : Catalyse project presentation 


June 2013, 27th & 28th.  Forum d’Avignon Ruhr at PACT Zollverein in Essen. Under the motto “Europe 2020 – Culture is the Key”, 220 top representatives engaged in the economy, politics and culture from 15 countries dealt with spill-over effects from culture to other economic and social areas. A first research study about “Spillover” effects in the Ruhr Area drove to learn who supports these projects and how they can be supported in a better way in the future.=>More information

Labkultur's White card : all articles

October 2013, 21th to 23th.  RAW ESSEN a three-day working session led by ecce in Essen City-North focused the question “How do investments in culture and creative industries spillover in the urban space?” from a practical case corresponding to the theoretical results of the study titled "Shaking Hands".

=> More information : RAW days Agenda – Order of events - Intro B Fessel 

=> More : Participation strategies for sceptics: Impetus to urban deelopment. From “Shaking Hans“ to Shaking hands 

November 2013, ‘Culture is the key : Research, Interaction, Forum, Innovation’, the research study under the direction of Dr. Bastian Lange commissioned in accordance with the CATALYSE program, completes ecce analyses which were presented at the Forum d'Avignon Ruhr in June 2013, on “Spillover effects” of culture and creative industries in the Ruhr Area.

To read : ‘Culture is the key : Research, Interaction, Forum, Innovation’ (pdf)

To watch ‘Culture is the key’ interviews : : Interview with Amit Sood, Director, Google Cultural Institute in Paris : Culture is the key interviews: Pedro Ruiz Aldasoro and Betty Martins : Nesta: Creative Credits - A randomized controlled industrial policy experiment : Androulla Vassiliou’s welcoming speech opens 2nd Forum d’Avignon Ruhr : Culture is the key interviews: Deborah Carter and Piotr Borys : Culture is the key interviews: "Most people underestimate the meaning of culture in their lives" - Martin Krammer : Forum d´Avignon Ruhr: Is art free? : Creative Quarter Essen City-Nord: A process that has just begun : Culture is the key: "Culture reflects the values, dreams, and failures of a generation"



November 2013. The Forum d’Avignon launches its Hackathon on ‘Inventing a new cultural urban space’.  As  in Essen and next year in Bilbao (2014 March, 5th ), it is not research about practice, but with practice. Its results are thus not just texts and new theory, but also a proposal for a project implementation, for a new practice.

=> Catalyse Hackathon : Inventing a new cultural urban space

November 2013, 21th to 23th.  The theme Culture &Power: No politics without culture" of the Forum of Avignon 6th edition aims to highlight - through the many powers of culture – political, diplomatic, economic and aesthetic or even private – the messages of peace and economic growth that the culture holds.  

The Catalyse project has been driven under two formats: a Forum session dedicated to the ‘Should we seek to establish a European cultural policy?’, and an Hackathon Session and Manifesto ‘Inventing a new cultural urban space’.       

=> The 2013 program – Manifesto Culture &Power: No politics without culture

=> Final press release : The Agenda 2014 of the Forum d'Avignon : Culture at the heart of politics

More :

=> Louvre Alliance study ‘Culture, territories and Powers - The spirit of Atlas’. On a prospective tonality, in an international perspective (European, and perhaps global), the study highlights tendencies both likely and desirable on the governance models, depending on the diversity of powers and territorial scales of culture (geographic, economic, alternatives)

=> Catalyse at the Forum d’Avignon

December 2013, Culture is the key, the full study commissioned in accordance with the CATALYSE program, will be published. The study completes ecce analyses under the direction of Dr. Bastian Lange within the context of a research study “Spillover effects” of culture and creative industries in the Ruhr Area, which was presented at the Forum d'Avignon Ruhr in June 2013.



2014, March, 5th. Researc Actions workshops (RAW) has been held in AlhondigaBilbao ; it is a space for reflection, warm-up and idea testing before the Forum d’Avignon-Bilbao. The aim of RAW is to use a cross-cutting approach to look at local ideas and experiences together with artists and cultural agents, through debates and activities connected with art and culture in contemporary contexts. Creativity goes above and beyond the cultural sphere, but it always forms an essential part of the dynamics of art, in whatever form. Artists are ‘actists’. They act in cities, where the community needs them. They transform synergies and recreate the citizens’ pact.

At a time of future uncertainty, a time when we are questioning the established models, creativity is called upon to help drive our economic, social and political activities. RAW aims to approach this driving force from a cross-cutting, uninhibited perspective. In short, RAW is a catalyst for ideas, impulses and tensions. It will be held before Forum d’Avignon Bilbao, but it may well be both a ‘before’ and an ‘after’.

Three workshops has been held :

1/ Art hybridization experiments and practice.
2/ From mistakes to learning, a useful methodology.
3/ New communities in artistic and social practice.

2014, March, 5th to 8th   – The Forumd’Avignon Bilbao at the AlhóndigaBilbao, discussed the theme :  The city as cultural ecosystem. In our western ‘cultural ecosystems’, the divide between public and private spheres was one of the key issues for cultural action. With the passing of time, this dichotomy became an outdated concept as the two sectors started cooperating with one another. We want to use real experiences to assess the relationship between the two.

Culture is a driving force for development and welfare; it fosters innovation and creativity, and can create icons that contribute to increase global competitiveness.

With this aim in mind, the 2014 Forum d’Avignon Bilbao has explored the potential of cities as cultural ecosystems.


2014, March, 7th – Press release. After the 2nd Forum d´Avignon Ruhr (in Essen, June 2013, 27th and 28th), the 6th Forum d’Avignon (in Avignon, November 2013, 21th to 23rd), the 1st Forum d’Avignon Bilbao (in Bilbao, March 2014, 5th to 7th) is the third European scale event of the EU-funded project CATALYSE. 

After three day of interactive and transnational collaboration in Bilbao, the CATALYSE partners call to place the attractiveness of cities at the heart of the European elections. Without more engagement for cities, the European vision cannot come alive - especially not for the European youth. Examples as Bilbao, the Ruhr, Avignon, Metz, Lens or Liverpool proved how culture revitalizes cities and thus CATALYSE calls to European politics to mainstream the promotion of cultural and creative cities.

To read : Press release

2014, March, 7th – Catalyse Manifesto ‘Reinventing a new creative European urban space’. Among the numerous perspectives sketched during Forum d’Avignon, Forum d’Avignon Ruhr and Forum d’Avignon Bilbao, CATALYSE - through their ‘Manifesto 2014: Reinventing a new creative European urban space’ published on March, 7th - underlines three action priorities to strengthen the attractiveness in our cities and societies: 

1. To fight citizen scepticism about culture and change. 

2. Culture as catalyser of urban cities and creative territories’ energy. 

3. Finally, the importance of being earnest. Collecting reliable cultural data constitutes an essential investment upstream to any coherent policy of development of a creative economy.

Change is possible – even in the public budget crisis – if ambitions and concrete actions are embodied in an integrative manner on a local basis as well as on a European scale. The Catalyse network urges European decision makers to address the role of culture as a strategic necessity for the future of Europe.

To read Catalyse network proposals : Download the Catalyse Manifesto in english  – Télécharger le Manifeste en français  – spanish – german.


Next meetings for Culture as a development factor 

  • 2014, April 4th & 5th - Forum de Chaillot. The French Ministry of Culture and communication organizes, in partnership with the Forum d’Avignon in the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, a great European Forum of culture entitled “Chaillot Forum, the Future of Culture, the Future of Europe”. To see the programme, please click here

The Forum d’Avignon will lead, with Brice Couturier, the first debate on Friday the 4th of April, from 11.20am to 1pm. ‘’Culture, an economic and social asset for Europe?”
By contributing to economic growth, the cultural and creative sector takes a great part in the European development, as is proven by numerous studies. Beyond its economic weight, what is the contribution of the cultural sector to social integration and to the development of our societies on different scales? Which strategy Europe needs to deploy in order for our cultural diversity, which is an innovation and territorial dynamism factor, to be enhanced as an asset in globalization?

  • 2014, june 11th et 12th -  3rd edition of Forum d’Avignon Ruhr in Essen.