Creative Europe: European Networks of Cultural and Creative Organisations

  • Action type: CREA Lump Sum Grants (CREA-CULT-2021-NET)
  • Opening date: Tuesday, June 8th, 2021
  • Closing date: Thursday, August 26th, 2021 17:00 (Europe/Brussels)
  • Budget per project: € 825 000 of total € 27 000 000
  • Project duration: 3 years
  • Official website



The support to European Networks of Cultural and Creative Organisations action intends to enhance the capacities of European cultural and creative sectors to face common challenges and nurture talents, innovate, prosper and generate jobs and growth.

This action will support projects implemented by highly representative, multi-country, membership-based networks of European cultural organisations, which cover a wide range of Creative Europe participating countries[1]. Networks must have a shared mission, governance rules, and members’ rights and obligations, as formally specified (in “statutes” or equivalent) and agreed upon by its members. Networks should be composed of a coordinating entity and its members.

European networks exclusively covering the audio-visual sector are not eligible for funding under this action.

Themes and priorities (scope)

In the current context, there is a need to promote fair, inclusive and diverse frameworks supporting artists and cultural and creative professionals. This includes effective mechanisms to ensure the cultural sector offers diversity, inclusion and equality for all, promotes effective ways to tackle the gender gap and related divides, and fights discrimination. From this perspective, promoting better frameworks, working conditions and remuneration for all cultural and creative professionals to thrive becomes a key strategic consideration[2], among others.

The cultural and creative sectors should also contribute to the European Green Deal, in particular by encouraging these sectors to adopt more environmentally sustainable practices. This is in line with the objective of the European Union to mainstream climate actions in all of its policies, with an overall target of 30% of the EU budget allocated to support climate objectives.

Applicants must consider these two cross-cutting issues in the design and implementation of their projects.

In addition, proposals should tackle one or several of the following specific call priorities:

  • increase cultural access to and participation in culture as well as audience engagement and development

With this priority, the aim is to build the capacities of the cultural and creative sectors to enhance cultural participation across Europe as well as audience engagement and development.

The New European Agenda for Culture[3] highlights that culture is an ideal means of communicating across language barriers, empowering people and facilitating social cohesion, including among refugees, migrants, and host populations. Culture is also a transformative force for community regeneration, social cohesion and public debate.

Cultural participation has been recognised as one of the main factors for individual self-development and well-being, as well as an accelerator of societal changes and of the construction of inclusive, resilient societies. Culture strengthens the social capital of societies, facilitating democratic citizenship, fostering creativity, well-being and critical thinking, encouraging integration and cohesion, and promoting diversity, equality and pluralism[4].

Symbolic, social and financial barriers to cultural participation remain, despite the efforts of cultural organisations to adapt to changing patterns of cultural consumption and population composition. New approaches using the cultural capability approach should be encouraged. This means implementing a wide range of quality cultural activities, promoting opportunities for all to take part and to create, and strengthening links between culture and education, social affairs, urban policy, research and innovation[5].

When addressing this priority, proposals shall include specific measures to reinforce the capacities of organisations and professionals from the cultural and creative sectors to increase cultural access to and participation in culture as well as audience engagement and development.

  • build the capacity to be active at international level in Europe and beyond

In the context of a globalised world, European cultural operators can benefit from cooperation with partners from other countries, including those outside Europe. Networks often provide the necessary support that cultural organisations and professionals need in order to be active internationally. Conversely, they can also be brokers in bringing expertise and capacities to Europe from all over the world.

When addressing this priority, proposals should build the capacity of organisations and professionals from the European cultural and creative sectors to be (more) active internationally, within and beyond the Creative Europe participating countries, and contribute to foster international cultural relations.

Proposals should encourage the scaling up of Europe’s cultural and creative sectors. They can include, for instance, activities supporting international presence, marketing and branding, or providing for the international networking of cultural organisations, the exchange of experiences with peers, the building of future cooperation leading to the implementation of local projects, or the reinforcement of ongoing cooperation. Proposals could also consider liaising with existing networks, projects or platforms operating in the areas concerned.

Proposals should reinforce the notion of global communities, and promote and enable more balanced exchanges and fairer working conditions for professionals. In this regard, they should empower artists and professionals to propose creative and valuable solutions to global challenges, and take local realities into consideration.

More background information on the internal dimension can be found in the following EU documents:

  1. the elements on the “external dimension (Strengthening international cultural relations)” that are included in the New European Agenda for Culture[3]
  2. the Joint EEAS/Commission Communication “Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations”[7]
  3. the Commission Communication “Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe”[8]
  • contribute to the European Green Deal

With this priority, the aim is to enhance the capacities of the cultural and creative sectors to contribute to building more resilient and sustainable societies and encourage the necessary adaptation of practices in the sectors.

Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. The cultural and creative sectors are already part of the response and have started to experiment and adopt transferable, inclusive and sustainable models to make production, distribution and access to culture more environmentally sustainable.

When addressing this priority, proposals could include awareness and/or capacity building activities that effectively help cultural operators to adopt and promote greener practices and contribute to the European Green Deal[9] and other initiatives, such as the New European Bauhaus[9], to make a difference to citizens’ quality of life.

  • help the European cultural and creative sectors to fully take advantage of new technologies to enhance their competiveness

The digital age represents a major challenge and opportunity for the cultural and creative sectors: the digital shift – accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic – is bringing about a change of paradigm, significantly impacting how cultural goods are created, managed, disseminated, accessed, consumed and monetised, and changing the value propositions which prevailed in the analogue era. Digitisation has facilitated the distribution of cultural and creative content and services, but it has also intensified competition of content across borders on a global scale.

In addition, data management, artificial intelligence, algorithms and computation can lead to concentration and harmonisation of tastes and can have negative consequences on cultural and linguistic diversity. In this framework, the sectors can make a major contribution to a critical, sensitive and human-centred approach to the digital transformation.

In the framework of this call, proposals should build the capacities of the cultural and creative sectors to critically and creatively embrace the above-mentioned opportunities and changes driven by the digital transformation. The EU’s digital strategy, “A Europe fit for the digital age[11]”, aims to make this transformation work for the sectors and for people.

Note: The way proposals address all the above-mentioned priorities will be assessed under the award criterion “relevance”. For more details, please check section 9.

All proposals should present a substantiated strategy and concrete details on how they plan to implement one or more of the above priorities.

Activities that can be funded (scope)

Proposals should include suitable activities for the reinforcement of the capacities of organisations and professionals active in the Creative and Cultural sectors. These activities have to be specifically designed to tackle the chosen priorities of the call in an effective way.

These activities should be formulated within a solid strategic framework and be structured in work packages. A work package means a major sub-division of the project. Each work package is accompanied by an objective (expected outcome) and should list the activities, milestones and deliverables that belong to it. (See section 10 – Milestones and Deliverables)

Activities should take into account the needs of the network members and facilitate members’ participation throughout the entire project. Details on this should be provided in the following section of the application form: “2.2 Partnership and consortium”. Under this call, financial support to third parties is eligible. For more details on the eligibility of activities, see section 6 (Eligibility of activities).

The quality of the proposed activities will be assessed under the award criterion “Quality of content and activities”. For more details, please check section 9.

Note: considering that this call for proposals is intended for action grants (projects) and not operating grants: statutory obligations such as board meetings, general assemblies, or any other similar statutory activity of the network, are not eligible under this call.

Expected impact

Support for about 30 networks covering different cultural and creative sectors.

This call is intended to have a structuring effect on Europe’s cultural and creative sectors (CCS) by targeting the above-mentioned priorities. This structuring effect should be tangible for the network members and/or for the CCS at large, and should be proportionate to the project objectives and scale.

The level of expected impact will be assessed under the award criterion “dissemination”. For more details, please check section 9.


The grant is limited to a maximum co-financing rate of 80% of total eligible costs.