The EUROCITIES Culture Forum meets on 26 and 27 October in Ghent. About 130 policymakers from all over Europe will participate.

26 Oct 2017 to 27 Oct 2017

The central theme of the EUROCITIES Culture Forum in Ghent is ‘The role of culture in shaping third places in cities’. 'Third places' are temporary or permanent places that we share with others and are important for the community: from creative spots to cultural centres and cafes. The Dutch architect, creative guide and writer Aat Vos is the keynote speaker. On 25 October Ghent also is the host city for the closing conference of the 'Culture for Cities and Regions' initiative.

EUROCITIES is a network of European cities of 250,000 inhabitants and more. The network was founded in 1986 and brings together policymakers of 140 major cities from 36 countries. EUROCITIES promotes the interests of its members and for this purpose it enters into a dialogue with the European institutions in a wide range of topics which concern cities. In six thematic forums - Culture, Social Affairs, Economic Development, Mobility, Knowledge Society and Environment -, in different working groups, and through projects and events, EUROCITIES introduces the agenda of cities in the European policy, and members share  their knowledge and exchange their innovative practices.

Daniël Termont, mayor of Ghent, currently is the president of the EUROCITIES Executive Committee.

The EUROCITIES Culture Forum meets twice a year. The 2017 autumn session takes place on 26 and 27 October in Ghent. About 130 policymakers from all over Europe will participate.  Also the five working groups of the Culture Forum will meet in Ghent. They will discuss the following themes: Creative Industries; Public Art; Young People and Culture; Access to Culture; Culture as a Resource.

The central theme of the EUROCITIES Culture Forum in Ghent is ‘The role of culture in shaping third places in cities’. The concept of ‘third places’ was launched in the 1970’s by the American sociologist Ray Oldenburg who stated that home is the first and the workplace is the second 'place' in our lives. 'Third places' are temporary or permanent places that we share with others: from creative spots to cultural centres and community gardens, to libraries, coffee houses and cafes. ' Third places ' are important to the community, democracy, and for civic engagement.

The Dutch architect, creative guide and writer Aat Vos builds on the ideas of Oldenburg. Five pillars are crucial in 'third places': people, place, experience, product and future. Aat Vos is the keynote speaker of the EUROCITIES Culture Forum in Ghent. Prior to the EUROCITIES Culture Forum, Ghent also is the host city for the closing conference of the 'Culture for Cities and Regions' initiative on 25 October. Financed by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and led by EUROCITIES together with KEA European Affairs and ERRIN (European Regions Research and Innovation Network), Culture for Cities and Regions ran for three years and examined the importance of culture in European cities and was put in the spotlight, amongst others, via the comprehensive website www.cultureforcitiesandregions.eu.

During their stay in Ghent the participants of the EUROCITIES Culture Forum will get to know various cultural places in our city. The following venues have already been selected: STAM (Ghent City Museum), De Bijloke Music Centre, the Minard Theatre, The Krook Library, Design museum Gent, the Castle of the Counts, NEST, Zebra Street, the Centrale, and De Expeditie.

My two years as President of the EUROCITIES Culture Forum were very interesting and instructive. I came in unexpected places and met inspiring colleagues from everywhere in Europe. After each meeting, I came home with another new idea that we could use in Ghent. Ghent is now - for the first time! – the host city of the EUROCITIES Culture Forum and so we can now show the cultural wealth of our city to our European colleagues. I hope they will go home after three days with the image of a vibrant city of culture impressed on their memory.

Annelies Storms, vice-mayor for Culture

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