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Kultuurikompass Morning Coffee Awoke Interest in Foreign Funding

How can we truly bring foreign funding back home? This question kicked off the Kultuurikompass morning coffee, which provided valuable information about the possibilities of foreign funding to Tartu and Southern Estonia cultural organisers. The January 17 event at Cafe Truffe brought together 80 cultural scene participants and representatives from three major funders - Nordic Council of Ministers, Creative Europe, and the US Embassy - to increase international cooperation and diversify South Estonian culture.

Inimesed kohvikus.
18. Jan Kaidi-Lisa Kivisalu

Photos: Maanus Kullamaa

“The Kultuurikompass forums were founded four years ago. We have discussed among other topics Europe, accessibility, volunteers, and hospitality. We have hosted international forums. Today, however, we focused on the more practical side of things and talked about finding international funding for projects,” stated Kristiina Avik Tartu City Government Head of Culture and the organiser of Kultuurikompass forums. According to Avik, foreign funding can be applied for from a variety of sources, so the list of organisations represented at the event was not exhaustive. “I hope today’s meeting inspires everyone to look for other sources of foreign funding besides these three institutions.”

Tartu World University organiser Triinu Laan, came to Kultuurikompass because she wanted to find additional funding and meet the funders in person. “I have little prior experience in finding foreign funding, but the institution associated with my project does,” Laan explained. She went on to say: “This type of information day allows for direct contact. This is extremely important. The financier’s perspective on how Estonians like to write or common mistakes is an interesting nuance in which you can recognise yourself.”

Joanna Kurvits, project leader of the Hybrid European Democracy Festival, emphasised the importance of making human contact. “I like that I can ask people quick questions and bounce ideas off of them. Today’s Kultuurikompass was timed perfectly because all three funders have open rounds where you can start writing right away.”

Kurvits stated that her organisation is always looking for new ways to fund its activities: “We have the most experience with the Erasmus+ measure, and we are now looking into the European Union’s CERV programme. We’re always looking for tips on how to write an application. Our confidence continues to grow.”

The lack of self-belief can prevent cultural organisers from seeking international funding. Grete Kodi, a Norden (Nordic Council of Ministers) representative, sees three main concerns that limit participation in the application rounds. “People are afraid that they will be unable to manage the large project administratively. There may be apprehension that submitting a project or writing a report later will be too difficult. People also do not want to take on the role of leading partner, which may demonstrate a fear of responsibility. It is also assumed that the project already has to have a large network of cooperation in the Nordic countries. This is not true,” Kodi stated.

Nonetheless, Nordic Council of Ministers encourages applicants to take advantage of every opportunity because the application process is simple. Smaller cultural organisations can also get through some red tape, and the percentage of personal financing is not very high.

Angela Ader, Tartu 2024 team leader of the Kultuurikompass, was pleased that many project managers and strategic partners of the European Capital of Culture were present at the event and collectively thought in the direction of international cooperation: “All of the projects in Tartu 2024’s main programme have foreign partners, which enriches our programme and establishes new collaboration relationships for the future. The Kultuurikompass forum brings people together and gives development a boost.”

Geir Lindahl and Grete Kodi (Norden or Nordic Council of Ministers), Kristiina Urb (Creative Europe) and Christie Valentine and Jane Susi (Embassy of the United States) spoke at the event.

Tartu City Government and Tartu 2024 European Capital of Culture organise the Kultuurikompass. The next international Kultuurikompass: How Borderless Is Culture? will be held on May 18-19.


Põhjamaade Ministrite Nõukogu

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Ameerika Ühendriikide saatkond