Tandem is a cultural collaboration programme that strengthens civil society in Europe and its neighbouring regions. There are several ongoing Tandem programmes, which focus on different regions and topics, among which Tandem Turkey was one of the leading regional programmes that has started in 2011. Tandem Turkey primarily aims at establishing long-term partnerships between cultural organisations from different cities across Turkey and European Union countries. The programme prepares the grounds for cultural practitioners, who work in arts and culture organizations or civil society organizations using art as a medium for social change, to collaborate with an international partner and work together on a local level. The programme acts on many different levels; offering professional development to individuals as well as supporting organisational change processes, creating a space to experiment with innovative ideas for social change and nurturing the work of local cultural change-makers.
Each programme round starts with the application process to simultaneous open calls in Turkey and EU countries. The selected applicants meet at the Partner Forum where they choose their partners with which they would like to collaborate, and form ‘Tandem’s made up of two partners. Then the participants conduct study visits to each other’s’ cities in order to get closely acquainted with their partner organisation, the city it is based and the local community. Programme participants enrich their cultural and artistic experiences over a period of two years and develop process-focused projects. The participants entirely design the form and content of their pilot projects with their international partner. Ranging from performing arts to art workshops with children, from literary works to contemporary art exhibitions and public art interventions, cultural projects in diverse fields are implemented in collaboration between Anatolian and European cities. During this phase, the participants can apply and receive additional funding from local and international cultural institutions besides the project grant that is provided within the programme. Moreover, joint meetings are held in regular intervals in order to come together with the other participants and share the study visit observations, collaboration processes and general experiences within the group as well as to attend organisational capacity development workshops. The programme round ends with the final meeting and events through which the collaborations are wrapped up and their outcomes are shared with the audience in Turkey and Europe.
Tandem Turkey supported 15 Tandems during its first (2011-12) and second (2013-14) rounds while around 10 Tandems took part in the third (2015-16), fourth (2016-17) and the final (2018-19) rounds. Due to the recent transformations in the needs and challenges of cultural operators and civil society across Turkey and Europe, some elements were updated in terms of the target group, geographical scope and programme structure in the last programme round. A closed call was made within Tandem alumni (previous Tandem participants) but they had the chance to deliver their experiences by engaging emerging cultural practitioners within their local working environment. So they applied with a ‘sister colleague’, and in this case, each Tandem team had four members instead of two. Furthermore, all Tandem Network geographies (the regions covered by other Tandem programmes such as Tandem Ukraine, Europe and Shaml) were included as well as Iran as a completely new addition, and the regional focus and outreach of the programme is expanded.
Throughout five programme rounds spanning over eight years, circa 150 cultural operators took part in the programme. Collaboration projects were conducted in 20 different cities of Turkey, 36 cities from 18 European countries, two cities in Iran and one city of Lebanon, Egypt and Ukraine. Tandem Turkey programme alumni has become part of Tandem Network with around 500 members from all Tandem editions and still expanding. The alumni continue to benefit from the opportunities of the network after the programme ends, by attending annual network meetings, making new contacts and forming new partnerships, and having study visits to new cities.
You can visit Tandem web site to get more information on Tandem Turkey participants and their collaborations.