Academy Camps

Academy Camp 2 for Chemnitz 2025: Digital approaches to European Capitals of Culture (ECoCs)

Academy Camp 2


Within the framework of the project Capacity Building for European Capitals of Culture (ECOCs) program, whose aim is to build capacity and share knowledge among those involved in the implementation of the ECOCs, several Academy Camps were organized, each with a separate focus. Interarts took charge of organizing the second Academy Camp for Chemnitz 2025, whose topic centred on “Digital approaches to European Capitals of Culture (ECOCs)”. The Academy Camp took the shape of 6 sessions, which tackled how digital is revolutionising the ECOCs’ planning and delivery, in particular in the spheres of communications, evaluation, artistic programming, project management and building communities. 

The training program was coordinated by Interarts and Nicole McNeilly, who also served as a moderator supported by Julia Schellenburg, in direct cooperation with Chemnitz 2025. The program was delivered by: Sarah Buser (transmedia storytelling strategies and theater practitioner); Aleks Strzelichowska (on-line marketing, Europeana Foundation); Pau García (Domestic Data Streamers); Matteo  Moretti (Sheldon.Studio);  Rossella Tarantino (Executive Director, Matera-Basilicata 2019 Foundation); Prof. Mayerl (Methodenkompetenzzentrum of Chemnitz University of Technology); Steve Manthorp (ADEPT and programmer for Leeds 2023); Christiane Hütter (Future with Play/ Invisible Playground); Štěpán Kleníkof (founder and CEO of Brainz Disruptive); Sam Lindley (Director of Programmes at Threshold Studios); Maren Satke and Franziska Steffen (project manager and consultant at Creative Change project / die Berater); Ela Kagel  (founder, programme coordinator and digital strategist at SUPERMARKT Berlin) and Calum Bowden (visual artist and founder of Trust community). The sessions were held online in the period of May-October 2021, with the active participation of experts, the Chemnitz 2025 delivery team, and other ECOCs. 

The sessions concerned the following topics:

  1. Digital evaluation and open data
  2. Building digital communities - uniting Europeans around the joy of making (first session)
  3. Digital communications - C the Unseen
  4. New opportunities in digital and hybrid artistic programming
  5. Digital skills and tools for project management
  6. Building capital communities - Building a Pan-European community of makers (second session) 

The sessions were also attended by the members of the ECOC family, namely Plovdiv 2019, Matera 2019, Novi Sad 2022, Esch 2022, Veszprém-Balaton 2023, Eleusis 2023, Bad Ischl – Salzkammergut 2024, Tartu 2024, and Oulu 2026. Their presence at the workshops highlighted the necessity and importance of sharing knowledge of digital approaches in planning and delivery of the ECOCs.  

This second Academy Camp illustrated the indispensability of bridging the gap between information and experience, and to rely on collaborative design approaches from the very beginning. Particularly within the context of the ECOCs, it is  recommended to adopt a hybrid approach to networking and communication, and to take advantage of the digital evolution to find innovative ways of engaging the target audiences. Furthermore, in terms of digital management and deciding which digital tools best serve the activity plans, the human-centred design approach provides a good basis for understanding the collaborators and their varying takes on what constitutes best practices. 

Webinar and podcasts

In support of this second Academy Camp, the project produced a webinar and a podcast series comprising 5 episodes, which show insights from professionals on the various aspects of digital evolution and its impacts on the ECOCs’ planning and delivery. Below you can find snippets of each of the podcast episodes. 

Digital approaches | Ep. 1 Nicole McNeilly

Digital approaches | Ep. 2 Steve Manthorp

Digital approaches | Ep. 3 Matteo Maretti

Digital approaches | Ep. 4 Ela Kagel

Digital approaches | Ep. 5 Samantha Lidley