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Creative Ports Final Conference "On international waters" - Review

“The project is ending, but the activities will continue” – this could be the slogan of the Creative Ports Interreg Baltic Sea Region Project Final Conference.

CCI in BSR CCI Contact Desk News

The Final Conference took place as a hybrid event from 6 to 8 September with its public day on 7 September in the Szczecin Opera House. The online and offline conference guests were welcomed by Stanisław Wziątek, Member of Regional Board of the Westpomerania Region, who stated: “Good creative work works best with open hearts.”


Session 1: "Building blocks for Local and regional authorities"

Sails were set by Project Manager Isabel Hölzl and Project Coordinator Lari Sirén, both from Goethe-Institut Finnland in Helsinki, who gave a compact oversight on the heart of Creative Ports – the internationalisation of the Culture and Creative Industries (CCI) in the Baltic Sea Region. “While the project is ending, we formed a basis for helping the CCI working as one in the Baltic Sea Region”, they stated. This basis, the fulminant results of the Creative Ports Project, were presented and discussed in the following inputs, talks and panels.

Broadcasting live from Finland, Piritta Parkkari and Annika Salmi of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences XAMKpresented the Policy Recommendations. The crowdsourcing they performed during their input revealed that besides networking and internationalisation, labour conditions and climate change are key issues that need to be tackled in the Baltic Sea Region’s CCI.

Tarmo Tuisk and Vera Gerasimova of Tallinn University of Technology TalTech presented the plenitude of different creative regions around the Baltic Sea and the Regional Profiles. One key finding of their research is that digitalisation, media and software are the most thriving sub-sectors in the Baltic CCI, whereas the definition of sub-sectors associated to CCI differ from region to region. Beyond that, „CCI development and values need to be recognized as system relevant“, Vera Gerasimova pointed out.


Session 2: “Supporting the Supporters: Internationalisation Practices and Models for CCI Support Organisations”

Sven Stegemann of Akademie für Transformationsdesign (Transformation Design Academy) kicked off the session by giving an input about how drawing new borders can create new perspectives. “Follow the instructions and prepare for magic”, he concluded and handed over to the gallery walk through the Internationalisation Tools. While the live guests could physically visit the exhibition, the online guests followed Lari Sirén through the gallery via zoom, where he held short talks with some of Creative Ports partners about the tools they developed, like Amalie Sørensen from Danish Cultural Institute who presented “Pitching for a Better Baltic Sea”, Claudia Wondratschke from Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft who presented the “Sustainable Design Lab” and Marcus Hagemann of the Creative Ports Partner Organisation ARS BALTICA presenting “ABCD Scanning Tool for CCI Internationalisation”.

After the presentation of the Creative Ports Learning Modules via animation video, the project partners discussed how to enable better experience and knowledge sharing to build capacity within the Baltic Sea Region. Claudia Wondratschke, who had to transform her transnational urban design lab to online, had to rethink the whole idea of the event and learn how to prototype for cities you are not physically visiting. “It required a lot more moderation and organisation than it would have in a presence event”, she summarized her experience. Amalie Sørensen added that making people feel safe in physical events was also a big and important challenge. Dr. Ralf Eppeneder talked about his experience with Goethe-Institute’s Game Mixer: “Vertical formats are easily transformed online, horizontal formats are not.”

Being asked about how the Creative Ports partners keep on learning and connecting when the project is over, Dr. Eppeneder pointed towards the CCI Contact Desk established in the Goethe Institute in Tallinn: “This is where our work will continue.”


Session 3: “Far Horizons and uncharted waters. How to continue to generate an impact on the CCI in the Baltic Sea Region?”

The third session started with a panel discussion titled “The new EU funding period. What's there for the Cultural and Creative industries?”. Bernd Fesel of European Creative Business Network opened it with input about European Policies and Programs for CCSI 2021-2027: Creative Europe, Horizon Europe and New European Bauhaus. The latter is newly established and dedicated to “living between art, culture, social inclusion, science and technology”. The aim of all fundings is to promote the European way of live, the Green Deal and support an economy that works for people – “For a new European renaissance”, Fesel states.

Maciej Hofmann, Policy Officer at European Commission, suggested that culture should become a point more European policies via mainstreaming. Else Christensen-Redzepovic, member of the European Capitals of Culture selection and monitoring Panel, pointed out how even applying as European Capital of Culture can bring huge benefits for cities and regions. According to Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, Creative Business Network Copenhagen, a good network is as important for creatives as gaining entrepreneurial and artistic skills. “The power of the network can actually save lives”, he said. Marcus Hagemann, who played two interludes on his Cello between the panels, also referred to internationalisation: “Music is a strong internationalisation tool since it brings people together.”

“The CCI Contact Desk and the tandems – what are they all about?” was discussed in the second last panel. After premiering the CCI Contact Desk animation video, Amalie Sørensen gave a short overview on tandems and Ulrich Ribbert, Goethe-Institut Estonia, held a brief presentation on the CCI Contact Desk. In the tandems, two types of stakeholders are brought together to connect internationally and cross-sectorial. While the first (Riga) and the second Tandem (St. Petersburg) are already fully in cooperation, the third tandem for Denmark and Skåne had its kickoff meeting on Monday, September 13. More tandems will be matched up by CCI Contact Desk, where the work of Creative Ports will be continued for another five years in close cooperation of Goethe-Institut, ARS BALTICA and further partners.

The future of the partnership and the project results was the subject of the final panel of the session. In his input, Johannes Ebert, Secretary General Goethe-Institut, pointed out how much of a landmark Creative Ports is for the European CCI. Nele Plutus of Tallinn Business Incubators talked about effective communication and trust. According to her, it still takes time and effort to develop common goals on this basis, but it should be worthwhile if every party wants to gain something out of it. This resonated with Wojciech Dorżynkiewicz, Councillor of the West Pomeranian Parliament and a member of the Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation Board: “We are always stronger when we are cooperating.”

As closing words, Johannes Ebert stated he wants the Goethe-Institut to engage with all his strengths in CCI and supports networks that enhance the development of European CCI – since this industry is crucial for the development of society and democracy.


Written by Zara Zerbe (ARS BALTICA)