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07 · 12 · 2023

Winners of the BSR Cultural Pearls 2024 title announced by the international jury

An international jury has announced the cities awarded the BSR Cultural Pearls title for the year 2024.  The municipalities of Svendborg (Denmark), Kiel (Germany), Jakobstad (Finland) and Rūjiena (Latvia) were chosen from among 12 candidates from the countries around the Baltic Sea Region. These cities prepared Culture and Social Resilience Action Plans aimed at making their communities more resilient through culture and creativity.


The most impactful and convincing action plans were selected by an international jury comprised of experts in social resilience, urban planning, arts and culture. This jury also included representatives from pan-Baltic and European organisations and networks of cities.


The jury members included Julie Hervé, Head of culture at Eurocities (Belgium); Leena Marsio, Senior advisor at Finnish Heritage Agency (Finland); Monica Urian, Policy officer at the European Commission, Directorate General Education and Culture (Romania); Jonas Büchel, Co-founder and board member of Urban Institute Riga, consultant and lecturer (Latvia); Anna Porse Nielsen, Strategic advisor and CEO of Seismonaut (Denmark); Natalia Brylowska, PhD, Cultural manager and researcher (Poland); Oleg Koefoed, Head of Center for Vitality and Regenerative Transformation (Denmark); Ann Irene Saeternes, representing the Baltic Sea States Subregional Co-operation (Norway); Toni Attard, Founder & Director of Culture Venture (Malta); Marta Szadowiak, change maker representing Goyki 3 Art Inkubator (Poland); and Antoni Wyligała, Committee of Youth Representatives at the Council of Baltic Sea States (Poland).


“We are deeply impressed by the dedication each city has shown in the competition. Their creative and inclusive approaches to strengthening social resilience have exceeded our expectations,” said Felix Schartner Giertta, BSR Cultural Pearls project manager representing Lead partner Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat. “Embracing the power of culture and creativity as a vehicle for engaging, inspiring, and connecting people is the core of this initiative and we are excited to now see their action plans come to fruition together with the communities of these cities,” he added.


Svendborg, Kiel, Jakobstad and Rūjiena will now enrol in a year-long Cultural Pearls programme. This includes mentorship to support the implementation of the action plan, capacity-building with expert interventions and networking, international exchange, and a ready-made model for procuring service providers from the local Culture and Creative Sector, covered by the project.


The dedication and efforts of the non-selected candidates in striving to strengthen social resilience in their communities have been acknowledged too. By becoming part of the BSR Cultural Pearls network, they too gain access to knowledge and best practices on culture-driven social resilience. The project encourages all candidates to implement their action plans and join in the shared vision of building social resilience in communities across the BSR.


BSR Cultural Pearls is a title for towns, cities and municipalities that provides awarded candidates a programme to strengthen their capacity to use culture in building social resilience. By engaging and involving their citizens, enhancing the quality of life, fostering a sense of belonging and building trust, they aim to make their communities stronger and more resilient. The project is co-financed by the Interreg BSR programme and the next call for application will be open in April 2024.


The project BSR Cultural Pearls is co-financed by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme.


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