About LIKE and the background to this conference

In 2017, LIKE is undertaking a full year of [R]evolutionary events aiming at reinforcing the voice of culture in Europe. Throughout the year, the LIKE network of European cities and regions for culture will organise 6 events to explore four key issues relevant to culture in Europe:

  • solidarity and cooperation for culture in Europe
  • multi-stakeholder governance of culture
  • sustainable funding of culture and
  • European Capitals of Culture (ECoCs)

After a first event in Brussels which raised the voices of the arts in favour of Europe (see programme of La Rencontre de Bruxelles), and a second event in Lisbon dedicated to new means for cooperation in Europe (programme to be released shortly), LIKE will be in Leeds for a few days to discuss sustainable funding for culture. Other events (Aarhus, Paris) will be dedicated to EcoCs and activism for culture in Europe, and the final meeting in Berlin will be an opportunity to refine the discussions and debates into a three-year action plan for LIKE, to be validated by their General Assembly.

As LIKE raises the voice for culture in Europe, they acknowledge the importance of there being sufficient, intelligent funding opportunities and mechanisms.  Although turning culture into an economic market has enabled some increases in income for the sector, the consequences have been similar to those of other sectors in the market: competition and entry barriers have been raised, hindering the visibility of small structures; public money is rapidly disengaging from the sector, and there are challenges as a result of a climate of cultural Darwinism.  However, all over Europe, and in other sectors, new economic models are developing, based on the alleged capacity of circular / local / publicly regulated business models to overcome the inherent limitations of the market economy.

In addition, LIKE seeks to forge new connections with UK local authorities, the cultural sector and civil society organisations. As the UK has now initiated the process of leaving the EU, and considering the process of devolution towards local authorities, LIKE believes it could be have a role in nurturing relationships and partnerships between UK cultural actors and their EU peers, contributing to the future development of culture and the arts on both sides of the Channel.


  • Leeds is developing UK’s first interactive, co-designed city culture strategy http://leedsculturestrategy.org/
  • Home to UK’s richest dance ecology with three dedicated dance buildings, two international touring companies, Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre. One of the first national dance agencies, Yorkshire Dance is also based at the city, along with the only government-funded dance conservatoire north of London, Northern School of Contemporary Dance
  • The south bank regeneration project, the largest city centre development project with a key focus on elevating the cultural assets in the area https://southbankleeds.co.uk/
  • Commitment to big events, hosting the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2014, British Art Show 8 in 2015, and the Colombia Threadneedle World Triathlon Series for three years starting 2016
  • Attracted over half million to link the city’s cutting edge tech sceneto the  dynamic international artistic offer  http://news.leeds.gov.uk/new-tech-hub-set-to-arrive-in-leeds/
  • An investment by the city council of £4.9m to redevelop the West Yorkshire Playhouse
  • In collaboration with other northern cities, Leeds is leading on strengthening the cultural tourism offer in the north of England http://www.visitleeds.co.uk/things-to-do/Cities-Of-North-England.aspxhttp://www.citiesofnorthengland.com/

This conference is presented in partnership with thebigword https://thebigword.com/

More information about the conference can be found by selecting one of the following links: