BSR Cultural Pearls
Strengthening the capacity of cities to increase social resilience through culture.
The BSR Cultural Pearls project, co-funded by the EU’s Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme, aims to strengthen social resilience in Baltic Sea Region municipalities, towns and cities by harnessing the potential of local assets of culture and creativity.
The project contains several key components:
- a repository of good practices on increasing social resilience through culture
- a social resilience Playbook containing tools specifically designed to help municipalities develop a social resilience action pla
- a capacity-building and peer-mentoring programme to support municipalities in implementing these plans
- and the BSR Cultural Pearls title awarded to four cities annualy, recognising outstanding culture-driven social resilience plans and enrolling them in the program.
Why culture-driven social resilience?
Social resilience refers to the ability of individuals, communities and societies to withstand and recover from social, economic, and environmental shocks and stresses. It involves the capacity to adapt and learn from these challenges, as well as to maintain or improve social and economic well-being. As the Baltic Sea Region faces numerous crises that significantly impact our societies, the need for social resilience is greater than ever. Leveraging the power of culture can play a crucial role in fostering this resilience and helping communities navigate these challenging times. Culture-driven social resilience specifically utilises the potential of culture in shaping the sense of belonging, adaptability and well-being of communities in the face of adversity.
The BSR Cultural Pearls project’s objective is to enable smaller cities and regions increase their social resilience and maintain the quality of life with local assets in an innovative way.
Local and regional public authorities (towns, cities, municipalities)
Creativity blossomed in Berlin when working groups from BSR Cultural Pearls came together for the Creative Bureaucracy Festival in June 2023. (Photo: Pia Blomström)
Main output: “Cultural Pearls” Awards
The main output of the project is the annual Cultural Pearls Awards, a title awarded to municipalities that seek to strengthen their capacity to work with their communities through culture, in order to increase social resilience, quality of life and attractiveness, in turn growing their international profile and visibility.
An open call for applications is launched annually. Eligible candidates enter into a development phase during which they develop a Culture and Resilience Action Plan, with the help of a Playbook for culture-driven social resilience containing good practices, and an action plan template – and supported by a national mentor organisation in the project consortium. On the basis of their action plans, four municipalities in the Baltic Sea Region are selected by an international jury and awarded the title “Cultural Pearl”. The four Pearls are then enrolled in the Cultural Pearls Program, supporting implementation of their action plan through peer-mentoring, a capacity building program and international exchange. A local award ceremony in June and an international ceremony at the end of the program help raise awareness, creating local momentum and international visibility.
Project partner input
Regional Council of Ostrobothnia is developing a peer learning programme for local authorities (and their partners) to build capacity to support culture-driven social resilience.
· Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) (lead partner)
January 2023 – December 2025
Budget and funding
The total budget of the BSR Cultural Pearls project is 3.5 million euros, of which 80 percent, or 2.8 million euros, come from the Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme and the remaining 20 percent from the project partners.
During summer 2023 Regional Council of Ostrobothnia arranged several workshops with local cultural officers. (Photo: Tarja Hautamäki)
Felix Schartner Giertta
Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat
+46 (0)73 026 73 12