The Forum d'Avignon Ruhr is based on a French-German partnership between the think tank Forum d'Avignon and ecce. The aim of the cooperation is to culturally contribute to future-oriented policies by bringing together Europe's business leaders and experts from the economy, politics, media, science, and culture.




The second Forum d'Avignon Ruhr took place on 27/28 June 2013 in Essen.


The Forum d'Avignon 2013 took place at PACT Zollverein in Essen from 27 to 28 June. Under the motto "Europe 2020 – Culture is the Key", 220 top representatives engaged in the economy, politics and culture from 15 countries dealt with spill-over effects from culture to other economic and social areas.


The Forum d'Avignon Ruhr 2013 dealt with the forces of cultural and creative cross-border activities, of "spillovers". The objective of the conference was to examine such spillovers, i.e. cultural transfer effects, in various sectors and discuss them: How and what do the cultural and creative sectors contribute to the economy and work, to urban development, energy transition, and interculture? Which potential does culture have to offer to overcome the global crisis? Where are the best practices and how can such potential be tapped specifically and locally? Which corresponding framework conditions can Europe create? And what can an event like the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr itself contribute to sustainable benefits? These were the topics FAR13 addressed: on the one hand in debating rounds composed of high-profile participants, on the other in practice-oriented interactive formats, where the participants got involved themselves in dialogues and work processes. That year’s conference was accommodated in the premises of the choreographic centre, PACT Zollverein, whose rooms in the former pithead baths of the famous colliery were ideally suited for the interactive structure of the Forum d'Avignon Ruhr 2013 and likewise symbolises the transformative potential of culture and creativity.


Culture and creative industries influence other sectors and are an important stimulus for global und local evolution. Such stimuli, referred to as Spillover effect in terms of impact, are becoming increasingly important for urban development, social participation, and innovative economic development. But what are the conditions and prerequisites that facilitate or prevent spillover?

The study "Spillover Effects of Culture and Creative Industries in the Ruhr region" published by ecce was carried out from January to June 2013. The study was based on one online survey and four Open Space events, the results of which were presented at the 2nd Forum d'Avignon Ruhr in Essen and further developed in Artistic Thinking workshops.

  • Study Results and Publication

    Spillover-Effects of Culture and the Creative Industries in the Ruhr region - The Results


    The study "Spillover Effects of Culture and Creative Industries in the Ruhr Region" published by ecce was carried out from January to June 2013 under the responsibility of Dr Bastian Lange. The research process was innovative in itself thanks to formats such as Open Space events and Artistic Thinking workshops to put the stakeholders' ideas on possible spillover effects on a par with the political dialogue at the Forum d'Avignon Ruhr 2013. Bastian Lange presents the methodology and the research process, sums up the stakeholders' opinions and possible conclusions for politics resulting from the study. One central finding is the fact that a new generation of cultural stakeholders has evolved in the Ruhr region. Bastian Lange developed nine exemplary types to change and sharpen the perspectives on culture and its effects on society. The study was published as part of the publication "Culture is the Key" and in line with the documentation of the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr.




    Spillover Innovations – The Ruhr Region as a Maker Space

    Findings of an Explorative Research Approach

    Text: Dr Bastian Lange


    Reasons for the research study: In the future, politics and the society, as well as the market and the civil society, will assess cultural and creative sectors according to the influence they have on the solution of fundamental problems and global challenges. In EU terminology the debate evolves around so-called Spillovers, culturally induced Spillover effects in other branches and fields of action for society.


    The question is: Which spillover innovations can be identified in the central fields of action (energy efficiency, interculture, urban development, competitiveness) in the Ruhr region? Based on a standardised survey, and Open Space events involving almost 50 participating initiatives, young entrepreneurs and associations, relating to four main topics, the following findings emerged:



    Cultural Spillovers affect urban spaces…


    Culture producers' demand for new spaces meets vacancies in old industrial sites. Intelligent structural conversions of such sites are able to provide cultural producers with new work and production forms. This may involve neighbourhood-focussed workshops as well as new formats for interaction, e.g. Stellwerk e.V. from Witten, Borsig11 or Co-Working work places, such as Ständige Vertretung in Dortmund. Cultural producers equally demand "pubescent spaces", locations, and contexts, where it is permitted to try yourself out, and in which the authorities let primarily the younger generations "just do their thing".


    Cultural Spillover has an impact on the economy and the organisation of labour …


    Economic structures will generally become more fragmented and granular, freelancers and single self-employed people will play a more important role. Cultural producers will initiate new knowledge-based value creations. For one part, they deliver symbolic products, for the other they demonstrate that solo freelancers trigger new innovation processes. Away from suburban silos in which isolated research is conducted, collaborative solution processes for new forms of work and work organisation emerge. The office association, "bureau hintenlinks", the "Ständige Vertretung" in Dortmund, and the Unperfekthaus in Essen, are good examples. Work processes open themselves up to the urban society, generating yet more urban spaces.


    Cultural Spillovers affect climate and energy


    The question of energy efficiency and climate change is an invitation to save money, to let go of traditional behaviours. Cultural producers in the Ruhr district demonstrate that the challenges of climate change and energy efficiency are able to invoke positive associations. The n.a.t.u.r. Festival in Bochum is a good example for ways of saving energy, and how fun, awareness, and a new culture of participation, can replace technocratic conditions for citizens' participation.


    Culture and Spillovers affect the intercultural society

    We address interculture as a force field for diverse cultural and local resources in the Ruhr region. We identified immigrant milieus revealing structures that expressed new approaches on account of their transnational networks and that created new homes, new communities and Spillover effects. This is no longer a question of integration or conflict over geographical origin or ethnicity – the heterogenic Ruhr district is rather perceived as a place for creating a new identity and promoting new lifestyles. Examples are the Kreativzentrum Vest, the Turkish Filmfest Ruhr and Freie Radikale.


    First findings


    Our explorative studies show that a young generation of makers in the Ruhr district is assembling to present diverse possibilities to overcome the crisis. Do-it-yourself is not a makeshift solution but an elementary and desirable necessity to spread the word of a do-it-better culture in the world!


    Today, regional and communal politics have to engage stronger than ever before in promoting creative sectors financially, symbolically and through good reasoning. They have to stabilise new cultural locations to ensure that the effects sustainably determine the transformation of the Ruhr region. Furthermore, the visibility of the do-it-better-Spillover needs to be improved. However, positive Spillover effects must not become a boomerang for initiators and makers: Projects must not lose their eligibility for funding if, for example, they start off as cultural projects and then advance to urban development projects. One of the best examples is the Dortmund project Borsig 11: The cultural affinity was so narrowly defined so that a co-working space with people from diverse cultures failed to meet the criteria of a "cultural" project, thus putting its funding at risk. Culture makers are THE new makers of the Ruhr region. Politics need to promote their achievements, their connections, and their wealth of ideas and ingenuity, and make them/it useable. Politics should be approachable, able to react promptly, and unbureaucratic, following the example of the young digital funding platforms (startnext, kickstarter, betterplace…).


    Dialogues accommodating local particularities at eye level, politics with instead of for cultural producers, the willingness to learn instead of following routines, these are the precepts for current politics to ensure the future success of the Ruhr district.


  • Research Project

    Culture and creative industries influence other sectors and are an important stimulus for global und local evolution. Such stimuli, referred to as Spillover effect in terms of impact, are becoming increasingly important for urban development, social participation, and innovative economic development. But what are the conditions and prerequisites that facilitate or prevent spillover?



    Interests and Objectives

    To accentuate the cultural and creative industries' capacities and their ability to deliver solutions for regional development in the Ruhr region, ecce is examining the cultural and creative sectors' Spillover effects. In times of manifold global and European crises, people working in the cultural sector are no longer merely considered guarantors of aesthetics, criticism, and the good: More than ever, culture producers and the actors of the cultural and creative industries are able to present their very own perceptions, approaches, practices, and solution processes, and have a positive impact on the fields Urban Development, Economy/New Work, Energy/Climate and Intercultural Relation. They are the innovators of the future. ecce makes an exemplary analysis of the diverse forms of Spillover processes, highlighting the future role of the cultural and creative industries: They will be needed more than before to provide answers to a redefinition of the common good.



    Target Expectations of the Research Study

    The study examines Spillover effects in four fields of action considered relevant for the Ruhr region: Urban Development, Economy/New Work, Energy/Climate and Intercultural Relation. Culture producers and creative actors from the cultural and creative sectors in the Ruhr region will be asked which sectors (private, intermediary, public) they wish to influence and by which forms of expression (material, ideal, process-related), and to which extent, they actively do so. The effects on customer structures are distinguished according to primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary effects (Prognos 2012). Based on empirical measurements of Spillover activities of culture producers and creative actors, a conclusive contextual evaluation of their production conditions will be carried out. This part will provide valuable indications for the future design of measures and policy-making in the Ruhr region/North Rhine-Westphalia, drawing international comparisons for the Ruhr region. The aim is to improve Spillover effects produced by cultural producers and creative actors in the Ruhr region.



    The Following Key Issues Have Emerged:

    1. 1. How can the Spillover effects produced by the culture producers and creative actors of the cultural and creative industries in the Ruhr Area be determined?
    2. 2. How can the Spillover effects in the four fields of action, namely in Urban Development, Economy/New Work, Energy/Climate and Intercultural Relation be displayed?
    3. 3. What is their structure and scope?
    4. 4. How can the Spillover activities of culture producers and creative actors be politically promoted and supported through an improvement of the surrounding conditions?



    Methods Used

    1. 1. Screening, Best Practice research
    2. 2. Online surveys of culture producers and creative actors in the Ruhr region
    3. 3. Qualitative focus interviews in the context of 4 workshops scheduled
    4. 4. Findings of the Artistic Thinking Workshops in June at the Forum d'Avignon Ruhr


    Current State of the Debate

    The specialist discussion about how to make Spillover more precise through culture producers and creative actors from the cultural and creative industries, meanders between a relatively euphoric attribution of numerous and multi-scale effects, on the one hand, and the difficult ascertainment of such possible effects in other sectors and contexts, on the other. Accordingly, the study conducted by Prognos/Fraunhofer (2012) diagnoses that "innovation Spillovers are occurring along the entire value-added chain. At the same time, this expansion is reinforced by the use of innovative ICT." On this basis, the research study outlined here breaks new ground by investigating in more detail the effects and structures of Spillover processes along four regional fields of action. The study refers to the Communication presented in late 2012, recommending more effective use of the cultural and creative sectors as drivers of growth and employment in the EU. On this basis, through extended qualitative expert interviews with culture producers and creative actors, recommendations for action can be developed for departmental policies and administrations.


    Text: Dr. Bastian Lange


  • Open Space Events und Artistic Thinking Workshops


    Between mid-April and mid-May 2013 a total of four Open Space events took place under the responsibility of Dr. Bastian Lange at Heimatdesign in Dortmund and as part of the Festival n.a.t.u.r. in Bochum. More than 45 project makers from the Ruhr region participated in the open work groups on Urban Development, Economy/New Work, Energy/Climate and Intercultural Relations to raise awareness for solid network structures, a motivated "maker" attitude and extremely high internationality as regards smaller activities in the Ruhr region in particular.

    • 23 April 2013: Open Space "Urban Development" at Heimatdesign, Dortmund
    • 24 April 2013: Open Space "Economy/New Work" at Heimatdesign, Dortmund
    • 6 Mai 2013: Open Space "Interculture" at Heimatdesign, Dortmund
    • 13 Mai 2013: Open Space "Energy/Climate" at n.a.t.u.r-Festival, Rotunde and Butterbrotbar, Bochum


    The following project developers participated in the Open Space events: Die Urbanisten e.V. Ringlokschuppen Mülheim Stadtverwalter e.V. GeoMobile GmbH Bohème Précaire e.V. Ständige Vertretung ROKITTA Design Wände Südost Storp 9 Neue Kolonie West e. V. Machbarschaft Borsig 11 e.V. Stellwerk e.V. Büro für Möglichkeitsräume Fraunhofer UMSICHT/DEZENTRALE Dortmund Bureau hintenlinks Union Gewerbehof [ID] factory Nordis Kommunikationsagentur Scheidt‘sche Hallen DASA DiY STADTart Henning Mohr TU Berlin Künstlersiedlung Halfmannshof Hella Sinnhuber Crashtest Nordstadt/Schauspiel Dortmund Zeche Lohberg Dinslaken Pottporus e.V. Globalibre DOMO Teach First Deutschland Kreativzentrum für Rhythmus und Bewegung im Vest Schalke macht Schule Theater Oberhausen Caritasverband Herten Sevengardens Metropole machen Urban Solar Audio Plant Ruhrstadt Gartenmiliz Studio: Umschichten VeloCityRuhr Theater Freie Radikale BlumenPOTT Witten




    Interaktive Workshops

    The previous results of the Spillover study built the basis for four interactive workshops on the subject of "Co-innovation Spillover" which took place the day before Forum d'Avignon Ruhr with 40 project participants from the Ruhr region and Europe. In these interactive workshops, new perspectives and visionary project ideas for the four thematic Spillover fields Urban Development, Economy/New Work, Energy/Climate and Interculture were developed.


    Co-Innovation Spillover: Four New Perspectives

    Text: Peter Schreck


    40 initiators of inspiring Spillover projects from the Ruhr region and other European cities came together to collaborate and co-create new perspectives and visionary project ideas for the following four spotlighted Spillover fields: Urban Development, Economy/New Work, Energy/Climate and Intercultural Relation. The process and results, which were created by the four teams in a very collaborative "artistic thinking workshop" on the previous day, have been presented in a dialogue with the four international experts which were part of the teams.


    The International Experts:

    • Charles Landry (Director and Founder, Comedia)
    • Michael DaCosta Babb (Global Business Development Strategist)
    • Sebastian Olma (Scientist and Advisor, Founder of Serendipity Lab)
    • Jacob Bilabel (Director, Thema1)



    • Peter Schreck (Director, Idea Republic)


    Facilitator Team:

    • Eva Breitbach (Co-Founder, Schwarz+Weiss and d.collective)
    • Elisabeth von Helldorff (Co-Founder, Schwarz+Weiss and d.collective)
    • Katja von Helldorff (Arts Facilitator / Founder and Managing Director, Material Mafia)
    • Marie Schmieder (Dancer and Dance Scientist / Co-Founder, d.collective)


    Hosts: Paul Owens and Johanna Skantze


    Artistic thinking opens up new spaces for action, creativity and abstraction and contains a strong social and group-orientated impact. During the workshop, the participants worked not only on thoughts about solutions but also on finding ways to visualise them in an interdisciplinary and artistic way. Thereby, the actors discovered new connections and potentials for Spillover effects among their different topics and fields of work.

The Venue: PACT Zollverein

Since it was founded in 2002, PACT Zollverein has clearly positioned itself as an initiator, catalyst and venue for seminal developments in the fields of dance, performance, theatre, media and fine arts. Situated in the heart of the Ruhr region, the house boasts a nationwide unique working structure which consolidates three key areas of activity addressing regional, national and international social and cultural interests which all contribute to the standing and appreciation of dance and performance as independent art forms: In its residency programme, which is open to artists from around the world, PACT operates as an artists' centre, offering space for concentrated working processes. Under the rubric platform, it initiates exchanges between artists, academics and students from diverse disciplines and promotes critical dialogue and reflection on artistic methodologies and findings. Its third main focus is on presenting an innovative and high calibre stage programme featuring premieres, co-productions and guest performance.

PACT Zollverein