The delegation of the University of Pannonia, studying the good practices of ECoC cities and universities, visited Timisoara, Romania and Novi Sad, Serbia, in the framework of the project titled “Exchange of good practices involving ECoC cities and universities”, supported by the European Capital of Culture 2023 programme, between 3-6 October 2023. They discussed the areas of cooperation between the universities and the ECoC programme and their experiences with representatives from the Politehnica University of Timisoara and the University of Novi Sad.

A twelve-member delegation from the University of Pannonia travelled to Timisoara on 3 October 2023 for the first destination, where they spent two meaningful days.

A round table discussion took place at the Rectorate of the Politehnica University of Timisoara, where after a brief introduction, Dr. Beáta Fehérvölgyi, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Pannonia and Dr. Edit Kővári, University ECoC Coordinator, gave a presentation on the VEB2023 programmes, the Pannon Community Hub, the monitoring system, the professional cooperation between the University of Pannonia and VEB2023, the tourism management system and the most important elements of the programme’s legacy, as well as on the conferences organised by the University within the framework of the ECoC programme.

The main issues raised during the discussion that followed the presentation were data collection as a basis for research, funding difficulties, promotion and marketing, the success of cultural events, the relationship between the ECoC and the university, the challenges of pandemics and resilience factors due to the challenges.

A tour of the cultural venues on the campus of Politehnica University was also organised as part of the Timisoara 2023 ECF programme. The delegation visited 3 cultural centres (Arts through Science, Architectural Art Exhibition, Parallel City – “Parallel City” entertainment and art space). Afterwards, the colleagues from the University of Pannonia were introduced to the activities of the Association for the Promotion of Timisoara.

The day ended with a guided tour of the city with a Hungarian-speaking guide, focusing on the developments of the ECoC, and a discussion on further cooperation (mobility programmes, joint applications, etc.).

On 5 October 2023, the delegation travelled on to Novi Sad, where the partners had the opportunity to have a very productive and high-level professional discussion. Our delegation from Veszprém got acquainted with the city’s ECoC programme, its legacy policy built around four main elements: people, places, processes, programmes, as well as its four main mottos: Rainbow – Diversity is our strength, Freedom – Starting a new now, Love – Discovering our values, Hope – Culture is a way of life.

In an open discussion, the importance of taking into account the pandemic as a risk, the creation of financial funding after the ECoC programme year, the importance of eco-centres, support for city management, Erasmus+ and Horizon projects, as well as other arts projects, were discussed, as well as the need for more emphasis on capacity building projects to support the training of cultural managers, the top-down approach and the importance of creating an open dialogue with stakeholders.

Finally, the experts visited an ECoC cultural site, then took part in a city tour with the partners focusing on thematic ECoC developments, before returning to Veszprém the following day.