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. And culture can play a big role in helping that – common values, language, customs and social forms can help people overcome adversity.
Cultural activities such as music, dance, theatre, and visual arts can bring people together, foster a sense of belonging, and create social connections. This can help to build social resilience by increasing social capital and creating a support network that can help individuals and communities to weather difficult times.
The countries in the Baltic Sea Region differ in size, their historic background and cultural heritage, but they all share common challenges such as climate crisis, demographic change or political tensions. Therefore, it is important to develop a shared understanding of the importance of social resilience and to work together to strengthen it.
After undergone the application process for BSR Cultural Pearls, the selected candidates will participate in the uptake program by offering tools specifically designed to help municipalities develop an individually tailored Cultural and social resilience action plan and a peer-mentoring program to support them in implementing it.
The benefit of the cities participating is the one-year long work in progress that results in the concreate culture driven actions that will make them a place where their citizens and stakeholders have a stronger sense of belonging, will feel engaged and act for the common good. This way, these community will be more attractive and stronger prepared to respond to external disturbances.
To gain visibility and encourage others, the program will showcase all Pearls across the Baltic Sea Region through the awarding ceremonies and wide communication activities celebrating the achievements, great ideas and community involvement.
After being selected and awarded the title of “Cultural Pearl”, your team undertakes a year-long program and works on the development of the culture and resilience action plan. You are provided with mentor guidance and implementation support developing an action plan for the title-year. The program includes a peer-learning programme with expert and procurement support.
To get inspired and start thinking of your own ideas for your city and people - you get access to a Repository of good practices. The Repository includes examples, tools and methods on how culture can be used as a driving force to strengthen the social resilience in different size towns, cities, neighborhoods and municipalities.
By becoming a “Pearl” you gain national and Baltic Sea Region wide visibility. From the moment of the announcement and during the whole program you are in the spotlight – with the support of the local partners all the working phases are captured in photos, videos, stories are shared as part of a larger communication campaign. Podcasts can be recorded by local experts and community members, some film features will be released, achievements and activities are shared on social media and via the network Newsletter.
"Cultural Pearls" title awarding ceremonies will be organized in every “Pearl ‘s” city to create a momentum for local communities, uniting people and building a common understanding of how important it is to be strong all together and ready for the unknown challenges that might come. In addition to that, the international online ceremonies will take place each year gathering all the “Pearls”, project participants and other interested cities.
Becoming a part of the BSR Cultural Pearls network gives you the strong collegial network of peers, the access to international contacts, network events, exchange and study visits.
Towns and cities from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany (the States of Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein and Niedersachsen), Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden.
Smaller and mid-sized villages, towns and cities are especially welcomed.
A single village, town, city, other settlement, municipality or a team of municipalities (region) can participate, but in this case there should be one lead partner.
The Baltic Sea Region capital cities Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Warsaw, Berlin and Copenhagen are non-eligible.
Motivation to strengthen culture-driven social resilience in your town or city and the role of BSR Cultural Pearls program in helping you doing that.
Understanding local community needs, challenges and strengths.
Cros-sectoral team with the strong will and ability to learn and transfer the knowledge into the actions.
Capacity of human and financial resources to participate in the program, develop and implement the culture driven social resilience action plan.
Readiness to cooperate with local NGO’s, culture and creative sector actors.
Openness for cross-border cooperations and knowledge exchange within Baltic Sea Region.
A local authority fills out an application questionnaire.
Based on a template candidates decide a theme and outline activities and processes for the year to come, aligned with existing priorities and strategies and supported by a playbook, a database of good practices and the Cultural Pearls team.
Four Cultural Pearls are selected by the international jury and the visibility campaign is launched.
Year-long Cultural Pearls program starts including:
Mentor organization supporting implementation of the action plan.
Capacity-building programme with expert interventions and networking.
International exchange and study visits.
Procurement support, a ready-made model for procuring service providers from the local Culture and Creative Sector, covered by Cultural Pearls Project partners.
Local and International ceremonies take place creating momentum and highlighting achievements.
Baltic Sea Region wide network unites all Pearls and candidates continuing to share knowledge and good practices on the culture-drives social resilience.