Bernd Fesel is the Deputy Director of the European Centre for the Creative Economy (ECCE). This institute came about from the Ruhr European Capital of Culture (ECoC) event in 2o1o, for which Bernd Fesel was the advisor for the Creative Industry. His organisation supports, facilitates and tries to crosslink the creative economies in the Ruhr region, both at a local and regional scale.


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Picture by Marco de Swart

“The Cultural Capital allows processes to start which would otherwise be debated for ten years and never come to the point of ‘and now we do it’. So the European Capital of Culture allows you to say ‘if we don’t do it now, we will never do it.”

“If you don’t make the angles of urban development visible; if you don’t tell the story of artist and their power to change cities, you have no chance to really foster the process.”

“The value of time thus becomes very clear. Overall, it is also important to realise that to have a successful and sustainable event, the city or region should be large enough and diverse enough in its understanding of what culture is. It needs to take on a broad, open understanding of culture and have a relatively dense programme in order to make the coordination of the different groups possible.”

"Another important factor about cooperation is that, as the prisoners’ dilemma in economic theory teaches us, one can only move forward and achieve one’s goals by working together and helping each other out. Not cooperating is far more expensive than the risk of cooperating. And to avoid the feelings of anxiety towards cooperating, people should realise that cooperation is a never-ending game. To move up a level, cooperation is always required and this is the definition of sustainability."


The report of the lecture and expert meeting held at the Delft University of Technology (TUD), Faculty of Architecture on the 22nd and 23rd of September, 2o11 can be downloaded here.