Culture and Creativity as Catalyzers for Local Development


Sinopale, Sinop International Biennial (organized by European Cultural Association), is an artistic civil society action in Sinop created by artists and cultural actors, aiming at encouraging active citizenship and triggering cooperation and communication at local, national and international levels for the development of the city.

Being a Sinopale event, Sinopale Forum is a participative communication platform gathering the actors of the city (public, private and civil society) as well as experts in order to share updated information, foster collective thinking and learning from one another and trigger new projects concerning the development of the city.

Since the past 10 years of Sinopale’s existence, a big progress is made towards its aim, a large network of individuals and organizations at national and international levels is created; a local NGO Sinop Sustainable Development Association is established to create solidarity among citizens and existing NGOs; and the old vegatable market hall is now being turned into a Center for Community based Sustainable Local Development by civil society-university-public cooperation.

The past issues of Sinopale Forum have played an important role in making this progress. It dealt with different issues of culture and development, such as the role of arts and culture in urban development, active citizenship, positioning Sinop from a city marketing perspective, giving new functions to city’s cultural heritage buildings, etc.

In 2010 The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism started to develop a new Project titled “Common Cultural Heritage: Preservation and Dialogue between Turkey and EU”, which comprises the transformation of the historical shipyard and prison into a cultural center and planning the city center, aiming at building a participatory model for planning and management of the cultural heritage sites in Turkey. Considering its expertise in networking and cooperation both at local and European levels the Ministry asked European Cultural Association/Sinopale for its contribution to this Project.

European Cultural Association’s contribution started immediately during the development phase, considering the importance of the project. In the Forum organized in 2011 titled “Collecting the Future”, in which the people of Sinop from the civil society, business and public have thought collectively on the future of their city, brainstormed on the new function(s) to be given to the historical prison. By means of workshops, seminars and artistic interventions citizens were invited to

  1. identify their cultural and natural values which are already lost or due to be lost,
  2. draw a future vision for Sinop
  3. think of what activities are needed to reach this future vision
  4. how could the old historical prison serve to the future activities.

A report book was compiled from the results achieved and a proposal was prepared for the new function of the prison.  It was actually a 5 days of demonstration of what could be done in the future function of the historical prison (“Urban Academy”). (

Following this event, Sinopale extended its field of activity to a wider scope than culture and arts. In year 2014 strategic partnership was built with Sinop Municipality, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University’s Institute of Creative Industries and Street Belongs to Us Association in order to draft a civil society driven culture based development strategy. In summer 2014 a conference and a field study was held as a starting action of integrating public spaces to the civil society driven culture based development strategy and a series of street events were organized as micro public space interventions.

This year being the second implementation year of “Common Cultural Heritage: Preservation and Dialogue between Turkey and EU”, European Cultural Association is contributing to the process again with a new Sinopale Forum to be organized between 12-17 January 2016 in Istanbul and Sinop.


Conceptual Framework: “Culture and Creativity as Catalyzers for Local Development”

Sinopale Forum 2016 “Culture and Creativity as Catalyzers for Local Development” offers a communication platform for the public, private and civil society actors to elaborate the results to be achieved from the existing actions and discuss on public-private-civil society-academia partnership possibilites to create sustainable structures serving to a civil society driven, culture based sustainable urban development.

What is the existing social, cultural and economical situation of the city? What is the existing situation of the city’s infrastructure? Which policies are developed and implemented to improve the situation? Which added value to Sinop’s local cultural, social and economical development is expected from these projects? Can the project process and outcomes catalyze the construction of a sustainable network of creative relationships which should be the engine of development of the city? Which roles and responsibilities have the stakeholders to create such a functioning network? What are the existing efforts in this direction? These questions will be elaborated in the forum.

Although the event naturally focusses on the city of Sinop, it is intended to create outputs relevant at national and European level.