Trans Europe Halles

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"TEH" redirects here. For other uses, see Teh (disambiguation).

Trans Europe Halles From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trans Europe Halles
Trans Europe Halles.png
Background information
Members 60

Trans Europe Halles (TEH) is a European based network of cultural centres initiated by citizens and artists. Trans Europe Halles is commited to strengthen the sustainable development of the independent cultural sector, especially cultural centres and organisations initiated by citizens and artists.


In 1983 the independent cultural centre “Les Halles de Schaerbeek” (Brussels, Belgium) organised a weekend of discussions in Brussels to enable European independent cultural centres to exchange experiences and participate in events under the theme of "Adventures of the rediscovered ark". This three-day forum focused on an alternative culture emerging in rehabilitated industrial buildings, and asserting its identity despite the reservations of political authorities. Seven centres from seven European cities took part in this initial meeting:

That first international meeting in 1983 was the seed of what nowadays is Trans Europe Halles (TEH), the European based network of cultural centres initiated by citizens and artists, that currently gathers together around eighty members and associated organisations in almost thirty countries.

TEH members are cultural centres emerged from civil society initiatives that have a multidisciplinary artistic policy encouraging interaction between art forms, with an emphasis on contemporary art. One of the common and most defining characteristics of these centres is that they are based on industrial or commercial buildings that have been adapted to artistic and cultural uses. Besides this, they are very diverse in terms of geographical location, size, inspirational backgrounds, funding models, artistic programmes, etc.

For TEH culture and artistic expression are inspirational, transformative experiences that have the capacity to change perceptions, people and societies. The values of the network are citizen participation, cultural equity, empowerment and sustainability.

Mission and values[edit]

The core purpose of the network is to promote arts and culture through facilitating its exchange, making accessible the network’s members knowledge and expertise and encouraging new centres and initiatives that share its values: cultural equity, citizen participation, empowerment and sustainability. For Trans Europe Halles, the power of culture is in inspirational, transformative experiences that have the capacity to change people, perceptions and societies.

Organization & Structure[edit]


Trans Europe Halles has currently almost 60 members and 17 associate organisations in 29 European countries. Most of Trans Europe Halles centres are established in buildings from industrial heritage, from factories and warehouses to dairies and army barracks. All Trans Europe Halles centres are multidisciplinary, but their main artistic disciplines as well as their regular activities vary a lot. To become a TEH Member, applicant cultural centres must fulfil the following membership criteria:

  1. To be an independent and not-for-profit centre arising from a citizen’s initiative with a legal structure.
  2. To have a multidisciplinary artistic policy encouraging interaction between art forms, with an emphasis on contemporary art.
  3. To be based in user-friendly buildings preferably originating from a commercial or industrial heritage.
  4. To have a high-quality artistic programme of at least regional significance with an awareness of contemporary culture, ranging from local to international art.
  5. To be aware of the social and political aspects of cultural actions with an Equal Opportunities Policy or commitment.

Governance and Management[edit]

TEH is run in a decentralised way; the member centres participate in the decision-making of the network during the network meetings. Each centre has one vote regardless of its size or economic status. The Executive Committee, selected biannually, is the governing and policy making body of the network.

The members of Trans Europe Halles meet twice a year during TEH Meetings. Decisions are made at the General Assembly of each meeting. During the Spring meeting a formal General Assembly is held with the approval of final accounts, election of Executive Committee and approval of the yearly budget. Each member has one vote regardless of the size of the centre. Trans Europe Halles’ Executive Committee is the governing and policy making body of the network. It consists of a minimum of five and a maximum of eight people and is elected for two years at a time.

The Trans Europe Halles Coordination Office is located at the cultural centre Mejeriet in Lund, Sweden. With a broad and multi-lingual membership and an intense flow of information and ideas, the Trans Europe Halles Coordination Office is a crucial hub. The Coordination Office is responsible for internal and external communication of the network and publishes the monthly TEH Newsletter. The Coordination Office also supports project-planning and fundraising activities for the network and has become a focal point of expertise within the network.



The biannual meetings are the principal activity of Trans Europe Halles and are hosted by a different member centre each time. The meetings are not only for decision-making but also to introduce the members for a new culture and country. Link to the TEH Meetings page at


The network coordinates several bilateral and multilateral projects:

  • 2015-2017 Europe Grand Central: Europe Grand Central is a ground-breaking cooperation effort that combines grass-roots projects by independent culture organizations across Europe and beyond through a unique digital and conceptual platform to connect audience created narratives about the human act of crossing borders. Link
  • 2015-2019 Creative Lenses: Business Models For Culture: Many cultural organisations and artists around Europe struggle to find new ways to survive and develop in times of changed and declining financing structures for culture. This is the reason why “Creative Lenses”, a unique cooperation project funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission, has been conceived. During 4 years, a unique partnership of 13 cultural centres, universities, city authorities, networks and cultural agencies will research and test new business models together with a wide range of cultural players throughout Europe. Link
  • 2014-2015 Independent Cultural Centres in South America: Trans Europe Halles collaborates with the French non-profit organization 2ème Lieu to disseminate information about independent cultural centres based in South America. Through a series of videos presenting interviews with cultural managers working in independent cultural centres, the project explores the ever-uncertain situation of these type of centres started by artists and citizens. Link
  • 2011-2014 Engine Room Europe (ERE): Engine Room Europe is a three-year project (2011–2014) funded by the European Commission’s Culture Programme 2007-2013. The European voluntary service (EVS) gives young people aged 18–30 the opportunity to work at another TEH centre for 2–12 months. EVS is part of the EU Programme Youth in Action. Link
  • 2013-2014 TEH Mentorship Programme: The Mentorship Programme aimed at reinforcing leadership and management skills among cultural operators in the network, as well as to deepen existing and to initiate new relationships among the members. Managers who have experience of project management and/or are relatively new in their role as leaders of a centre, or who aspire to be a leader and wish to get more professional development became a mentee in TEH Mentorship Programme. The role of the a TEH mentor was taken over by senior managing directors or leaders of member centres with at least some experience from being a mentor or coach. Link

Publications and Resources[edit]

Trans Europe Halles also publishes reports, handbooks and other types of media on subjects concerning culture in Europe. They all can be consulted in the organization’s online resource.

The High Level Coordination Group[edit]

The High Level Coordination Group is represented by 10 European Cultural Networks. The are meeting once a year in Malta.

External links[edit]