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Music policy think tank launched for Euro cities

The European Music Policy Exchange will bid to integrate and enhance the role that music plays across EU city priorities

By James Hanley on 08 Sep 2022

Eurosonic Noorderslag will benefit from the Netherlands' Performing Arts Fund

Eurosonic Noorderslag


The Music Cities Network and the Center for Music Ecosystems have announced the launch of new think tank, the European Music Policy Exchange (EMPE).

EMPE, which follows an award via the EU-funded MusicAIRE scheme, is billed as the first think tank to integrate and enhance the role that music plays across EU city priorities. It will cover jobs and skills, education, climate action, infrastructure, tourism, the night time economy, diversity and inclusion and strategic planning.

A number of best practices will be developed between European cities and international experts through a series of eight themed roundtables held between September 2022 and April 2023, in partnership with Reeperbahn Festival, Eurosonic Noorderslag and other supporting partners. The findings will inform the publication of the first EU Music Cities Policy Handbook to offer solutions, best practices and frameworks to incorporate music into the heart of local policy.

“It is important that music be linked, explicitly, to the most pressing challenges we face in our cities and places,” says Dr Shain Shapiro, founder and executive director for the Center for Music Ecosystems. “How music can support climate action or welcome immigrants is just as important as how we can create a robust music industry that is fair and open to everywhere.

“We believe cities hold the power to creating better frameworks and we look forward working with the Music Cities Network, our partners and cities, to making this happen.”

“We believe that a holistic approach and interlinked mindsets are key to future-proofing music cities”

Two of the roundtables will be held in person – Reeperbahn on 21 September and Eurosonic in January – and the rest online.

The project aims to include representatives from cities in every EU country and the UK by the time of its culmination in April 2023. Participating cities to date include Aarhus (DK), Amsterdam (NL), Aveiro (PT), Barcelona (ES), Bergen (NOR), Berlin (GER), Brno (CZ), Brussels (BE), Cortona (IT), Gothenburg (SE), Groningen (NL), Guimares (PT), Hamburg (GER), Hannover (DE), Kalmar (SE), Lausanne (CH), Leiria (PT), Liepāja (LT), London (UK), Manchester (UK), Mannheim (DE), Nantes (FR), Norrköping (SE), Paris (FR), Reykjavik (IS), Sydney (AUS), Tallinn (EE), Valletta (MT) and Veszprem (HU).

“We believe that a holistic approach and interlinked mindsets are key to future-proofing music cities,” adds Music Cities Network MD Lena Ingwersen. “That is why we are very excited to launch the European Music Policy Exchange together with the Center for Music Ecosystems to be able to bridge the gaps between the city’s music scenes and policy makers.”

The roundtables will be led by the Music Cities Network, the Center for Music Ecosystems and co-facilitated with creative specialist Kaospilots, each focused on a specific policy area. Two will be held in person (Reeperbahn and Eurosonic) and the rest online.

Each policy area will comprise a chapter of the handbook, written by the Center for Music Ecosystems. The handbook and all findings from the roundtables will be published in 2023 and made available to all cities and communities.


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