VOLUNTEERING IN THE EUROPEAN GRASSROOTS CULTURAL SCENEA manual on how to apply and what to expectPublished by Trans Europe Halles 2020ISBN: 978-91-519-6217-7This publication is distributed free of charge and follows the Creative Commonsagreement Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives(CC BY-NC-ND). You are free to reuse and share this publicationor parts of it as long as you mention the original source.The authors have asserted their moral rights.Cover and publication design by Darko KujundžićVolunteering in theEuropean grassrootscultural sceneA manual on how toapply and what to expectContent created byNienke VoorintholtCo-edited byAnnette Wolfsberger and Burak SayinPublished byTrans Europe HallesPHOTO CREDITS:P. 14 ̶ Natália ZajačikováP. 18 ̶ Marek JančúchP. 27 ̶ Orsi Varga, Elena Aya Bountouraki, Natália ZajačikováP. 31 ̶ Elena Aya Bountouraki

Table of ContentsForeword6How to use this manual7PART 1 - THE WHATAND THE PRACTICAL HOW:YOUR GUIDE TO ESC UNIVERSEAND VOLUNTEERING GALAXYDefinitions and what is ESC?9What is the European Solidarity Corps?108 steps to navigate your way throughthe European Solidarity Corps13Useful Links19PART 2: THE WHY AND HOWTRANS EUROPE HALLES CENTRESDO AND DID IT: TIPS AND TRICKSFOR VOLUNTEERINGIntroduction21Potential tasks of volunteers22Reflections23Benefits of volunteering25Some Tips27Future collaborations within the network28Collection of good practices from TEH centres30FUNDERSThe publication was producedwithin the framework of Factoriesof Imagination Project that wasco-funded by the Creative EuropeProgramme of the European Union.The European Commission supportfor the production of this publicationdoes not constitute an endorsementof the contents which reflect theviews of the authors only,and the Commission cannotbe held responsible for any usewhich may be made ofthe information contained therein.

How to use this manualForewordAt the end of the 1990s, the YouthExchange Programmes (YEP)included a volunteer exchangescheme between TEH centres thatwas co-funded through the EuropeanVoluntary Service (EVS). This was rightat the start, and incidental EVSexchanges between centres havebeen operating for many years. Theseprogrammes led to the insight thatsuch informal and non-hierarchicallearning should not be restricted toyoung people only, but shouldinclude a wider constituency of whatwe called ‘cultural operators’. This ishow the ‘staff exchange programmes’became key elements of Europeancollaboration projects coordinatedby the network, such as Engine RoomEurope (2011-2014) and ChangingRoom (2008-2010). The latter wasa European pilot programmeto test, study and evaluate culturalprofessionals’ exchange andtraining programmes. They haveresulted in an ongoing staffexchange programme withinthe network ever since.Trans Europe Halles (TEH) hasbeen an advocate of exchangeprogrammes of many kinds acrossEurope for several decades. Thenetwork not only cares about the artsand its independent spaces, but italso cares deeply about the peopleinvolved in the arts. In Trans EuropeHalles’ almost 40-year history, it hasinitiated, facilitated and been involvedin numerous informal learning,training and residency schemes,both for artists and for its volunteersand staff. These programmes arebased on a belief that thecommunity of people involved inand often ‘behind’ the organisationsthat form Trans Europe Halles are atthe heart of the network – and thatthis heart needs to be nourished.International artist-in-residencyschemes are a common feature ofmany organisations and networks(and Trans Europe Halles and itsmembers have organised severalsuch projects). Since the 1990s,however, Trans Europe Halles hasalso broadened its scope towards itscommunity of cultural operators, aswell as introducing mobility andcapacity-building programmes forits paid and unpaid staff.As well as running these kinds of projects, the network alsofelt it was important to share its expertise about themand published a study about its experiences in collaborationwith the Sibelius Academy in 2010: [LINK]and a staff exchange manual in 2013: [LINK]This manual is aimed at cultural centres across Europe that want to hostvolunteers from other European countries. It provides a concise overview ofwhat is needed to take part in the European volunteering programme EuropeanSolidarity Corps (ESC). It then gives reasons why it’s a great idea to get involvedand shares some insights that you should take into account if you decide toget involved. The manual has two different parts:PART 1 introduces the EuropeanSolidarity Corps (ESC) and explainsthe ‘hard facts’ and the applicationprocedure in eight steps. This sectionprovides easy-to-follow informationbased on the experience of a TEHvolunteer coordinator, rather thanthe very extensive (and sometimesconfusing information) availableon the official websites and in theguidelines. Wherever necessary,we have added references toexternal websites or guides.PART 2 shares the ‘soft tissue’:tips and tricks around volunteeringfrom TEH centres, and particularlyfrom Stanica in Žilina, Slovakia,which has broad experience ofvolunteering within their staff.This section providesrecommendations on how towork with volunteers, and bestpractice from other TEH members.This manual might give the impression that hosting volunteers is a lot of work,and to make it work well, that’s true. It takes a lot of preparation, planning andmanagement. But when all the steps are put in place, both the host organisationsand the volunteers will reap the benefits. Volunteers can potentially gain a lot ofknowledge and experience that will benefit both themselves and cultural venues,while the volunteers in turn might provide a great source of support in runningcultural centres. To help navigate this manual, here are some tips:Not heard of ESC before, startfrom the beginning – PART 1Thought about takingon volunteers, but not sureit is something for you,start with part 2Used to work with the EVSprogramme but got lost withthe new ESC programme,start with PART 1Already host ESC volunteersbut would like more ideas, startwith PART 2 to get inspiredand check the tips and tricksThis manual is another result of that collaboration – we hope it is useful!We hope this guide to the ESC universe and volunteering galaxy will help tomake the most of the volunteer experience.Annette WolfsbergerThis publication was written at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had anenormous impact on the activities of cultural centers and also the connected volunteering projects.We very much hope that this challenging situation will soon come to an end, but should you havespecific questions about this topic, we would advise you to get in contact with your national agency.67

A. DefinitionsESC – EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?PART 1:HOW TOAPPLYTHE WHAT ANDTHE HOW: A GUIDE TOTHE ESC UNIVERSEAND VOLUNTEERINGGALAXYThe first impression might be that ESC has something to do with the armyand it doesn’t sound compatible with the independent cultural scene.Let’s see what it means when we look it up in the dictionary:EUROPEAN:‘Relating to or characteristicof Europe or its inhabitants.’SOLIDARITY:‘Unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individualswith a common interest; mutual support within a group.’CORPS:1. A branch of an army assigned to a particular kind of work.2. A body of people engaged in a particular activity.So ESC could also stand for European Supporting Community.We hope that ESC sounds more appealing now it’s been explained.Read on to find out more about becoming part of this community.9

B. What isthe EuropeanSolidarity Corps?SOURCE: [LINK]The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is a programme under Erasmus , whichis an EU programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.[LINK]It is financed by the European Commission through a 1.009 billion budget for2021-2027. For more than 25 years, the European programmes have supportedthe fields of volunteering and youth. The most established programme thatprovided a lot of experience all across Europe is the European Voluntary Service,which will officially end in 2020.The ESC aims to foster solidarity in European society, engaging young peopleand organisations in accessible and high-quality solidarity activities. It offersyoung people volunteering activities, traineeships, jobs or the ability to runtheir own projects.These opportunities give young people the chance to show solidarity andcommitment to different communities and to help resolve challengingsituations across Europe. Through their experience, they will also developtheir skills and gain invaluable personal experience.The new European Solidarity Corps promotes inclusion and diversity andaims to embrace green practices in projects (such as traveling by train insteadof plain). It supports projects and activities that boost digital skills and fostersdigital literacy. The programme also promotes participation of young people indemocratic processes and civic engagement.Volunteering can also be done in teams. Volunteering teams can consistof groups of between 10-40 young people aged 18-30 from at least twodifferent countries; they volunteer together for a period of betweentwo weeks and two months.For both types of volunteering, the costs of accommodation and foodare covered. Participants also receive a small allowance for theirpersonal expenses.Although ESC includes elements of language learning, travelling and gainingsome work experience, it is important to understand that this is not:– occasional, unstructured, part-time volunteering– an internship in an enterprise– a paid job; it must not replace paid jobs– a recreation or tourist activity– a language course– exploitation of a cheap workforce– a period of study or vocational training abroadTRAINEESHIPS AND JOBSTraineeships count as full-time work practice and last between two and sixmonths. Trainees develop their personal, educational, social, civic andprofessional skills. Jobs are full-time and last between three and 12 months.They are paid for by the organisation employing the participant.SOLIDARITY PROJECTSSolidarity projects are initiated, developed and implemented over a periodof two to 12 months by at least five young people who want to make a positivechange in their local community.This manual will solely focus on volunteering projects. This part of theprogramme is similar to the previous EVS programme and has provento be successful for cultural centres. The process required for otherschemes – such as solidarity projects, traineeships and jobs – havesimilarities but differ on some points.For more information, please look at the [WEBSITE]or contact your National Agency 1In addition, the new programme has the flexibility to add annual prioritiesaddressing critical situations. This year’s additional thematic area is health.The programme will mobilise young people in projects addressing healthchallenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and recovery.VOLUNTEERING ACTIVITIESIndividual volunteering allows young people to participate in the daily workof organisations. Activities last between two and 12 months, and in some cases,two weeks and more. What is new in this programme compared to the old EVSproject is that participants can volunteer in their country of residence as well asoverseas. Supported projects can cover topics such as community development,social inclusion, environment, culture and more.101. National Agencies are organisations that manage the ERASMUS programme for each country.11

EIGHT STEPS TO TAKING ON A VOLUNTEERThe steps from the application process until finishing of the project can bedivided in eight steps, which are described in more detail below.8Close the projectC. Navigating throughthe EuropeanSolidarity CorpsSOURCE: [LINK]7Implement project activities6Start the project5Receive the grant decision1. GET AN ORGANISATION ID NUMBER[LINK]This is the first registration process and it allows the applicant to log in on thewebsites to find out the further steps. For those with previous EVS experience,this used to be PIC partner information. When an organisation had a PIC,they automatically got an organisation ID number provided by theirnational agency.2. OBTAIN QUALITY LABELThe applications for the Quality Label can be submitted at any time. Anorganisation applying for the Quality Label with a host role must declarepredefined activities in which volunteers are involved, with a set of tasks thatthey will carry out in the organisation.4Apply for a grant3Develop the projectThere are two options of quality label, regular and as lead organisations. As alead organisation you would be able to apply for the funding otherwise you canonly be a partner in a project in which someone else is the lead organisation. Ithas nothing to do with having years of experience in the EVS or ESC programso also when you are new in this galaxy you can apply for the lead organisation.It will require a more extended vision and plan. You can also first apply for thestandard quality label and later apply for the lead organisation role.For more details see [LINK] (info at pages 36-42).21Obtain quality labelGet an organisation ID number123. DEVELOP THE PROJECT(including finding your potential participants)When applying for a project, applicants need to have at least one partnerorganisation. This can be an organisation chosen by the applicant orby volunteers. That means there are two options before developing a project.13

SELECTION OF THE VOLUNTEERSA. Search for partner organisation(s)A partner organisation is needed when applying for a project as ahosting organisation, the sending or ‘supporting organisation’ who will beresponsible for sending a volunteer. If there is an organisation that has a goodnetwork or database of volunteers, agree that you will apply first only withthe partner organisation and after looking for suitable participants.B. Put a call out for volunteer(s)Another scenario is to look for particular volunteers who would fit theorganisation. Before participants reach out, they need to decide what theyare looking for and what they can offer. Formulate the details about the startand end date of the project, profile of ideal volunteers (what interests fit best),what kind of activities they can do? Give a clear idea of what the organisationcan offer in practical matters and what they can learn (e.g. what kind of tasks,freedom to implement their own ideas).What organisations have to provide for the volunteer:– Accommodation, preferably private room but they can share a room(if informed in advance)– Coordinator and work tutor (this can be the same person)– Language course or teacher– Mentor (for personal support)– Food or money for food– Pocket money– Opportunity to learn and develop personally– Refunding travel costsFINDING VOLUNTEERSIt is the best to have a short description of the project and to post this on severalFacebook pages for ESC projects – including the organisation’s own website,as well in the database of [EUROPA.EU].Don't forget to illustrate the call with a good photo. With the new ESCprogramme, participants can also find the volunteers themselves in the141.SCREEN2.FILTER3.FIRST SELECTION4.SKYPE INTERVIEWSdatabase from the solidarity corps website. When an opportunity is publishedin the database, the volunteers apply through this system and can leavea small motivation next to it. For this reason, there is not so much chanceto stand out from the crowd for them creatively, which is a pity.1. ScreenDelete the application letters with no motivation letter or those with a standardmotive of wanting to save the world and travel through Europe, as well as thosenot addressed specifically to the hosting organisation. For example: ‘Dear (wrong name), I cannot wait to help with the kindergarden and learn theGerman language’. This is most likely sent to every open call they could find.2. FilterWhen there are a lot of applications, it can be a great help to createa questionnaire asking specific questions. For example, what did they findinteresting about the organisation (did they do some research?) or what kindof tasks would they like to do (or not). In this way, it is possible to comparevolunteers more easily and collect them all in one spreadsheet.3. First selection of candidates (longlist)From this group, select around 10 people who stand out. Present thesecandidates to current volunteers and team members who are interested.Together discuss how to make a decision. After making a first selection, it isgood practice to invite between three and five candidates for a Skype interview.It can help to make a list of some specific questions for the candidatestogether with colleagues.4. Skype interviews (shortlist and selection)When inviting candidates for an interview, offer them contact with currentvolunteers so that they also can ask questions of them. The questions theyhave are also important in the final decision. An initial Skype interview of upto half an hour is often enough to get the first impression, as well as askingand answering questions. It can be helpful to have a volunteer or staff memberon hand during the interview to answer work-related questions and also to have asecond opinion. Tell the candidates in advance, because it can make them nervous.15

4. APPLY FOR THE GRANTIt is possible to make three applications a year for each project.[APPLY HERE]THIS ONLINE APPLICATION FORM INCLUDES THE FOLLOWINGMAIN SECTIONS:– ContextThis section asks for general information about the type of projectand which National Agency it is for.– Participating organisation(s)This section asks for information about the organisation and – if relevant – aboutany other organisation involved as partners in the project.– Description and management of the projectThese sections ask for information about all the stages of the project. Indetailed questions, explain the plan and aim for the project, the expectedoutcomes and how everything will be managed and prepared, implementationof main activities and follow-up. This should follow the objectives of theprogramme, which can be found in the guidelines from Erasmus on page 29and in the ESC guidelines on page 6.– BudgetIn this section, there is space for more information about the amountof the EU grant requested. This is automatically calculated according to theinformation provided (number of volunteers, where the volunteer comesfrom, where the organisation is based and whether extra support is needed).– Pocket moneyThis is the daily allowance volunteers are entitled to. The amount alsodepends on where the host organisation is based. This is between 3 and 6 perday, for example in Slovakia as well as in Sweden, a volunteer receives 5 a day.– Linguistic supportThere is the option for volunteers to use the online linguistic support systemwith which they can study themselves or they receive 150 support to paya teacher (individual or group lessons).THE FOLLOWING SIDE ACTIVITIES CAN ALSO BE FUNDED:– Advance planning visits (APV)These are planning visits to the country of the host organisation before thevolunteer starts. The visits will be typically organised for activities involvingyoung people with fewer opportunities or when the visit is a prerequisiteto the successful implementation of the activities.Participants with fewer opportunities can be involved in the visit to helpintegrate them fully into the project and complement any other preparatoryactivity. For example, volunteers with autism would benefit from a visit beforestarting their placement. Staff members and volunteers alike would benefitfrom experiencing what kind of tasks would work and which require someextra guidance or training.– Complementary activitiesThese are relevant side activities designed to add value and augment the resultsof the project, as well as strengthening its impact at the local, regional and/orEuropean level. Complementary activities could include: job shadowing,meetings, workshops, conferences, seminars, training courses, coaching etc.THE REQUESTED GRANT IS DIVIDED INTO SEVERAL SECTIONS:– Organisational Support – Project Management ( 225 per participant)To cover the planning, finances, coordination and communication betweenpartners, administrative costs– Travel (based on the travel distances per participant)This covers a volunteer’s return travel from the original country to thevolunteering venue. For example, Jeanne is from Lyons, France. She will bea volunteer in the TEH office in Lund, Sweden. This covers her flight ticketsto Lund at the start of the project and the ticket back to her country of origin,in this case 275. For travel distances between 500km and 1,999km: 275 per participant.– Organisational support – activity costs (calculated per day, per participant)An organisation receives money to provide the volunteer with accommodation,food (or extra cash), transport (this can be a public transport card or a bike,for example), payment of the coordinator, to support their activities suchas personal projects or events they organise. This depends on the countrywhere the host organisation is based. In Slovakia, the amount per day is 20and in Sweden the sum is 27.16The costs will not be covered 100%; the hosting organisation pays 20% of thetotal costs. Example: Volunteers could join one of the Trans Europe Hallesmeetings, if this could fit towards the whole project.5. WAIT FOR THE GRANT DECISION AND PREPARE FOR ARRIVALOF THE VOLUNTEERSAfter the application is approved, a volunteering agreement needs to be set up.This is based on a draft provided by the National Agency and includes all detailsabout the conditions, responsibilities and rights for the organisation as well asfor the volunteers. All details that have been agreed together need to beincluded in this agreement, such as:– Volunteer’s tasks– Number of working hours per week (max 32 hours)– Free time/holidays– Accommodation specification– Any other expectations and commitments17

D. Useful LinksESC guides created by the European CommissionThere are two guides, one for the whole Erasmus programme (includingall the different programmes) and one specific guide for the European SolidarityCorps (ESC). Below is a summary of the most relevant information to reducereading time and explain terminology. The original guides can be helpful,however, when looking for more detailed information:New programme guide for Erasmus [LINK]New program guide for solidarity corps[LINK]General Facebook pages to share calls for volunteers6. START THE PROJECTAt the start of the project, some time will need to be taken to help thevolunteers adapt to the new environment. Explain background informationabout the organisation by sharing documentation such as images or videos.All the key staff members can provide a sharing session to tell their personalstory about how they came to the organisation, what they do and importantly,in which areas of cultural management the volunteers could learn from them.7. IMPLEMENT PROJECT ACTIVITIESPlan regular meetings with the volunteers to give and receive feedback.After the first two months, the volunteers will know their way around betterand could be given more responsibilities. Have a look again at the projectdetails and aims, as well as revisiting planned activities.To find and publish (only) ESC projects:[LINK]ESC Vacancies[LINK]ESC projects[LINK]This group has been set up to share posts aboutthe Erasmus projects (not only ESC) and follow them:[LINK]TEH volunteer coordinators group:[LINK]Information about the programmeAn official website of the European Union, including informationand opportunities for young people across Europe:[LINK]Contact list of national agencies[LINK]8. CLOSE THE PROJECTAfter the end of the project, there are two months to submit the final reportand upload the requested documentation to prove dissemination. Whenwriting the final report, it can be useful to include notes and pictures collectedduring the project. Look back at the starting points and aims includedin the application form?Animation video explaining the ESC program[LINK]After the volunteer has left, they will be asked to fill in a feedbackquestionnaire sent by the European Commission in which they reflecton how the project went, what they learned, how they improvedtheir skills etc.1819

IntroductionThe second part of this manual shares the ‘soft tissue’ behind sending andreceiving volunteers, and is more focussed on tips, tricks and experiences.PART 2:TIPS ANDTRICKS FORVOLUNTEERINGHOW TRANS EUROPEHALLES CENTRESHAVE DONE ITThis part is based on my – Nienke Voorintholt’s – experience as coordinatorof the volunteering programme EVS and now ESC in Stanica, a cultural centrein Slovakia. I know the whole EVS/ESC process very well from both sides. In 2016,I came to Stanica as a volunteer from the Netherlands. I became part of theteam and have been mainly working as the coordinator of the volunteersfor the past three years.Stanica’s Director Marek Adamov was one of the first European volunteersfrom Slovakia and went to Kulturfabrik in Luxembourg. There he got to knowof Trans Europe Halles, which had a great impact on our (European)development and vision. The first volunteer of Stanica came from Francein 2003 and he was one of many volunteers who stayed and became partof the team.Our motivation for being part of this programme is sharing our experienceand knowledge. The voluntary work should be aimed at volunteers’ personaland professional growth, as well as making a contribution to the organisation.We look for ways to motivate the volunteers through non-financial meansand following the volunteers’ needs – development of their individual potential.The application process is not where the fun begins – the bureaucraticpart can be rather draining. But it is worth going through from my experience:the energy – and sometimes also the struggle – with volunteers is what I loveabout it. For Stanica, the volunteering programme has always been equal togiving opportunities. It comes with a ‘Why not? Just try!’ mentality. This ensuresthat volunteers will learn a lot and as a host, you will often be surprisedby new and fresh ideas.21

Potential tasksof volunteersREFLECTIONSTIME INVESTED WILL PAY BACKTry to find a good balance of tasks with a little bit of everything: stuff that just hasto be done (but is maybe boring), everyday stuff that becomes part of a routine,as well challenging tasks such as organising an event. The tasks should be usefuland it can make a difference if you explain why it has to be done. Place it in thebigger picture, for example, working more effectively or providing good service.Often volunteers have one main task, for example, photography. However,avoid the volunteers only experiencing the events through their lens orspending their day always behind the computer editing pictures. Practicemakes perfect but a change of scenery or activity would definitely be neededonce in a while. The tasks the volunteers do very much depend on their interestsand ability. This does not mean that volunteers only do what they like. Sometasks are just part of the job. By writing those explicitly in the volunteeringagreement, they agree to that by signing the agreement.List of possible tasks:Include the volunteers in the team. In one year, they should have a basicunderstanding of what the day-to-day operation of your centre looks like.First, make them feel part of the team, include them in the meetings byspeaking (partly) in English, give them responsibilities and feedback on whatthey do. You can never show enough appreciation. This will definitely helpthem to take more initiative and give back more energy.It is not always easy to include the volunteers in the team because everyoneis busy, has stresses or is not patient enough to explain things. So the task forthe volunteer coordinator is to work with staff members and explain that it isworth investing some extra time in volunteers because it will often pay backmany times over. If you know that some team members are not willing towork with volunteers, then it can sometimes be better to accept thisand not force them into it.Some volunteers ask about ways of working, which will help you to reflect andimprove what you have been doing, maybe for years, in a certain way.CHALLENGES FOR THE COORDINATORPHOTOGRAPHYVIDEOGRAPHYSOCIAL MEDIAMANAGEMENTBeing too involved. There are many coordinators who will maybe be recognised inthe role of mother or father (also with just a few years’ age difference). It is a greatquality if you are empathic but this role should not impact your personal life.TICKET SALESDISTRIBUTIONOF POSTERSIf the collaboration does not go as planned, you will be advocating on bothsides: for the volunteers and for other staff members. You will have to defendand confront both ways.GRAPHIC DESIGNASSISTING LIGHT / SOUNDTECHNICIANS / STAGEHANDI have identified 5 challenges during my time as a coordinator. Then, I askedother volunteering coordinators working at TEH members about theirexperiences about the benefits of volunteering for their organisations. Finally,some tips that can help you for your organisation hosting a volunteer.WRITINGTRANSLATINGASSISTING / LEADING WORKSHOPSOR CHILDREN’S ART CLASSESCHALLENGESChallenge 1: SocialisingGARDENINGSMALLMAINTENANCECOOKING(FOR GROUPS)INSTALLING (ART)EXHIBITIONSIMPROVINGSUSTAINABILITYWORKINGON ARCHIVES22You did your best to find people who would fit in the team but it doesn’t alwaysturn out as expected every time and sometimes it just doesn’t click. After a fewmonths, you may already be exhausted by indulging in uncomfortable smalltalk with the volunteers.It’s OK if you don’t have a connection on a personal level but still you coulddevelop a working relationship. Find a way for the volunteers to createfriendships outside of work by joining a sports club or attending other events.It

with the Sibelius Academy in 2010: [LINK] and a staff exchange manual in 2013: [LINK] This manual is another result of that collaboration - we hope it is useful! Annette Wolfsberger Foreword This publication was written at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the activities of cultural centers and also the connected volunteering projects. We very .