VAHA II: Transnational Networking Meeting

We are excited to welcome applications from cultural venues and organisations working in the context of today’s world of polycrisis for the VAHA Transnational Networking Meeting organised in Berlin between 22-26 May 2024. Up to 20 selected participants will be invited for networking and developing ideas for transnational exchanges of the VAHA II programme. 

VAHA II started in July 2023 with the open call for cultural organisations in Turkey to form local hubs to develop regional cultural programming activities that engage with the public. Now, we invite cultural actors from the Council of Europe countries to join us at the Transnational Network Meeting in Berlin for networking, sharing experiences and potentially developing further exchanges.  

You can access the online application form here. For more information about the VAHA programme and application requirements, please refer to the call text below as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you cannot find the information you are looking for, feel free to leave a message for VAHA team (

Application deadline: March 10, 2024 – Sunday (until 23:59 CET)

What is the VAHA programme?

VAHA (meaning “oasis” in Turkish) is a programme for amplifying the voices of independent arts and culture spaces that advocate for public discussion and dialogue in cities across Turkey, Europe, and neighbouring regions. We aim to bring together initiatives that create public discussions through cultural and artistic activities in oppressive circumstances to multiply the spaces of encounter and critical thinking and to support transnational solidarity. The period from the launch of the VAHA in 2020 to the present day, its second round, has been marked by overlapping crises. Each crisis has generated unique and multifaceted consequences while further exposing the ongoing and deepening economic, social, and ecological devastation. Hence, the VAHA network that we started weaving gained a new dimension in parallel to the increasing difficulties. While shaping the new round of VAHA, we set out with the questions brought to us by these experiences: How do we live with disasters? How do we move on through interconnected crises? Independent art spaces and cultural workers, who already operate in a vulnerable and precarious field even “under normal conditions”, now face crises that have become the new normal. Supporting their resilience against these “ordinary crises” and encouraging transnational collective struggle through widening our VAHA network is an urgent and vital necessity than ever.

In VAHA round II, we aim to expand the solidarity network we began weaving in the first round by actively supporting and connecting independent cultural and art organisations working at the local level on burning issues such as freedom of expression, cultural rights, and artistic freedom. By bringing together cultural and art workers, academia, and civil society actors within the VAHA network and beyond, we invite them to develop transnational alliances through the exploration of the complex cultural, social, political, and ecological issues of our time and the development of methods of struggle through interaction of different contexts and translation of various experiences. As one of the VAHA round I participants expressed:

“VAHA is exchange, is space for possibilities, is enthusiasm, is inspiration, is getting involved, is demanding, challenging, and learning at the same time, is thinking about one’s own privileges in one’s own bubble and the challenges and impressive work elsewhere, is getting in action under a common roof.”

For more information on the programme’s background, and the focus and aims of the VAHA round II, please kindly read the full length call text here.

Who can apply for the meeting & How?

Through the first stage of VAHA II, 10 hubs were formed in Turkey, each consisting of two or three cultural organisations. The hubs started their public cultural activities by October 2023 and will continue until November 2024. 

The current open call is open for applications from cultural venues and organisations in the Council of Europe 45 member states (CoE) -except Turkey- that organise public cultural and artistic programs. Up to 20 selected organisations will be invited to the Transnational Networking Meeting in Berlin between 22-26 May 2024.

The meeting is aimed to open up space to connect with like-minded organisations,  enhance solidarity networks, and discuss transnational alliances within and beyond VAHA. We encourage the selected organisations to develop transnational exchanges within VAHA through reciprocal study visits or joint activities with the 10 hubs in Turkey.

For application requirements and other questions, you can refer to the FAQ.
For the application, please fill out the online application form for your organisation. 

We will notify the applicants of the results via email starting on March 25, 2024.

What awaits the participants?

In its second round VAHA initially aims to support public cultural programming organised by up to 10 VAHA hubs formed by independent cultural and artistic organisations in Turkey, and connecting them with partners outside of Turkey for transnational exchanges.

The hubs initially started their local cultural and artistic activities by October 2023. You can have a look at the profiles of VAHA II hubs to check out the organisations in the hubs, the hub’s activity areas and expectations from transnational exchanges. 

At this stage, the hubs will develop transnational activities with organisations that are invited through the second open call for CoE countries, enabling them to visit each other, participate in each other’s activities, or collaborate on cultural programming. 

Here is an overview of the planned flow and timeline for the VAHA II:

Visuals by Julia,

For the organisations that will be invited from CoE countries, the following opportunities will be available within the scope of VAHA II:

Transnational networking meeting: Participation in the networking meeting to be held in Berlin in May 2024, which will provide an opportunity to meet and develop ideas with Turkey hubs.  

In case you partner up with one of the Turkey hubs at this meeting, the following grants will be available for your collaboration:

  • Transnational exchange grant: A grant of 7,500 EUR to organise public cultural activities or events in collaboration with Turkey hubs. 
  • Learning and mobility grants: A grant of 2,000 EUR per organisation that could be applied for visiting Turkey hubs or for other training and networking trips that can contribute to participants’ knowledge and experiences. 
  • Online thematic workshops: Online sessions that will be organised in parallel to the working areas of the hubs, providing new content and methods to nourish their work and support peer-to-peer learning and experience sharing among the participants.
  • In addition to being part of the VAHA Network, participants also gain access to other transnational networks such as iac Berlin – Bosch Alumni Network and Stiftung Mercator Alumni Network, which offer extensive opportunities beyond the VAHA programme period.

The second round of the VAHA programme and all the activities within its scope will conclude by November 2024.

VAHA is an initiative of Anadolu Kültür and  zusa, funded by Stiftung Mercator, European Cultural Foundation and Chrest Foundation. VAHA partner consortium is in collaboration with iac Berlin.