The conference invites researchers and experts, city leaders, cultural managers, artists and community activists to discuss how to strategize cultural resources of SMCs to creatively address the challenges and risks of the contemporary neoliberal world. Although SMCs represent over 60 percent of European urban settlements and give shelter to the majority of the European urban population, they receive disproportionally less public attention and funding in comparison to big cities and metropolises. While in the past they have been relatively protected by national structures from competition, “smaller cities now confront greater challenges than has ever been the case”, while the need to plan strategically and mobilize assets has never been greater (Kresl and Ietri 2016: 7).

By highlightening good examples from different European cities and towns and identifying their key success factors, the conference will explore the potential of culture, heritage and tourism to create jobs and prevent the youth migration by transforming SMCs into hubs of cultural entrepreneurship and social integration, but mostly – into good places for life and work.  

The conference is initiated by the Department of Cultural Studies at the South-West University “Neofit Rilsky” with the support of the Fund for Scientific Research of the Ministry of Education and Science (Contract КП-06-МНФ/11), together with the Bulgarian Sociological Association and the Blagoevgrad Municipality. The event is awarded the label of ENCATC– the biggest European network for training and education in cultural management and policies.

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