Accelerator Beskids 20<26

Žilina’s candidacy for the title of European Capital of Culture 2026, together with the partner cities of Frýdek-Místek, Bielsko-Biala and the entire Beskids region, opens up countless opportunities for cross-border cooperation. It can thus strengthen the cultural and creative sector and help launch new projects.

If you are looking for potential partners across the borders for a joint cultural and artistic project, sign up for Accelerator Beskids 20<26! The accelerator will help you connect with cross-border partners, create a joint project and start strong cooperation in the region.


Registration closes on May 26, 2021 at 11:59 pm.


Accelerator Beskids 20<26 is a monthly development program for building and improving cooperation between artists, creators, cultural managers and institutions of the cultural and creative sector in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland within the cross-border Beskids region. 

During the Accelerator, you will have the opportunity to get to know more interesting cultural actors from the region, establish potential cooperation and prepare a joint cultural and artistic project. At the same time, the program will also include consultations on project ideas, mentoring or workshops for writing project applications for various grant schemes (Interreg, Visegrad Fund, etc.) 

At the end of the Accelerator, you will have the opportunity to submit your joint project to the Žilina Beskids 2026 Open Call for projects and thus become part of the final application of Žilina for the competition for the European Capital of Culture 2026 title.


The intention of the Accelerator Beskids 20<26 is to support the creation of projects that will bring innovative content and format with a strong regional and European impact and strengthen cultural cooperation between individuals and institutions across the borders.

It can be, for example, the creation of a community art project in housing estates, the launch of a new festival, the organization of an exhibition or concert with European artists, the preparation of educational activities in the field of art, international conferences and art workshops, creative stays of European artists and exchange of experiences or innovative programs connecting regional companies with creatives. 

The projects should be implemented in the period from 2023 to 2026 in the Beskids cross-border region in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland. In addition to applying for the Žilina Beskids 2026 Open Call, project owners will be able to apply for funding under other available schemes, such as Interreg or Visegrad Fund.


We are looking for artists, creatives, cultural managers or entire organizations (within the competence of cities or regions or from an independent culture) that are interested in expanding their cooperation within the Beskids region. 

Participants should belong to at least one of the specific areas of activity: 

  • Theatre and dance
  • Movie
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Visual art
  • Art in public space
  • Cultural and creative education
  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Crafts
  • Multimedia
  • Other

Participants should realize their activities within the Beskids cross-border region, primarily in the following territorial areas:: 

  • Slovakia / districts Žilina, Bytča, Čadca, Kysucké Nové Mesto, Námestovo
  • Czech Republic / districts Frýdek-Místek, Nový Jičín, Karviná
  • Poland / Silesian Voivodeship with special emphasis on the southern subregion – districts Bielsko, Cieszyn, Żywiec and the city of Bielsko-Biała

The program is designed for about 30 participants – 10 participants from Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland. In the case of a large number of registered candidates, we will select program participants based on the compliance of their focus/profile with the thematic areas of the Žilina Beskids 2026 project (described in more detail in the next section) and the probability of finding a partner among other registered candidates.

The joint program will be held in Slovak and Polish. At the same time, however, we recommend that participants have at least a basic conversational level of English to ensure mutual communication at the bilateral level between Slovak/Czech and Polish partners.


The main lines of the successful European Capitals of Culture program are based on sharing current European themes, the ability to combine local cultural heritage with innovative cultural practices, connecting local artists and cultural institutions with European ones, and involving local people in project preparation and implementation.

The program focus of the Žilina Beskids 2026 project is built around three program lines – Flow of Nature (projects focused on topics such as sustainability and environmental issues, water, mountains and forests, tourism and outdoor culture, reinterpretation of traditions and more), Future’s Factory (art production, design and architecture, science and art, art in public space, crafts and industrial heritage, and others) and Borderless Identity (community development, media and freedom of expression, history, transport, nationalism and others). You can read more about these topics in our application for the 1st round of the competition from December 2020.

Preferred topics for project ideas should cover the following areas:

  • democracy, intercultural dialogue and European identity
  • nature and environmental issues
  • art in public space and urbanism
  • creative industries, new technologies and science
  • history, cultural heritage and identity of the city
  • disadvantaged groups and social issues
  • education and volunteering
  • tourism and cultural tourism
  • sports, tourism and active lifestyle
  • community development, culture in housing estates and other urban areas


The Accelerator Beskids 20<26 will give all participants the opportunity to prepare a cross-border project with the ambition of long-term cooperation within the region, but also with the potential to become part of the application and subsequently the program of the European Capital of Culture 2026.

Participation in the program is free of charge and includes the program, accommodation and meals during two planned face-to-face meetings. Participants only pay for the transport costs during these meetings (more details below in the Schedule section).


  • May 26, 2021 – deadline for registration
  • May 28, 2021 – selection of program participants
  • June 11 – 12, 2021 – OPEN LAB = 2-day personal meeting of all participants
    • venue: Žilina area
    • Visits to selected local institutions
    • Mapping the needs and potential topics of projects
    • Networking and connecting participants
    • Initial project idea with a partner
  • June 17, 2021 – deadline for sending project proposals connecting at least two cross-border participants
  • June 25 – 26, 2021 – ACCELERATION LAB = 2-day personal meeting of selected participants
    • venue: Bielsko-Biala area
    • Educational workshops
    • Development of project plans and feedback
    • Visits to selected local institutions
  • July 31, 2021 – deadline for submission of final projects to the Žilina Beskids 2026 Open Call 

Meetings will be held in person if the current epidemiological situation allows. If this is not possible due to the measures in force, the meetings will take place online.


If you have any questions about the Accelerator, do not hesitate to contact us at

Become a part of the Accelerator Beskids 20<26 and start developing strong regional cooperation together with us!