“START – Create Cultural Change” Programme

“START – Create Cultural Change” is a capacity-building and fellowship programme for aspiring cultural managers in Greece. The programme supports young creative minds so as to kick-start their cultural initiatives aimed at generating positive social impact in their local communities.

The START programme takes place in Germany and Greece in three phases, which enable programme fellows to develop innovative ideas into independent cultural initiatives and acquire professional skills.

The programme includes the following phases:

  • Phase I: Three-month training programme in Germany for 30 selected fellows (September to November).
  • Phase II: Implementation of the cultural initiatives and coaching scheme for 15 selected fellows for a six-month period (from December to May).
  • Phase III: “Scaling Awards”, awarded to exemplary programme initiatives, for a one-year period (starting from June).

The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, for third consecutive year, conferred the “Scaling Awards”. The fellows distinguished in 2019 were:

  • Dimitra Ermeidou, for the “Eyes of Light” initiative, where participatory creative activities for the empowerment of people who have experienced cancer are implemented primarily through experiential therapeutic photography. Through innovative workshops, groups of cancer patients gain a tool to express themselves, as well as improve their self-image and their emotional well-being. The participatory nature of the workshops fosters an atmosphere of extroversion and mutual support, and encourages the participants to face the challenges of the disease in a more positive manner. The workshops are accompanied by creative, participatory activities aiming at encouraging the broader community that has been affected directly or indirectly by cancer, and to contribute to combating stereotypes and raising the public’s awareness in terms of prevention. It is against this background that the photography exhibition “Cancer Survivors: The Faces of Hope” was presented in May 2019; people who have suffered from cancer and renowned photographers came in contact and the result was a series of portraits which reflect strength and convey a message of optimism.
  • Alexandros Panagiotopoulos, for the “Messolonghi By Locals” initiative, which aims to capture and disseminate the identity of Messolonghi through processes which involve the participation of citizens, who become co-creators of the city’s modern identity. The ultimate goal is to create a physical and digital map depicting the identity of Messolonghi through cultural routes. The “Local Hub” was also created as part of the programme, which is a point for the residents of Messolonghi to meet, express themselves, create, learn and network.
  • Domenico Bonassi, for the “MakeSomeNoiz” initiative, a musical project that seeks to unite the children of the Metaxourgeio neighbourhood into a Balkan Brass Band in the centre of Athens. The programme is aimed at children from 12 to 16 years old and uses peer education as a learning and socialisation tool. In this way, a community is created within a multicultural environment, and solidarity, team spirit and friendship are promoted. In this context, the participants express themselves, have fun, organise and manage this musical ensemble by themselves.

The programme is implemented by the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Thessaloniki and the German Federal Association of Socio-Cultural Centres (Bundesvereinigung Soziokultureller Zentren e.V.) and is supported by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the Bodossaki Foundation.

“The ‘START – Create Cultural Change’ Programme was a real start for us. We were given the opportunity to bring to life an idea that a year before had been expressed in just 500 words. In addition, through the programme we reached our limits. We realized what it means to be in 'deep water'. I think this is the key message: To not be afraid of the unknown but to dare and create. And when you receive trust and support in this process from programmes such as START, then everything becomes easier.”

Alexandros Panagiotopoulos

Founder, “Messolonghi By Locals”


“’MakeSomeNoiz’ is on track thanks to the training and guidance of the 'START – Create Cultural Change' team. Within a short time, a brass band of teenagers from 8 different countries was created in the centre of Athens. A group of people who started thinking and acting within the context of a collective social initiative under the guise of music. The Scaling Award by the Latsis Foundation sparked extroversion, collaboration with different groups and participation in activities, in Greece and abroad, through which children came closer by developing their social intelligence, music skills, friendship and solidarity.”

Domenico Bonassi

Manager, "MakeSomeNoiz"

“The most important factor is that we were able to contribute in our own way to decrease the patients’ and survivors’ isolation, to combat problematic stereotypes about the disease and to raise the public’s awareness. Thanks to the Scaling Award by the Latsis Foundation our mission continues and we will launch the non-profit organisation ‘Eyes of Light’, evolving our activities in order to maximise our organisation’s social impact in 2020. Furthermore, thanks the Foundation’s support, we are expanding our vision: a society where all people suffering from severe diseases will be relieved and encouraged though the beneficial properties or art.”

Dimitra Ermeidou

Programme Director/Workshop Instructor, “Eyes of Light”


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