NEB ambition

The ultimate ambition of the New European Bauhaus is to achieve transformation. To do this, the NEB Compass has identified specific levels of ambition that outline the desired outcomes for each of the NEB values.

Action areas

These areas refer to the five key domains of intervention that CrAFt's New European Bauhaus Impact Model considers essential for guiding and evaluating complex urban initiatives.

Participation level

The participation level refers to the degree or extent to which individuals or groups are actively involved or engaged in a particular activity, project, or process. It assesses the depth of their involvement, contributions, and commitment, ranging from minimal or passive participation to active and dedicated participation.

NEB values

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) aims to promote the values of sustainability, aesthetics, and inclusion in the design and transformation of urban spaces. It emphasises the integration of environmental, social, and economic considerations to create harmonious and innovative living environments.

Implementation Stage

According to the Smart City Guidance Package, there are seven stages to plan and implement smart city projects. These stages propose a logical and coherent roadmap for city initiatives involving many stakeholders.

Sladovna Písek: A gallery for children and their adults

Cultural centre Sladovna Písek (Czech Republic) transformed a former malt factory into a haven for children and adults. Offering exhibitions, theatrical experiences, and educational programmes, the centre promotes creativity, active citizenship and environmental consciousness. Under director Adam Langer, Sladovna Písek emphasises participatory processes, blending art and education to inspire young minds and foster a sense of community and environmental stewardship.


  • Transformative leadership and vision: Sladovna Písek's success is largely attributed to the transformative leadership of its latest directors. Their vision of creating an interactive, participatory cultural centre has significantly enhanced visitor engagement and participation.
  • Participatory and immersive experiences: The centre emphasises participatory and immersive experiences, especially for children. Through interactive exhibitions and theatrical elements, visitors become active participants, fostering decision-making, creativity, and a sense of responsibility. This approach not only engages young minds but also prepares them for active citizenship.
  • Community impact and educational influence: Sladovna Písek has had a profound impact on the local community and education systems. By promoting interactive and participatory teaching methods, the centre has inspired local educators and enriched the cultural landscape of Písek. Its activities have influenced the next generation of residents, fostering a sense of pride and encouraging community involvement and environmental consciousness.

Cultural centre Sladovna Písek, Czech Republic, is in a 2,500 sqm, seven-floor building. It offers permanent and temporary exhibitions and theatrical and learning experiences for children and adults. The main principle of their activities is pretty simple: Children and their caretakers leave their daily lives behind for a few hours and become protagonists in stimulating stories. They must be active, help one another, make decisions and be responsible for their behaviour. 

With this formula, Sladovna Písek has become a successful cultural institution that promotes participation and environmental consciousness through art and creativity. To learn more about Sladovna, we met Adam Langer, who currently serves as the centre’s director. In his role, Adam wears multiple hats. He is not only the director but also the dramaturgist and exhibition planner. He passionately prepares and curates programmes, often collaborating with others to bring dynamic cultural experiences to life.

Despite his academic background in economics, Adam’s professional path is deeply rooted in the arts. He enriched his expertise through numerous European artistic residency programmes, including Erasmus exchanges and independent residencies. 

Adam’s transition into the theatre sector became more pronounced when he began working at Sladovna Písek. Initially starting in production, he eventually became the director. His background in economics and law provided a solid foundation for managing the logistical and administrative aspects of the cultural centre.

Simultaneously, his artistic inclinations enabled him to excel in creating and curating engaging programmes and exhibitions for children and adults. This unique combination of skills allowed Adam to thrive in his role, bringing a balanced approach to both the creative and operational aspects of his work.

Adam’s professional motivation is deeply rooted in the impact of his work on children and the community. He is enthusiastic about combining art and education to provide children with enriching experiences. He finds great fulfilment in witnessing how the exhibitions and programs at Sladovna Písek touch the hearts and minds of young visitors, often sparking their curiosity and creativity.

Training the next generation of active citizens

As a cultural centre, Sladovna Písek seeks to inspire curiosity, creativity, and a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of art, nature, and history. Sladovna Písek’s activities emphasise active participation, community involvement, and site-specific interventions. 

The centre’s activities are designed to be immersive and educational, offering children unique experiences that broaden their perspectives and ignite their imaginations. The centre fosters a sense of community and collective creativity by inviting local and international artists, educators, and residents to collaborate.

Sladovna Písek’s activities resonate with the New European Bauhaus principles by combining participatory methodologies, artistic creativity, and sustainability education. The centre’s focus on interactive, experience-based learning ensures that these principles are taught and lived through practical, engaging activities. 

Sladovna Písek acts as a training ground where children learn to think creatively, participate actively, and care for their environment, embodying the holistic approach envisioned by the New European Bauhaus. Here’s how, in Adam’s view, the organisation embodies these principles:

  1. Sladovna Písek strongly emphasises participatory approaches, particularly in how it engages children. The centre creates immersive experiences where kids are not just spectators but active participants. For instance, in their theatrical exhibitions, children become the main actors, making decisions and driving the narrative. This participatory approach is evident in projects like the “I am the City” exhibition, where children explored their roles within the urban environment, fostering a sense of agency and community involvement. Sladovna Písek nurtures a participatory culture that prepares them for active, engaged citizenship by giving children a voice and involving them in interactive storytelling and problem-solving activities.
  2. Art and creativity are at the heart of Sladovna Písek’s mission. The organisation believes in integrating creativity into everyday life, making art an accessible and regular part of children’s experiences. This is reflected in their diverse projects, such as the animation studio and artistic playground, which encourage creative exploration and expression. Sladovna’s commitment to creativity extends beyond traditional art forms to innovative, experiential learning environments. By incorporating artistic elements into educational activities, Sladovna fosters a culture where creativity is not just an occasional endeavour but a fundamental aspect of daily life and learning.
  3. Environmental sustainability is woven into Sladovna Písek’s projects, mainly through thematic exhibitions that connect children with nature and ecological concepts. For example, the “Kingdom of the Bees and the Herbs” exhibition educates children about the symbiotic relationship between bees and herbs, highlighting the importance of environmental stewardship. By creating engaging narratives emphasising the interconnectedness of natural systems, Sladovna instils an understanding of sustainability in its young visitors. 

Sladovna Písek is also connected to the Hands-On! Association, which promotes interactive and engaging museum experiences. The centre’s adherence to the “Homes of 21st Century Education” certification criteria reflects its commitment to maintaining high standards in participatory, creative, and educational practices. This certification, which needs to be renewed every two years, ensures that Sladovna Písek continually evolves and adapts to meet the changing needs of its audience while adhering to its core principles.

From malt factory to participatory cultural centre

Sladovna Písek’s transformation into a vibrant cultural centre began with the extensive renovation of an old malt factory. The reconstruction project started around 2000 and took over a decade due to the building’s size and complexity. Initially, there was no clear concept of what Sladovna would become. The first phase saw only 35% of the building refurbished, and it briefly housed the “House of Czech Kids’ Illustration,” featuring two exhibitions. However, this initial effort faced significant challenges, including funding issues and low visitor numbers, resulting in a period of instability with five directors in as many years.

The turning point for Sladovna came when Teresa Dobejářová became the director. She introduced the “Gallery to Play” concept, inspired by the successful children’s museums and galleries in Germany, Austria, France, and the Netherlands. This vision proposed transforming Sladovna into an interactive, participatory space where children could engage with art and creativity hands-on. The municipality accepted this idea over an alternative proposal to convert the building into a hotel, marking a decisive moment in Sladovna’s history.

Under Teresa’s leadership, the “Gallery to Play” concept began modestly with simple exhibitions but quickly gained traction. Visitor numbers started to double each year, validating the interactive approach. This success led to the second reconstruction phase, further expanding the facility’s capacity and capabilities.

Adam joined Sladovna during Teresa’s tenure, initially working in production and exhibition development. When Teresa decided to leave, Adam took over as director following an open call. Over the past seven years, his contributions have significantly evolved Sladovna’s concept and operations. Adam has emphasised a participatory and theatrical approach, enhancing the visitor experience through interactive and immersive exhibitions.

Key Innovations and Initiatives

Sladovna Písek’s journey from a partially renovated malt factory to a thriving cultural centre shows the importance of visionary leadership and innovative thinking. The evolution from a traditional exhibition space to an interactive “Gallery to Play” has transformed Sladovna into a participatory, creative, and sustainable cultural engagement model. Here are some of the ingredients that Adam has added to the recipe in the last few years: 

  1. Participatory experiences: Adam has expanded the participatory nature of Sladovna’s offerings. Exhibitions now often feature children as leading actors in interactive stories, fostering decision-making and engagement.
  2. Theatrical elements: Adam’s tenure has been marked by the incorporation of theatrical elements into exhibitions, which add depth and narrative to the visitor experience.
  3. Festivals and residencies: Adam introduced festivals like the Sandbox Festival and artist residencies. These initiatives bring artists and visitors together, creating collaborative and dynamic environments.
  4. Creative laboratories: Before launching major exhibitions, Sladovna now hosts “laboratories” where the creative process is opened to educators, other artists, and the public. This fosters a collaborative atmosphere and allows for community input and engagement.
  5. Artist and visitor collaboration: An essential aspect of Adam’s vision is to place artists and visitors, especially children, on the same level, encouraging mutual learning and creative collaboration. This approach is reflected in both exhibitions and festivals.

Sladovna’s impact and Pisek’s future

Through the years, Sladovna has transformed into a cultural and artistic hub, significantly impacting the local community. Introducing participatory festivals has fostered collaboration between local and international artists, enriching the city’s cultural landscape.

With 50,000 visitors annually to a city with a population of 30,000, figures confirm Sladovna Písek’s success in increasing its visibility. This influx has instilled a sense of pride among locals and elevated the city’s cultural standing.

Sladovna’s approach has influenced local education systems, encouraging more interactive and participatory teaching methods. This has resulted in teachers recognising the potential of students who might otherwise be overlooked. Teachers and students now approach Sladovna enthusiastically, knowing they can expect a creative and engaging experience, and that their work can be combined with and inspired by Sladovna Písek’s.

The institution has had a lasting impact on generations of Písek residents. Stories from locals—like young people who grew up participating in Sladovna Písek’s activities and are now seeking employment there—highlight how Sladovna’s activities have shaped the new generation’s personal development and career aspirations. According to Adam, Sladova Písek fosters a mindset that balances global awareness with local action. The centre equips future generations to address both local issues and global challenges. 

Adam’s vision for Písek’s future, shaped by Sladovna Písek’s contributions, is one where empowered, responsible, and active citizens work collaboratively to improve their community. This vision aligns with the educational and participatory values promoted by Sladovna, ensuring that the institution’s impact is felt for generations to come.

More information

Sladovna Písek’s website

Written by Jose Rodriguez