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ABSTRACT| Culture has increasingly become mainstreamed in the EU's international cooperation agendas related to socio-economic development and external relations. This manifested in a new narrative of cultural diplomacy under the label of International Cultural Relations (ICR) that provided a seemingly depoliticised framework for culture in the EU’s wider foreign strategy as well as an opportunity to introduce new (cultural) intermediaries to translate the strategy’s visions into action. This project examines the politics of the European Union’s culture promotion in the Eastern neighbourhood. From a critical-interpretive perspective, it questions the underlying normative assumptions of the ICR approach and explores the role and agency of the international cultural organisations in transnational policy processes. Through multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork based on semi-structured interviews, observation and discourse analysis, the research seeks to understand how cultural intermediaries negotiate and enact the various interests between the EU’s normative approach and local interests in the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative. Building on methodological triangulation between practice theory, policy translation and organisational ethnography, the research aims to offer theoretical and empirical contributions to the understanding of relational exchanges in the policy field between the various policy actors.