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Mobility of artists and culture professionals

What is it about?

Mobility, whether for work, study, research, co-production, or participation in a residency or exchange programme, is becoming an integral part of the regular practice and career of artists and culture professionals.

For some of them, mobility may not be simply a matter of choice, but also of professional survival.

Why is it needed?

The mobility of artists and culture professionals is essential to for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Improving their career opportunities;
  • Accessing new markets;
  • Creating new jobs in the culture and creative sectors;
  • Promoting cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue;
  • Increasing and broadening their audience;
  • Building partnerships and contacts;
  • Creating networks.

Artists and culture professionals are frequently highly mobile, touring, showing their work, performing in several countries, if not several continents. Improving the conditions of artists' mobility is, therefore, sustaining their livelihoods.

What is the EC's role?

The role of the European Commission is to support and complement the actions of the Member States in order to reduce barriers to mobility, provide the right environment for it, and ensure that information and advice on mobility-related issues is easy to obtain, accurate, and comprehensive.

EU's Member States have been working together on the topic of artists' mobility since 2008 with the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), a light but structured framework of cooperation in the field of culture, facilitating the exchange of good practices and peer-learning.

What has been achieved so far?

An Expert Group convened by the European Commission issued a set of guidelines (Mobility Information Standards)pdf(288 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  in 2011 on common content and quality standards for establishing or further developing information and advisory services for artists and culture professionals. Member States are invited to adopt these recommendations.

An Open Method of Coordination expert group issued a policy report proposing five key principles for building and maintaining a strong framework to support the mobility of artists and cultural professionalspdf(1006 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  .

Another expert group is currently working on a good practice manual on Artists' Residencies, due for publication at the end of 2014.

In April 2013 and June 2014, the European Commission organised two thematic seminars to analyse administrative practices creating obstacles to the mobilityof artists and culture professionals. The seminars focused on:

  • Schengen visas,
  • social security,
  • cross-border taxation.

The events facilitated an exchange of information and best practice between representatives from EU Member State governments and the culture sector.

What are the next steps?

The EU-funded Creative Europe programme is supporting the mobility of artists and culture professionals with the objective of promoting the transnational circulation of cultural and creative works and operators, as well as capacity-building.

Creative Europe aims at creating the best possible conditions for artists, culture professionals and cultural organisations to work across borders so that their work can reach as many people as possible in Europe and internationally.