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 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.

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) 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 professionals .

Another Open Method of Coordination expert group completed a Policy Handbook on Artists' Residencies in December 2014. The Policy Handbook analyses the value of artists’ residencies and includes examples of good practices from across the EU.

It also looks at recent trends, benefits and success factors to inform policymakers and practitioners of the best ways to support and develop residency programmes in the 21st century.

In April 2013 and June 2014, the European Commission organised two thematic seminars to analyse administrative practices creating obstacles to the mobility of 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 States' governments and the culture sector.

In May 2016, the European Commission held a stocktaking meeting to assess follow-up initiatives and progress made since 2014 regarding the obstacles to artistic and cultural mobility. The exercise brought together a number of stakeholders from the cultural and creative sectors (incl. cultural organisations, festivals, associations or agencies supporting mobility) as well as policy-makers (European, national and local). The stocktaking allowed concluding that despite higher awareness of the obstacles to artistic and cultural mobility, numerous problems persist.

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.

A mobility scheme for artists and creative people has been included in the 2018 Commission Work Programme. It aims at testing a funding scheme to be scaled up in 2019 and 2020, and implemented on a regular basis after 2020 within the proposed future Creative Europe programme.

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