Representatives from eight European arts funding agencies attended a meeting jointly hosted by the Scottish Arts Council and IFACCA in the offices of Scottish Screen, Glasgow, Scotland, on the 19th – 20th November 2008.
The meeting provided an opportunity for delegates to discuss a number of issues of common concern and the potential for exchange of information and closer working relationships. The topics discussed followed on from the first meeting which took place in Athens, Greece, in November 2007.
The countries represented were Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, England, Finland, Malta, Scotland and Wales. Several members of IFACCA board - the CEOs of the national arts agencies of Canada, Australia, Singapore and Kenya – also attended the meeting, as did the European liaison for IFACCA, Diane Dodd, the Latin American coordinator, Santiago Jara Ramirez. Two representatives of the National Arts Council of South Africa made a presentation about the next World Summit in Joburg on 22-25 September 2009 and Danielle Cliche from the ERICarts Institute, Bonn, Germany, introduced the work of the Institute including the Compendium of Cultural Policies and the recent studies on the Status of the Artist and Artists’ Mobility.
Issues that were discussed during the meeting included:
Working conditions for artists
While the cultural sector is strong, artists and arts organisations, like other small businesses, often need support. Supporting artists is a principal concern for funding agencies and ideas and initiatives were shared in relation to taxation, social security, income levels and pensions.
New models of support
Given the potential impact of the current global economic circumstances (endowment fund losses, government budget cuts, reduction in private sponsorship, lower ticket sales etc.) many arts funders are looking at how they can best provide support to arts organisations in a way that is sustainable, entrepreneurial and less dependent on public subsidy. European perspectives and initiatives explored included mini-credits and loans, investment schemes, business and culture information sessions, advice and referral centres, partnerships with private sponsors and/or local authorities, grants for debut programs, guarantees against loss, tax adjustments, rental schemes, management training, Own Art schemes etc.
Mobility, international collaboration and artist exchanges
Individual artists are increasingly working trans-nationally and trans-culturally, and operating through formal and informal networks. Many arts funding agency programs are limited by national borders so perspectives were shared on how to develop new mechanisms for supporting international work and they have asked the IFACCA secretariat to provide some options for their next meeting.
How to make significant changes to funding structures
Most members are faced at one time or another with the issue of making tough choices and changing the established funding strategy. The discussion looked at how different members develop policies to select the best organisations to fund.
At the conclusion of the meeting, delegates agreed to set two further meetings with offers to host the meetings provided by the national arts agencies of Denmark and Malta.