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Advocating for the Arts

18 June 2019

Some advocacy news for our members from Brussels!
Here two brief reports from recent meetings which give some insights on the possible future developments in policy making and funding.



International Colloquium Culture for the Future

ELIA was invited to be part of the International Colloquium Culture for Future on Innovation and Dialogue for Inclusive Development in Brussels, 16-17 June 2019.

ELIA Executive Director Maria Hansen attended the event, which focused on supporting cultural development and international cooperation as a strategic dimension in the policies of the European Union and its Member States, along with encouraging investments from the private sector and financial institutions. Geographically, the gathering was looking at Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific and European Union.

As some ELIA members may recall, a 2009 colloquium on this topic had rendered the Brussels Declaration 2009. The more than 400 delegates from, in particular, the above-mentioned regions, gathered to create an update to that document.

ELIA was invited to contribute to the working group on ‘Access to markets and artists' mobility’ which debated at length about new recommendations to propose, in particular with regards to a visa specifically for travelling artists.

Meanwhile, keynote speaker Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Secretary General, stressed the gap that exists between the Global South and Global North when it comes to participation in cultural and creative industries, as often formal frameworks are missing in the Global South. 

ELIA brought attention to the crucial need for access to high quality education, preparing artists for successfully entering this ‘market’ (or rather, the challenging world of work). The final text of a possible 2.0 version of the declaration mentioned will take some time to issue. ELIA will share any updates available on the document or processes surrounding these important issues.

Last but not least,  the European Union announced setting up of a €20 million fund to support cultural exchanges as part of international cooperation and development. The work the sector is doing to advocate for the importance of culture, arts and creative industries is giving its fruits.

Culture Action Europe networks meeting

On 17 June, Culture Action Europe called a meeting for the networks operating in the cultural sector, which was attended by ELIA Executive Director, Maria Hansen.

Culture Action Europe (CAE) lobbies on behalf of a large number of cultural organisations, including ELIA, in Brussels. Networks can play an important role in this process, by mobilising their members on issues of significance to the sector.

One key point at this meeting was an update from the CAE team on progress regarding the approval of the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021-2027.

In particular, the focus of the CAE was on the proposed increases to the Creative Europe program. The year 2019 is crucial, as the full budget needs to be approved by all member states and not all member states have yet committed to these increases – there is still work to be done on a national level.

Another big topic from the 17 June meeting was an up-coming restaffing of the committees, as Brussels prepares to receive a newly constituted European Parliament and to fill several top level offices including the Commission President. Specifically, the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) is of great significance for ELIA members, as most relevant policy proposals will emanate from within this committee.

In the coming weeks, ELIA will work with Culture Action Europe on their multi-layered post-election strategy.


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