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OMC Policy Handbook on Artists' Residencies
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Introduction
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1.1 artists' residencies
Artists' residencies have become intrinsic to many artistic careers. They play an important role in facilitating and catalysing artists' ability to move across the world. They have also developed into important elements in the (local) contemporary art scene connecting the local with the global art world.
The artists participating in residency programmes build bridges between countries and cultures contributing to cultural diversity. Artists’ residencies are an invaluable adjunct to short-term cultural exchanges, as they permit artists to develop a deeper understanding of their host societies and cultures. At the same time they create opportunities for giving insights into the cultural background of each participating artist’s own backgrounds. Consequently, artistic and cultural exchange and cooperation through residency programmes can increase understanding between countries and cultures. All of this is particularly vital in times of political and economic tension and when public opinion and attitudes across Europe are exhibiting signs of cultural intolerance.
1.2 Definition
"Artists’ residencies" is an open and fluid concept. It now encompasses a broad spectrum of activity and engagement. New technologies are providing new experiences including residencies in the digital space.1See, for example, the special issue of the online magazine Artmobility: http://artmobility.interartive.org/ The OMC group has used a pragmatic approach in defining residencies that allows for these changes while retaining the essence of the residency phenomenon:
“Artists’ residencies provide artists and other creative professionals with time, space and resources to work, individually or collectively, on areas of their practice that reward heightened reflection or focus.”
Artists' residencies typically offer accommodation, artistic coaching, production support and/or presentation facilities. Increasingly, residencies are thematic with the artists in residency working with other artists, scientists, and professionals from a range of disciplines and sectors and/or working within defined communities on specific themes. Artists’ residencies may ask for a tangible outcome, like an art production, an exhibition, a project, a workshop, a collaboration or may state that there are no prescribed outcomes.
1.3 Context of the policy handbook
According to Article 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Union shall take cultural aspects into account in its action under other provisions of the Treaties, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures. The European Agenda for Culture of 16 November 2007—amongst its other objectives— advocates the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue as well as the promotion of culture as a vital element in the Union's international relations. These objectives regarding culture are also in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.2Council Conclusions on the contribution of culture to the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy, 19 and 20 May 2011; http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/educ/122102.pdf Intercultural dialogue and support for the mobility of artists are, therefore, cornerstones of cultural policy at the EU level.
The active promotion of the mobility of artists and cultural professionals by the European Union and its Member States contributes to the formation of a common European cultural space, cultivates a sense of belonging, fosters participation in the European project and contributes in European integration. Residency programmes for artists play a specific and crucial role in this context.
The European Agenda for Culture introduced the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) as a “light” but structured form of cooperation among EU Member States in the field of culture. The OMC has proved to be an effective tool to address a number of issues related to artists' mobility.
Under the Council Work Plan for Culture 2008-2010, a first OMC group of national experts dealing with artists' mobility issued in 2010 a report on “Improving the Conditions to Support the Mobility of Artists and Culture Professionals” with recommendations to the European Commission, the EU Member States and the cultural sector.3http://ec.europa.eu/culture/documents/moc_final_report_en.pdf
Taking into account these recommendations, artists' mobility continued to be a policy priority under the Council Work Plan for Culture 2011-2014.4http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:C:2010:325:TOC A series of actions and instruments, including the OMC, have been used to tackle mobility-related issues.
More specifically, an OMC working group of EU Member State experts assessed mobility support programmes, identified good practice examples and issued in 2012 a policy report on "Building a Strong Framework for Artists' Mobility: Five Key Principles".5http://ec.europa.eu/culture/library/reports/artist-mobility-report_en.pdf
Moreover, the focus at the EU level has also been on improving the conditions to facilitate intra-EU and international mobility and to reduce related obstacles, including: 2011 - "Mobility Information Standards for the Mobility of Artists and Culture Professionals",6http://ec.europa.eu/culture/our-policy-development/documents/mobility-info-standards.pdf a key document by a Commission-convened expert group with guidelines on common content and quality standards for establishing or further developing information and advice services for mobile artists. EU Member States have already begun to implement these recommendations (e.g., Germany, Austria). 2013 - Thematic seminar organised by the European Commission on artists' mobility and administrative practices related to Schengen visas. The seminar brought together for the first time European Commission services, EU Member States experts from Culture and Foreign Ministries, and representatives of the cultural sector to discuss Schengen visa-related obstacles for international artists and to exchange good practice. 2014 - Thematic seminar organised by the European Commission on artists' mobility and administrative practices related to social security and taxation. This second seminar brought together European Commission services, EU Member States' experts from Labour/Employment/Finance and Culture Ministries, academics, tax law professors, trade unions and cultural organisations to analyse and address obstacles and to exchange best practice.
The work of the OMC working group on Artists’ Residencies built on the substantial work already carried out on artists’ mobility since 2008. Its mandate should be understood in this broader context. 1.4 Mandate of the OMC working group on Artists' Residencies
According to the OMC working group’s mandate, as described in the Council Work Plan for Culture 2011-2014,7http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:C:2010:325:TOC “experts will identify the success factors in preparing, carrying out and following up artists' residencies with a specific focus on building capacity and on the goal of reducing imbalances in incoming/outgoing residencies. The good practice identified should help build capacity both inside the EU and when developing residencies in third countries, as well as facilitating networking at EU level”.
This Policy Handbook is the final output of the common reflection of the OMC group's work.8See Annex 3 for the composition of the OMC working group on Artists' Residencies and its working method. The Council mandate asked the group to look at the issue of imbalances in artists' residencies. The OMC group members have taken this to mean the disproportion of artists in residency coming from within the EU as to those from beyond the EU, but also the existence of intra-EU imbalances (North/South & East/West). This is, in the group's view, a result of other imbalances discussed in chapter 7 of the Policy Handbook.
1.5 Target groups and aim of the policy handbook
The target groups for this Policy Handbook are policy makers, namely the national, regional, and local authorities in the EU Member States, cultural organisations (including artists’ residencies) in the Member States and third countries, practitioners, potential funders and the private sector.
The aim of the Policy Handbook is to provide an analysis of the value of artists’ residencies and to identify examples of good practice. It also looks at recent trends, benefits and success factors to inform policy makers and practitioners of the best way to support and develop residency programmes in the 21st century.
1.6 A note on the examples used in the text
The OMC group has chosen to illustrate the text with numerous examples. The choice fell on inspiring, sometimes less obvious examples, to point out the diversity in the residency field, instead of the more classical and well known initiatives. Although these residencies fit in with the text, they should not be seen as restrictive to what they illustrate nor exhaustive
 
1     See, for example, the special issue of the online magazine Artmobility: http://artmobility.interartive.org/  »
2     Council Conclusions on the contribution of culture to the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy, 19 and 20 May 2011; http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/educ/122102.pdf  »
4     http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:C:2010:325:TOC  »
5     http://ec.europa.eu/culture/library/reports/artist-mobility-report_en.pdf  »
7     http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:C:2010:325:TOC  »
8     See Annex 3 for the composition of the OMC working group on Artists' Residencies and its working method.  »