The EU’s Tandem pilot programme has funded some of Kettle’s work in the Ukraine, and our friends in the Tandem programme have recently written a (draft) comment on the Creative Europe Programme, a significant document for future EU cultural policy.
The Creative Europe Programme is a new EU programme for the creative and cultural sectors. It is proposed to start in 2014, and is currently under discussion in the EU Parliament and at the Council of Ministers. It includes skills training for artists and arts professionals, increasing financial expertise in the sector, and potential funding for transnational activities. It aims to encourage the distribution of European film, and the translation of work into new languages. The programme is in part a response to the challenges of globalisation and the impact of new technologies upon the cultural and creative sectors.
The Tandem statement welcomes the programme, but calls on European member states and institutions to remove barriers to international cultural cooperation. The way that EU funding works means that sometimes only certain countries can work together. The Tandem programme looks EU member states to neighbourhood and accession countries (those countries on the geographic periphery of Europe that are actively seeking membership of the European Union). Tandem would like to see the Creative Europe programme opened up to these neighbouring countries too.
The sharing of international best practice in audience development is really important. Some EU funded projects can be about partnerships between two particular organisations rather than country-wide networks that can really embed and share learning. While it’s good for single organisations to benefit, it would be really impressive to share benefits between established or newly created country-wide networks. This would allow smaller and medium-sized organisations that are not already operating and interacting internationally, and that don’t have massive marketing and training arrangements, to benefit.
Sharing of knowledge between peers, and supporting self-development is particularly important for those organisations which do not already have capacities in these areas. Investment and policy attention here could potentially make a great difference to European organisations. Encouraging cross-border interaction also encourages cross-border audience development, drawing potential art audiences across the rapidly disappearing European borders.
Kettle believes that although organisations and audiences certainly differ between countries, what is important is the ability to share the core competencies that equip everyone to develop on the same basis. We also think it is important to look at the practical issues that arise from the proposed EU programme, particularly the type of projects that can be funded under EU arrangements. If the projects are limited purely to artistic endeavours, then the opportunity is missed to encourage and develop skills and practices that are more behind-the-scenes, but ultimately necessary. The EU therefore needs to recognise that it should be supporting cross-national exchange of best practice in areas such as audience development, which helps the work of the organisations it funds to reach and inspire every EU citizen.