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Call :: Fair Art Almanac / Summer Camp

Dear art practitioners

State Of The Arts (SOTA) invites you to take part in its first annual Summer Camp on fair practice, taking place in September 2018. It is a next step in a process SOTA initiated to reflect on the complex relationships between artistic, political and economic spheres. The Summer Camp is aimed at writing the


A practical guide for working,
instituting and policy making in the arts

This Almanac will be an annual collection of practical as well as visionary statements, tools and announcements that can help to develop and claim fair and sustainable practices within the cultural field. Continue reading Call :: Fair Art Almanac / Summer Camp




a self-educational platform for
artistic, economic and political movements

proposed to the Belgium arts community
in reaction to the call for projects by Kunstenpunt
in the frame of D.I.T. (do it together) 2017

State Of The Art proposes to launch an annual Summer Camp for art practitioners of any background and color – a camp where everyone concerned with the concrete conditions of art making comes together and discusses the politics of practice. The Camp shall be a meeting point of people working on all sides of the artistic production, wether in or out of institutions, as artist, technician or in administration, wether engaged in research or in production. The Camp gathers forces of those who want a strong, advanced, differentiated, diverse and challenging artistic culture in their closer or larger surrounding.
The Camp’s goal is to publish an almanac of art’s practices in Belgium and beyond.
The FAIR Almanac 2019 is aimed as a tool that gathers practices, knowledge and perspectives in form of a year calendar, generated during the Summer Camp. It shall discuss and develop five core fields of fairness in the arts: solidarity, ethics, diversity, ecology, and empowerment. The annually renewed Almanach shall be come a key instrument for a continuous discussion about working conditions in the arts.

We ask D.I.T. to support the first edition of the SOTA Summer Camp and the production
of its Almanac 2019.


During a week long gathering in Summer 2018 the participants of the Camp shall reflect upon the link between the daily practice of art making, its political, philosophical and economic constructions, the structural possibilities of the sector, and the embedding and impact of art in our society. The camp can take characteristics of a conference, a playground, summer school, public court or a festival – all of witch shall contribute their tones to the atmosphere of the Summer Camp. The general aim of the camp is to commonly improve the economic and political survival skills of the individual artists and the art field as a whole. The Camp shall be an informative, inspiring, connecting, productive and practical place that generates an instantly printed outcome – The FAIR Almanac 2019!

The Camp will take place in the open air. It shall be an independently organized space- and timeframe beyond the normal working grids, that is managed in ‘good neighborhood’ to a variety of institutions, peoples and places.

The Almanac aims to be a common tool for politicizing the arts and for ‘artifying’ political movements. It triggers discussions, features and documents the spectrum of thoughts and approaches, and lift the status of the profane organizational work into realm of the artistic. The Almanac shall provide useful practical information, dates of major and minor events, as well harvest interesting texts that addresses the precarious economic and political conditions of art practitioners. Based on the exercises and experiments of the Camp, the Almanac will not only include some basic political and administrative data provided by the cultural ministries, it discusses and reflects practical, political and performative values of these ‘data’. It will publish unsolicited comments, bottom-up advises, make proposals for changes, etc… The editorial policy of the Almanac 2019 will continue SOTA’s ongoing discussion of and for fair artistic practices within our society. Fair, in SOTA’s understanding, is a list of five concerns: solidarity, ethics, ecology, diversity and empowerment. The publication will put together what artist practitioners like to share in an almanac, beyond their usual financial and institutional implications. Fair?
The request for fairness lies in the veins of SOTA. Form the beginning on the artists forming the loose group that called it self „State of The Arts“ was concerned about the conditions that create a lively and engaged artistic scene that is able to create and reflect upon the knowledge our contemporary society needs. These conditions are under constant political threat and have to be taken care for in a continuous process that is mainly lead by the artists themselves. SOTA tries to create artist-run platforms for this engagement.

After two symposia in 2013 and 2014 a paper was created that stated the outlines of what we understand under fairness. This paper was widely discussed in Belgium and became the backbone of the recently launched Fair Practice Code in the Netherlands. We still believe that the key points of this paper are relevant and want to take its statements as a starting point to structure the Camp, the Almanac and further practices. You can find the original paper in the appendix of this proposal.


Before May 2018 SOTA will launch an open call for practices that can lead to an Almanac of Art Practice and for participation in the Summer Camp. This call will be followed by one week of creating the actual content of the Almanac the during a Summer Camp in the month of September 2018. This Camp, will at the same time continue to discuss, negotiate, learn and un-learn the what and the why of an Almanac. Although the Camp itself shall be a self-educational test ground for fair practices, the final outcome will be the draft of a blue-print of the Almanac. A team of editors will finalize this draft to a publication and sustainable blue-print for following years. While printed in November, our first Almanac will be launched in December 2018. We see it as a useful publication that on the one hand enables to build on past experiences and on the other hand allows future yearly updates of a spectrum of transformative activities and initiatives.

For whom?

The Almanac will harvest various voices of art practitioners in Belgium, from people working inside institutions until free-lancers, amateurs, etc… The creation of the Almanac shall be based on two open calls. One call is for contributions in form of texts, images, works, and other materials for the Almanac. Another call is to join an editorial group, that joins the Summer Camp. The group of editors will select the contributions and edit the publication, based on a continuity of the research by SOTA. The editing of the Almanac in the future will be fluently handed over form year to year, based on new calls.SOTA
State of the Arts (SOTA) was born more out of a situation to support fair art practices in Belgium then an idea. State of the Arts happened spontaneously at a conference in Brussels. An ongoing platform proved to be desired and so here it is to stay. SOTA sees itself as a divers, not homogeneous, inconsistent, wild and yet engaged bunch of fair art practitioners. With its loose gatherings, its spontaneous symposia and recurrent attempts to stand up for improvements of conditions within the arts. SOTA confronts art practitioners with their internal economical and political kitchen. We can be pleasantly surprised by the demonstrations of the force and relevance of SOTA’s rather “undisciplined” way of influencing.

In the writing process of this proposal following people were involved:
Nicolas Galeazzi, Kobe Matthys, Einat Tuchman, Gosie Vervloessem, Michiel Reynaert.

Plenary Discussion

Plenary Discussion (+ bio guests)


In the afternoon we all get back together and discuss the proposals on the table. What did we learn from the morning session and what can we do? What are the snags when it comes to fair practice? How broad are the spectres in different art practices and fields and should we develop different, specific parameters? Would these then be conflicting? Or can we come up with tools that count for the whole spectrum? Which are concrete proposals that could be translated into points of immediate action? Can we compose a checklist of parameters for good practices? What goals can we set for ourselves in the longer term? And which tools would we need for that?

The worktables of the morning session focus on practices of individual actors. In the afternoon, three international guests will introduce models for collective action towards fairer practices in the arts. We explore how their experiences can be translated into the Belgian or Flemish context and how we can pick them up in our future initiatives.

Below: more background information on the three guests and what they represent. In the following order: Lise Soskolne (W.A.G.E, London/NY), Peter van den Bunder (FNV/ Kiem, Amsterdam) and Joseph Young (a-n, London).

Lise Soskolne



Lise Soskolne is an artist and core organizer of W.A.G.E., an activist
organization focused on regulating the payment of artist fees by
nonprofit art institutions. An organizer within W.A.G.E. since its
founding in 2008 and its core organizer since 2012, she has worked in
nonprofit arts presenting and development in New York since 1998 at
venues that have included: Anthology Film Archives, Artists Space,
Diapason Gallery for Sound, Meredith Monk/The House Foundation for the
Arts, Participant Inc, and Roulette Intermedium. In 2007 she was hired
to jumpstart the redevelopment of Industry City, a 6 million sq ft
industrial complex on the South Brooklyn waterfront by using artists to
raise the property value. There she introduced and managed a program
that openly leveraged the cultural capital of a community of artists in
financial need in exchange for long term affordable work space and
greater control over the means of their own production.


Founded in 2008, Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) is a
New York-based activist organization focused on regulating the payment
of artist fees by nonprofit art institutions, and establishing a
sustainable labor relation between artists and the institutions that
contract them. In 2014 W.A.G.E. launched a national certification
program that publicly recognizes those institutions demonstrating a
history of, and commitment to, voluntarily paying artist fees. W.A.G.E.
Certification is the only model of its kind—and the first in the U.S.
to establish a sector-wide minimum standard for compensation, as well as
a clear set of guidelines and standards for the conditions under which
artistic labor is contracted.

Joseph Young

artist and activist


As an artist Young’s work has been exhibited and performed at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Whitechapel Gallery, Jerwood Hastings, Seoul Museum of Art, Conflux NYC and Berlin MPA. An edition of my work The Ballad of Skinny Lattes and Vintage Clothing is held in the permanent collection of the Estorick Collection in London.

He is a member of a-n’s advisory AIR Council and its Joint Secretariat, as well as a core member of the Paying Artists campaign team. Joseph has recently launched a personal campaign in support of Britain’s continuing membership of the European Union in the forthcoming referendum (Twitter: @artsforeu).

 a-n AIR was established by a-n The Artists Information Company as an integral part of its Artist membership offer for the visual arts sector.  Open to all practicing, professional visual and applied artists there are currently over 19,000 Artist members who together make a diverse and extensive professional community of practicing artists working across all types of visual arts practice in the UK.

AIR Council is an advisory group to the management and Board of a-n The Artists Information Company.

AIR Council representatives are drawn from the a-n AIR artist membership and aim to collectively embody and reflect the diversity of UK contemporary visual arts practitioners in terms of artform, career stage, gender, cultural background and geography.

 Peter van den Bunder

Responsible for the freelancers-lobby and policy

FNV/ Kiem

FNV KIEM is a labour union for everyone who works – including employees and freelancers.  People should be able to choose freely. In its interest representation, FNV KIEM also strives for colllective agreements for the self-employed, including cao and social plan agreements.

Peter van den Bunder has focussed mainly on pensions and union work during his career. He worked as an account manager for the pension fund Cultuur and for a commercial insurance company. Since 2010 Peter has been working for FNV KIEM, first as a union advisor and now as a manager for the self-employed.

In this context he focuses on collective interests representation for freelancers in the creative industry. “What is fascinating about this the freelancer cannot be generalized, there are so many differences. Freelancers make for a varied vanguard of a labour market in transition, which necessitate new solutions.” There for there are many facets to be reckoned with when it comes to the business, pension and juridical advice that Peter gives to freelancers in the creative industry.

Remuneration of artists in Netherlands

A conversation about the art label, a fee directive reward in the arts in general, and the fight for better remuneration for visual artists in particular.

Director Peter van den Bunder of the Union FNV Kiem, the union for the creative sector, outlines the situation in the Netherlands. Peter collaborated with Rune Peitersen Platform BK in the recent studies of the practice fee for visual artists in the steering committee. He tells how the meagre remuneration of artists is on the agenda in the Netherlands, and about what is happening now. FNV KIEM has developed an art label in the past, how does it work and what are the experiences? At present, the lobby for the development of a fee guideline is topical. What does that process look like? And which way should and can it go? The lobby by artists is often fragmented. Union FNV GERM collaborates closely with the professional organization Platform for Visual Arts. How is this collaboration? And in a broader sense: where do the interests of other disciplines such as the arts run parallel to those of employees and self-employed persons, and where does the friction occur?







Symposium on Solidarity

The reports of the working groups of the symposium on Solidarity of 27.02.2016 are available!


Solidarity. How do we work together?

A first work conference in the long term project Towards Fair Practices in the Arts 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Morning session

@ Kunstenpunt, Ravensteingalerij 38, 1000 Brussel & Atelier Vlaamse Bouwmeester

09h30: doors

10h00 – 10h15: introduction

10h15 – 12h00: worktables

12h00 – 13h00: lunch

13h00 – 13h15: walk to the museum KMSK


Afternoon session

@ KMSK (Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten) Regentschapsstraat 3, Brussels

13h15 – 13h30: introduction

13h30 – 15h15: reports from the worktables: what have we learnt about fairness and how to reach it? and discussion

15h15 – 15h30: break

15h30 – 17h00: contributions from international guests Lise Soskolne (W.A.G.E, London/NY), Peter van den Bunder (FNV/ Kiem, Amsterdam) and Joseph Young (a-n, London) and discussion

17h00 – 17h30: conclusions

moderator of the day: Philippine Hoegen


‘Towards Fair Practices in the Arts’ is a joint trajectory by and for the cultural sectors for more fair, diverse, sustainable and ethically responsible art practices, organized by State of the Arts, NICC, oKo, Hoogtijd, ACOD, Kunstenloket and Kunstenpunt.

This first work conference focusses on the notion of ‘solidarity’ within the various work processes and relationships that constitute the arts. Between artists, commissionaires, subsidizers, policy makers, curators, production teams, institutions, mediators and the public etc.


On February 27, we will tackle different matters concerning solidarity in the diverse art sectors today.  The conference takes place at two different adjacent locations and is accordingly divided in two parts.

More about the general questions and concerns of the conference you can find here.

Specific information on the invited speakers and the overall afternoon program you find here. For the work tables in the mornings, we set up 8 working tables around 8 different types of relationships in which solidarity could be understood, ultimately working towards an articulation of what fair practice would mean in each of these specific arena.

More about the structure of these working tables you can find here.

To bring these tables into play, we send out an open call to the people working in the     different art sectors. You can find it here.

NOTE: We ask you to registrate through this form. (There’s a maximum number of participants allowed!)

Visit the event’s facebook here for regular updates too.

Concerns on Solidarity

Resulting the SOTA conference Solidarity: how do we work together?
February 2016

The arts make a rich habitat. The exchanges and collaborations between artists, commissionaires, subsidizers, policy makers, curators, production teams, institutions, mediators and the public bring into play an impressive variety of art and cultural experience.

Today, however, these work processes are under increasing pressure. Continue reading Concerns on Solidarity

Letter to minister Gatz

(english version see bellow)

Sven Gatz, keer op je stappen terug

Augustus 2015

De jongste subsidiebeslissing in de kunsten, waarbij minister Sven Gatz 60% van de adviezen van zijn administratie en beoordelingscommissies flagrant naast zich neerlegde, wijst op een dreigende kortsluiting voor kunstenaars en kleine organisaties. 79 van 129 positief geadviseerde artistieke dossiers bleven zonder steun. Nochtans pocht het regeerakkoord: ‘Vlaanderen koestert zijn cultuur als een keurmerk voor kwaliteit en staat wereldwijd bekend voor zijn kunst en zijn kunstenaars.’ Hoe hoopt Vlaanderen daar ook in de toekomst mee te kunnen blijven uitpakken, als het zijn voedingsbodem steeds verder verdunt? Uitstraling komt niet vanzelf, er is ook een bron voor nodig. In de kunsten zijn kunstenpraktijken de bron. Wat is deze regering met hen van plan? Continue reading Letter to minister Gatz

list of studies

Some of SOTA’s list of worries have been confirmed by recent studies:

– De actuele landschapstekeningen van de Kunstensteunpunten,
– “De Waarde van Cultuur” van P. Gielen, Elkhuizen, Van den Hoogen, Lijster en Otte door Universiteit van Groningen,
– “Anderhalf Jaar Later: De Aannames van Halbe Zijlstra” (2014), van Versteegh, Van Heuven, en Van der Kooi door Kunsten’92 (NL)
– “Publieke Middelen voor de Kunstensector” (2013) van Buekens, Baetens, Laermans, Van de Velde en Van Looy door KU Leuven.)

Action points for a change of policy

Published March 5th 2015

 1. Art as equally valued within the diversity of practices in society

Society flourishes on a multiplicity of practices (science, education, health-care, trade, politics, …). We believe the position of the arts, in this palette, needs to be reinforced. One important element for achieving this goal, is the enhancement of the social and economic position of the artist within the field. In order to achieve this, there needs to be a better collaboration between the various involved ministries.

a) Implementing & enforcing the CAO wages for all artists working for institutions and other commissioners. Stop funding institutions who don’t respect these agreements.

b) Collaborating with the federal government for an improvement of social security status of the artist:
– translation of the art.1 bis of the social security into Labour Law
– retaining RSZ reductions for artists
– cancelling article 63.2, which limits the period of eligibility for unemployment benefits

c) Safeguarding and promoting intrinsic properties of the arts within inter-departemental dialogues (eg. education, sciences, social affairs, tourism, foreign affairs, internal affairs,…) in order to strengthen the ‘kunstendecreet’ in correlation with activities belonging to other domains.

d) Ordering a study to enhance the possibilities for artists to work internationally. In the past every Belgian embassy had a cultural attaché for local support in a foreign country in relation to culture, but after the federalization of culture these functions were cancelled. Finding solutions to overcome this gap.

e) Enhancing communication and partnership on an inter-communal level between Flemish and French speaking institutions.

2. Diversity of players within the arts field

Proliferation is inherent to the arts. A healthy arts field is composed of a variety of players. This is often mistaken for fragmentation within the field, while on the contrary, variety strengthens an ecosystem. Therefore the aim is to nourish this diversity and not to blindly obey the imperative of ‘bigger is better’.

a) Reinforcing the direct support of artists:
– 2015 – 2016: reconsidering cuts in direct subventions (project subvention, development grant, etc…)
– from 2017 onwards, increasing the budget for direct support to 35% of the total budget for the arts.

b) Putting the ‘core costs’ of subsidized organizations and institutions in balance with their ‘overhead costs’: raising the artistic budget (artistic creation and payment of artists’ wages) within the total budget of these organizations to 50%. Enforcing more transparency of these figures. Instigating a debate about the definition of ‘core’ and ‘overhead costs’.

c) Reserving a minimum of 25% of the structural support budget for small and artist run organizations in order to guarantee sustainable support for experimental players within the arts field. We applaud the proposition of the 3 year project subventions, only if this does not hollow out structural support for small organizations.

d) Stopping the unbalanced distribution of cuts: By favoring big organizations, an unhealthy polarization risks to arise, in which the majority of players become dependent on a powerful few. Safeguarding the diversity of players within the arts field, in particular the small and medium players.

e) Guaranteeing the autonomy of the different players. Stimulating partnership and collaboration between organizations of different sizes and profiles. Protecting smaller players from forced mergers with larger scale operations under the false pretense of ‘optimization’.

f) Coordinating, in dialogue with ‘steunpunten’, a database with an overview of all infrastructure, services, materials, etc., available for organizations and artists within the Belgian territory. Such a ‘pool’ can be an alternative way of saving by utilizing more fully existing resources.

g) Developing a transparent concept and vision of the dynamics of the various players within the sector, not focusing solely on the inflow of ‘young talent’. Working towards an integrated vision, which also takes into account midterm mobility, as well as outflow or de-institutionalization.

3. Diversity of art forms

We also emphasize the importance of the diversity of art forms. The intrinsic value of experimental, trans disciplinary, artistic research, social-artistic practices, etc… requires our full attention. Policy has to be responsive to this diversity, with a refined palette of parameters. Standardization in the arts is a contradiction in terms and often means the elimination of many art forms. We applaud the bridging of the divide between different disciplines in the new ‘kunstendecreet’, but we would like to raise awareness of the singularity and specificity of different art practices.

a) Guaranteeing a balanced allocation of funding, spread over all art forms, including experimental and research-based practices.

b) Guaranteeing that the constellation of the different Commissions mirrors the diversity of art forms, and that they include peers of these different practices. Such diversity within the Commissions guarantees precise evaluation and customized support. Follow the advice of the Commission.

c) Search for forms of co-financing on a Flemish level, across policy-boundaries, specifically for trans-disciplinary labs. Trans-disciplinary research requires co-funding models between education, socio-cultural work, science, innovation, …

4. The particularity of the models to finance the arts within the diversity of supports

Public subventions are inherent to the specific and complex economical organization of the arts. Other models of financing must be treated with caution. They cannot replace the existing system of subsidies. We refuse the Anglo-Saxon model of obligatory private income sourcing for culture. It is important not to confuse the organization and economy of a free and autonomous public arts sector, with a so called cultural ‘industry’ run by the logic of the market.

a) Safeguarding the principle of state subsidies as the main instrument for supporting the arts.

b) Avoiding quantitative pre-conditions for funding applications (such as minimum number of presentation dates, minimum amount of own income within the production budget, etc …). Ensuring that such selection criteria do not sideline the role of the commissions.

c) In the case of funds being raised through a Tax Shelter, these funds should be transferred directly into the budget of the ‘kunstendecreet’. Tax shelter money should remain a public good.

d) Commissioning a study to examine how the possible spill-off of artistic activities can flow back to the budget for the arts.

5. Diversity of organizational models for various art practices

SOTA strives for the self-organization of artists, because they know better than anyone, the specificity of their own practices. Self-organization should not be confused with the self-reliance of an entrepreneur within so called ‘creative industries’. One cannot apply one standardized model to the complex ecosystem in which artists work. Small, bottom-up organizations and self-organized networks can develop more closely alongside artists.

a) Guaranteeing the independence of artists and the organizational framing of their practices, by allocating structural funding to artist-run organizations and initiatives. Delegating this role to large scale institutions is not a solution.

b) Guaranteeing access to structural support for workspaces, residencies and alternative management offices. Rectifying the current discrepancy between disciplines in this regard.

c) Ensuring that a minimum 15% of expenses in project subventions can be spent on overhead and administrative costs. This percentage embodies the average overhead costs within shared workspaces and communal administrations.

d) Organizing a study in order to simplify the bureaucracy for individual artists and small initiatives so that the administrative costs can be minimized.

e) Commission a study on the development of cooperative self-organizational models and on peer to peer systems as production models for the arts.

f) Collaborate with the Regions and City Governments to recognize workspaces as a single category within city development and urbanism.


Pressbericht maart 2015


(english version bellow)

Brussel, 6 maart 2015

Op 22 februari 2015 organiseerde State of the Arts* een symposium waarin ze haar visienota voorlegde aan een breder veld. 150 kunstenaars, onderzoekers, cultuurwerkers, … staken de koppen bij elkaar om de sociale uitdagingen waar kunst en cultuur vandaag voor staan, samen, in solidariteit  aan te gaan. I

Dit symposium heeft de bestaande SotA-visie bevestigd dat het cultuurbeleid dient te vertrekken vanuit de intrinsieke kracht van de kunst, in eerste instantie vertegenwoordigd door de kunstenaar en zijn praktijk. Een cultuurbeleid dat transversaal – vanuit systeem- en diversiteitsdenken- dient door te werken in andere beleidsdomeinen en -niveaus teneinde de verbeeldingskracht van de samenleving duurzaam te ontwikkelen. Daarenboven legde het symposium ook enkele aspecten bloot die op dit moment sterk leven en broeien te velde.

Op 5 maart werden SotA’s standpunten bezorgd aan Dhr. Sven Gatz, Vlaams minister van Cultuur, Media, Jeugd en Brussel, en aan diens kabinetsleden. State of the Arts hoopt dat de minister haar visie zal meenemen in zijn beleidsnota die is aangekondigd voor begin april 2015.

a/ Betrekken van alle beleidsdomeinen bij het versterken van de rol van de kunstenaar

Wij vragen de minister om in relatie met de andere beleidsdomeinen en -niveaus die impact hebben op het functioneren van de kunstenaar (bvb. onderwijs en vorming, economie, wetenschap en innovatie, werk en sociale economie, internationaal; op lokaal, Vlaams, federaal en supranationaal niveau) een pro- actieve en coördinerende rol op te nemen.

Een promotie en vrijwaring van de intrinsieke kwaliteiten van de kunsten zal het kunstendecreet en de centrale positie van kunstenaars versterken.

b/ Betrekken van de kunstenaar bij besluitvormingsprocessen binnen de culturele sector

De samenstelling van de commissies dient de verscheidenheid aan kunstpraktijken te weerspiegelen door er peers van verschillende praktijken in op te nemen. Zulke diversiteit garandeert een precieze evaluatie en op maat gemaakte steun.
Wij vragen de minister bij de samenstelling van de commissies het belang van de diversiteit tot prioritair criterium te maken.

SotA wil bijdragen aan innovatieve praktijken op het vlak van publieke cultuurfinanciering. Zo moet het huidige systeem van subsidie radicaal worden herdacht. Bijvoorbeeld door de oprichting van een

kunstenparlement dat bestaat uit zowel kunstenaars als cultuurwerkers en politici. Hier worden debatten gevoerd en beslissingen genomen over wie wordt betoelaagd, welke de bedragen zijn, en welke de beoordelingscriteria zijn.

Wij vragen de minister steun te verlenen bij de oprichting van een brede sectorale werkgroep die het systeem en de perceptie van de publieke subsidiëring toekomstgericht overdenkt.

c/ BestaansONzekerheid van de kunstenaar

SotA wil bijdragen tot de versterking van de positie van de individuele kunstenaar. De voordeelregel kunstenaars (“kunstenaarsstatuut”) is essentieel voor het bestaan als kunstenaar. Echter, deze voordeelregel vertoont, ondanks de ingevoerde aanpassingen, bijzonder veel mankementen. Hij blijft onderhevig aan de willekeur van de uitvoerende machten waardoor een groot aantal kunstenaars om vaak bijzonder onduidelijke, onrechtvaardige redenen er niet ‘onder vallen’. Maar vooral problematisch is dat deze voordeelregel uitgaat van de verkeerde, achterhaalde, negatieve visie op arbeid. Voor creatieven is de notie “werkloos” en niet “mogen werken als werkloze” een absurde, psychotische realiteit.

SotA wil zich inzetten voor het herdenken vanuit een nieuw perspectief van -in een eerste fase- ‘artistieke/creatieve arbeid’ en onderzoek verrichten naar niet-monetaire alternatieven en nieuwe samenwerkingsvormen.

Op korte termijn wil SotA de positie van de individuele kunstenaar ten opzichte van verschillende culturele actoren versterken. Aan de verschillende spelers vragen wij transparantie omtrent de verdeling der budgetten; degelijke afspraken over arbeidsvoorwaarden en het garanderen van loon volgens de overeenkomstige CAO’s.

Wij vragen de minister om met spoed voorlopige oplossingen te realiseren en tegelijk de uitdaging aan te gaan van een fundamentele herdenking van het bestaande systeem.

d/ De essentie van de labcultuur

Omgevingen die wild experiment, accidenten, fouten, het niets-doen mogelijk maken; die uitdagen, het procesmatige, non-lineaire, onderzoeksmatige, intuïtieve, twijfel en een zelf-kritische ingesteldheid omarmen… Dionysus! Een bloeiende labcultuur met een veelheid aan eigenzinnige collectieve en individuele werkplaatsen, labs, research centra zijn een noodzakelijke voorwaarde in de ontwikkeling van de kunstenaarspraktijk en bijgevolg het culture veld. De expertise, kennis, methodologie en taal- die is opgebouwd in de huidige labcultuur- dient verder te worden ontwikkeld, als onontbeerlijke humuslaag, voortdurend transformerend, gistend. Het weze duidelijk dat deze (id)entiteiten niet kunnen functioneren binnen de structuur van grotere culturele instellingen.

Wij vragen de minister een aantal fundamentele beleidsinstrumenten op het gebied van processteun voor individuele kunstenaars te handhaven en verder uit te bouwen: ontwikkelingsgerichte- en trajectsubsidies (VGC); ontwikkeling van meer atelierruimte en structurele ondersteuning van zelfgeorganiseerden structuren, werkplaatsen, research- en lab-entiteiten, en ruimtecreatie voor transversale samenwerkingen.

e/ Een vettere vinger in de onderwijspap

SotA onderschrijft het belang van samenwerkingsverbanden tussen kunst en onderwijs. Een aparte werkgroep over de relatie tussen deze twee velden zag na het symposium het licht. Deze groep onderscheidt een aantal belangrijke punten: alternatieve modellen ontwerpen voor een vruchtbare kruisbestuiving tussen kunst en educatie; bestaande modellen van samenwerkingsverbanden in de betreffende velden verrijken vanuit de praktijk van de kunstenaar; kunstenaars betrekken bij het vorm geven van educatieve modellen die verbeeldingsrijke systemen van kennisproductie stimuleren.

Wij vragen de minister beleidsinstrumenten te ontwikkelen die de uitwisseling tussen kunst en onderwijs versterken en ook de kennisontwikkeling hierrond te bundelen.

 f/ WoordenWerelden

SotA zou u graag een dienst leveren: een aantal SotA-onderzoekers zouden wat graag bijdragen tot een uitgepuurd taalgebruik in de beleidsnota en in de publieke communicatie in en door het culturele veld in het algemeen. Onze tenen en synapsen krommen en schichten bij het slordige gebruik van woorden als

diversiteit, participatie, autonomie, veerkracht, overheidscompensaties voor het falen van de markt, en- en-financiering enzomeer. Woorden construeren per slot van rekening mee de realiteit.

Laat ons een manier bedenken om samen het taalgebruik uit te puren. Op te schonen. Een co-creatieve niet-vrijblijvende oefening ten faveure van het algemeen belang.

g/ Structureel overleg / visieontwikkeling

Onmiddellijk na het symposium is SotA begonnen met de samenstelling van verschillende werkgroepen om bovenstaande materie verder uit te diepen. Deze bestaan uit kunstenaars, onderzoekers/denkers en medewerkers van kunstenverenigingen/organisaties. SotA streeft hierbij naar een grote transparantie en openheid naar iedereen die wil deelnemen aan deze discussies en zoekt hiervoor naar nieuwe werkvormen en overlegstructuren.

Heel concreet stelt SotA de inrichting van een structureel overlegorgaan voor waarin overheid, instellingen en kunstenaars de ontwikkeling van bovenstaande centrale thema’s in de komende twee moeilijke jaren samen opvolgen. Mocht u dit in uw visienota kunnen meenemen, zal dit beslist met veel enthousiasme onthaald worden.

We verwijzen aanvullend ook expliciet naar de nog steeds geldende meer uitgebreide ‘SotA visienota van december 2014. –

Over SotA

State Of the Arts (SotA) is een open platform van kunstenaars, artist-run en zelfgeorganiseerde initiatieven en iedereen die bezorgd is om de gesteldheid van de kunsten vandaag. Het werd opgericht in 2014 vanuit een gedeelde verontrusting over de soberheid richting die de maatschappij in het algemeen en de cultuurpolitiek in het bijzonder heeft ingeslagen ten aanzien van de verbeeldingskracht van de samenleving in het algemeen, en de kunstpraktijken in het bijzonder. Het platform is een draak met vele koppen, die niet perse met één stem spreekt, maar wel degelijk bezorgdheden en drang naar alternatieven deelt.


COMMUNIQUE DE PRESS Brussels, March 6 2015

On the 22nd of February, State of the Arts* organized a symposium during which it’s visions were shared with the larger field. 150 participants (artists, researchers, cultural workers, etc.) put their heads together to take up, in a spirit of solidarity, the social challenges that the field of the arts faces today.

This symposium confirmed the existing SotA vision that cultural policy should be based on the intrinsic power of the arts, primarily represented by artists and artistic practices. A transversal cultural policy – developed from thinking in systems- and diversity – should resonate in different domains/levels of policy in order to develop the imagination of the society in a sustainable way. Moreover, the symposium revealed issues that are pertinent and debated in the field today.

On the 5th of March, SotA’s views were delivered to Mr. Sven Gatz, Flemish minister of Culture, Media, Youth and Brussels, and to his cabinet employees. State of the Arts hopes that the minister will integrate this vision in his policy notes, which are expected to be announced on the 1st of April 2015.

Bellow, from a to g, is a summary of the main points.

a/ engaging all domains of policies to reinforce the role of the artist

We ask the minister to play a coordinating and pro-active role towards other policy domains and levels that have an impact on artist’s practices. (Ex. Education and training, economy, sciences and innovation, work and social economy; on the local, Flemish, federal and international level)

The promotion and safeguarding of the intrinsic qualities of the arts will reinforce the arts-decree as well, procuring a central role for artists.

b/ involving artists in processes of decision making in the cultural sector.

The composition of the committees should reflect the diversity of existing art practices by incorporating peers from different disciplines (vs. practices). Such diversity guarantees precise evaluations and customized forms of support. We ask the minister to prioritize the importance of diversity as a criterion for the compiling of committees.

SotA aims to contribute towards innovation in public cultural funding. The current subsidy system needs to be radically reconsidered. An example is the founding of an arts committee? comprised of artists as well as cultural workers and politicians. In this (‘arts’) parliament questions such as who to support, for which amounts and using which assessment criteria, are debated and decided upon.

We ask the minister to offer support in the creation of a broadly based sectorial work group to prospectively rethink the system and the perception of public subsidies.

c/ artists’ existing insecurity SotA aims to contribute to reinforcing the position of the individual artist. The rule of advantage for artists (“kunstenaarsstatuut”) is essential for the existence of artists. However, even considering recent adaptations of this rule of advantage, there are still many defects. The status is still subject to the arbitrariness of the powers that be, so that many artists are found not to be ineligible, based on unclear and unfair reasons. Most problematic is that the rule works on the assumption of a

negative, old fashioned view on the concept of labour. For creative people, the notion of being ‘unemployed’ and not ‘allowed to work as an unemployed’ is an absurd and troubling reality.

SotA commits to rethinking, from new perspectives, the concept of ‘creative/artistic work’, and to researching non-monetary alternatives and new forms of collaboration.

In the short term, SotA wants to reinforce the position of the individual artist in their relations with different cultural actors. We ask the different players for transparency concerning the distribution of the budgets: solid agreements on working conditions and a guarantee of incomes according to the ‘CAO’ laws.

We ask the minister to urgently seek provisional solutions and at the same time take on the challenge of rethinking fundamentally the existing system.

d/ the bare essence of Lab-culture

Environments where wild experiment, accidents, mistakes and ‘doing nothing’ is possible; Environments where issues of challenges, the non-linear, researching, intuitive, questioning and self-critical process may exist … Dionysus! A fruitful lab-culture with a multitude of obstinate collective and individual workspaces, labs, research centers are an essential condition for the development of art practices and consequently for the cultural field. The expertise, knowledge, methodology and language – which is constructed in the existing lab-culture- needs to be developed, as an indispensable layer of humus, constantly transformed and fermented. It is clear that these id/entities do not function between the structure of big cultural institutions.

We ask the minister to maintain a bundle of fundamental policy instruments in the support of processes for individual artists and to enlarge them: subsidies for the developing of trajectories (VGC): ontwikkelingsgerichte- en trajectsubsidies (VGC); development of more studios/spaces and structural support for self-organised structures, workspaces, research and lab entities and the creation of spaces for transversal collaborations.

e/ A fat finger in the educational pie.

SotA under scribes the importance of collaborative relations between art and education. A separate workgroup on the relation between these fields came to light during and after the symposium. This group discerns a series of important points: by developing alternative models for fruitful synergies in between art and education; by enriching the existing models of collaborative relations in the concerning fields out of the practice of the artist; by including the artists in the formation of educational models who stimulate the imagination and systems of knowledge production.

We ask the minister to develop policy instruments that empower the exchange between art and education as well to collect here about the development of knowledge.

f/ Words in the World

SotA can be of service: SotA- researchers should be able to contribute to a purified usage of language within the policy note, public communication and throughout the cultural field in general. After all, language constructs reality. It is irritating and troubling to hear the following words in use in a sloppy or inconsistent way:

diversity, participation, autonomy, elasticity/buoyancy, governmental compensations where the market fails, and-and-finances, etc.

Let us find a way to clean up and purify the usage of language as a neutral / not non-committal exercise in favor of the public interest.

g/ Structural consultation / development of vision.

Following the symposium, SotA has crated different working groups to study the above matters. These groups are composed out of artists, researchers, thinkers and collaborators from artistic organisations/associations. SotA seeks for a great transparency and openness to anyone who wants to contribute to these discussions. SotA seeks to develop new working formats and consultation structures.

SotA proposes to concretely create a structural consultative body where the government, the institutions and artists can follow the development of the above and central thematics during the two difficult coming years. If these preoccupations should be crystallized in the vision note, it would be largely appreciated.

We refer explicitly to the existing and extensive SotA’s vision note from December 2014 –

About SotA

State Of the Arts (SotA) is an open platform of artists, artist-run and self-organised initiatives and appeals to anyone who is concerned about the state of the arts today. Founded in 2014, it was initiated to address shared concerns about the austerity measures that politics at large, and cultural policies in particular, have taken in relation to art practices. The platform is multi-header monster and doesn’t intend to speak with one voice, but bundles concerning and the urge for alternatives.