An invitation to participate in a discussion and a collective assembling of suggestions in relation to the reform of the social security for artists
In the framework of SOTA’s preparations for the second Fair Arts Almanac 2022 and “How to Live & Work Now” at Kaaitheater
Register here (for free)
The links towards the various pads:
27th of February 2021 // 13h-18h
The corona crisis has painfully demonstrated that a great many artists in Belgium could not fall back on the protection of social security. Many artists from dance, film, graphics, literature, music, performance, theater, visual arts, etc. are not or insufficiently protected by the existing statutes of social security and fall between the cracks of the social security system. The new federal government has therefore proposed a reform in order to make the social security for artists more sustainable. This reform is included in the overall (government) coalition agreement. The “momentum” seems now, so it is important to discuss what we, artists and art workers, want from this reform…
In recent months, the reflection group about social security and the so-called ‘artist status’ within the platform State of the Arts (SOTA), has started drafting the foundations of an elaborated discussion note. The note is more than a check list of demands. Starting from the concrete problems and experiences of their practices, it also aims to formulate policy suggestions, with the support of legal experts.
What is work? How do we calculate wages? Who is entitled to social security protection? What are the mechanisms of mutuality? Asking these questions connects our discussions with similar, urgent questions in society at large. Artists’ and art workers problems are related to those of other precarious workers with temporary, irregular and hybrid activities. It is clear that there is a need for better social security protection for all precarious workers, taking into account the specificities of these other practices and professions . This wider concern however, does not exclude that in the short term we still should try to improve the social protection of artists and art workers.
Artists and art workers are not seeking special privileges, but formal acknowledment of their activities as irregular, hybrid and atypical forms of work. The current existing ‘artist statute’ should be considered as specific rules that were designed to eliminate discrimination against artists or art workers. Like other workers, they just want the same opportunities to build up social rights.
The current reform of social security for artists and art workers cannot be seen separated from other aspects that affect their socio-economic situation. There is a need for an integrative approach. We need to encourage inter-ministerial collaboration on the issue of social protection. With this in mind we chose to address different involved ministries as the way of organizing the discussion note.
In the last two months within the trajectory of “How to Live & Work Now” at Kaaitheater the reflection group already added many new elements to the note by exchanging thoughts and concerns with both Dutch- and French-speaking organisations or groups, and by discussing it with different researchers and legal experts.
On Saturday 27 February 2021, the reflection group organises an (online) public discussion and collective process to assemble as many points of view and reflections as possible on the reform of the artist status.
Many of these reflections will find their way into a discussion note on the social protection of artists and art workers. This discussion note which will be widely distributed after and aims to contribute to the development of a well-researched and broadly-carried proposal written from the point of view of artists and art workers. The final text will be published in SOTA’s Fair Arts Almanac 2022 (read here about the 2019 Almanac).
This meeting also aims to alert artists and art workers and trigger a momentum to continue to reflect and contribute to the improvement of their own working conditions in the long term. The direct involvement of artists and art workers will contribute to a more participatory governing of the arts in the future.
Program 27 February 2021:
13:00-13:30 Collective lunch (menu) , a brief explanation on how to work in the Zoom environment (Kaai) and the collective writing documents (open source online note pad) by Gijs de Heij en Sarah Magnan (OSP) and a general introduction by Wouter Hillaert (SOTA) with simultaneous translations in three languages.
13:25-13:30 Small technical break in order for the hosts to organize the 6 different break out rooms.
13:30-14:30 Workshop part 1: locating problems. The workshop will be organized around six fixed working groups (see below) that will each focus on concrete problems related to social security for artists and art workers. The proposal is to chose for one single working group and sign up for one break out room for both parts of the workshop.
14:30-15:00 Collective short feedback from the six working groups moderated by Wouter Hillaert with simultaneous translations in three languages on different Zoom channels.
15:00-15:30 Questions and debate about the collected problems around social security for artists and art workers. Moderated by Wouter Hillaert with simultaneous translations in three languages on different Zoom channels.
15:30-15:45 Short break
15:45-16:45 Workshop part 2: assembling suggestions. The workshop will be again organized around the same six working groups (see below) that will each focus this time on concrete suggestions for improvement of the various laws involving social protection for artists and art workers.
16:45-17:15 Collective short feedback from the six different working groups moderated by Wouter Hillaert with simultaneous translations in three languages on different Zoom channels.
17:15-17:45 Questions and debate about the made suggestions for a change of policy around social security for artists and art workers. Moderated by Wouter Hillaert with simultaneous translations in three languages on different Zoom channels.
17:45-18:00 A final wrap up by Wouter Hillaert on how SOTA will finish the trajectory of the writing and the organization of the final handing over of the discussion note to the various involved ministries with simultaneous translations in three languages on different Zoom channels.
The resulting discussion note will also be published in the second edition of SOTA’s Fair Arts Almanac 2022.
The two workshops will be organised around six different working groups that will each focus on suggestions for the various involved ministries. Each working group will be hosted by a small group of various artists or art workers, and will be accompanied by a researcher or legal expert. Together these hosts will support the workshops to locate problems and to assemble suggestions. The hosts will also help moderate the discussion, take notes on the collective framapad, and report back with a summary in the collective meetings. Each group will be joined by participants from different art practices.
the 6 Working groups for the workshop:
Group 1. Federal ministry of social security – status of employers, article 1bis, KVR: hosted by Ellen De Bin (Beurschouwburg), Ronny Heiremans (SOTA), Emilliene Tempels (F(s)), Els Van Heusden, Jesse van Winden (Jubilee)
Group Group 2. Federal ministry of Economy and Employment – invisible labor, collective wage agreements, access to unemployment: hosted by Caroline D’Haese (Voices of Dance), Anne Catherine Lacroix (L’atelier Des Droits Sociaux), Kobe Matthys (SOTA), Julie Peyrat (METAL), Kristof Salomez (VUB)
Group 3. Federal ministry of the Self-Employed – status of independents, : hosted by Wouter Hillaert (SOTA), Philippine Hoegen (SOTA), Carlo Van Baelen (Auteursvereniging), Jens Van Laethem (TWIIID), Stijn Michiels (Cultuurloket), Frédéric Young (SACD & Scam) Mimi Wascher (Voices of Dance)
Group 4. Ministry of culture Flanders – under financing of culture, underpayment, collective price settings: hosted by Katleen Vermeir (SOTA), Julie Van Elslande (Jubilee), Danielle van Zuijlen (Kunsthal Gent), Yasmina Boudia (HIROS)
Group 5. Ministry of culture French speaking community – under financing of culture, underpayment, collective price settings: hosted by Marie Devroux (METAL), Mathilde Maillard (SOTA),
Group 6. Federal ministry of finance – taxes and author rights: hosted by Katrien Reist (SOTA), Tobias Van Royen (TWIIID), Tanguy Roossen (SACD & Scam)
The translation is done in collaboration with Ugent and ULB
The reflection group about social security within SOTA currently consists of Ronny Heiremans, Wouter Hillaert, Mathilde Maillard, Kobe Matthys, Katrien Reist and Katleen Vermeir, but was widened in the last months to include many other voices and expertise.