Voices of Culture
Voices of Culture is an organization that engages in structured dialogue with the European Commission in order to solicit input in the form of opinions from civil society representatives of the cultural sector which can contribute to the forming of policy proposals concerning the arts and culture. An outgrowth of the platform for Structured Dialogue with the civil sector laid out in the European Commission’s European Agenda for Culture implemented in 2007 (later revised as the New European Agenda for Culture in 2018), a second branch of Structured Dialogue was launched as Voices of Culture in 2015, in order to provide an even more flexible platform for bringing in an increasingly diverse range of input from the civil sector.
Voice of Culture solicits applicant organizations to attend Brainstorming Meetings that are held to discuss designated topics selected according to the thematic priorities set down in the EU Council Work Plan for Culture drawn up by the EU Council. The selected organizations then attend meetings and the like with representatives of the European Commission. After the meetings are completed, the attending organizations put together an official Brainstorming Report for submission to the European Commission for use in the policy-making process of the EU and its member nations.
The most recent report, titled “Status & Working Conditions for Artists, Cultural and Creative Professionals,” was released on July 6, 2021, and it contained the results of the brainstorming meetings held on the theme of current working conditions of artists and professionals working in the culture and creative fields. The 47 organizations that participated in the Brainstorming Meetings included NPOs and NGOs active in EU member nations. They included well known organizations like the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM) and others specialized in a wide range of fields, from the performing arts, music, the fine arts, film/video and more. Topics covered in the report include proposals and examples of best practices regarding the legal status and social security benefits, guarantees of fair pay, the right to collective bargaining and remuneration for intellectual property rights of artists and professionals in the field of culture, as well as the need for research and lifetime education for artists, access to sustainable mobility in the digital age and protection of freedom of artistic expression, especially as these topics pertain to the current status since the COVID pandemic.
In addition, the first topic for the 2021 to 2023 period has been announced under the title of “(Re)-Engaging Digital Audiences In The Cultural Sectors – Improving Audience Data” and 35 organizations have been selected to participate in the discussions related to new methods for engaging with digital audiences. The first Brainstorming Meetings are scheduled to begin in December 2021. This time, there will be a particular focus on the performing arts (i.e., theater, dance and live music) and on cultural heritage (i.e., museums, galleries, historic buildings, heritage sites, intangible heritage events and activities). In light of COVID-19, discussions should focus particularly on lessons learned from lockdown-induced practices that have resulted in a rapid growth in the virtual environment and new cultural experiences. There will be voluntary guidelines developed with the aim of providing means to understand existing digital audiences and engage new ones, as well as to collect, manage and make use of digital audience data.
Brainstorming Report ‘Status & Working Conditions for Artists, Cultural and Creative Professionals’ https://voicesofculture.eu/2021/07/06/brainstorming-report-status-working-conditions-for-artists-cultural-and-creative-professionals/