Co-operating with EU institution for better information

 provision on cultural mobility

Culture may be described as a ‘young' subject on the European Union' agenda. However, despite this, promotion of EU cultural heritage is of primary importance. Thus, the Commission has decided to fund this three year project, aimed at facilitating the provision of information and advice to cross-border mobile cultural professionals, known as the PRACTICS projects.

PRACTICS is being co-ordinated by the Finnish Theatre Information Centre (TINFO) in conjunction with ten other cultural organisations in Europe. ECAS has been brought on board due to its experience and general competence in the area of free movement of persons within the EU. Together, we have set up four "Cultural Mobility Contact Points" (CMCPs) in Belgium, Spain, Wales and The Netherlands. Their task will be to offer cultural professionals (individual artists and operators) information and advice on legal, fiscal and social issues and help them overcome obstacles when working across borders.

The CMCPs will also offer training to professionals on issues related to mobility and promote co-ordination and networking within the cultural sector. It is hoped that they would become a principal source of information, able to provide reliable, regularly updated information, timely advice and administrative support to those professionals who choose to take advantage of them.

Additionally, the project will conduct research in Italy and Finland to find out how such similar infopoints to the CMCPs could be set up there in the future. The project partners will engage in the exchange of staff and thus enhance their capacity to support mobility beyond the duration of the project.

The project began with a kick-off meeting at the offices of ECAS in Brussels on the 13th January 2009. Since then, a second partners’ meeting was again held in Brussels in June 2009, followed by a PRACTICS seminar in Torino, Italy in September 2009. On the 29th and 30th April 2010, the partners met again in Cardiff.

On the first day, Wales Art International organised a workshop on Communication strategy for the Infopoints, communication with strategic partners and stakeholders and examples of establishing strategic partnerships from other mobility information providers. On the second day, the third partner meeting took place.

The CMCPs (or ‘Infopoints') were launched on the 15th May 2009. They initially provided information only in the fields in which they already had expertise. However, as of the 1st November 2009, they became fully operational. They are being operated by Kunstenloket (Belgium), SICA (The Netherlands), the Arts Council of Wales / Wales Art International (Wales) and the Interarts Foundation (Spain). They are conceived as first-entry points for mobile cultural workers and offer advice and administrative support regarding cross-border mobility in the cultural sector.

The Organisations Involved (in the Infopoints)

Finnish Theatre Information Centre 
The Finnish Theatre Information Centre (TINFO) is a non-governmental organisation for the professional theatre field in Finland where theatres work in the two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. At the core of TINFO's activities are the promotion of Finnish theatre and playwriting as well as international collaborations. TINFO is a member of many international networks; it organises international conferences and seminars, and collaborates with festivals.

Kunstenloket is a neutral point of contact offering business and legal advice for anyone involved in the artistic professions (artists, producers, business leaders, etc.). A lot of information and documentation is available online. In addition, the consultants of Kunstenloket can be contacted by telephone on Monday and Thursday afternoons and will answer short and practical questions. If artists and organisers have complex queries and problems they can make an appointment with the consultants.

The Centre for International Cultural Activities (SICA)
SICA is the Dutch institute for international cultural policy. SICA stimulates and supports the Dutch cultural sector's international activities and ambitions, and acts as a platform for the debate on international cultural policy. It also provides information and advice pertinent to all cultural sectors and disciplines regarding specific countries, activities, sources of financial support and available networks.

Arts Council of Wales / Wales Art International (ACW/WAI) 
Wales Arts International is a partnership between the Arts Council of Wales and the British Council: it works to promote knowledge about contemporary Welsh culture and encourage international exchange and collaboration. Through the encouragement of its projects and initiatives, it aims to help build a dynamic international context to the arts in Wales.

Founded in 1995 in Barcelona, Interarts is a non- profit independent organisation set up to promote human development through culture. Its mission is to foster the role of culture both from a theoretical perspective - through research, strategy design, knowledge transfer - as well as from a concrete and practical approach - through local and international cooperation, project coordination and management.

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