Christian Artists Seminar

August 5 - August 10 2017

Conclusions of the subjects 2011

Theme 2011: More and better jobs in the cultural/arts sector part 2

The seminar was financed with the support of the European Commission.
The seminar will be financed with the support of the European Union.

SOCIAL DIALOGUE ABOUT: MORE AND BETTER JOBS in the Cultural Sector.
Organised by the CNV KUNSTENBOND,
with participation of cultural trade-unions around Europe.
Location: KSI in Bad Honnef, Germany

August 8 – 13, Seminar 2011
The 31st European Christian Artists Seminar
Introduction, by Leen La Riviere, chairman of the CNV Kunstenbond (Christian Artists trade union):
WHY do we need a SOCIAL DIALOGUE about WORK (jobs) & REALITY (inspiration, income)?

REASON FOR THIS THEME CHRISTIAN ARTISTS SEMINAR 2011

Europe faces a moment of transformation. The crisis has wiped out years of economic and social progress and exposed structural weaknesses in Europe's economy. 80 million of EU population were at risk of poverty prior to the crisis. 19 million of them are children. 8 per cent of people in work do not earn enough to make it above the poverty threshold. Unemployed people are particularly exposed. The financial and economic crisis that started in 2008 resulted in a significant loss in jobs and potential output and has led to a dramatic deterioration in public finances. The crisis also underscored the close interdependence of the Member States’ economies and labour markets.
Keeping this situation in mind the seminar wants to shed light on the situation of a specific group of workers – artists and cultural workers. Artists in this case are defined as workers in every field of art, culture, commercial design, day time production and media and build the “cultural capital” of European society. Over the last 15 years the growing importance of the cultural sector as a new ‘employment-engine’ for cities and countries has been recognised. The European Commission has put stress on the potential of cultural cities and cultural industries in their “Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries” report, published in April 2010.
Due to the current economic situation and the growing budget cuts within the EU, employment possibilities for artists seem to be on the decline. At the same time the amount of tax money spend for the cultural sector is decreasing. Interesting new job opportunities lie within the provision and creation of a new cultural infrastructure and the growing awareness for the potential of cultural cities.
This seminar wants to think about more and better jobs for the cultural and creative sector and widen vision and opportunities for new employment possibilities. Focus shall be put on artists’ trade unions and their possibilities to improve the working situation, the working conditions and the payment situation of their members and to elaborate strategic insights for new strategic policies.
As mentioned in the Strategy “Europe 2020” it will be important “to turn creative ideas into innovative products, services and processes that can create growth, quality jobs, territorial, economic and social cohesion”. Here the cultural and creative sector can play a key role in elaborating new ideas. Due to the fact that the Europe 2020 strategy should be implemented in partnership with all national, regional and local authorities, closely associating parliaments, as well as social partners and representatives of civil society it could also be a great chance to integrate workers from the cultural and creative sector on a local, regional, national and European level in the development and implementation of creative and innovative ideas.
The cultural and creative sector is characterised by the high mobility and flexibility of its mainly self-employed workforce. The current situation on the labour market for this group of workers is rather difficult due to several reasons:

  1. The amount of tax money spend for the cultural and creative sector is decreasing
  2. The high flexibility is leading to an unstable employment situation
  3. The working conditions and the payment situation is rather bad
  4. The self-employed workers in the cultural and creative sector are difficult to organise by trade unions
  5. It is difficult to bargain collective agreements or a minimum salary within this sector due to very different working realities

This is why the role of artist trade unions is very important for the people working in the cultural and creative sector. This seminar builds on the outcome of previous seminars and is consisting of four different parts. Each day one topic will be dealt with and an expert as key speaker will take the role of informing and stirring the debate. The first part is dealing with the consequences of the financial, economic and employment crisis for the cultural and creative sector. The second part puts the clash of business and labour ethics in the focus of discussion. Part three is dealing with the importance of a Flexicurity concept that provides both: Flexibility on the one hand and security on the other hand. The fourth part is giving focus on the personal dimension and the idea of reaching ones aims.
Tuesday August 9: Day 1: The consequences of the crisis for the cultural and creative sector
Wednesday August 10: Day 2: The clash of business and labour ethics
Thursday August 11: Day 3: Flexicurity is needed more than ever before
Friday August 12: Day 4:The personal dimension, It is all about you

 

Part I: The consequences of the crisis for the cultural and creative sector
Speaker: Dr. Jaap Smit, Chairman CNV trade union (NL) Tuesday August 9: Summary:

Within this part the following topics and questions will be dealt with: How did the crisis hit the cultural sector. What are the consequences of the crisis for work, daily life and the family? What are the effects of the crisis on the employees and on the cultural sector in general? Are the artistic workers an endangered species? What should trade unions do to deal with the consequences and what lessons should they have learned from it? Can we find a new ‘great story’, a metaphor to move us to a new ‘promised land’, where artists/cultural workers have income and useful work. There are no easy ‘7 steps to success’. Arts have great meaning to communicate the European cultural values. Artists create the free space society needs. Several nations have major budget cuts, so that the socio-cultural infrastructure gets destroyed. Culture is essential to realise the EU 2010 policy about cultural cities-cultural industries. The essence of this cultural policy are artists. They provide the ‘free creative space’ the EU needs to realise these targets. So national governments should take that into consideration.

Part II: The clash of business and labour ethics Speaker: Prof. Maarten Verkerk, University of Maastricht (NL) Wednesday August 10 Summary:
Within this part the following topics will be in the focus: Prestige and efficiency of the economic model of liberal capitalism, as it was promoted especially in the Anglo-Saxon economies, has sharply decreased during the times of crisis. It became clear that the short term bonuses had a dramatic effect. Now the revival of the Rhineland model is taking place, a model based on Christian thinking that is taking into account the social dimension of market economy. A ‘business’ has an added value for society, a ‘business’ is more as just profit making. Recent history shows that investment in trust and cooperation (stake holders versus share holders) pays better of than short-term profit. Especially daily work has to do with values and ethics and this is very important for the entrepreneur, for the work-floor, for the generated capital and is also very important for the cultural and creative sector in general. The ‘American dream became an American nightmare’. The American dream promoted greed, hedonistic lifestyle, egoism. We need to go back to the Christian-humanistic values of work. From this point of view: Art is NOT a kind of market, and should not be put just in the hands of the market-forces. How to earn a living? Regarding the many working hours and the hard work done by artists the ideal of ethical work can be a sharp contradiction with reality. Therefore the role and power of artists’ trade unions has to be strengthened. Another solution can come from starting cooperatives to make and sell works of art c.q. for concert productions, theatre work.

Part III: Flexicurity is needed more than ever before: Speaker: Dr. Zsuzsanna Torok, Lecturer and Scientist (Hungary) Thursday August 11 Summary:
Part III is investigating if there are ways out of the crisis because there is a need for a new mentality among the labourers. What this crisis proved: this ultra-capitalistic system is not sustainable; the Rhineland model is, as that system shows social responsibility (schools, houses, health-care for workers). Starting private businesses, like own art-classes, workshops or perhaps private dance-schools might be an option. In the midst of the crisis there is a longing for a higher purpose, so here the practical side of the arts can blossom and may be able to give back a deeper meaning to our cultures. But how flexible are the cultural and creative workers? And how can they cope with a rapidly changing society? Will they follow orientation, life long learning, improve skills, and learn to see new opportunities? The personal situation of self-employed is related to any other area of regular work and of employed workers. This includes the role of trade unions which led to the fact that the trade unions in the Netherlands have organised already approximately 50.000 self-employed with growing numbers. The help and support of trade unions is fundamental in the fields of safety, health, fair pay, fair contracts and life-long learning. The self-employed needs have to be integrated in the new strategic thinking and the new trade union policies. Trade unions also have to cope with a new bargain environment. New strategies for trade unions need to bridge the traditional collective bargaining with individual services, so that each employee will have fair pay which is quite a strategic challenge. And this can make reality of the new EU strategies (Europe Cultural & Cultural/Capital programs)

Part IV: The personal dimension: It is all about you. Speaker: Dr. John Smith PhD, Lecturer and Author (UK) Friday August 12 Summary:
Having heard the content of the first three days part IV is focusing on the response of the participants. The participants have to answer the following questions: When will you become active? How will you make these changes your personal chance? Change must result in individual change and in the change of the daily lives as workers in the creative sector. This will be the only way to foster long lasting changes within European societies. Due to the interconnectedness of the whole labour market the interdependency between workers organised in trade unions, being represented in the social dialogue is a big added value for a just and fair society. The development of new strategies for self-employed workers will be a future challenge for trade unions. They have to find solutions how to deal, protect and support the self-employed in a better and adequate way and how to respond to their needs. Realising the aims of their “Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries” report, the European Commission needs to recognise that the cooperation of cultural workers and trade unions will be fundamental in creating and establishing new strategies. An example where creativity, social innovation and the local communities work well together is Edenfest in Australia. Another statement that will help, is, that the arts are not there to promote my ego (the myth of self esteem), but artists are there for the community, whereby personal success is never guaranteed. So where do you stand as artists in all of this? For sure the EU needs artists to convey truth on the moral and social conditions of our continent, just like the ancient prophets. Artists are the major source for social renewal, the position of minority groups. Artists are the generator to mobilise the social capital of Europe.

Daily Comments, Leen La Rivière, Chairman of the CNV trade union of artists (Christian Artists). Daily comments were each day at 22.00 Summary:
Summary: each day saw a part of the film Metropolis (from 1927) a film showing the exploitation of the workers, seduction by robot-lies, a clash of the workers with the leader of the city who behaves like a dictator. Finally a new social contract is done.
The film shows the dilemma of our modern society: a great city world, an elite with all luxury and the workers pay the costs. It asks for reform: in 1927 and it asks for reform today. The slave hours and conditions are found all across Europe among the cultural workers/artists. So we are called to make a change. Our mission statement shows: we are all called to have a positive influence on our society. So we are light for the future of our culture. That means professional work, great compositions, special theatre productions, great CD’s, unique dance-choreo’s, special and inventive forms of visual arts, great writings, etc etc. So YOU have a challenge

Additional value for the Social Dialogue
The focus will be on the need for new trade union strategies in order to integrate more self-employed workers in the national and European social dialogue. Due to a rising number of self-employed people, working under precarious circumstances, support, protection and representation of theses people, especially in the cultural and creative sector where low salaries and long working days are crucial, has to be fostered. Much attention will be paid to the new or modified role of the social partners and their responsibilities in this area. The seminar will promote the social dialogue and the cooperation of the social partners.

THE DAILY SCHEDULES:

08.00 opening of the day based on the day-subject
08.45 – 09.45 workshops
10.00 – 11.00 lecture and first plenairy discussions
11.00 coffee
11.15 – 12.15 Forum and discussiongroups about day theme/lecture
12.30 lunch
13.30 – 14.30 evaluations
14.30 – 15.30 workshops
15.30 tea
16.00 – 17.00 workshops
18.00 dinner
19.30 evening presentations

CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMANDATIONS

  1. Europe is more than money and economy, see the Treaty of Maastricht 1991: We are as well cultural values.
  2. The EU document 2010 about Cultural cities/Cultural industries asks for active regulations and implementations to stimulate city-policies. The hard core must be how to keep and to use artists of all disciplines within cities.
  3. City policies should have clear financial stimulating regulations for artists. This includes possibilities for workshops, innovating rooms, technical and multi-media facilities, etc.
  4. Trade unions and political parties are called to review the economic basis of the EU. The EU is more than just money, as already agreed in the Treaty of Maastricht in 1991. These cultural values have as well a social agenda. That means that Europe stands on the Rhineland model, where all partners are STAKE-holders (and where labourers are the precious social-cultural capital) and the EU will not surrender to the stake holders USA mentalities (where JUST profit is the norm and where labourers are a cost factor)
  5. Some nations have to make budget cuts on culture, due to the financial crisis. If this is inevitable, special attention is asked not to destroy the cultural infrastructures.
  6. For a very long time each government has believed in the value of the arts for the future of the generations. Today at several government levels is the cold wind of ‘value for money’.
  7. The real value (social, cultural, talents development, etc) of art can never be measured by just money. We call upon governments to reconsider national policies on arts.
  8. Arts have a special meaning related to democracy, especially the possibilities for all critics to ensure the rights of free speech/expression. See the murders of Theo van Gogh, Pim Fortuyn; the Mohammed cartoons, etc Society needs sometime a clear mirror.
  9. As the daily work of individual artists becomes more and more flex, selfemployed, etc It becomes clear that trade unions in Europe should organise this field of workers and help out with directives related to tariffs, health, pensions, safety, schooling/training, insurances, etc. In the Netherlands already 60.000 selfemployed have been organised by the trade unions (FNV and CNV) giving a help in all those area´s.
  10. The daily life of almost all artists may look like a struggle to survive. There is no time for any ´bohemien´ life/style. As an artists never works for his ´ego´, but for the community (every art form has a relationships with a community-audience), any community should consider the position of artists within such community. As art is NOT a market product.
  11. To help surviving, artists may need to consider the cooperation as financial model.
  12. The CNV Kunstenbond-Christian Artists will move ahead in the Netherlands to start cooperating with ZZP-Nederland, the national centre for selfemployed

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