Conclusions of the subjects 2005

Theme 2005: Life Long Learning in the sector arts/culture


From July 29 - August 4 was the 25th International Christian Artists Seminar. This seminar is held each year with the support of its 100 membergroups/ organizations around Europe and with the financial support of EZA/EU to have a social dialogue in the sector culture & the arts.
This seminar continues each year the discussions about an important social dilemma. This year LIFE LONG LEARNING was studied and debated: why is this important, why should this be needed in the cultural sector and how can this be organised.

Lectures were done by:

  • Andrew Bullen(UK), lector at the university of Amsterdam, co-author of the book ‘Portrait of an artist 2015’.
  • An Knaeps (Belgium),coordinator of international cultural policy of the administration of Culture, Flanders/Belgium, arthistorian, anthropologist.
  • Dr.John Smith (Australia), wellknown speaker, author, anthropologist.
  • Joachim Herudek, consultant, former director of EZA.
  • Hans Ulrich Nordhaus (Germany); DGB Bundesvorstand, department Bildung.
  • Jet Weigand-Timmer (Netherlands), specialist education, advisor ministry of education, consultant.
  • Leen La Rivière, author, consultant cultural politics, CNV Kunstenbond

The lectures were followed by groupsdiscussions, a forum and individual meetings. Parallel were done a number of 50 different workshops, masterclasses, modules to practise the theme ‘Life long learning’.


  1. CHANGE.
    Society is changing fast. Change has always be part of our society, but in past era’s people could cope with change on an informal way, during their lifetime people adapted and added new skills, new insights almost ‘automaticly’. Since the industrial revolution change is speeding up and especially since the technological (computer) revolution starting in the nineteenseventies adaptation does not happen via an informal/automatical way easily anymore. Secondly: in many sectors of labour the skill-requirements have increased immensely creating a gap between the results of a school/study-period and the realities of the labourmarket. So from both points of view: the personal atmosphere of life and from the labour-environment active steps need to be taken to bridge those gaps. That means active learning, life long.
  2. LIMITS.
    Many may debate, why not changing the actual schoolsystems & curriculum? But looking into curriculum of techical schools, high school, college and universities: a lot did change and keeps changing. But a study process goes slow; so whatever will be done, at the time a student comes on the labourmarket the mentioned gap of point 1 remains. Secondly: there is a limit in what you can put in a college/university or technical study of 4 - 6 years. So the solution is not so much in the content, but in preparing students for for flexability and an attitude for willingness for ongoing learning.
    The EU Lisboa summit is clear in the wish to become a leading knowledge based economy. That requires immense investments in learning, new skills, preparing teachers, implications and implementations for all labour & industry sectors, private businesses, etc. This is not possible without EU measures, national measures, the cooperation of employers organizations, the trade-unions, tax-benefits, etc. It should not be done via the purses of the labour-force; emplyers need to invest in life long learning programs. Life long learning programs should include an easy access for any labourer, still too many provisions are difficult to handle.
    Secondly: a fast growing number of people are selfemplyed. For them to benefit from ‘life long learning’ programs is still too complicated or not even possible. The biggest part of the sector culture and the arts are selfemplyed, so how can they receive additional training? Only here and there are some helpful situations (like in the Netherlands WWIK & flankerend beleid, approach by the ministry of social affairs and ministry of education/culture/the arts).
    Too easily ‘life long learning’ education becomes only skills/knowledge related (Ausbildung). It is undoubtedly true that people need ongoing training in skills/knowledge, but that is only one side of the needed learning. Not only industry (the workplace) is changing. As stated in point 1: society, LIFE is changing rapidly. So ‘life long learning’ needs to involve how to cope with life, understanding the growing complexity of our daily life, so ‘life long learning’ needs equally to focus on learning for all aspects of life (Bildung). In most sectors this may be (easily) realised in cooperation between employers organizations and trade-unions (if point 4 will be carried out). This is not possible in the cultural & arts sectors, as most people are selfemplyed. Here may the solution be in the hands of the artists-organizations/trade-unions and such. So these organizations should be stimulated and should receive financial support to create ‘life long learning’ programms improving skills(Ausbilding) and experience/ values/ ethics, worldvision, intercultural dialogue, open minds (Bildung).
    Up till the nineteensixtees the major income in most EU nations came from (heavy) industry, trade, etc. With the fall of the wall and the change in the far east, so much of that classical work (industry) moved to the cheap labor nations (especially since the nineteennineties). In the same time mass tourism did increase rapidly. At the moment in a good number of EU states is the biggest part of national income not coming from the classical industry or trade sector but from the sector culture; this includes: tourism, leisure (including landscapes/ forests/ villages/ city-sights, etc), sports, the arts (including hight art like museums, professional artists till folk art, objects for tourists, entertainment, etc.). This is now called the ‘Cultural Capital’ of a nation. National governments, regional bodies are challenged to review their investment policies and nurture their ‘cultural capital’, as that is giving more and more work to people. An active policy in this matter is required, starting with analysing and promoting: what is the added-value of this area, village, mountains...what is so different, that it is interesting to be there. This includes needed policies and investment in the cultural infrastructure of such area; and that includes training of people.
    The artists can have as well a specific role in the above mentioned processes as instimulating creative intelligence, creative management and such. This will give new laboropportunities for artists. And the education sector, the training sector, academic and post-academic training will benefit from those new approaces.
    This seminar proved the long range vision of the founding fathers & mothers of this CA-Seminar 25 years ago: skills, knowledge, experience, values need to be transmitted again and again to the younger generation. The social, political, economic, cultural and arts studies of this week, the confrontation with dilemma’s, facts and figures were of great stimulation, inspiration for the 250 persons (from western, eastern and southern Europe) present in the SBI Conference Centre, Doorn, the Netherlands. Decided is to move on and to carry out forms of ‘life long learning’ via the supporting artists groups. Suggested is too to stimulate the EZA centres to take on ‘life long learning’ for the cultural sector and where possible to help in the social dialogues in these sectors.