16 March 2012: Response to Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing the Creative Europe Programme

Response to Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing the Creative Europe Programme

Friday, 16 March 2012

Summary:  Visual Artists Ireland welcomes such an initiative and the commitment contained therein for the allocation of funding to the creative sector. There are some serious concerns about the large focus placed on the film industry, with no other creative sector being identified for special consideration. The programme discusses a simplification of processes and procedures in the new proposal, and a rationalisation through centralisation and focus of effort in a smaller dedicated team.  It is our opinion that the proposal as is will not deliver this in any meaningful way at a grass roots level.

Specifics: It is with some dismay that we find that the report of consultation and expert advice appears to spend little space discussing the broad number of sectors that represent the creative economy.  From a visual arts point of view there is no mention made as to input from our sector.  Instead the paragraph jumps to recommendations that can be seen as the needs of the film sector.  Specifically, the suggestion that the main priorities should be: new technologies; gaps in training; fragmentation; support rules; media literacy, and quotas of European work preclude any consideration being given to the diverse levels of support needed to bring different countries up to levels of basic services, supports and provisions necessary for equitable discussion surrounding the support of artists, artistic engagement and artistic exchange.

It would seem to be commonsense that the implementation of the proposed programme would address the following as priorities, based on the precise needs of creatives (artists, writers, poets etc) and organisations working in the cultural creative sector that is outside of the commercial creative sector.

  • Simple access to financial supports
    The previous programmes have been unduly complicated, have created a culture of forced collaborations focused only on gaining funds, and an overly bureaucratic application and reporting process.  Even the simplifications implemented maintained a EU style language and officiousness that failed to take into consideration the user. The proposal briefly outlines an address of this through centralisation and a reduction in categories.  By centralisation there appears to be a focus on the reduction of costs and the increase of efficiencies.  However, this does not clearly address ease of application and access to funding.  It also doesn’t take into consideration the focus on large investment projects with a lack of consideration for smaller scale schemes.  Our suggestion is that whilst maintaining the consideration of centralised administration, some consideration is given to providing local CCPs with the ability to accept funding applications that can be provided and administered in the local area.  The system can still allow for central consideration of large projects, and allow the creation of a local mechanism which will provide smaller organisations with the ability to make simple applications for meaningful lesser amounts.
  • Digital Shift and Globalisation
    The focus on technological advancement is commendable, but we cannot forget that the core of the creative process still lies in a primarily physical environment. Supporting new forms of art practice and the recording or storing of data surrounding them is a focus of an advanced society.  However, we also need a strong focus on support of the core skills that facilitate the actual making of works, and from which usually stems a sound platform for the exploration of new ideas across all forms and media. There is no evidence of any consideration to these methods in the report or any provisions that could be made to support exchange or discourse in this area.
  • Language of SMEs, Small Operators and micro-enterprises
    While it is clear that in business terms some cultural institutions could be described in the above terms, we feel that the focus of this document is for the commercial sector.  We have found little evidence of reference to organisations working in the not for profit sector, and the term heritage appears to have become a label rather than a consideration.  For this reason we recommend that in any proposed implementation, the first focus is given to a clear definition of the supports available to the not for profit section.