Dear people interested in the Alliance for Equitable Arts and Cultural Work, Baden-Württemberg, if you want to find out more, in English, about the alliance, the statement, the working groups or just want to find out how to become active with us, please write a short message with your request (via this following e-mail address).
We look forward to hearing from you.
Chers personnes intéressées par l'Alliance pour un travail artistique et culturel juste, BW, si vous voulez en savoir plus, en français, sur l'alliance, sa déclaration, les groupes de travail ou simplement savoir comment devenir actif avec nous, écrivez un court message (avec votre demande via l’addresse mail).
Nous attendons votre message avec impatience.
Statement in English
Alliance for equitable arts and cultural work,
We, active practitioners and institutions in the field of art, working in Baden-Württemberg, came together on June 12th 2020 to form an open, independent, and interdisciplinary alliance for equitable and inclusive conditions in the arts and cultural sector. This alliance will actively bring about systemic changes on a regional, national, and trans-national level.
What motivates us is the concern for the future of the arts, and the conviction that the arts sector can only remain independent if the structural conditions change radically, for cultural workers and the field at large1.
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has yet again highlighted the deeply precarious and unequal conditions within the arts and cultural sector. These concerns are amplified by a sector founded on the (self-) exploitation of working people, that is, both freelance workers, as well as those employed by institutions. Discrimination based on social and ethnic origins, race, age, gender, ability, or the responsibilities of child care remains a pervasive problem in the arts and cultural sector. The current conditions do not allow most of those concerned to build up savings or other securities, and in particular limit the scope for action of underserved individuals and communities.
Since the 1980’s, that is to say, since the onset of neoliberalism, publicly funded arts and cultural institutions have been under political pressure to systematically align with economic criteria, and be tailored to the model of private companies. The result has been, and continues to be, a massive reduction in permanent positions, the commercialization of public institutions, and the mandated focus on quantity, especially in terms of visitor numbers. This quantifiable product and commercial production-oriented logic has proven completely untenable under the stresses imposed by the corona pandemic.
Many independent associations and organizations already work beyond institutional funding, i.e. on the basis of voluntary work and unsecured project funding, without long-term prospects.
Competition, attention, and winner-take-all principles overdetermining factors in the arts and cultural sector, and are often the only criteria of “success”. For the vast majority of artists, the lack of basic necessities and secure income, affordable studios, storage or rehearsal spaces continue to be an existential issue. This, and other imbalances, create questionable competition for resources that are mostly based on non-transparent accessibility. The first to fall by the wayside are various disadvantaged people.
Due to the structures mentioned, and the pandemic scenario of reinforcement of exclusions and hierarchization ("market cleansing"), this current situation urgently needs to be counteracted. It is important to ensure that “high culture” and socio-culture, large stages and independent theatres, museums and artist co-operative galleries, institutions as well as international and local artists are not being pitted against each other. The cultural landscape must remain diverse and complex.
The numerous aid and emergency programs, which are currently being laid out - especially in Baden-Württemberg - for workers and institutions in the field of the arts, are an encouraging sign that politicians are aware of the importance, concerns and needs of the arts—and this gives rise to hope for a common solidarity, in face of the current crisis and also after having overcome it.
However, the closure of all arts and cultural institutions while private businesses remain open, regardless of existing health and safety measures, in the so-called ‘lockdown light’, has painfully demonstrated that the social importance of the arts is still not fully recognized by some parts of politics. This demonstrates clearly that the arts, not just in times of crisis, clearly lag behind economic interests. It is highly problematic and we do not understand why moreover, with the second lockdown, they were denied any educational work.
We are highly concerned that the many aid packages will be followed by budget restructuring which would hit the arts with great severity. This would mean that we would fall even further behind the current inadequate funding policies. This requires new approaches and structures that go beyond the current crisis and give long-term security to the independence of the arts and their emancipatory potential.
For the absolutely necessary change in the arts and cultural sector, the existing funding policies and working practices must be fundamentally questioned and re-organized with the participation of the active protagonists from the arts, politics and administration. The financial basis for transparent and fair, diverse and inclusive (working) conditions must be created, instead of continuing to rely on the (self-) exploitation of arts and cultural workers and the structural deficits of public institutions. This means we need funding models which are based on long-term radical equality of institutions and artists which - for example, in their role as applicants - guarantee and allow adequate and binding payment for everyone working in the arts and cultural sector: for artists, as well as freelancing or employed curators, dramaturges, cultural producers, mediators, graphic designers, technical teams, mask, stage and costume designers, restaurators, assistants, interns, authors, translators, cashiers, security and cleaning staff, journalists and many more. This is impossible under the given funding conditions.
The sum that the federal, state and local authorities in Germany spend annually on culture is 11.4 billion euros, which represents merely 1.77% of the federal budget and 0.35% of GDP 2. This is an extremely low percentage. In the European comparison, in terms of cultural expenditure of the total public budget3 Germany ranks 15th, together with France, Slovakia, Romania and Finland. In the comparisons within the federal states, Baden-Württemberg ranks 8th in terms of cultural expenditure (states and municipalities) per inhabitant with 114.64 euros, just below the average and far behind Saxony (212.95 euros) in 8th place4 (all figures: as of 2017).
As the figures above show, a significant increase in public funding for arts and culture in Germany, in general, and in Baden-Württemberg, in particular, is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, there is an urgent need for a transparent and participatory discussion about the existing allocation, between all parties involved. The promotion of culture must finally be declared a mandatory task of the state. This is the only way to counteract, in a binding and sustainable manner, the precarious working conditions in the cultural sector, in which around 1.3 million people are employed - almost 40% of them as freelancers (as of 2017) 5.
As an extension to existing forums, we want to be competent, critical advisory partners working closely with municipal, federal and national authorities, to help shape solutions, to bring demands and suggestions into budget negotiations, and to approach the political systems. It is only together that we can establish alternative structures, accurately analyze, and eliminate the systemic errors, which have arisen and stabilized over decades, in cultural policy and cultural financing.
In addition to the concern of helping to shape the necessary changes of the existing cultural-political structures through our knowledge, experience, criticism and creativity, it is equally important to us to put ourselves to the test, through developing our own working, thinking and decision-making methods concerning an equitable, diverse and inclusive arts and cultural sector. How are the institutions and active protagonists set up in our alliance, how transparent and democratic are their decision-making processes? How critical of discrimination and sensitive are their actual working practices? Last but not least, we also have to ask ourselves what functions and responsibilities public arts and cultural institutions have, in an immigration country, in terms of social imbalances, growing nationalism, right-wing radicalism, digital surveillance and the climate crisis. How do we deal with (self-) censorship and sexualised violence within the arts and cultural sector?
These questions can only be negotiated from multi-perspective points of view and in collective processes. There is as much to unlearn as there is to learn anew. In this sense, how can already existing resources and opportunities be used more cooperatively and in solidarity?
Our alliance is not only concerned with the old and new, pandemic related problems in the arts. It also asserts itself for strong systemic changes which think the arts in solidarity with other areas of society. We are concerned with a cultural, social and political change that does not follow the principle of the strongest but makes vulnerability its starting point.
This new alliance is open and currently incomplete. We are looking forward to many more participants from different fields and contexts of the arts.
1 For us, the term "art and cultural workers" includes all freelancers and employees in the arts and cultural sector: from artists, curators and dramaturges to security and cleaning services.
2 from: Statistische Ämter des Bundes und der Länder (ed.), Cultural Financial Report 2020, 2020, p. 19-20. The 2017 public cultural expenditure on which this is based relate to the fields of theatre and music (34.5%), museums, collections and exhibitions (19.1%), libraries (14.1%), cultural affairs abroad (6%), public art colleges (5.1%), monument protection and preservation (5%), administration (2.5%) and other (13.8%). See: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Themen/Gesellschaft-Umwelt/Bildung-Forschung-Kultur/Kultur/Publikationen/Downloads-Kultur/kulturfinanzbericht-1023002209004.pdf (last accessed on 8.1.2021).
3 from: European Union (ed.), Culture Statistics. 2019 Edition, 2019, p. 194. The comparison between European Union countries published here refers to expenditure on culture, broadcasting and publishing. See: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/de/web/products-statistical-books/-/ks-01-19-712 (last accessed on 8.1.2021).
4 from: Cultural Finance Report 2020, as note 2, p. 24.
5 [from: Statistische Ämter des Bundes und der Länder, press release no. 145, 22 April 2020. Occupations in the cultural sector are very broadly defined here and range from "technical media design" to "acting, dance and the arts of movement" and "teaching activities in extracurricular educational institutions" to "museum technicians and management". It is not possible to identify who is working in the more commercial or more subsidised sector in the various categories used here. At the same time, it can be assumed that many who work in the publicly funded arts sector are not included here: such as security and cleaning staff. See: https://www.destatis.de/DE/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2020/04/PD20_145_216.html (last accessed on 8.1.2021).
Bildender Künstler, Stuttgart
Robin Bischoff, Pablo Wendel, Sylvia Winkler
Vorstände des Kunstverein Wagenhalle e.V.
Regisseurin und Co- Leiterin Theater Rampe Stuttgart
Direktorin des Badischen Kunstvereins, Karlsruhe
Hans D. Christ
Direktor des Württembergischen Kunstvereins, Stuttgart, befristet Beschäftigt (75%)
Direktor des Kunstvereins Freiburg, Freiburg
Direktorin des Württembergischen Kunstvereins, Stuttgart, befristet Beschäftigt (75%)
Kuratorin, Kunstverein Friedrichshafen
Geschäftsführender Vorstand und künstlerischer Leiter, E-WERK Freiburg
Co-Leitung Kunstbüro der Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart
Intendantin Musik der Jahrhunderte, Künstlerische Leiterin Festival ECLAT, Management Neue Vocalsolisten
Leiterin der Galerie Stadt Sindelfingen
Freischaffende Künstlerin, Stuttgart
Intendantin, Theater Rampe Stuttgart
Direktorin, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
Künstlerischer Leiter der Biennale für Freiburg, Freiburg
Künstlerische Leitung und Geschäftsführung, EinTanzHaus, Mannheim
Nana Hülsewig und Fender Schrade
NAF e.V., Stuttgart
Künstlerische Leitung & Geschäftsführung, Kunstverein Neuhausen, befristet beauftragtImke
Künstlerische Leitung und Geschäftsführung (70% beschäftigt), Kunstverein Reutlingen
Vorsitzender des Kunstvereins Neckar-Odenwald
Astrid S. Klein
Freischaffende Künstlerin, Stuttgart
Direktorin Port25 – Raum für Gegenwartskunst, Mannheim
Dramaturgin Theater Rampe, Stuttgart (80% befristet beschäftigt), und freie Kuratorin.
Bildende Künstlerin, Stuttgart
Nina Malotta, Samuel Hof und Markus Niessner
Vorstände von O-Team e.V.
Co-Leitung Kunstbüro der Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg; Vermittlungskollektiv fortda, Karlsruhe
Bernd Georg Milla
Geschäftsführer Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg
Melanie Mohren und Bernhard Herbordt
Die Institution, Stuttgart
Elke aus dem Moore
Direktorin der Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (Zeitlich begrenzt, 100 %)
Künstlerische Leitung und Geschäftsführung Theaterhaus G7, Mannheim
Geschäftsführung, Produktionszentrum Tanz und Performance e.V., Stuttgart
Künstlerischer Leiter zeitraumexit, Mannheim
Geschäftsführerin, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart
Produktionsbüro schæfer & sœhne, Stuttgart
Anna Schiefer und Björn Kühn
Verlag für Handbücher, Stuttgart
Leiter der Städtischen Galerie Fruchthalle Rastatt
Künstlerischer Leiter, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart
Bildender Künstler, Stuttgart
Freischaffende Künstlerin und Aktivistin, Stuttgart
Künstlerisch-wissenschaftlicher Vorstand, ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe
Leiter kuratorische Abteilung, ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe