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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

EUROPEAN UNION PROPOSES WORLD’S LARGEST EVER CULTURAL FUNDING PROGRAMME


European Union proposes world's largest ever cultural funding programme
The €1.8bn allocated for culture comes at a time of worsening economic crisis across the Eurozone

By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 21 December 2011

As the economic crisis deepens across Europe, the European Commission plans to launch the world's largest ever cultural funding programme, with €1.8bn allocated for visual and performing arts, film, music, literature and architecture. The commission's Creative Europe project plans to release the money between 2014 and 2020. If the scheme is approved late 2012, an estimated 300,000 artists are due to receive funding.

The proposal has received a mixed response from key cultural commentators, with some saying that banking on culture and the arts to help prop up EU member states and stimulate the economy is unlikely to work.

Dexter Dalwood, the UK artist nominated for the Turner Prize in 2010, is sceptical. “If the goal is to create social cohesion isn't it going to favour obvious visible targets like classical music, the performing arts and public art?” he says. “On paper this looks fine. [But] in reality who gets the money ? Is there a hefty application process where the outcome of the work has to be clearly stated? Is there any chance it could trickle down to the most needy creative people?” Dalwood suggests the most effective form of subsidy for artists would be to make affordable studios.

Others welcome the plans, although some suggest bureaucracy may pose problems. “Overall I welcome [the initiative]: who wouldn't think that more funding for the sector in these dark times is welcome? The problem will be the usual one, which is that governments and big bureaucracies like the EU find it very difficult to engage with small- and medium- sized enterprises, let alone individuals; and that the form-filling and accountability normally demanded by the EU will be very costly to administer and hugely frustrating for applicants,” says John Holden, visiting professor at City University in London.


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