Pyramid or Pillars
Women in Cultural Policies

Responding to Changing Working Practises of Artists

The concept of an artist as an individual "genius" who continuously strives to become famous conjures up images of some of the "great men" of the past. While still ideologically perpetuated, such images are expected to change due to the way in which more and more creative artists are working today. Interdisciplinary group work, in which women are participating, has become more common and accepted and may even increase in what is as envisaged as a "network society".

In this context, a radical reform of policies for artists is required ranging from the way their rights are defined and managed, to creating more flexible measures such as scholarships available at different stages and ages of professional life to new project or work grants which reflect the increasingly transnational nature of artistic practices and the transversal composition of works embracing aspects of, for example, art, technology, electronic music, design or theory.

New concepts and criteria for allocating funding are required for new artistic forms. To date, funding bodies have ignored the fact that production costs for media arts are substantially higher than for classical art forms. Media art requires financial strength in the form of investments (hardware, software) and for production. In this context, governments can work to re-establish the connection between art and science in their policies at all levels by funding projects as investments in creativity and innovation not solely from the economic point of view. This would imply the creation of R&D grants bringing artists and scientists working with new technologies into innovative laboratories to be located in both public and private scientific and artistic institutions. In this context, the EU should reconsider its current emphasis on heritage in its "e-content" programmes to one which also recognises and supports contemporary creativity.

Another task for the EU would be to further clarify and harmonise the legal status of selfemployed artists which are sometimes treated as "amateurs" or "atypical" workers for which basic social security and taxation frameworks do not apply. This would also be particularly important in the context of the revision of Council Regulation 1408/71 to co-ordinate national social security schemes and in the development of a new Directive on working conditions for temporary work which was supported at the Council Meeting held in Brussels on 6 March 2003. In future revisions of its economic policies, the Council should also consider that many artists, composers and writers are unable to obtain tax or VAT relief or reductions for the essential tools of their trade: repair and maintenance of instruments, paper, computers, hard and software, copying costs, books, recordings, travel, etc.

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