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Global cultural gathering unites artists and industry leaders to discuss international challenges

23 Apr 2024 5 minute read
Yohann Floch (CREDIT: (c) MMC RTV SLO:Miloš Ojdanić) & Sahir Saki

A major cultural gathering is set to take place in Wales this month, where global artists and industry leaders will discuss issues facing the arts and cultural sectors – such as funding cuts, Brexit and freedom of speech.

On 25-26 April 2024, Caernarfon will be the UK’s first-ever host of a major international cultural gathering where 80 global artists and industry leaders will meet for the Cultural Mobility Forum organised by On the Move and hosted by Arts Council of Wales and its in-house agency, Wales Arts International.

On the Move is the leading professional network for agencies providing information to support artists and cultural organisations to work internationally.

Knowledge sharing

Its Cultural Mobility Forum is a forum to share knowledge and to discuss and imagine new ways of working for artists and cultural companies in a complex world.

It’s co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme and Arts Council of Wales and delivered in partnership with Welsh Government and British Council who are supporting a cultural delegation from Ukraine to visit Wales ahead of the forum.

Key topics under discussion include freedom of speech, creating a sanctuary for artists fleeing persecution, skills needed by creatives to collaborate internationally at a time of climate emergency and other global challenges.

Across borders

Cultural Mobility refers to the ability of artists and cultural professionals to travel and work internationally, share their art, and collaborate with others across borders.

Examples include co-produced performances, residencies, workshops, touring, exhibiting, or showcasing at events attended by global promoters, as well as opportunities for professional development in an international context.

Eluned Haf – Head of Wales Arts International, Bojana Panevska, Maggie Russell – Chair of Arts Council Wales

Artists often face barriers that limit their ability to work across borders and globally.

Since leaving the European Union, artists from Wales and the UK are no longer eligible for European funding such as the Creative Europe Programme and the structural funds which has significantly reduced co-funding available for the creative sector to work internationally and creates additional barriers to mobility. 

 “Polarised world”

Maggie Russell, Chair of Arts Council of Wales said: “It’s an honour to welcome international cultural collaborators to Wales and Caernarfon.

“In today’s polarised world, arts and culture play a vital role in fostering unity and understanding.

“We’re particularly inspired by artists in exile and those defending cultural heritage and freedom of expression and we look forward to learning from delegates from various nations about their approaches to supporting the arts. 

Ahead of the event, Eluned Haf, Head of Wales Arts International & co-founder of Arts InfoPoint UK, who is originally from Caernarfon said: “With the current global challenges, artists, and companies in rural areas as well as cities across the world are looking for practical support to work internationally in a sustainable way.

“The information point we’ve set up in Wales for the UK as part of On the Move helps with issues such as visas, taxation, Brexit and sustainability.

“I look forward to learning from our guests about more accessible ways of working that is fair to people and to the planet and to share our approach based on Wales’ groundbreaking Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.” 

Funding cuts

Dafydd Rhys, Arts Council Wales Chief Executive said: “Hosting this event in Galeri reminds us of the huge co-investment made by European Funding into public infrastructure in the arts here and across the world.

“Recent cuts to the arts in Wales propel us to explore new means of investment that support artists locally and globally.

“We’ve seen a significant gap in funding since artists from Wales are unable to apply for Creative Europe funding. The next UK Government would be wise to support our sector to re-join this critical co-funded programme.“

Bojana Panevska, On the Move President said: “Connecting through our programmes and events like the Cultural Mobility Forum, is part of our strategy to continue working with Wales and the UK beyond Brexit.

“The choice of Caernarfon was driven by our eagerness to support international cultural collaborations beyond the big cities and in more rural environments.”

Yohann Floch, Director of operations & curator of the Cultural Mobility Forum said:  “The 2024 Cultural Mobility Forum will support us and colleagues from across the world to create new international professional skills development programmes.

“This gathering is a platform to share diverse experiences in a way that is mutually beneficial. We will be looking at training initiatives that nurture respectful cross-border collaborations that have a lasting impact.”

The Cultural Mobility Forum brings together international information providers to addressing these challenges and explore ways to enhance international opportunities for artists.

It will be held for the first time in the UK at Galeri, Caernarfon April 25-26, 2024.

Full forum schedule can be accessed here:

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