Conclusions of the subjects 2018

The seminar is financed with the support of the European Union.

THEME: Work opportunities 4.0 in the cultural/arts sector as a result of a changing and innovating Europe. This is a continuation and concretization of previous CA seminars.

“This measure is funded by the European Union”. With the support of trade union Christian Artists, the trainingscentre: Continental Art Centre and SBI

possible actions for new work/income
in the Cultural Sector.

Seminar 2018

Organised by the Trade Union :Association Christian Artists , with participation of cultural trade-unions and associations around Europe.
Location: SBI in DOORN, the Netherlands
July 29 – July 31
project no. 00-00-17-SE
Report by Zsuzsanna Torök and Leen La Rivière


From July 29 – July 31 was the 37Th International Christian Artists Seminar organised by the International trade union of Christian Artists, with financial support of EZA/European Union, at the SBI-Zonheuvel conference centre in Doorn, The Netherlands. 162 Participants came from 19 countries. For 40% of the participants, this was the first time to visit such CA/Eza seminar. 31% were in the age group of 19-30 years: a great success to involve a new generation. 94% rated the lectures, presentations etc as good till very good. The theme for CA 2018 was: Work opportunities 4.0 in the cultural/arts sector as a result of a changing and innovating Europe. Important for this sector; as the result of the crisis(2008-2015) there came massive budget cuts by governments, provinces/counties, cities on the sector. Resulting in a massive lay off of fulltime cultural workers (artists, etc) at local music schools, local cultural centres, local choirs, music groups, dance companies, galleries, etc. With the result that only 5% of the original number of cultural workers, can live from income out of the arts. Year income dropped in Western Europe till 9.000 – 15.000 a year. The sector is facing a total failure of the flexabilization. It is an incredible compliment that so many laid off cultural workers started to continue as selfemployed. Researches showed that cultural workers who developed an added value have a higher chance on work. Other factors proved to be strong motivation and using innovations. This seminar opened the discussions with artists representing every arts sector/disciplin what can be done to enhance innovation.


Leen La Rivière (chairman trade union Christian Artists), opened the conference why this theme was chosen as so much work/jobs have disappeared thanks to the crisis. Many artists/cultural workers were forced into selfemployment. So what can we learn these days so that by innovation new work/jobs will be possible

Dr Evert van de Poll (Belgium/France): Picture of Europe, Lecture
We are in a Europeanization process: we come closer to each other, feeling more and more European. We are all Europeans in a different way, diversity is European. Christianity is deeply European: this was the religion which was able to include and integrate the differences. Europe was never a static but a dynamic civilisation, future-minded, always in progress, changing and developing. Europe is a family of cultures with common roots and values. Common roots are Athens (Greek), Rome (Roman), Jerusalem (Jewish) civilisation – and what of these roots outgrew: humanism, enlightenment, industrial revolution, capitalism. Christianity played a crucial and mediating role: churches transmitted the Greco-Roman heritage (Latin and Greek was taught in the schools), humanism and enlightenment deeply rooted in Christianity.
The common values that have emerged in our history: universal human rights and dignity; care for ill and poor; the importance of marriage, family and education; representative democracy, majorities and minorities; pluralism on religious and political levels and tolerance; separation of church and state, principle of government neutrality; responsibility of the state for the welfare of the people. These values had to be fought for ages, Christians were fighting with other Christians for these values, but they came accepted as our basic values.
What can Christian artists do ? 1st to transmit and develop Christian artistic heritage: to link Europe with its sources and its history, also to explain it to the illiterate (secular and other religions), to develop it further: ‘European’ is not something static. 2nd: regain the biblical understanding of art and the role of artists: Gloria Dei, serving church and society, building community and bringing people together. Artist is an artisan, a servant: was called „minister”, therefore the church paid them, humility is the mark of the true artist. 3rd: expressing Biblical moral values and worldview that once shaped our world – not destructive themes, violence, blood what is very common nowadays. 4th to build bridges of communications for Good News. Bridges between people groups and classes. Connect with the „strangers in Europe”, including the newcomers. The church is transmitting goodness, truth, beauty. Art has to do with the beauty: beauty is a source of contemplation, is to comfort people and give hope.

Dr Geoffrey Stevenson (UK): Future of work - The vulnerable artist, lecture
The researches of dr Brené Brown show that vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change. Vulnerability is key / crucial / necessary condition for being connected.
Vulnerability makes us open to lifelong learning. It is difficult to practice: after the struggle and dedication of early years of hard training achieving a modest degree of success can lead to the attitude that it’s payback time and a sense of entitlement. All artists need to make room for learning. A good mentor can be of benefit, to help the personal learning process.
Vulnerability can also enhance communities of practice. It is important building up strong and beneficial communities of practice. Community practice brings community learning. Peer learning makes possible the development of stronger technique, more expansive invention and creativity, as well as confidence building. CA is such a forum for collective learning, inspiring each other in our artistic work.
In CA Seminars there are two threads. The golden thread is - Solo Dei Gloria - art practiced for the Glory of God. The silver thread is that of community. Year after year artists turn up here, willing to perform and to teach without payment, for the sheer privilege and pleasure and excitement and encouragement of hanging out with other artists, sharing things. Finally, vulnerability is essential in the area of collaboration and working together across different art forms and other social, political, gender or cultural divides.

Dr Teddy Liho (Bulgaria), Technical changes having effect on the cultural sector and having effect on your income, lecture
Since the 80ies the information technology is booming. First problem that we have too much information, we cannot assimilate or interiorize any more. Second problem is the speed of the changes, is not followable anymore. The real scare of the artists is: too much technology, less and less human touch, less possibility for the personal contact.
From 2000 on the mobile phone and e-mail establishes new communication standards. Almost everything becomes computerized. From 2010 on the iPod Generation coming up, smart phones. It is time consuming to keep up with (e.g. countless Apps). Live contacts are reduced.
The artistic field of music and visual arts fully transformed. Entertainment and gaming world too. Some years ago Mr Peter Smith, artist-teacher of CA shared his experience with touch screen drawings – an example of a new artistic instrument. The artistic toolbox is changing, either.
Digitalization boom in home use: a kind of democratization. The digital world makes not only the art products for everybody accessible, but the expertise and art skills are accessible for everybody too. It does not mean that everybody is an artist, but means unequivocally that everybody can be creative in his way. We lost the holistic view.
Mr Robert Waldinger about a Harvard research: need of quality-relationships. Rabbi Adam Twerski says the true love is love of giving, not the love of receiving.
Never stop learn to learn: the artists are in the technological avantgarde of the community.

Dr Lasma Licite (Latvia), Technical changes having effect on the cultural sector and having effect on your income, Good practices, lecture
We heard about a lot of good practices where art can used, discovered – for special target groups, special ideas, to personalize different products, bring the nature closer, or to play a special role for a whole nation. („BlindArt”, SockBox, Amoralle, Undercurrents – Voldemars Johansons, special films about nature, Svalbard – expedition, Ice sculpture festival, Norway, Kirkenes, sounds of nature (stones: „we have something to say”. The images are projected on them and they are producing sound, telling different stories), Latvian Nationwide Song and Dance celebration, takes place since 1873 in Latvia, organized each 5th year (the biggest amateur choral event in the world), Neil Harbisson the first „cyborg artist” (born colour-blind, he says he can hear the colours, studied music composition, makes paintings).
„There are so many things you cannot see or hear, but technology can help us all extend our senses. I´m trying to encourage people to go beyond their senses and their perception of reality.”

Alexandra Smith (the Netherlands): What are the personal effects of the new work opportunities, Create more work opportunities by being present
Alexandra Smith shared with the audience her personal experiences about making herself an independent entrepreneur as an artist. To decide who you are (limited to 3 things) and what are your values.
She prefers to call herself an entrepreneur: an entrepreneur she has the freedom to be whoever she wants to be and do whatever she wants to do. She is a writer, too. She wanted to be a storytelling trainer and started her own training company, made sure she was present and decided on what doors she wanted to knock. Now she is training managers of departments of the European Commission and Parliament, something she never would have dreamed of.
Most things happened to her after she put her own effort in it. By acting, rather than waiting. And of course by realizing that she needs others to succeed. We need the help of others to get by, we need something to believe in. But it starts with us. To become an entrepreneur: to be present, create products, and seek alliances (outside of the art network).

Dr Paul Donders: Changes of the social-cultural context, Lifelong artist in a VUCA-world
The V U C A world:
Volatility: at least 30+ global volatile projects running above our head like e.g. water supply, cyber criminality, China Big brother Scale (Ali Baba), destruction of women, Islamic terrorism, national debt (e.g. USA 800 Billion dollars).
Uncertainty: professions disappear, huge informal employment (grey market), work robotizing, pushed out in self-employment (not for everybody so simple), Top500 supercomputer sites will change, surviving less the competition.
Complexity: Moonshot projects (free WIFI, the companies cannot keep up with the competition e.g. with Google having 100 Moonshot products) are 10* better than the other products and used by more than 1 billion people.
Ambiguity: fake news, USA-Russia-China closing the internet, new global illiteracy makes 80% of the world population easy to manipulate (need for Basic General Education!).
The VUCA answer: the VUCA leadership. Vision: purpose-driven leadership, Understanding: empathy, Clearity: be courageous and humble, Agility: innovative and co-creative.
Basic competences to develop: transformational competence, productivity, vitality, relational competence, financial competence. And why we have to be aware of all these ideas? Because every year the changes get bigger you become 100. So what to do with your life? So keep on going learning, mastering, working in tribes (communities of practice), keep creating, be the artists you want to be


Each lecture was followed by debates with the participants. Followed by life-interviews with cultural workers/artists representing different sectors about the actual situations:DJ Flubbel, the Netherlands; Etienne Volery, visual arts, french; Martine Tak, dancer, the Netherlands; Paul Lorenger, actor/dancer, Germany; Jolien Damsma, singer-songwrtiter, the Netherlands; Prof.Ward Roofthooft, management, Belgium; Reyer,music-leader, the Netherlands; Talitha Nawijn,vocal coach, the Netherlands;


On the opening day all participants were deived over communities of practice to enhance contact about the problems in their art-sectors. This was organised and led by Judith Stevenson (Uk)

The evaluation of lectures, debates and interviews gave the following important points to consider for private life long learning, for action of trade unions in cooperation with political parties/laws and regulations:


  1. Statistics show that everybody in western Europe gets older. Persons born today have a 50% chance to become 100 years. That has immense consequences for retirement (on what age), health care (an incredible increase of costs during the last 2-3 years of your life), activities (what are you going to do with/in all these extra years), communities (are those ready to have this new legion of elderly), politics (many elderly become more conservative), integration of newcomers (elderly are less flexable), any form of social structure (can it handle the elderly and can communication with the younger people remain possible), for trade unions (if elderly want to keep working, no barriers against that in collective agreements). And for creative workers/artists: it is sure you remain creative till you die. So how to facilitate this? What does this mean for ateliers, workshoprooms, musicstudio’s, etc etc. It is now the time to think about all consequences and recommended is that there will come new policies (by local authorities, national authorities) to make changes, adaptations of houses, ateliers, studio’s possible
  2. As result of the crisis (2008-2015) many cultural workers/artists were laid off and forced in a kind of selfemployment or in combinations like self-employed + some hours part time in any type of job, just to be able to survive. This flexabilization failed totally as the final result is: almost NONE selfemployed cultural workers/artists have the right insurances, they have NO retirement provisions, and no insurance if they are going to be disabled. So we call upon the governments to pass laws to protect the selfemployed against misuse of the situation and to guarantee a minimum hour wage, sothat such selfemployed worker can pay insurances and can build up a personal pension plan. This category of selfemployed cultural workers/artists are NO entrepeneurs… They never learnt that at conservatories, academia, artschools, etc
  3. As so many jobs, work-orders were canceled as result of the crisis, the struggle for income for the cultural workers/artists became a rat-race to the bottom. The average year income of selfemployed cultural workers/artists is quite below the poverty line. The recommendation is for new EU/national government legislation to guarantee a fair minimum hour fee.
  4. The mentioned rat-race became such a heavy mental burden that very many cultural workers/artists have left the sector. Recent research shows that after 10 years of graduation highly 5% is still active in the sector. Interviews with representators of the sector arts/culture who belang to the remaining 5% show some interesting actors, why they could survive: a. they were able to create larger networks. So the chance for work increased. b. they seem to have a stronger motivation as others c. they created added values as example through innovation. D. they added ongoing learning (life long learning). Recommended is that governement policies and trade union policies will support the 4 mentioned factors. It is with joy we can state that our 37 international CA seminars have been able to create many new networks accross Europe, the CA seminars have been an immense source for new motivation, promoted experiment collabaration and ongoing learning ; and were a stimulus for innovations. Especially since 3 years a lot of time and money is invested in creating new networks for upcoming young top talents.
  5. This becomes even more important as the EU wants to see industrial cities to change into CREATIVE CITIES. Well: no creative cities can exist without creative networks, facilities or creative industries. And those can never become into being unless cultural workers/artists are included in the mentioned processes.

SUMMARY: a quote from a participant: finally I see light at the end of the tunnel…

The set up of the CA seminar is a theatre setting. As artists/cultural workers hardly or not at all go to lectures about these specific problems in trade-union houses. CA has brought some key lecturers into the normal environment of artists: the theatre. Result: the attention was high and the real content was heard and well understood ( as seen in the debates and answers in thge questionnaires). The seminar was followed by a number of workshops and masterclasses to improve added value skills and knowledge and European networks. To improve chances on work/income.