Conclusions of the subjects 2016

Theme 2016: A project funded by the European Union

From Saturday July 30 – August 2 was the 35th International Christian Artists TRADE UNION seminar at the KSI, Bad Honnef, Germany. This seminar was organised with the help of EZA and the EUROPEAN Union. About 140 persons gathered from 18 nations to discuss the growing problem of unemployment among youth in the sector arts & culture. Schoolmonitoring shows that 5 years after graduation 50% have left the sector arts/culture; 10 years after graduation appr, 5% are still active in the sector arts/culture: this is a huge destruction of the so called ‘cultural capital’(=creative persons). Unemployment started to rise very fast as result of the crisis starting in 2008. This seminar builds on the former ones, where several aspects leading to unemployment in this sector were researched and discussed. Speakers were: Dr.Aart Jan de Geus (CEO, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Germany), Prof. Maarten Verkerk (University of Maastricht and Eindhoven, Netherlands), Dr.Lasma Dobele (University of Riga, Latvia), Dr.Irene Mandle (Research manager Eurofound, Ireland), Dr.Geoffrey Stevenson (University of Edinburgh, Scotland), Leen La Rivière (Chairman, trade union Christian Artists Federation, Netherlands), Dr.Philip Noble (Travelling lector on cross-cultural communication, Scotland), Peter J.Noble (Lector on creative skills, University of the Highlands, Scotland), Stephen Noble (Director Advertising agency Equator, award winner, Scotland). And a short welcome by Mr.Jozef Mozolewski (chairman Solidarinosc, Poland). The lectures were interspersed with real LIFE STORIES of artists who belong to the left 5%, so HOW did they survive? WHAT can we learn? Interviewed were: Eva-Maria Admiral (actress, Austria), Noémie Daval (installations/fine arts, France), Jan Willem van Delft (musician,NL) & Gerdien van Delft (designer/graphics, Nl), Desiree van Drongelen (dancer, Nl), Hans Inge Fagervik (singer-songwriter, Norway), Paul Fransen (gallery, Nl), Paul Field (singer-songwriter, Uk), Pierre Lachat (artists, France), Peter S.Smith (graphic artist, UK), Heike Wetzel (musician, Germany). After each lecture and interview there was an open debate with the participants, and the opportunity to ask questions.

The 2 plenums days, were followed by 3 days with 77 WORKSHOPS and MASTERCLASSES ro learn added values to help with new orientations for work and income (putting the plenum days in practise)!


  1. What can be done should be put in the context of the times we live in now: Elites have failed (they have money and power, they saved the banks, but did not save the peoples from unemployment); result in loss of trust in the institutions, erosion of the institutions(trade unions, political parties, church,etc) and the rise of false prophets(rise of populism), manipulating the emotions of the people, predicting gloom and doom. It is true we live in a time of uncertainties. But that means we should not be overwhelmed by fear as we live in the EU today in the longest period ever in Europe with peace and prosperity.
  2. There is an explosion of information. Many bad and sad things do happen, on the other hand what is done as justice and fairness is easily not seen,or seldomly broadcasted, so the real picture is not always recognised. ARTISTS should take the lead here to communicate peace and justice, building bridges; artists as catalysts: here is a lot of possible work to do. Even as the creative start of new forms of work.
  3. The digital revolution is moving fast and changing the workplace. On one side there is loss of work, but on the other side: this digital revolution is creating a lot of new jobs, especially for creative people. There are great possibilities for many artists, if not all.
  4. As the flexable nature of working practises progresses rapidly, artists in general must be prepared to be selfemployed. The existing curricula at art schools, conservatoria and academies do not prepare students for this in real life. This CA seminar is challenging the existing professional schools to include self-employment aspects in the curriculum and is challenging the trade unions to offer modules for selfemployment for its artists members. These modules should include: marketing, branding, entrepeneurship, finances, security checks, health checks, required personal insurances, etc.
  5. Life long learning becomes essential for artists to survive. This CA seminar is challenging academies, conservatoria and art schools to launch post-graduate modules. CA recognises, besides those formal possibilities, the values of informal life-long learning routes offered by masters(mentors) in the arts( artists who have survived in the ‘market place’ for appr. 40 years) and modules offered by trade unions of arts/culture. Of course: if the mentee is not willing to learn, to reflect on practice, and to be flexible, there is no hope and probably no future for this person in the arts. So another element to realise work deals as well with personal attitude and motivation. Here ROLE MODELS can be of great help, as well as PEER SUPPORT.
  6. Generations must cooperate, they have to accept eacht others contributions, possibilities and challenges. Young artists should not look down on the old generation of artists as ‘passé’, active with the old ‘métiers’; neither should older artists look down on the young generation as a kind of ICT-flex-computer-nerds-jobhoppers. Both can benefit a lot from each other. CA is challenging the generations to move into collaborative projects.
  7. Another way to move forward together is in learning, and new possibilities of work may come from COMMUNITIES OF PRACTISE, where working together, learning together, learning to trust and making a space for honest critique is possible. This CA seminar works in part like such a community of practise, as through the years CA provided the opportunity and stimulated a long list of cooperative projects done by its participants.
  8. And let’s not forget the new vehicles for contacting, marketing and such to inform society that you are there, alive and kicking and producing great works of art (dance,music, literature, visuals, media, etc.). There may not be many jobs, but there are fors ure a lot of opportunities…!! Well, learn to jump on those.
  9. There is great concern that creative artists (composers, designers, authors, choreographers, scriptwriters, etc.) will not benefit enough, due to the rise of illegal copying. CA calls on governments within and beyond the EU states to keep and maintain the laws on copyrights, neighbouring rights, trade mark rights, etc. There are too many serious reports about loss of income in this sector.

FINALLY: all opportunities and challenges to overcome unemployment mentioned in this year’s CA seminar should be on the table of the next CA Seminar for on-going discussion to provide new work and income: what are new opportunities 4.0.