Conclusions of the subjects 2017

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

THEME: The digital world of work – Art/Culture/Industry 4.0:

subtitle: working conditions, requirements of the new vocational skills, reform of education and training systems, employment trends and income distribution in society.

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

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

Seminar 2017

Organised by the Association Christian Artists (trade union), with participation of cultural trade-unions around Europe.
Location: KSI in Bad Honnef, Germany
August 5 – August 7
project no. 04-19-15-SE
The Christian Artists Seminar at the KSI, Siegburg, Germany


From July 28 – July 30 the 36th European Christian Artists Seminar was organised by the trade union Association Christian Artists in cooperation with a European network of organizations of cultural workers. This seminar became possible thanks to the support of EZA and the European Union. Present were 161 persons : 15 nations represented (staff 14 persons NOT included): Netherlands 44%, Germany 21%, France 10%, Uk 8%, Belgium 7%, Austria 2,5%,Greece 1,2%, Poland 1,2%, Bulgaria 1,2 %,Portugal 1,2%, Spain 0,5%, Hungary 0,5%, Romania 0,5%, other 0,7%. Gender: 43% male; 57% female. Age: -30 years: 21%, 31-40 16%, 41-50:13%, 51-60: 18%, 60+:14%, so fullfilling one of the targets to have young workers involved. First participation: 33%, 2-5 times: 38%, 6-10 times: 15%, 11-20 times: 10%, 20+ times: 4%, so fullfilling to participate a new group of workers. The FORMAT of the seminar (lectures, debates, life-interviews) were highly appreciated: 96% good-very good. The CONTENT of speakers and life-interviews: 95% good-very good. Did this seminar meet the personal expectations: 88%. How was the personal participation evaluated: 93% positive. And did participants get answers: yes 97%. Finally how was the evaluation of the location: the KSI, Michaelsberg, Germany: 83% excellent and the meals were 91% well accepted. Speakers: Leen La Rivière, chairman ACA: opening and general introduction to the theme. Drs.Alexandra Smith (ambassador of ZZP-Nederland, the trade union for the selfemployed): about working conditions. Prof.Dr. Ward Roofthooft(Belgium): requirements of the new vocational skills. Dr.Paul Fransen (Nl): Reform of education and training systems. Dr.Geoffrey Stevenson (Uk): employment trends. Dr.Lasma Licite (Latvia): income distribution in society. Prof.Evert van de Poll (France): what is Europe. Working groups: communities of practice was organised by Judith Stevenson(Uk). Life interviews were done by Jill Ford (UK) with Thomas Nöttling (musician, Austria), Ruth Hughes(dancer, Uk), Torsten Harder(musician, Germany), Tobias Kerkhoven(musician, Nl), Jenny Verplanke (visual arts, Belgium), Jean Pierre Rudolph (musician, France), Arend Maatkamp (design, Netherlands), Klaus André Eickhoff (singer-songwriter, Germany), John Featherstone (singer-songwriter, France), Rivelino Rigters (singer, Netherlands), Angelique Petit (mime-artists, France), Renske van Twillert (visual arts, Netherlands), Peter Smith (visual arts, Uk), Nikos Papadogiorgos (composer, Greece), Hannah Claire (singer, France), Aron de Lijster (musician, Netherlands), Ernesto Arrendell (musician, Netherlands). The mentioned cultural workers have all at least 10 years of practise and are ‘survivors’ in their workfield.

The theme of CA 2017 was: The digital world of work – Art/Culture/Industry 4.0: subtitle: working conditions, requirements of the new vocational skills, reform of education and training systems, employment trends and income distribution in society.

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. Learn to plan your ongoing education/life long learning; learn to plan personal and work goals and how to make the needed steps to realise these goals and in what time frame. Reaching your goals is adding to the quality of life and the quality of work.
  2. Especially the workers who are forced into selfemployment, it is important that these persons learn a kind of entrepeneurship-mentality. If not, the dangers to become very poor are obvious as social security will not be available for these selfemployed.
  3. Politically the question should be raised about the growing negative effects of flexecurity. Selfemployed and such do not have any security. That creates many dangers. And those selfemployed do not contribute to solidarity systems, unless organised by themselves (in a few cases possible via insurances; but those insurances are quite expensive) As well the lack of pension/retirement systems must raise red flags. Trade unions have difficulty to organise selfemployed workers, but trade unions can not longer stay silent. There are good examples now where trade unions became active for the selfemployed, like FNV and ZZP-Nederland (both in the Netherlands)
  4. The trade union CNV (Netherlands) became active with the subject: Plezier in Werk (Enjoyment in your work): 2006, 2013, 2015, etc. Proving that this aspect was very important to keep workers healthy and with qualified productivity. Lecturer Alexandra Smith proved the same that your work as selfemployed should lead to happiness. Otherwise depressions may arise from a tredmill of work, stress and overload. The steps towards this happiness includes stages of learning (asking help), setting goals (reaching them creates satisfaction), understanding your real important values, developing willpower (to make it work) and learn to be grateful (for every goal reached, for others helping you).
  5. Thanks to many budget cuts: locally, county’s, states on the sector arts and culture, many cultural workers (artists, etc) became unemployed and were forced into selfemployment. Many faced personal financial crises. To step out of these personal crises is adopting the mentality of entrepeneurship. As this was never taught at conservatoria and art academies, here trade-unions could be of great help and provide already here and there these specialised courses. And with positive outcome: cultural workers, artists depend less on wellfare and can realise their own income. Reports in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France show that the average YEARincome for an artist is between 9.000 and 15.000 Euro; it is clear that nobody can live from that or even start a family, or paying insurances, or retirement. But with the skills of entrepeneurship this financial ceiling drama can be broken.
  6. Another area that will help the sector arts/culture comes from the digital transformation. Our plea is that the possibilities of the digital world will be a normal part of any curriculum in the arts/culture. Not only as design, technical improvement of the personal skills, but as well as tools for marketing, strategy, social media.
  7. Prof Ward Roofthooft argued: Another solution may come from creating strategic alliances. Needed to keep your talent alive, to develop your talent and making sure you reach the ultimate possibilities. Strategic alliances: TOGETHER it will work; and work with consultants, coaches to realise life long learning. By working together you share costs and risks and results (including facilities, budgets) can be easier reached. Together multi-discipline public projects can be realised when there is mutual trust.
  8. Lecturer Paul Fransen confronted the cultural workers/artists with the wisdom, that they should not be aliens (so not knowing anything about the ‘real’ world) AND on the other hand not trying to become a superman. Wisdom is: to develop your qualities and qualifications; to develop personal skills and knowledge and experience. Form collaborations/communities to add skills of others you may not have or will be able to develop. Life may become a success if you know what you need! So a call for honest self reflection.
  9. Lecturer Geoffrey Stevenson underlined more the profile of the cultural worker: the needed training, the developing of self , identity and the personal artform; burnt out and stress as dangers for a career. And stress will be as you realise the very low wages per month, that makes it so hard to survive. The danger of loss of passion. So how to cope with day.
  10. Lecturer Lasma Licite showed that the unfair distribution of wealth creates an unstable society. The remedy is a change of mind: see the dangers and problems as challenges. Changing a problem into an opportunity. So part of the solution of the problems in the cultural sector, lies in a change of mind and becoming active from that point of view, resulting in energy, hope, chances, work.

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). 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.