RCF - Independent mobility funds in the Mediterranean and Central America - Lisboa, 18-19/06/2015

The Roberto Cimetta Fund, the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Municipality of Lisbon co-organised a Meeting of Independent Artistic and Cultural Mobility Funds in the Mediterranean and Central America on 18th and 19th June 2015 at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal. 


The programme, presentation of speakers and written contributions can be found on RCF’s blog: 


The meeting grouped together cultural operators from 21 different countries of Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean region (Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon and Morocco as well as representatives of Ministries of Culture of Iraq and France). 


Discussions highlighted the similarities in both regions such as needs and rights of artists and cultural operators to flexible procedures of support which respect freedom of expression, timeframe of the creative process as well as the creative processes themselves, needs for places to meet and talk freely, needs and rights to build up local markets and have more consideration for the changemaker role of artists in society. Artists and cultural operators in both regions require courage to be mobile and to be civil society actors as well as determination to uphold their own culture in their own country.During the course of the debate, it was underlined that networks and independent mobility funds could indeed be useful glocal tools for these two regions because both tools are managed in non-hierarchical ways through interconnecting.On a different level, the participants suggested that cultural policy should be considered as part of public policy which concerns local inhabitants as much as the diaspora elsewhere. In fact cultural policy could be the most important binding factor between all public policies.The participants firmly advocated that artists and intellectuals isolated in Syria or Iraq should not be left alone. We must connect with them since neither they nor we are alone in facing terrorism. The oppression and instable political situations in places like Palestine and Venezuela were also strongly voiced during the debate.At the same time, all the participants agreed that artistic and cultural mobility builds spaces, pathways and trust-building that are essential for interconnected societal dynamics. In this sense, we need to move beyond the catastrophe narrative of migration, uprooting and cultural assimilation to the artists’ stories, the quality of exchange and concrete civic demands. 

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