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Animated Edition - Issues 1996 - 2001
Arts at large
Animated, Winter 2001. An international context by Pauline Tambling, executive director, research & development, Arts Council of England
Increasingly artists, arts organizations and managers need to place themselves in an international context. Artists certainly benefit from collaborations with their counterparts in other countries, and there is a great deal of interest from overseas in what happens in England. There are also more opportunities for artists to benefit from European funding. Dance artists and companies have traditionally been astute in exploiting international connections, possibly because of the collaborative nature of the artform.

There are an increasing number of international events and symposia open to artists such as the British Dance Edition, a biannual international event hosted by the National Dance Agencies to showcase the best of British dance to international promoters. Other key international dance events are Spring Dance in Utrecht, the Montpellier Festival and the Montreal Festival. Meeting and briefing international delegations and visitors is part of the life of most departments within the Arts Council of England (ACE). Recently the Dance Department played host to Corinna Lowry, a panel member with the Arts Council of South Africa and Sidney Bartley, director of culture, The Jamaican Ministry of Education and Culture. Spreading the word about what happens in the UK arts scene is getting easier all the time and most international visitors are well informed from ACE's website and from arts organisations' websites. It is increasingly the case that an organisation, which presents itself effectively on the World Wide Web, has a headstart in terms of making contacts and presenting itself abroad. The Arts Council's new online space,, launched last month will promote arts practice on line as well as providing information about the arts and an interactive facility.

Why international work?
Clearly some organisations and artists will be happy to restrict their activities to the UK or perhaps more precisely within a particular community. Many, however, benefit from making contacts with equivalent artists in other countries. There has been an assumption that it is only the biggest and high profile arts companies that tour abroad. However over the last 20 years new networks of community artists, independent artists or arts educationalists have proved as fruitful as the high profile tours by 'national' companies. Many of the most exciting emerging British based companies tour overseas; Protein, Retina and Jasmine Vardimon Dance Company and more established artists and companies such as DV8, CandoCo, Russell Maliphant and Jonathan Burrows are also very much in demand on the international circuit. So what do such practitioners gain from such collaborations? Certainly an opportunity to compare and discuss their practice, to benefit from other artists' ideas as well as to work together to create work. Initiatives such as the International Workshop Festival have consistently introduced British artists to the best thinking by highly esteemed practitioners around the world. Festival operations such as Dance Umbrella and the Brighton Festival have made it possible for English audiences to access choreography developed globally from a pool of world sources. The Karas Project was a three year initiative which linked The Place Education and Community Programmes with Saburo Teshigawara and his company from Japan, enabling young people from London (including vision impaired) to develop a performance project called Flower Eyes which was performed at the Lilian Baylis Theatre in July. Flower Eyes also toured to Helsinki where young people there joined the production to create a truly global performance. Choreographers such as Tamara McLorg are in demand to visit Eastern European countries where their work in community dance is attracting increasing attention - and the work of Royston Maldoom in using the arts to tackle social, health and development issues in Uganda has brought him recognition. At its best international collaboration provides enrichment, reflection and ultimately better practice.

The European dimension
The impact of the European Union (EU) is a major factor on us all. European policy and thinking impacts on artists as much as on other sectors, as do the opportunities to access EU funding and to benefit from closer collaboration within Europe.

At the moment there are a number of current policy issues that are of concern to arts practitioners. One example is the work on the European cultural space. This is the process of removing internal frontiers for employment. As yet this has not resulted in better mobility of artists around the community. Member states have been asked to consider proposals to promote the mobility of artists within the community. In theory performers should be able to get employment more easily within the EU. This is just one example of an EU policy, which will impact on artists' lives. Equity and the International Federation of Actors are working to support artists' well-being and have recently launched the Euro-FIA Passport. The passport enables dancers and choreographers who are paid-up members of a union to access advice on contracts, medical support, insurance and pensions, dance classes, and job information services wherever they are in Europe. There are many more examples.

Many arts organisations and most of the English Regional Arts Boards have European links and some have been highly successful in attracting European funding for major projects, particularly in the field of training and regeneration. North West Arts, for example, attracted over £1.25 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in 1997/8 alone. This continues to be a crucial way of attracting more investment into the arts sector as well as ensuring that it benefits from the wider initiatives and policy making of the EU.

Almost 80 per cent of successful bids by cultural and arts organisations to the EU have resulted in funding from the Structural Funds and mainly from the ERDF and the European Social Fund (ESF). Artists often assume that European funding for their work will come from the culture-specific funding programmes like Culture 2000 but this is not usually the case. Under the new arrangements Merseyside will continue with Objective 1 status and South Yorkshire and Cornwall will benefit from Objective 1 status for the first time. Annually, the UK expects to receive approximately £1461.9 million from these programmes.

International networks such as the Informal European Theatre Meeting, and the individual networks such as the Butterfly Effect facilitated by shinkansen sound and movement research, increase artists access to information on European issues.

Wider government policy
Much international work is wider than a particular sector such as the arts. It is very important that the arts play a part in the wider agenda of the country. In order to ensure that the government provides support for the creative industries in expanding overseas markets a Creative Industries Export Promotion Advisory Group (CIEPAG) has been established by the Creative Industries Task Force. This initiative is led by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Creative Industries Unit and involves the Department for Trade and Industry, British Trade International and the British Council and is chaired by Charles Allen. Cluster groups have been formed for Design (including architecture), Performing Arts, Content (book, music and broadcasting industries) and Heritage and Tourism. As a consequence of this work, the British Council and ACE are now collaborating on a series of one day seminars for arts and creative industries organisations wanting advice on international touring and how to export to overseas markets. Eleven of these Ready to Export sessions will be held across England between January and April 2002 (details available from ACE or the British Council).

The Arts Council was part of a pan-departmental visit to Beijing for the China/UK Forum recently, in a delegation led by Michael Heseltine involving groups from education, trade and culture. Culture and the arts can offer as much to the Government's own international policy as the traditional areas of trade, defence and export. Indeed the exporting of arts activity from the UK through touring and collaborative projects is highly valued in other countries.

As well as the British Dance Edition, other events bringing key international artists to the UK (to perform and/or teach) include the annual Bami Jo Summer School organised by Badejo Arts. The South Asian sector is also an area of lively international exchange and debate, facilitated in the UK through the South Asian Dance Consortium.

Much of this international work appears complex to arts practitioners whose main task is to present art and not to negotiate the fine policy detail with other governments or European bodies. However there is a great deal of help to hand. The organisations and agencies listed in the panel are ready to advise and offer practical help and support for those wishing to work in the wider international context.

The Arts Council of England
The Arts Council of England

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Scottish Arts Council
The Scottish Arts Council

The Arts Council of Wales
The Arts COuncil of Wales

The English Regional Arts Boards
The English Regional Arts Boards

The British Council
Promotes and supports British artists touring and working overseas, encouraging practitioners to export their skills and services and helping to showcase work internationally. It works closely with a range of partners, including the Arts Council of England and the English Regional Arts Boards, and offers a contact point with overseas venues, festivals and promoters through the network of offices around the world. It also co-ordinates inward and outward trade missions and international showcases for the best of British arts.
The British Council

Euclid The official UK cultural contact point for the European Union's Culture 2000 programme. It provides consultancy, training, information, news and analysis on European and international issues for the arts and cultural sector. Euclid has recently established a new subscription email bulletin service DICE, aimed at arts planners, managers and researchers.

International Arts Bureau (lAB)
Provides international policy intelligence and information services to the Arts Council of England and its clients. lAB can offer specific advice, training and information about opportunities for overseas visits and exchanges, events and networking, and European funding opportunities. It also provides a free enquiry service on these and other international cultural matters for arts organisations on behalf of ACE. lAB also publishes 'country briefings', and regular news and policy updates via its publication International Cultural Compass, website and email alert services.
International Arts Bureau 

Visiting Arts
A joint venture of the Arts Council of England, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Scottish Arts Council, the Arts Council of Wales, the Crafts Council, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and The British Council. It promotes and facilitates the inward flow of foreign arts and artists into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the context of the contribution they can make to cultural relations, cultural awareness and fostering mutually beneficial international arts contacts and activities. It runs schemes such as the Project Development Awards, open to British-based promoters and venues wishing to promote work from overseas.
Visiting Arts

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Animated: Issues 1996 - 2001