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A Definition Of ‘Cultural Mobility’ In The Arts and Culture Sector

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On the Move describes itself as a cultural mobility information network active in Europe and worldwide. But what does this network mean by ‘cultural mobility’? Marie Le Sourd, Secretary General of On the Move defines the term and the opportunities it presents to artists and cultural professionals.

On the Move refers to this definition extracted from the 2008 Eric arts study, Mobility Matters: We understand cultural mobility as “the temporary cross-border movement of artists and other cultural professionals.” Cross-border specifically means ‘international’, i.e. in a country other than Malaysia. Cultural mobility is what you do when you travel, for example, to:

  • participate in another country’s festival;
  • train overseas;
  • join a touring company to perform on a foreign stage.

More than a useful way to gain professional experience for career and artistic advancement, On the Move sees cultural mobility as “an integral part of the regular work life of artists and other cultural professionals.”

Prepare yourself by knowing your personal ‘why(s)’

It is really important to know the reasons behind your willingness to tour, engage into a residency project overseas, attend a performing arts market or any related project overseas. This may sound somewhat obvious, but this first step means you’ll be more effective in identifying your partners, developing your project, getting support from the right funding bodies, etc.

Some examples of ‘why’ may be:

  • you have been invited to a festival in a foreign country to present your work;
  • you want to develop a project related to theatre and climate change and you have identified a few creative residencies overseas;
  • you would like to take do professional training overseas in fields or at levels not offered in Malaysia;
  • you would like take your latest performance on tour or organise educational workshops;
  • you would like to take part in a European or Asian network’s meeting or a performing arts market;
  • You would like to explore another city or country to better understand its context and develop some partnerships in view of a future collaboration work.

Each of these ‘why’s’ will require a different approach. The one thing they have in common is that the sooner you identify them, the more time you have to get ready and get the most out of your experience.

Over the next couple of weeks ARTERI will publish more advice from On The Move on how to find the right opportunities, funding and other things you need to become a culturally mobile artist. Watch this space.

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Amy De Kanter
Amy De Kanter

Former Chief Editor, frequent contributor and enthusiastic audience member, Amy is thrilled to have a job that lets her do three of the things she loves most.