European Association of Independent Performing Arts (EAIPA); February 2024
THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT PERFORMING ARTS CELEBRATES YEARS OF EXCITING KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE, DATA COLLECTION AND IMPROVED WORKING CONDITIONS FOR THE INDEPENDENT PERFORMING ARTS SECTOR
The European umbrella organisation The European Association of Independent Performing Arts was founded in September 2018. EAIPA represents the interests of professionals working in Europe’s independent performing arts scene and responds to Europe’s cultural policymaking by means of data collection and new policy proposals.
This year, EAIPA proudly celebrates its 5-year anniversary – and we want to use this opportunity to share our achievements, goals and topics. So, let’s see what the past 5 years had in store for us:
While we were happy to learn from each other and saw the rapid expansion of our network, we were also able to stimulate the political discourse on artists‘ working conditions by collecting and publishing reliable data on the situation of professionals working in the sector.
In the words of Ulrike Kuner (EAIPA President since 2018):
„Founding EAIPA – European Association of Independent Performing Arts was a milestone for the independent performing arts sector. In many European countries, national associations have existed for decades, but thanks to EAIPA, knowledge exchange about the challenges and needs of artists and the sector has now been established on a structural basis. We have tirelessly collected data for five years and have learned a lot about the economic, artistic and social situation of the sector and the individual artists.
All this was only possible because we surveyed the conditions in the different members‘ countries. We examined the structures and the working conditions of the artists, we described and published them. We can now address concrete issues in our conversations with funders and politicians, and we can help artists thanks to detailed proposals and best-practice examples on which we have worked with our members, partners and friends.
But the main achievement is that we trust each other. Without trust, we would not be able to talk so freely about past challenges or mistakes. But in doing so, our pool of knowledge grows continuously. Thanks to all our members, our board and our project managers, we have grown together and explored the diverse and marvellous scenery of the independent performing arts sector in Europe.“
In 2018, EAIPA was founded in collaboration with 9 organisations from 9 European countries. By the end of 2023, EAIPA had extended membership status to 22 organisations from 18 European countries.
IG Freie Theaterarbeit /Austrian Association of Independent Performing Arts
АСТ – Aсоциация за свободен театър / ACT – Association of Independent Performing Arts
Asociace nezávislých divadel ČR
THEATTERIKESKUS – Theatre Centre
Bundesverband Freie Darstellende Künste e.V.
Független Előadó-művészeti Szövetség (FESZ) / Association of Independent Performing Arts
Association of Independent Theatres in Iceland (AITI)
Coordinamento della Realtà della Scena Contemporanea
Unia Teatrów Niezależnych
ASOCIAŢIA TEATRELOR INDEPENDENTE
Klub nezávislých divadiel
Red de Teatros Alternativos – Spain
Association Independent Theatre
Perfas – Performing Artists South Tyrol
Over the past 5 years, we were able to organise a number of important events. Following is an overview of upcoming as well as past events:
- Season 2023/24: Online-Series „Artists in Focus“
In this online series, we will discuss issues and topics that directly address the challenges artists are facing on a daily basis.
#1 09.11.2023 – Mental Health in Focus
#2 18.01.2024 – Career Support
#3 14.03.2024 – Arts as Public Health Service
#4 16.05.2024 – Chain of Responsibilities: Funding Politics
June 2023: AND ČR and EAIPA conference in Prague / CZ
Hosted by our member AND.CR, EAIPA co-organised an inspiring conference in which members and the public were able to learn more about sustainable art practices, Fairness Processes, Fairness Codices and Fair Pay attempts in different European countries and about new artist associations in Portugal, Poland, and Serbia. The final roundtable discussion saw EAIPA representatives in conversation with the Czech Minister of Culture and Prague’s City Counsellor for Culture.
October 2022: EAIPA in Sofia / BUL
In October 2022, EAIPA’s Bulgarian member, ACT Association, hosted the European Association of Independent Performing Arts in Sofia for the bi-annual ACT Festival. In this context, numerous meetings, workshop sessions and presentations took place to connect and strengthen the relationship between the different European associations.
- Season 2022/23: Online-Series “Fairness in Focus”
EAIPA identified four key issues for further discussion: funding structures, social insurance systems for artists, fair pay measures and intermittency systems. We decided to dedicate a two-hour online format to each of these topics to inform an international audience about existing structures in different European countries and to share insights from artists and representatives living and working in these countries.
All events were headed by an introductory presentation and comparison of different European systems, followed by inputs and discussions with artists and experts from the respective countries.
#1 10.11.2022: Funding Structures
#2 19.01.2023: Social Insurance Systems
#3 09.03.2023: Minimum Fee Recommendations & Fair Pay
#4 11.05.2023: Intermittency Systems
- March 25, 2022: Conference: „WALK THE LINE – FAIRNESS FOR THE INDEPENDENT PERFORMING ARTS IN EUROPE“
On March 25th 2022, the European Association of Independent Performing Arts hosted its first hybrid conference on the subject of fairness processes in the European independent performing arts. With a number of international guest speakers and representatives from various European associations, the presentations and discussions focused on different best-practice models and types of fairness processes, ranging from minimum honorarium fees to fairness codices and the question of the legal status of the artist. Meanwhile, in view of current political conflicts in Europe, debates also focused on what artists can say about the political support and appreciation of democratic and European values in their respective countries.
- November 11-13, 2020: European Theatre Forum 2020: European Performing Arts in Focus and the Dresden Declaration Nov 13, 2020).
The European Theatre Forum 2020 took place as an online event. More than 150 policymakers, artists, theatre-makers, theatre & performing arts structures gathered and created, for the first time ever, a collective political voice for the theatre and performing arts sector. The Forum delivered a strong message on the importance of culture in a democratic and free European society. The meeting was organised in the frame of the German EU Council Presidency and in cooperation with the European Commission and the German Minister of State for Culture and Media.
Additionally, after a seven-month process, 12 European theatre and performing arts networks representing artists, companies, production houses, theatres, festivals and academies (also known as the Consortium) published the Dresden Declaration of the European Theatre Forum, calling for a more regular and exhaustive policy dialogue and the creation of an EU support strand for theatre and performing arts. Furthermore, the Consortium formulated ‚The Way Forward‘, 8 concrete suggestions for the future of the sector.
- November 2022: The Dresden Declaration: European Theatre and Performing Arts Sector Calls for Urgent Plan to Revive the Arts
Signed by 12 major European theatre and performing arts networks, The Dresden Declaration sets out goals formulated in the context of the first ‚European Theatre Forum 2020: European Performing Arts in Focus‘ and calls on Europe to urgently create a plan to revive the sector in the face of and after the pandemic.
- 04.11.2018 / Munich: First Presentation of EAIPA and first General Assembly
Following its first General Assembly, EAIPA nmembers were proud to publicly present the newly founded European Association of Independent Performing Arts in the framework of IETM’s annual assembly at Gasteig in Munich.
Our political advocacy work is based on the meticulous and comprehensive collection of data, facts and figures. For this reason, we examined and described the situation for the independent performing arts sector in different European countries and asked academic researcher Thomas F. Eder to compile two studies which were published in 2018 and 2021 respectively. These studies will be updated every 2-3 years.
- Introduction to the Independent Performing Arts in Europa. Eight European Performing Arts Structures at a Glance. Published by EAIPA 2018.
The first joint project was a comparative analysis of funding schemes for the independent performing arts in eight different European countries. This analysis was the first structural and comparative research to detail the diverse funding situations currently in place across the specified eight European countries. The research focused on statistic, financial and social indicators – such as ‚risk of poverty for artists‘. In this respect, it also became apparent that there are many problems concerning the accessibility and sufficiency of available data. However, this only provided an incentive for EAIPA to collect more factual data and detailed information in order to produce another extensive study within the next few years.
- Introduction to the Independent Performing Arts in Europe. Thirteen European Performing Arts Structures at a Glance. 2nd edition published by EAIPA 2021.
With this 2nd edition of our brochure, we are adapting the representation of the independent performing arts sector and expanding it to 13 European countries. We are also interested in whether and how the pandemic will affect artists‘ livelihoods, and whether policymakers and funders will use the current awareness and discourse to rethink and adjust policies and improve conditions for artists and arts practitioners.
- In 2023 and in close collaboration with EAIPA, Thomas F. Eder published his PhD thesis called ‚Independent Performing Arts in Europe. Establishment and Survival of an Emerging Field‘ (Routledge, London and New York 2023).
This study is based on empirical data collection and builds a concrete basis for scholarly discourse, cross-national learning and scientifically informed policy recommendations for administrations and associations alike.
EAIPA contributed to this publication by supporting both the quantitative and qualitative data collection: EAIPA’s member organisations distributed the questionnaires to practitioners and experts in the individual countries. As a result, 1.031 questionnaires were completed which set the basis for the study. Staff from different member associations also contributed in expert interviews and gave more in-depth insight into the situations and challenges in the respective countries.
Thomas F. Eder: „I would like to express my sincere gratitude to EAIPA – European Association of Independent Performing Arts – and its member associations, who activated their networks for the dissemination of the survey for this research and made themselves available for answering the expert questionnaires.“
Following are some endorsements from notable theatre and performing arts scholars:
Professor Christopher Balme (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany):
„This book constitutes an impressive piece of original research, using methods which are unusual in the field of theatre studies. It examines in remarkable empirical detail a whole range of questions regarding income, social security, and governance of the independent performing arts in Europe. It will become a benchmark for future research.“
Professor Axel Haunschild (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany):
„This is the first comprehensive and comparative study into the independent performing arts in Europe. The book is path-breaking in its empirical richness and institutional analysis. I highly recommend it to all practitioners and scholars who seek to gain a deeper understanding of current field dynamics in the performing arts.“
The umbrella organisation EAIPA was founded in September 2018 and currently counts 22 member organisations from 18 countries. EAIPA operates at B2B level, its members being interest groups or representatives of the individual member countries, which in turn represent actors from the Independent Performing Arts field. Therefore, EAIPA represents people, companies and theatres working in Europe’s independent Performing Arts sector, and it responds to Europe’s cultural policy making by collecting up-to-date information, initiating new policy proposals and by raising visibility for the needs and achievements of the sector.
Facebook: EAIPA European Association of Independent Performing Arts
*NEW* Threads: @eaipa_association