Concerns about young artists

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Recently a collection of inspiration was published by the fourteen advisory councils of government and parliament, in which society and politics are called upon to ensure that current and future young generations can look forward to a hopeful future. Each advisory council highlighted a vision from its specific role, as did the Council for Culture.

In their contribution titled In a traffic jam on a blocked road. How young artists and creatives experience their start in the industry, the Council for Culture writes that the position of young artists in the labor market is weak and their financial position lamentable.

For many it was not possible to work during the corona measures, moreover, building a network was almost impossible. Graduates in artistic professions appear to have been hit a lot harder by the corona crisis than graduates in other sectors. Within the artistic professions, the group of makers has the worst prospects because they could not show their work. Within the group of starting makers, visual artists are in a plight.

Graduates in artistic professions appear to have been hit a lot harder by the corona crisis than graduates in other sectors

In order to build up a reputation in the visual arts, it is important to show your work at (group) exhibitions, to raise your profile and to build up a network. Due to the corona crisis, this was in many cases almost impossible. In addition, you have to build up a reputation and market your product. For programmers and curators it was also more difficult to scout new talent. For some starters, not being able to see other people's work was a blockade to inspiration and further development. The feeling of togetherness was also missed.

In addition, there is now a large reservoir of productions, exhibitions and concerts. Because so much is already on the shelf, there is less or no room for new makers. A complicating factor here is that there is a limited period in which you can get a foothold as an artist. After that, it's up to the next group of young makers. Many of the young makers with whom the Council for Culture spoke describe themselves as a lost generation, already surpassed by the next generation. All this leads to dejection and fatigue among many of the interviewees. Several of them experience burnout symptoms and there is doubt about their right to exist as artists, especially when politicians seem to be easily calling on them to do other work.

In addition, there is now a large reservoir of productions, exhibitions and concerts

The council also spoke with administrators of educational institutions and other cultural organizations. A frequently expressed wish among the makers is that art schools pay more attention to preparing students for a self-employed existence in the sector. The art schools recognize this and try to deal with it as well as possible. The extent to which arts education pays attention to business skills has been a topic of discussion for some time, but the curriculum is already quite full and students often have little interest in the business side of working in the sector during their education. Still, the directors want to do things differently; the crisis has made it clear that graduates need to know how to deal with changing circumstances, including the business side. The directors would like to think about tools to better organize the transition from school to work. One idea is to attach a kind of post-graduate linkage year to the study, in which the emphasis is on business and networking skills, a kind of incubation program.

the crisis has highlighted the need for graduate students to know how to deal with changing circumstances, including business ones

"The talks prompted further thought on how to positively use the experience of this generation of graduates for art and culture. In addition to structural measures for the long and medium term, this requires concrete initiatives from government, the sector and society to create space and opportunities for new makers. Only in this way can they catch up. For example, concrete, accessible creative subsidies, platforms for exchange and connection and cooperation with art schools," according to the council, which also calls for solidarity from everyone in the cultural sector: educators, producers, programmers and governments. "Solidarity to offer the younger generation in particular playing and presentation spaces, to make subsidy schemes more accessible and by providing workspace."


Download the entire report here

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