Programmes

Mobility First! - ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative

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Overview:

To commemorate its 20th anniversary in 2017, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) builds upon its support to cultural mobility over the past 2 decades by launching Mobility First! - ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative, a new grant that supports the movement of Asian and European artists and cultural professionals in Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) partner countries.

UNESCO reiterates that limited availability and access to funding remains a huge challenge for cultural mobility, and ASEF continues its efforts to narrow this gap through its Mobility First! grant. In its latest Reshaping Cultural Policies report (2nd edition), the only global document on trends in cultural development launched by the new UNESCO Director-General Ms Audrey Azoulay on 14 December 2017, limited funding for cultural mobility has yet again been recognised as a key challenge to international cultural co-operation. However, a positive trend is been observed in mobility opportunities provided through transnational cultural collaborations, with a renewed interest in South-South mobility.

In this context, ASEF's Mobility First! travel grant has been acknowledged, in its 1st year, as a "success story" by a multilateral intergovernmental organisation to bridge existing gaps in support for artists' mobility. ASEF's Mobility First! is funded by 51 Asian and European countries, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat in the framework of the Asia Europe meeting (ASEM).

In its pilot year, Mobility First! has enabled the participation of a total of 73 artists and cultural practitioners in the ASEM region for a wide range of cultural activities, including from networking and capacity building (training, study visits, partnership meetings) to artwork creation (artists' and writers' residencies) to public presentations (festivals, biennales, conferences). An equal number of males and females were supported as well as a balanced selection of fields including film, visual arts, contemporary dance, and theatre. In addition, trainings for museum professionals and different kinds of arts managers, including heritage professionals, were also supported. In terms of mobility routes, Asia-to-Europe and intra-Asia routes were prioritised.

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Now on its 2nd year, Mobility First! supports the same wide variety of activity types (workshop/training, conference/forum, festival/biennale, residencies, partnership meetings, research trips, short-term exploration/networking) with particular focus on these areas:

Through these activities and focus areas, Mobility First! contributes to the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly:

SDG #10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

SDG #4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and promote lifelong learning for all

SDG #5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women

Mobility First! builds on ASEF’s support to mobility over the last 20 years, including in particular through:

Project Goals:

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