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ASEF 20th Anniversary: 20 Years of Cultural Mobility

Corporate News


26 Sep 2017

ASEF 20th Anniversary

Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative supported several Asian practitioners to take part in the The Producers’ Academy workshop (10-13 May, Brussels, Belgium). In the photo: Marie LE SOURD (1st row, 3rd from left), Secretary General of On the Move, co-organiser of the workshop, together with all the participants. Copyright: Sibel CEYLAN

In 2017 in celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) launched Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative, a new fund that supports international travel of artists and cultural practitioners in Asia-Europe and Asia-Asia contexts.

Defined as “the temporary cross-border movement of artists and other cultural professionals” on Mobility Matters, cultural mobility is integral to practitioners in the field of arts and culture. Recognising that the nature of their work has become increasingly international, including the constraint and challenge of securing funds to finance travels for residencies, workshops, conferences, collaborative meeting, among other artistic activities, ASEF sought to fill the gap.

Mobility First! builds on the organisation’s support to cultural mobility over the last 20 years. ASEF’s Culture Department posts relevant mobility information through the Opportunities Section of its arts portal, as part of such ongoing initiatives to benefit the sector. Artists working in contemporary artistic disciplines such as filmmaking, visual arts and performing arts have also received support through Creative Encounters: Cultural Partnerships between Asia and Europe (6 editions between 2010-2016), ASEF Creative Networks (3 editions between 2014-2016), events supported by (2012-2016), and the Asia-Europe Art Camps (2003-2010).

Since 2001, museum directors, curators, and educators have been sponsored by the Asia-Europe Museum Network (ASEMUS). Moreover, the ASEF Cultural Policy Dialogue Series (since 2011) and Connect2Culture (2008-2009) have assisted cultural policy and heritage experts as well as researchers. ASEF has also funded and facilitated 2 meetings among funding and granting organisations working on cultural mobility issues in 2015 in Athens, Greece and in 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic).

In addition, since 2012, ASEF and the well-regarded cultural mobility information network, On the Move (OTM), have jointly presented the Mobility Funding Guides for International Cultural Exchange in 51 countries that are part of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). These guides provide a comprehensive and updated list of funding opportunities for the cultural mobility of artists and cultural practitioners in Asia and Europe.

According to OTM Secretary General, Marie LE SOURD, cultural mobility is higher on the ASEM and ASEF agenda now more than ever, especially with the Mobility First! fund. “Working with ASEF colleagues on cultural mobility related projects (e.g. the mobility funding guides) always implies a sense of trust, mutual enrichment and warm professionalism“, she said.

Marie added that beyond the projects that the 2 organisations co-develop, there is constant collaboration in their longstanding partnership through the exchange of information, tips and contacts. “In a natural way, we constantly and consistently enrich ourselves with new resources and people who can benefit from us or that we can gain from“, she said.

Prior to becoming Secretary General of OTM, Marie worked at ASEF’s Culture Department from 1999 to 2006 and sees the organisation as “not just any partner“.

The human, friendly and professional dimension of ASEF has remained over the years, which is a true added value and is particularly important to tackle changes of contexts that constantly happen“, she said.

Marie LE SOURD, former ASEF staff, current Secretary General of On the Move (OTM)

For more information on Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative, visit this page.

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