Since its establishment in 1996, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) has been an important funder of cultural mobility, supporting the movement of artists and cultural practitioners between Asia and Europe. It is within this framework that it will support the Platform for Asian and European Mobility Funders to discuss existing opportunities and challenges in the cultural field on 5-6 June in Prague, Czech Republic.
The initiative – supported through ASEF’s programme Creative Encounters: Cultural Partnerships between Asia and Europe – aims to create a platform for different types of funders from both regions to meet, exchange, learn, and further explore the potential for artistic mobility, existing funding schemes, policies and practices. ASEF has a long-term commitment to promoting mobility of artists between the two regions, in particular from Asia to Europe as well as Asia to Asia.
There are a number of gaps and important differences between Asia and Europe in the context of cultural mobility. The current needs in this field are: comprehensive and updated information on available funding sources, efficient networks that connect funders and more regional support mechanisms in Asia as identified by the Mobility Funding Guides published by ASEF in 2012. The importance of greater cultural exchange between artists and cultural professionals between the two regions is also a priority for the Culture Ministers of Asia and Europe, and has been included in the Action Plan of Culture Ministers since the 2nd Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Culture Ministers Meeting (2005, Paris).
The two-day Platform for Asian and European Mobility Funders will gather 30 experts from leading arts funding organisations from various sectors (public, private, national, international, regional and local). Among others, they include: Dr Shahidal ALAM, Director of Chobi Mela (Bangladesh), Ms Mariko YAMAGUCHI, Director of Tokyo Culture Creation Project at Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation (Japan), Mrs Phuong Hoa NGUYEN, Head of Europe Bureau at the Ministry of Culture and Information (Vietnam), Ms Nette GRATAMA VAN ANDEL, Coordinator at Prins Claus Fund (The Netherlands), and Diane DODD, European Liaison at the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA). Together, they will engage in an open-format discussion on the development of relevant support mechanisms with shared responsibilities between countries and organisations.
The meeting will result in recommendations for policy makers and funders based on the needs and gaps in the cultural sector.
The Platform for Asian-European Mobility Funders originated from two series of discussions on the Mapping of Funding Opportunity for International Cultural Exchange in Asia commissioned by ASEF in 2012. They focused on the necessity to identify funding opportunities and gaps in the context of international mobility of artists and cultural practitioners in Asia. As a result two mobility guides were commissioned and distributed: one is the Guide for funding opportunities for mobility in Europe (http://on-the-move.org/funding) launched in September 2011 and the other the Mobility Funding Guides, a concrete mapping of funding opportunities for international cultural exchange in Asia, which was commissioned by ASEF and launched on its online portal culture360.org in September 2012.
 The first meeting was the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM) Satellite Meeting in Tokyo in February 2011 in cooperation with Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting (TPAM), the second follow-up meeting took place in South Korea in October 2011.