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Call for Applications: Mobility First! ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative

Corporate News


6 Apr 2017

When thinking about mobility, people have come to “imagine that mobility is border crossing, as though borders came first, and mobility, second. The truth is more the other way around.”

In the area of arts & culture, we refer to cultural mobility as “the temporary cross-border movement of artists and other cultural professionals. Certain forms of mobility relate to the individual (e.g. networking, residencies etc.); others are intrinsically connected to the mobility of works or performances in another country. (…) Mobility is not only understood as occasional movements across national borders that may be useful to gain professional experience required for career advancement, as well as advance artistic endeavour, but more as an integral part of the regular work life of artists and other cultural professionals.”

In recognising how integral mobility is for artists and cultural professionals, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) launches Mobility First! Through this new initiative, ASEF supports the mobility of artists and cultural professionals for cross-border activities that include participation in events, networking, research and collaborative meetings. Mobility support is provided to selected individuals for travel from Asia to Europe, Europe to Asia & within Asia.
Mobility First! Is being launched to commemorate ASEF’s 20th anniversary in 2017 and builds on ASEF’s support to mobility over the last 20 years, including in particular through:

  • Signing posting relevant mobility information through our Mobility Funding Guides and the Opportunities Section of our arts portal,;
  • Funding the mobility of artists (working in contemporary artistic disciplines such as filmmaking, visual arts and performing arts) 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 our arts portal, (2012-2016) and the Asia-Europe Art Camps (2003-2010);
  • Funding museum directors, curators and educators through the Asia-Europe Museum Network (ASEMUS) since 2001;
  • Funding cultural policy & heritage experts, researchers through the ASEF Cultural Policy Dialogue Series (since 2011) and Connect2Culture (2008-2009); and,
  • Funding and facilitating 2 meetings (2015, Greece; 2013, Czech Republic) among funding and granting organisations working on cultural mobility issues.

Through Mobility First!, ASEF seeks to reaffirm the importance of face–to-face encounters not only in knowledge and experience sharing, but also in setting up long-term alliances and partnerships based on trust, reciprocity and fair exchange.

Who can apply?

Individuals & organisations actively involved in the field of arts & culture who are eligible as per following guidelines:

  • Artists & cultural professionals from any artistic genre (such as visual arts, performing arts, film, heritage etc.) may apply.
  • Artists are defined as those directly involved in the production of artworks in any genre of the arts.
  • Cultural professionals are defined as others working in the field of arts & culture such as curators, arts writers (including critics), arts managers, researchers etc.
  • Applicants should be citizens of member countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and seek support for travel within the ASEM region.
  • Applicants may seek travel support to participate in any of the 7 types of eligible activities listed below in the section on What types of activities are supported?


  • Cultural organisations may apply to become ASEF’s partners; selected organisations will co-select individuals who will receive support to attend specific events organised by the partner (e.g. arts festivals, conferences). Selected partner organisations are expected organise the event as well as provide selected persons with local contacts and context. For example, an arts organisation organising a photography festival may wish to apply to Mobility First! and together with ASEF, will co-select 4 photographers who will be given ASEF’s support to be present at the festival.
  • Cultural organisations that operate in any artistic or cultural genre may apply. Non profit arts organisations will be prioritised.
  • Cultural organisations should be based in any of the ASEM member countries and operating in the ASEM region (nationally or bi-regionally)
  • Organisations should be applying for travel support for individuals to participate in any of the 7 types of eligible activities listed below in the section on What types of activities are supported?

What types of activities are supported?

Through this initiative, ASEF supports the mobility of artists and cultural professionals for the following 7 types of activities:

    1. Participation in workshops, conferences, festivals, biennales, networking sessions
    2. Participation in artists’/writers’ residencies
    3. Participation in culture-related training
    4. ‘Go and see’ or short-term exploration visits
    5. Participation in practice-led research
    6. Participation in partner meeting/s for exchanges and collaboration (to set up new cross-border collaborations)
    7. Participation in transnational networks (to sustain and/or widen existing networks)

Travel regions & grant amounts

  • Currently, the selection criteria for Mobility First! prioritises cultural mobility from Asia to Europe; from Europe to Asia; and, within Asia. All travel must be international.
  • Successful applicants will be given up to a maximum of Singapore Dollars (SGD) 2,000 for travel from Asia to Europe or Europe to Asia.
  • Successful applicants will be given up to a maximum of Singapore Dollars (SGD) 1,000 for travel within Asia.
  • Additional funding is available for people with disabilities and special needs.

Application & reporting processes

    1. Individuals should complete the online application form at:
    2. Organisations should complete the online application form at:
    3. All applicants must ensure that the activity/event will commence at least 10 weeks after the application is submitted.
    4. Successful applicants will be notified by ASEF within 4 weeks.
    5. For individuals receiving support, the first 50% of the funding amount will be transferred after ASEF has received the signed Terms of Reference. The remaining 50% will be transferred post-travel and after ASEF receives the required post-event report.
    6. In the case of organisations, ASEF will sign a Partnership Agreement with the selected organisation. The terms of funding will be agreed upon with the partner organisation & will be specified in the Partnership Agreement.
    7. All individuals receiving mobility support are expected to complete an online post-event report no later than 4 weeks after travel has ended. The format of the online report can be found here:


For more information, please click here.

Ms Fatima AVILA
Project Executive, Culture Department
Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

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