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Mobility First! - ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative 2018

A travel grant for artists and cultural professionals

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
Throughout 2018 Fatima AVILA Culture Department Mobility First! - ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative Culture

Several ASEM countries



The 2018 Mobility First! Call for Applications is now closed.

The 2019 call will be launched in early-January 2019.


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 fund 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 fund 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.


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:

  • Skills transfer / knowledge exchange
  • Innovation in arts & culture
  • Local development
  • Art and social issues: the role of art & artists in society

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

  • by facilitating the mobility of artists and cultural professionals (target 10.7)
  • by implementing the principle of differential treatment for developing countries, thereby contributing to achieving a balanced flow of cultural works (target 10.a)

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

  • by increasing the number of both youth and adults who participate in activities to acquire skills needed for employment in the cultural and creative industries (target 4.4)
  • by supporting the foundation (e.g. partner meetings/networking) for long-lasting collaboration and learning

SDG #5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women

  • by integrating gender equality as part of the selection criteria for the Mobility First! grant (target 5.c)
  • by increasing the participation of women at leadership programmes in the cultural sector and thereby contributing to equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life (target 5.5)

Project Updates

  • ASEFculture at PAMS 2018

    Published on 01 Oct 2018



    The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) will be at the Performing Arts Market in Seoul (PAMS) from 7 to 12 October 2018.

    ASEF will participate in the booth exhibition: Booth 41

    Full list of booth exhibitors: 

    Full programme: 

  • ASEF OzAsia Borak Arts Series Adelaide



    Successful applicants will be notified by email by Wednesday, 5 October.

    If you have not received an email by this date, unfortunately, your application is not successful at this time.


    Strengthening Southeast Asian and Australian engagement is the focus of Borak Art Series in Adelaide this November. In this framework, the Oz Asia Festival and Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) has set-up a mobility fund for Southeast Asian artists and cultural professionals to ensure diverse representation from the region.

    About Borak Arts

    Since 2013, Borak Arts Series has welcomed over 1,100 delegates from 26 countries, 29 international festival directors and presenters as well as 42 international funding stakeholders.

    Borak Arts Series has become a platform that creates opportunities and builds capacity through the congregation of South East Asian and international cultural leaders, artists, presenters, producers, intermediaries, funders, academics and students.

    The main objectives of the event are:

    • To promote accessibility of information, tools and ideas on how to bring works or discussions forward;
    • To encourage cultural mobility and create alliances that would assist in building a robust performing arts ecosystem
    • To provide a platform for various panel discussions, networking sessions, one on one meetings with international programmers and workshop sessions

    The programme of Borak Art Series 2018 - Adelaide can be found here:

    Who is eligible to apply?

    • Cultural practitioners who are nationals of Southeast Asian countries 
    • Southeast Asian countries are: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam

    What will be covered?

    • A maximum cap of Singapore Dollars (SGD) 1,200 per person
    • This will cover: airfare, visa fees, registration fees for Borak Art Series
    • This does not cover accommodation

    Apply here:

    Deadline: 28 September 2018


  • Mobility First! - 3rd cycle results

    Published on 30 Aug 2018


    This is the 3rd & final cycle of Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)’s travel grant for artists and cultural professionals. Overall, we have received 825 applications for all 3 cycles from 482 individual applications and 343 arts practitioners nominated through 110 organisation applications. In total, we have supported 84 artists and cultural professionals in 2018.

    These are the selected artists, cultural professionals, and arts organisations for the final cycle:

    Selected individuals include:




    Mobility Route

    Neeraj Bhasin


    Beyond Festival

    India to Germany

    Takeshi Matsumoto


    Contemporary dance workshop and filmmaking with refugee children in Thailand

    UK to Thailand

    Elisabeth Sri Unggul Ida Mulyani


    Artistic research and production on exile migration in Indonesia

    Belgium to Indonesia

    Naomi Ota


    Developing new artistic methodology for a site specific installation and performance

    Australia to Republic of Korea

    Andreas Ceska


    Art for Change 2018 – New Delhi

    Austria to India

    Johanna Sims


    International exhibition: Contamination

    Sweden to Republic of Korea

    Anna Koshcheeva

    Russian Federation

    Archival research in Vientiane

    Singapore to Lao PDR

    Pablo Chavanel


    Crossing Borders Training Programme

    Cambodia to Germany

    Sazkia Noor  Anggraini


    DMZ Korean International Documentary Film Festival

    Indonesia to Korea

    Lenka Moravkova

    Czech Republic

    Artists’ Residency: House of Natural Fibres

    Czech Republic to Indonesia

    Edwin Quinsayas


    Asiatopia International Performance Art Festival 2018

    Philippines to Thailand

    Luise Rist


    Writers’ Residency: Developing Manouche

    Germany to India

     Selected organisations include:

    Event / Organisation

    Country where event is held

    Artists/Cultural Professionals

    Young Cultural Innovators Forum organised by Salzburg Global Seminar


    Arundhati Ghosh (India); Hiroko Kikuchi (Japan); Mihong Kim (Korea); Ho Yiu Luk (China); Julia Nebrija (Philippines)

    Asia Pacific Screen Laboratory organised by Griffith Film School


    Teng Mangansakan (Philippines); Nilotpal Majumdar (India); Daniel Rudi Haryanto (Indonesia); Anthony Chen (Singapore); Pavel Jech (Czech Republic)

    VIVA EXCON CAPIZ 2018 organised by Green Papaya Art Projects


    Lizza May David (Germany); Phuong Linh Nguyen (Viet Nam); Lani Maestro (Philippines – based in France); Enzo Camacho (Philippines – based in Germany); Jeebesh Bagchi (Philippines – based in India)

    Blind With Camera (Workshop) organised by Beyond Sight Foundation


    Partha Bhowmick (India); Rashmi Bhowmick (India)


    To know more about the selected artists, cultural professionals, and arts organisations, we have published the remarks from the Selection Committee here:

    Overall Remarks from the Selection Committee - Mobility First! 3rd Cycle


  • Mobility First! - 2nd Cycle Results

    Published on 31 Jul 2018

    We have received a total of 253 applications for the 2nd cycle of Mobility First!, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)'s travel grant for artists and cultural professionals.

    These are the selected artists, cultural professionals, and arts organisations:

    Selected individuals include:





    Asif Ul Islam


    StopTrik Festival Film Workshop


    Enkhnaren Sundev


    ICR & ICTOP Conference: Facing the New Political Realities: Rethinking Training for Regional Museums

    New Zealand

    Haruna Honcoopova

    Czech Republic

    Olympic Half Time: Film production & research trip in China


    Jolanta Juskiewicz


    Theatre of Pure Form Workshop


    Leow Puay Tin


    Residency: US/NOT-US and RE-DIS PLATFORM


    Maria Oshodi


    Visual Impairment Workshop for the Nippon Foundation and SLOW Label


    Masuma Khwaja


    In a Different Voice: Tsinghua University Group Exhibition


    Maung Day


    Residency at San Art Laboratory

    Viet Nam

    Roberto Santaguida


    Diaries: Practice-led research in Viet Nam

    Viet Nam

    Samuel van Ransbeeck


    The Politics of Listening Symposium


    Sara Machado


    HOTPOT: East Asia Dance Platform | SIDance Festival | PAMS Market


    Yoko Nakashima


    Arts Rights Justice Academy


    Yuko Kuroda


    Dance Well Workshop



    Selected organisations include:

    Event / Organisation

    Country where event is held

    Artists / Cultural Professionals supported

    Berwick Media & Arts Festival


    John Torres (Philippines); Shireen Seno (Philippines)

    Local Agents organised by Baan Noorg Collaborative Arts and Culture


    Alfred Banze (Germany); Helmi Hardian (Indonesia); Tedi Nurmanto (Indonesia); Ahmad Thian Vultan (Indonesia); Tuwis Yasinta (Indonesia)

    Asian Dramaturgs’ Network Lab 2018 organised by Centre42


    Rustom Bharucha (India); Mandeep Raikhy (India); David Pledger (Australia); Jamie Lewis (Australia); Fasyali Fadzly bin Saipul Bahri (Malaysia)

    Chasing Dragons (Euro-Pakistani Platform for Children & Young People)


    Anja Pletikosa (Croatia); Attila Antal (Hungary); Daniela Krabbe (Germany)


    To know more about the selected artists, cultural professionals, and arts organisations, we have published the remarks from the Selection Committee here:

    Overall Remarks by Selection Committee - Mobility First! 2nd Cycle


    Please also download the Press Release here:

    Press Release - Mobility First!



  • Mobility First! - 1st Cycle Results

    Published on 31 May 2018

    We have received 298 applications for the 1st cycle of Mobility First!, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)'s travel grant for artists & cultural professionals.

    The selected individuals include:





    Iefiz Alaudin


    Workshop: International Summer School of Physical Theatre


    Nikolai Alutin

    Russian Federation

    Training: De Appel Curatorial Programme


    Irwan Amin Ahmett


    Residency: Pala Lab 2018


    Chloe Benshael


    Residency & workshop: Textile Languages


    Pakchira Chartpanyawut


    Research trip: Art archiving in Asia


    Rashmi Dhanwani


    Networking trip


    Manuel Domes


    Conference & forum: Sinesaysay Docu Lab & Docs by the Sea Forum


    Gabor Horcher


    Research trip: Pat Jasan, Fight of a Family – feature documentary film


    Dian Ika Gesuri


    Workshop: IETM Campus Fuzine


    Kat Roma Greer


    The Artic Circle Residency


    Tita Salina


    Residency: Pala Lab 2018


    Jean Toh


    Workshop: Liquid Way to Action



    The selected organisations include:

    Organisation / Event


    Artists/Cultural Professionals

    Dhaka DocLab


    Audrius Stonys (Lithuania); Graca Castanheira (Portugal); Camilla Nielsson (Denmark); Sylvia Bednarz (UK); Paul Pauwels (Denmark)

    An Ordinary City / PLAYTIME! Festival

    Viet Nam

    Daryl Mulvihil (Ireland); Simone Carena (Italy); Caroline Gervay (France); Seonghak Cho (Korea); Jihyun Park (Korea)

    Synthposium Festival

    Russian Federation

    Meng Qi (China); Shao Yanpeng (China); Haco (Japan)

    Plasticity Theatre Troupe / Training with Homemade Puppetry Thailand


    Lay Heong Tan (Malaysia); Zhi Kai Low (Malaysia); Yun Xin Lim (Malaysia); Aik Lee Ong (Malaysia)


    To know more about the selected artists, cultural professionals, & organisations, we have also published remarks from the Selection Committee here: 

  • Mobility First! 2018 Selection Committee

    Published on 06 May 2018

    2018 marks the second year of Mobility First! - the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)'s travel grant for arts practitioners in Asia and Europe. In this year's edition, Mr Ferdinand RICHARD and Mr TAY Tong are joining ASEF in making the selection of artists, cultural professionals & arts organisations that will be supported by the fund.



    Ferdinand RICHARD
     is the founder/director of the AMI Association in Marseille (since 1985), a multi-sectoral cultural development platform with a consistent international cooperation programme. He is also co-founder of La Friche Belle-de-Mai (since 1992) and has been Deputy Director for the past 8 years under architect Jean Nouvel.

    Ferdinand is concurrently the President of the Roberto Cimetta Fund (since 2009), an international non-profit organisation that funds the mobility of artists & cultural professionals in Europe and neighbouring regions.

    Ferdinand is a member of governance of the Institut du Monde Arabe in the Hauts-de-France Region (since 2016). He is also the Founder-President of Global Grand Central, a global internet platform for artists and cultural projects, archives, and narratives (since 2017). In addition, Ferdinand is a board member of the Observatoire des Politiques Culturelles-France (since 2002), as well as President of The European Forum for the Arts and Heritage (re-named today Culture Action Europe). Further, he is a collaborator/expert for Agenda 21 for Culture (United Cities and Local Governments) since 2006. He is also a premier coordinator and expert of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity/UNESCO experts panel (2006-2015).

    Ferdinand was also a musician and producer (1971-2000). 


    TAY Tong was the Managing Director of TheatreWorks (Singapore) and its space, 72-13, a conservation building, for a total of 20 years. Tay has 30 years of professional experience. He joined the company in 1989 as its Production Manager and was appointed the Managing Director in 1999 after he completed his MA at Goldsmiths College, University of London. In the same year, he was also appointed as Director, Arts Network Asia (ANA). From June 2013 till November 2017, Tay was concurrently the Aide to the Festival Director of the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA).

    Tay was the Director of Arts Network Asia (ANA).  Through the 18-year-old ANA, Tay brokered greater intra-Asia dialogues and exchanges.  ANA provides project grants and mobility grants to artists and cultural workers to develop connectivity and a network of dialogues within Asia.  Between 2012 - 2016, this network has expanded to include Europe with the Creative Encounters Programme, a partnership between ANA and the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF). 

    Tay is an advocate for engagement with diverse cultures and supports the philosophy of ‘celebrating differences’ and cultural negotiation. And this forms the pillar to two key inter-cultural, multi-disciplinary and capacity building programmes in South East Asia. Tay produced the biennial Flying Circus Project or FCP, a process-based multi-disciplinary, long-term research and development programme in theatre, dance, music, visual arts, film and ritual, since its inception in 1996. From 2007 to 2013, other than in Singapore, the FCP has been sited in Vietnam, Cambodia and most recently in 2013, in Myanmar. This required Tay to work on the ground in-situ over a two-year period before the FCP descended on the country.

    Between 2002 and 2012, Tay also managed a capacity building programme, The Continuum Asia Project in Luang Prabang, Laos, working with elders and youth there to explore a sustainable developmental intervention through Asian heritage and traditional arts. Through this programme, Tay has assisted in the revival of the Laotian traditional form, Pharak Phalam which is the Laotian version of the Ramayana. At the same time, he has managed programmes to enrich the perception and arts exposure of youth in Luang Prabang; while imparting administrative and management skills to the Royal Ballet Theatre of Luang Prabang.

    For the past three years, Tay is an adjunct fellow at the Singapore Management University. He conducts a 15-week Arts Leadership programme each year, to encourage creative thinking and practice among arts management, business and law undergraduates at the University. His accolades include being the first and only arts manager to date, to be awarded the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Culture Award, in 1996, in recognition for his contribution to the arts in Singapore. Tay also sits on various advisory panels in Singapore and internationally. He, too, was on the 2017 nominating panel for the Bellagio Residency by the Rockefeller Foundation.


    Anupama SEKHAR's and Fatima AVILA's profiles can be read here.

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