Memo March 2015

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A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in March 2015

This memo looks short but is not. Complete with the attachment.

Five themes

The European Commission is trying hard to communicate with Europeans. In culture an interesting initiative has been launched, called The Voice of Culture. Five themes will be elaborated in the course of the next two years. Each topic will be discussed at a brainstorming session with selected stakeholders – representatives of the civil society who indicate their willingness to participate in response to calls for application. Calls for the first two discussions expired in March. These sessions will be held in summer in Amsterdam and Florence on the themes of audience development via digital means and participatory governance of cultural heritage.

Two neighbourhoods

The European Union first articulated its relationship towards the east and the south in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2003. The approach was last updated in 2011. The many changes in both directions call for a new revision and an open consultation has been launched.

The process is introduced by a ten-page paper: a brief analysis is followed by dozens of very specific questions. A few examples: Should the current geographical scope be maintained? Are new elements needed to support deeper sector cooperation? (Culture, too, is mentioned in this connection.) How can we empower economically, politically and socially the younger generation? Should increasing understanding of each other’s cultures be a more specific goal? What alternative or additional priorities would you propose?

The consultation lasts until June.

One million artists

According to Eurostat, there are a million people employed in the European Union in jobs labelled Creative, arts and entertainment activities, coded R90 in NACE, the EU statistical classification of economic activities. Plus-minus a few thousand: 996,400 in 2008 and 1,007,300 in 2013. We are not familiar with registration practices in the individual countries but supposedly most singers, sculptors, actors, designers, playwrights, photographers and clowns are included. Their number is stable, even slightly growing as the 2008-2013 figures show. In relation to total employment the share of R90 jobs has increased from 0.46% to 0.48%.

Statistics reveal that with 0.87% Latvia has the most artistic labour force in the European Union. Records prove that before the credit crunch Iceland could afford artists (including entertainers and other creative folks) over 1% in the total labour market. On the whole, this type of occupation is fairly resilient in the east: out of the seven countries where the share of R90 jobs increased by more than a third four were post-communist states. No-one, however, could match the Norwegian swing, where artists’ proportion grew by 48% between 2008-2013.

Two more studies

Looking at latest cultural employment statistics was triggered by the release of two publications in March. An EENC report presents similar data and other statistics across the 28 members of the European Union.

The other paper was done by the multinational audit firm Ernst & Young, and is politely recommended by three high ranking EU heads. The great accomplishment of the project is that nineteen international professional associations have been involved (some of  them as partners, others as informants) into the counting. Differently from the content of the jobs, this study listed all employees in culture related undertakings. Taking cases like a film studio or a theatre, besides artists people like accountants, electricians, drivers etc. were also calculated. This is how EY arrived at a work force of 1.2 million in the performing arts market and almost as many in the music industries.

No wonder the higher numbers fascinate politicians whose mantra in the near future will be 7 million jobs in the culture and creative industries and 4.2% of European Union GDP.

More is written on these topics in the annex.