|If the European countries are serious about honouring their ratification of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity they need to make visa and work permit procedures and the general access to the European market for artists more flexible, transparent and homogenous.
“The current system is damaging the music industry,” says Ole Reitov, programme manager, Freemuse. The ‘white paper’ is based on answers from various European tour and festival organisers and their experiences with visa issuing offices outside Europe, and the paper presents various recommendations to these administrators of the visa systems.
“We have received numerous horror stories from concert organisers. When they receive wrong information or are being treated as ‘dirt’ by visa offices abroad, it creates an atmosphere of great frustration and sometimes lead to cancellation of planned tours,” says Ole Reitov.
The ‘white paper’ has been forwarded to the EU Commission, the EU Parliament and the Council of the European Union, and hopefully international and national music organisations will also make use of the paper. “Lobbying at national level is extremely important in order to improve the current system,” says Ole Reitov.
Freemuse then offered to host the collection of case stories and present a “white paper” to the European Parliament, the EU Commission and colleagues at national and European artists organisations. The initiative was quickly joined by international organisations with huge expertise and experiences in the field of cultural presentations and cultural exchange.
|Read ‘white paper’ (in PDF format)||
The initiative is joined by the following partners:
European Council of Artists, ECA – the umbrella organisation for national councils of artists in Europe:
In several European countries and in the USA there are national campaigns against visa and work permits restrictions in relationship to the artists. Amongst the inititatives are:
Visiting artists campaign makes waves in the British House of Lords
Manifesto Club’s Visiting Artists Campaign featured in a debate in the House of Lords in the United Kingdom on the effects of the points-based system on the arts and academia. The Manifesto Club has been working with the Earl of Clancarty, who opened the debate, and Lord Clement Jones, who contributed. Lords lined up to criticise the points-based visa system; the government was firmly on the defensive. The exchange can be read in full here.
This coincided with an important Greater London Authority survey, showing the damaging effect of visa rules on the arts. See full media coverage in the Guardian, the Stage, Artsadmin, and Migrants’ Rights Network.
Round Table on the Grassroots Arts, 5 April 2011: The Manifesto Club is partnering Artsadmin on a discussion about the effects of visa rules on the grassroots arts. If you are an independent artist/curator/director with a story to tell, do come along.
Campaign latest: Manick Govinda reports on the shocking story of an African artist barred from visiting the UK because he is single.
See Valerie Hartwich’s blog for the latest visa stories, including south east Asian criticism of UK visa red tape, and why the world’s greatest pianist won’t visit Britain.
[ In Danish language: ]
Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), Kulturnyt – 4 February 2009 at at 3:30 PM on DR P2:
‘EU’s visumregler forhindrer kultur’ – audio interview with Freemuse programme officer Ole Reitov and music promoter Peter Hvalkof
Politiken – 12 January 2009:
‘Udenlandske musikere st