Beyond Curiosity and Desire: Towards Fairer International Collaborations in the Arts

Cover for Beyond Curiosity and Desire. Title text sits in a red strip that cuts across a white page.

En français

In collaboration with On the Move and DutchCulture, IETM has published a new Toolkit for fairer international collaborations, written by Mike van Graan. The publication explores why and how artists and cultural professionals can adopt a more equitable approach to international and intercultural collaborations.

Many contemporary arts professionals and organisations increasingly engage in international activities, ranging from joint projects to exchanges, from residencies to co-productions. However, misunderstandings and false assumptions are very common, and can complicate the process, if not undermine the results. While the most obvious issue in international artistic and cultural collaborations is economic disparity,other elements deserve to be carefully considered, including historical links between countries, different political contexts, technical infrastructure and skills, freedom to travel, living and working conditions, aesthetics, traditions, among others. All these issues influence expectations and engagement. Only honest, and at times uncomfortable, conversations can clarify such issues and build trust between partners.

As international collaborations are the raison d’être of our three organisations, we have joined forces to produce this Toolkit. We have asked an arts professional with outstanding expertise, Mike van Graan, to produce a text that offers a comprehensive overview of relevant issues through a combination of practical case studies and theoretical references. The toolkit provides food for thought for artists and cultural professionals, and hopes to feed the discussion between policy-makers and funders. Overall, we aim to contribute to making international artistic collaborations more equal, meaningful and enriching.

This reflection will continue in collaboration with the NGO Culture et Développement through monthly articles on this topic to be published on their website Territoires Associés, le développement par la culture as per June 2018.