On the Move: Cultural Mobility Forum, 25.5.2022 Helsinki

May 25 from 9.00 to 17.00 EEST, together with Nordic Culture Point & Howlround, On the Move (OTM) will host its first Cultural Mobility Forum touching upon the overall subject of Digital Mobility & with remarkable panelists and moderators.

Why a cultural mobility forum?

On the Move is the international information network dedicated to artistic and cultural mobility, currently gathering 60+ members from 27 countries and representing the interests of 1870+ affiliated organisations and individuals in Europe and the world. Co-funded by the European Union, On the Move aims in 2022-2024 to support all mobility stakeholders to build responsiveness to global interdependencies and challenges, including social and societal ones. 

As part of its multiannual programme, each year On the Move proposes a Cultural Mobility Forum to collectively investigate international artistic and cultural mobility trends. As a unique knowledge platform, the network works together with its members and partners to design thematic panel discussions. These in turn address the main points from On the Move’s annual Cultural Mobility Yearbook monitoring mobility opportunities and funding schemes, analysing flows and obstacles, and raising awareness of burning issues.

Focus 2022: digital mobility

The Covid-19 crisis has brought transnational cooperation almost to a halt. As researcher Milica Ilić has written, this disruption is bound to have consequences that will mark the sector for years to come. With little or no international travel, arts professionals are turning to their local environments, further changing the landscape for transnational work, and accelerating a trend which in some countries was already in motion due to political shifts or ecological concerns. The full effects of these changes are yet to be understood but could potentially have lasting consequences for a generation of artists, in particular those from less privileged environments where mobility, more than a choice, is a necessity. 

Covid-19 and the lockdowns, curfews and closed borders that have come with it have deeply impacted international cultural mobility, with most on-site cultural activities shut down. New and/or revisited forms of transnational cultural projects have taken place online but offer only a very partial replacement for what existed before the pandemic, and often offer very limited funding support for the artists involved. Nonetheless, we have seen many forms of digital cultural mobility arise, and felt the need to discuss the changing nature of working practices and mobility flows in the culture field.

As On the Move President Marie Fol has observed, there have been many debates on the value of international mobility and physical encounters, as well as on digital practices – their limitations and challenges as well as their joys and opportunities. While acknowledging that cultural mobility has suffered from a wide range of problems in the past – ranging from unequal access to funding to unnecessary administrative burdens – several voices have observed that digital mobility could open new pathways and answer pressing needs in relation to issues such as diversity, inclusion, access, and the need for more balanced power relations. Is the digital shift providing all that it seems to promise?

Find programme  and link to registration on the site of On the Move: https://on-the-move.org/work/events/cultural-mobility-forum-2022