an uneasy symbiosis
In February of this year, the European Dancehouse Network (EDN), Mercat de les Flors and Graner held an Atelier in Barcelona titled 'Artists and Structures: How do we transform ourselves?' Taking place over two days, the event probed the relationship between dance artists and the institutions that support them. Participants were a mixture of artists, arts administrators, curators and directors from Spain and beyond. Through a series of round table discussions and working groups, participants in the Atelier highlighted points of friction in the artist/structure relationship and opportunities for growth and change. A number of themes emerged and re-emerged, sticking points that the conversation circled around again and again. DRAFF took a 'fly on the wall' stance in the Atelier, making notes and looking for trends in the discussions. Overall, the Atelier uncovered issues rather than suggested solutions to these issues, but identifying and recording problems is a first step to addressing them.
The trends that DRAFF noted and the questions that were raised are recorded below.
Administrations soaking up funds
It seems to have become accepted that the apparatus surrounding the art making will cost more than the art itself. Dance artists are slowly coming to question the fact that they often live below the poverty line while a large part of the funding allocated for making work is soaked up in the administration of institutions that present or produce the work. And that the individuals working in those institutions enjoy the security of a regular wage, sick pay, holiday days and the other benefits of a secure job – conditions which are right and proper. But is it possible to arrange the distribution of available funds in a more egalitarian way, allowing artists to enjoy a measure of security? This raises the more complex question of which artists will get to enjoy that security, and by what criteria. It’s certainly true that there are not enough resources to support all the artists that identify themselves as such.
Artists and institutions as citizens,