Established in March 2017, the Thematic Network for Arts and Culture network is the most recent initiative undertaken by the EFC.

Art and culture are among the most funded areas our members are active in, highlighting the level of activity in this sector. Recent developments have seen governments reduce their budgets which has given rise to need for philanthropy to fill the gap and the importance of philanthropic involvement.

This sector is complex, and it is not uncommon to meet difficulty in identifying opportunities that will have a positive impact on society. As such, the need for a platform that brings those involved together to pool ideas and create a strategy that can identify challenges and address them was recognised. 

A meeting in March kick-started the formation of this network as members expressed the difficulties in grasping the complexities surrounding arts and culture and how to best approach.

This network provides the space for likeminded representatives to have the opportunity to discuss and share knowledge in the aim to make new connections and brainstorm how best to go forward. Identifying new trends and areas for future collaboration will open the doors for new innovative ideas and direction.

In enabling this, the EFC will also give members the opportunity to arrange joint-meetings with other existing thematic networks in the EFC. This learning exchange between separate networks will help members identify how arts and culture could be integrated with other thematic issues and promoted further.

In moving forward some main objectives have been established:

  • Provide a safe space for networking and peer-learning
  • Build capacity and enhance knowledge through peer learning for philanthropic organisations working on or interested in the area of arts and culture
  • Act as a contact point with key actors at a European level, including EU institutions
  • Engage with European level initiatives (including EU policies and programmes) in the field of arts and culture

Taking this into consideration, in its first initiative, the network is focusing on encouraging exchanges and innovation in cultural participation and audience engagement and development.

Recognising that audience participation is key, how can philanthropy strategize around and encourage audience engagement in arts and culture?

In identifying audience development as a key issue, the first meeting concentrated on presenting and examining knowledge and experience in this area on an international, national and local level. Following this, main challenges and were identified while also recognising how to address them, with the overall aim to develop a strategy enabling audience development.

Moving forward, the next step is to start putting what has been identified into action. From a better understanding, art and culture can be promoted and encouraged, while working on how to establish a strategy that can be put in place as an effective means of having a positive impact on society across many sectors.

 

The next meeting will take place on the 15th of March 2018, and for more information you can contact Silvia Balmas at sbalmas@efc.be.