UKK – Organization for Artists, Curators, and Art Mediators is looking forward to a new cultural policy after the Danish parliamentary elections on June 5th.
UKK wishes for a Minister for Culture who dares to be ambitious and visionary for the arts’ and the artists’ sake – both in terms of opening up the arts policy and moving it in new directions – while supporting the culture and openness already found in Denmark. A Minister of Culture who will create an overall framework for the arts, while respecting that decisions regarding artistic content and financial allocations are taken by professionals in the field.
We believe that the following cultural policy points should be prioritized:
Art must be given higher priority in the political arena
A cultural policy with completely new strategies must be created both in the Ministry of Culture and across the political fields. Among other things, this must take the form of agreements and co-operation with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of the Environment and Food, the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, the Ministry of Employment and the Ministry of Finance, which must give art a higher priority in the political arena, also when it comes to financial and fiscal resources.
Investment in art institutions
The co-operation with the Ministry of Finance must ensure that there are no further cuts in the art field, but rather more investment. Art institutions must have enough space in the economy for art to unfold freely, ie. without too many narrow limits and compromises, and that efforts are made for new, experimental and young art, also at the larger cultural institutions.
Fair payment for exhibiting artists and curators
We need clear political support in ensuring that all artists and curators have fair payment for the projects and exhibitions taking place at the national museums and art centers.
Art as part of interdisciplinary projects and urban development
The collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs and the Ministry of Employment must ensure interdisciplinary projects and investments, so that art and artists are more likely to be involved in the city’s life and urban development processes. Artists must be considered from the outset of major projects and strategies, and not just involved at the final stage.
We must also be ambitious when it comes to research, both in the academic and independent fields. We need artistic research under artistic premises, further investment in the field’s diverse interdisciplinary potential and knowledge-sharing across national borders with, among others, Sweden, Finland, and England, who have several years of experience in artistic research at Ph.D. and Postdoc levels.
An example of an extremely current issue, that we think more artistic research is needed on, is climate change and its challenges. More artists must have the opportunity to create green art and have a solution-oriented approach, together with speculative and innovative thinking, in relation to the climate challenges.
New art and the role of the curators
We want a Minister of Culture who is curious about contemporary art and who supports the new branches that originate from it. In visual arts, this means, among other things, that freelance curators have an increasing role in connection with the realization of art projects, as the first curatorial training in Denmark which had its start-up last year also testifies. A partnership between artists and curators is important. There must be more investment in these collaborations, among other things, with financial means for the research that can enable significant and in-depth exhibition projects.
We see an increasing potential and relevance in the international arts field and believe that art can help strengthen cooperation between nations. The Danish Arts Foundation already makes an important effort by investing in artists’ and curators’ international research trips, residencies and new productions for exhibitions abroad. If Denmark focuses more consciously on international artistic collaborations by, among other things, increasing investment, this will bear fruits culturally and economically on several levels.
Cooperation with the Ministry of Education shall ensure increased prioritization of cultural subjects and artist collaboration in institutions and in schools. More focus should be on artistic pedagogy, by giving more artists the opportunity to make artistic education and projects in schools and (cultural) institutions, where participation in these processes can further benefit children and young people.
Art academies must be strengthened
We must support and strengthen the artistic educational institutions that are the framework for the art of the future. The Ministry of Culture shall include knowledge from artists, organizations and think tanks, with both national and international experience, about what the market needs concerning investments to create the best art education at an international level.
For many years, the Funen Art Academy and the Jutland Art Academy have scarcely been able to survive. There is a need to strengthen academies financially so that they can maintain a high level of professionalism. This also applies to The Royal Danish Academy of Arts.
Labour market and welfare schemes for freelancers
There is a need to develop and change a number of labour and welfare schemes, such as the benefit system and maternity scheme, to better fit the conditions under which artists and curators, as well as a growing group of freelancers, work.
Research on working conditions and the value of art
Last year, a number of studies on artists’ working conditions were published, among others, CBS’s analysis “The economic space of visual art”. We believe there is a need for more research, in the form of ongoing in-depth analyses of the working conditions of art and artists, also with a focus on the value that artists contribute to a society that is not solely based on commercial exchange. The new knowledge must give greater insight into the arts’ framework and current problems, and be used as a constructive basis for creating better conditions for the artists and thus also for art.
We hope that the new Minister of Culture will listen to and dialogue with UKK, as well as with our colleagues in the arts field, concerning the coming years’ innovative cultural policy work.