The situation of artists and cultural workers in the European Union

April 1, 2021, 8:51 pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated pre-existing trends, including unprecedented income loss, growing precariousness, and inequalities in the European cultural ecosystem. Facing destitution, many workers may leave the sector and thousands of institutions may close. With them, accumulated knowledge and skills would be permanently lost, and the cultural ecosystem would be profoundly weakened. A solution to tackle this challenge includes strengthening the status of artists and cultural workers and, with it, the resilience of the sector.

The CULT Committee of the European Parliament is now taking stock of this complex subject with an own-initiative report on the situation of artists and cultural workers and the cultural recovery in the EU, which will be presented in the committee at the end of May. In this frame, Culture Action Europe, together with the independent researcher Mafalda Dâmaso, has developed a background analysis for the Parliament’s Research Service, which is now available online.

The study provides an overview of the key characteristics of artists’ and cultural workers’ status across Europe, their working conditions, and career paths. Among the main factors that lead to the precariousness of artists and cultural workers, the study underlines the non-standard nature of their working conditions, status and income, and artists’ propensity for cross border mobility (which includes atypical situations that aren’t easily translated into pre-existing categories associated with visas, social protection or taxation).

The following recommendations present medium- and long-term policy solutions to address the needs identified in the Background Analysis “The Situation of Artists and Cultural Workers and the post-COVID Cultural Recovery in the European Union”. Its aim is to provide guidelines and principles to structure the contents of the European Framework, and hence improve the situation and working conditions of artists and cultural workers in the EU.