Magazine > Key Trends: Cultural Mobility in Asia & Europe (2018)

Key Trends: Cultural Mobility in Asia & Europe (2018)

Mobility First! Key Trends 2018

culture360.ASEF.org features MobilityFirst, ASEF's travel grant for cultural professionals in Asia & Europe with a focus on professional development, reciprocity & artists' role in society. Check out some key trends to cultural mobility in Asia and Europe from our 2018 in review. 


The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) firmly believes that cultural mobility is the backbone of international cultural cooperation. Cultural mobility is supported through our travel grant, Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative, which was launched in 2017, to enable cultural professionals in Asia and Europe to participate in activities integral to their professional development and would initiate a multiplier effect to others and benefit the society.

2018 marks the second year of the grant and Mobility First! received a total of 889 applications from 47 Asian and European countries, who are members of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), an informal political dialogue process established in 1996 to promote mutual understanding between Asia and Europe through greater intellectual, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

In its second year, Mobility First! enabled 102 artists and cultural professionals from 33 ASEM countries to participate in 48 arts events across 27 countries in Asia and Europe.



The supported practitioners attended a wide range of cultural activities in the two regions such as conferences, workshops, residencies, festivals and practice-led research trips that foster the focus areas of Mobility First!:

  • Knowledge exchange / skills transfer
  • Innovation in arts and culture
  • Local development
  • Art and society

Key statistics of 2018

Based on data from Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative (Year 2)

  1. Geographic origins
  • In summary, for outgoing mobility applications, we received a total of 552 applications made directly by individual artists/cultural professionals. On the other hand, 110 organisations applied for a total of 337 people to participate in their events.
  • We received applications from 27 out of 30 European partner countries (90%), and from 20 out of 21 Asian partner countries (10%)
  • No applications were received from these 4 countries: Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta (Europe), and Kazakhstan (Asia).

  • It is a positive sign to receive applications from nearly all 51 ASEM countries. After all, Mobility First! is funded by multilateral co-operation among its members and the grant is meant to benefit the nationals of these 51 countries. Furthermore, the response confirms that there is high awareness and strong willingness in engaging in international exchange, co-operation and collaboration between arts practitioners in the two regions.

  • Majority of the applications received were from Asian countries, possibly suggesting that mobility funding gaps are wider within Asia.
  • This is confirmed in the 2018 Global Report – Re-shaping Cultural Policies by UNESCO, which reveals that an ‘overwhelming majority of funding resources (88%) come from Europe and North America’ (Re-shaping Cultural Policies, UNESCO 2018 Global Report, p. 116), reiterating the need to fund travel from Asia to other regions.  

  1. Mobility routes

  • Despite a wider need for funding to travel in Asia, one would expect the mobility route of majority of applicants to be Asia to Europe and Asia to Asia
  • However, the reality is the opposite: Europe to Asia comprised 38% of all applications followed by Asia-to-Europe (33%) and intra-Asia (28%)

  1. Destinations 

Where in Asia did Europeans want to go?

Number of applications received

China

81

Japan

53

Indonesia

32

India

28

Korea

28

Singapore

19

Malaysia

18

Australia

17

Thailand

15

Viet Nam

5


Where in Europe did Asians want to go?

Number of applications received

United Kingdom

37

Spain

30

Italy

27

Germany

23

France

21

Netherlands

15

Poland

15

Sweden

13

Denmark

11

Greece

10


Where in Asia did Asians want to go?

Number of applications received

Australia

86

Singapore

23

China

23

Thailand

19

Indonesia

19

Korea

17

Viet Nam

11

Russian Federation

10

Japan

10

Malaysia

7


  • Apart from Philippines, the list of destination countries closely echoes the list of origins where we receive applications from, with Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore emerging prominently as origins and destination for cultural mobility
  • From the 338 Europe to Asia applications, the most popular destination was China (24%), followed by Japan (16%). This showcases the growing interest of the applicants towards emerging countries
  • On the other hand, the United Kingdom was the most popular European destination from all 293 Asian applications at 13%, followed by Spain (10%) and Italy (9%). The top 10 European countries of choice were evenly distributed showing that interest is widespread across the continent
  • Australia is the most popular destination for Asians travelling within Asia, indicating that regional connections are stronger and there is high interest for intra-Asia networks that forge fruitful collaborations

  1. Demographics of applicants

Occupation of applicants

  • In terms of occupation, Mobility First! distinguishes between Artist and Cultural Professional. An artist refers to a person who produces works in any field of the arts. Cultural professional refers to a person working in the field of arts and culture who is not directly involved in the production of artworks (e.g curators, arts writers/critics), arts managers, researchers, policy makers etc.
  • In 2018, 69% of applications were from artists, who are also the main beneficiaries of our Mobility First! grant
  • Amongst the supported applicants, the top two forms of support for mobility are:
    • 1) participation in festivals, biennales and conferences and;
    • 2) participation in workshops and training
  • While artists and cultural professionals are travelling with the Mobility First! grant to showcase their art abroad to international audiences and transfer and share their knowledge and skill sets with others, participating in workshops and training reinforces the trend that they are also concurrently keen on capacity building endeavours, to further their artistic capabilities

Gender

  • Gender equality and youth inclusion are two important priorities for Mobility First! In terms of gender, we received an almost equal representation from males and females and have supported applications in the same proportion

Age 

Age

Applications Received

Applications

Granted

35 years old and above

46.6%

54.9%

Below 35 years old

49.7%

34.3%

Prefers not to disclose

3.7%

10.8%

  • Mobility First! aims to support applications that clearly show how cultural mobility can enable professional development for the applicants and positively affect their immediate communities, we take note that sometimes some practitioners begin their careers later – after 35 years of age – and this is true for practitioners in the arts and culture sector and particularly for women.

  1. Cultural genre or field of art

  • In terms of the disciplines covered, performing arts (33%) and visual arts (21%) comprise the lion’s share of 54% of all applications and 33% of our selected grantees are artists working in these 2 disciplines.
  • While performing and visual arts are the top 2 disciplines of all applications, the focus of mobility for these applicants are mostly to partake in international artistic collaborations.  

For more key insights and trends of Cultural Mobility in Asia & Europe, please refer to https://ASEF.live/mobilityfirststats2018

Mobility First! - ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative is the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)'s travel grant that supports the international travel for artists and cultural professionals in Asia-Europe and Intra-Asia contexts. It was first launched in 2017 in celebration of our 20th anniversary and builds on our continued support to cultural mobility. 2019 marks the 3rd year of Mobility First!

To know more about Mobility First! and to keep updated of our open call in 2020, please visit: https://ASEF.live/mobilityfirst