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Diversity of Cultural Expressions

World Observatory on the Social Status of the Artist

Germany - International mobility

Measures to promote the mobility of artists:
(a) Official recognition of foreign diplomas in the artistic professions
This question is of minor importance, since working in artistic professions in Germany does not depend on graduation requirements. However, as far as academic grades are concerned, including those in artistic disciplines, their recognition is being dealt with by a specific Secre-tariat of the Länder, the "Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen im Sekretariat der Ständigen Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland"
(http://www.kmk.org/zab/home.htm)


(b) Fellowships and financial aid to promote the mobility of artists
In German arts policy, "mobility" as such is not considered a dominant issue – quite in contrast to the educational sector. For example, the index of the extensive 2007 report of the Commission of Enquiry of the Federal Parliament, "Culture in Germany", does not list this term. This may be due to the fact that the cultural life in Germany today is already quite inter-national (as regards e.g. artists or writers working in theatres, orchestras or in dance/ballet, being presented on literary "bestseller" lists or being shown in art galleries), partly also intercultural (the latter mainly in pop music and increasingly in film and literature). Therefore, transnational mobility of artists and other cultural workers may be more or less taken for granted in Germany.
Regardless of that, there are a number of residency schemes designed to receive foreign artists in Germany, some of which with a long tradition and reputation, such as the Berlin Artists-in-Residence Programme of DAAD (http://www.daad.de/deutschland/foerderung/musik-kunst/04986.en.html) or the Akademie Schloss Solitude near Stuttgart (http://www.akademie-solitude.de/pdf1/info_application.pdf).
As regards Germans travelling abroad, activities funded by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs (AA) remain important. Frequently, they are conducted by arm's length agencies, the most important of which being the Goethe Institute (GI) with many branches around the world (at present: 147 Institutes in 83 countries), or the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (IfA). While its activities are rarely associated with the term and concept of "mobility", an important policy instrument of GI has always been to send German writers, artists and filmmakers abroad to speak, perform, exhibit or participate in cultural events.
Within the jurisdiction of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), mobility of artists is supported through institutions such as Deutsche Akademie Villa Massimo, or Villa Romana (both in Italy). These activities are now being complemented by other domestic actors, including the Culture Foundation of the Federation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes) which carries out cooperation and exchange programmes with countries in Central Europe (http://www.projekt-relations.de/en/know/start.php?menuopen=5&lang=en).
As evidenced in the 2001 Handbuch der Kulturpreise 4 / Handbook of Cultural Awards prepared by ZfKf for the Federal Government, the extensive and still growing landscape of schemes with at least an element of "incoming" or "outgoing" mobility receives public visibil-ity mostly in the form of awards and travel grants. Among the more than 3000 cultural awards, bursaries or regular grants organised in Germany, an increasing part (now over 25%) has an in-ternational or "European" scope, that is: promotes works of foreign artists and authors, encour-ages German artists to travel abroad or collaborate with foreign colleagues, or is meant for foreigners only (see: www.kulturpreise.de).

(c) Fellowships and financial aid to promote the mobility of works
An overview of some main actors and their programmes is provided by the Internet platform: http://www.deutsche-kultur-international.de/en.html.
In the context of the broadening "European" cultural market place and, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, during the reconstruction of East-West relations also in the cultural domain, processes of a diversification of forms of collaboration intensified. For example, international agents now play a larger role in both the book and art trade, as can be seen in large events such as the Frankfurt Book Fair or Art Cologne. In the past, cross-border co-productions were mainly relevant in the film business; today they are commonplace also in theatrical, entertainment and literary productions, as many festivals bear witness. Geopolitical orientations also changed, with priority at first being given to Eastern Europe and now increasingly to exchange programmes with the Arab countries and South or East Asia.

(d) Networks catering for foreign artists
Most transnational contacts and cultural cooperation activities in Germany happen outside of the direct purview of the national government. In addition to quite a few incentives provided by public bodies from the local or regional level as well as by a number of public an private foundations, "direct encounters" between cultural professionals and institutions from Europe and beyond dominate, most of which are not funded through regular schemes but by the actors themselves, by arts institutions and sponsors or in the context of commercial productions. In addition to that, German sections of international arts organizations such as the International Theatre Institute (ITI) or the International Association of Art (IGBK) contribute to exchanges and dialogue.

(e) Facilities for obtaining visas and residence permits
The Foreign Office website provides an overview of main bodies and regulations at:
http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/diplo/en/WillkommeninD/EinreiseUndAufenthalt/uebersicht.html 

Legal requirements for producers and impresarios
As pointed out by Richard Polácek in his Study on Impediments to Mobility in the EU Live Per-formance Sector and on Possible Solutions (Brussels: PEARLE, 2007), the answer to this issue  depends largely on whether or not the artist comes from an EU member state or is a "third country national". The latter or their agents and producers could face more red tape and difficulties to get visa or work permits in the EU, even if formalities in Germany may be slightly less complicated than elsewhere, as productions with foreign artists are not subject to official authorization.

As regards social security, employers must cover a share of the contributions to KSK also for artists working on a freelance basis (see the Foreign Office website).
Regarding German artists travelling abroad, they are usually expected to clarify their status and insurance requirements on their own.

Provisions in national laws in regard to foreign artists
Particular regulations or provisions regarding foreign artists do not exist in Germany, except in the field of taxation. Withholding taxes for non-resident performers were reduced from a 25% rate to rates varying between 10 and a little more than 20%, depending on the level of income above a threshold of 250€. As exemptions may be granted by the tax authorities, e.g. for non-profit organi-zations, advice from tax specialists is recommended (cf. Tax and Social security : A basic guide for artists and cultural operators, Judith Staines, 2007).

Provisions (as the host country) aimed at protecting national artists
Except for employability checks or the proof of a valid contract for artists from countries outside of the EU/EEA area, such provisions do not exist in Germany.


Source: German Federal Foreign Office, 2008.


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