het Theater Festival

A Fair New World?! (2)

SOTA & Het TheaterFestival

A sneak peak

The day after the meeting day of Kunstenpunt & Het TheaterFestivalon Friday 4 September, artist platform State of the Arts (SOTA) & Het TheaterFestival look forward to the future. What initiatives of this new world-with-corona exist already? What can we do to strengthen these dynamics?

Artists that end up without income, persisting inequality (also in the arts), too little work and rehearsal space, the whiteness of the subsidized cultural sector, more and more scepticism toward art subsidies, the rising ecological threat: these are not new challenges, but the latest Flemish elections, the corona crisis and Black Lives Matter have sharpened them more than ever. Over the past year, we have woken up into a new reality. What to do? 


  • From 12h30 till 18h SOTA & Het TheaterFestival give space to some concrete projects that tackle the above challenges in Tour & Taxis. Spread over two blocks of an hour and a half, you can join two discussion tables *** of your choice. Think of themes such as social protection for artists, fair practice, ecology in the arts… Together we connect our insights into one big mural. 
  • From 18h to 19h we take a modest dinner and move to Decoratelier, 20 minutes away.
  • From 19h to 22h30 SOTA & Het TheaterFestival in Decoratelier give carte blanche to Headquarters of the Mouvement, that has been working on concrete change already for years. They present us a program that highlights what has taken place in the grassroots over the past few months, far away from the limelight. We believe that, as a white sector, we have a lot to learn from this.

*** There are two blocks of discussion tables around urgent issues for the arts field, classified according to the five SOTA principles of ‘fairness’: solidarity, trust, transparency, ecology, diversity. So you can choose one table in each block. You will receive an email after registration.                                                           


1) Face to face: artists and institutions (transparency / solidarity)

How did settings handle lockdown and compensation for cancelled projects? There are many stories and uncertainties about this. First 10 artists and 5-6 employees of Kaai, KVS, Zinnema, Het Depot, een CC… will give face to face insight into their visions and finances, followed by a group discussion: what you always wanted to ask organizations…. 

2) Alternatives to the artist statute (solidarity)

Politicians became so frustrated during the lockdown about the complexity of how artists are paid, that they now want to reform the artists’ statute. What proposals do we want to put forward before politicians come up with ideas themselves? A mix between brainstorm, information, foreign examples and debate. Can a way out be found in between the status of employees statute and that of the independents?

3) Change the climate, Move Your Money (ecology) 

Which bank do you use for yourself or our organization? Did you know that KBC, BNP-Paribas, ING and Belfius still invest tens of billions in fossil fuels? In this workshop FairFin briefly reveals the financial mechanisms behind global warming, and then offers first aid in switching banks. Change the world from your wallet.

4) Manifesto ‘we see you‘: what are we going to do? (diversity)

In mid-June a crisp open letter appeared in the Netherlands against the persistent white strategies employed within the arts: ‘We see you’. How do we deal with this as individuals and as a sector? Which initiatives can we take ourselves? An open conversation in search of a concrete outcome. 

5) All in the same boat (solidarity)

Culture has to stand up for itself strongly during corona, just like almost every other sector. But isn’t it rather a matter of joining forces cross-sectorally, against the precarity that threatens not only our sector? How has covid affected healthcare, education, companies and undocumented migrants? An exchange with people from other sectors, with an open view.


6) Right is right, also in practice? (solidarity)

OKo developed ‘Juist is Juist’ (what’s right is right): a knowledge platform and toolbox around fair practice and fair pay in the arts. What’s in it? And above all: what can come out of it? A workshop that gives you insight into the necessary tools to negotiate or pay the right price. Every change starts with a good idea of your individual rights and our common principles. 

7) Where to go with Flanders? (diversity)

Behind the current cultural policy there is a proud Flemish agenda. What should we do with that pursuit of heritage, national image, Flemish history? Do we accept or embrace iot? Fight it, or approach it with irony? An urgent discussion about our relationship to Flemish-nationalism, especially because, according to the opinion polls, this sentiment represents the Flemish majority. 

8) An inclusive conversation (diversity) 

Inclusivity must be just about the most abused word in recent years, but how do you put it into practice in a white movement like SOTA, and by extension throughout the cultural sector? Everything starts with horizontality and an equally divided speaking space. An attempt at a conversation in which form reflects the content: inclusiveness in practice.

9) Do democracy (ecology / transparency)

A hair’s breath away from a new world record in government formation, we need to talk about new models of democracy. Extinction Rebellion, co-driven by artists, has an elaborate proposal for a national citizens’ parliament to tackle the ecological crisis. What can we do from within the cultural sector to support it? (Please read the proposal in advance for this workshop in Flemish or French).

10) Towards a new Arts Decree (transparency / trust) 

The announced revision of the Arts Decree will also have an impact on artistic practices as we know it today. At the end of August, a group of experts responded to these plans with a solid reflection paper. Based on the experience of artists, what do we want to emphasize or put on the agenda? We will briefly inform you about the relevant points in the reflection paper and will start the discussion together, also in the run-up to the debate on these proposals on September 8th.  

Throughout the day there will also be a booth where you can contribute directly online to SOS Relief. Many people are still in need, and could use your financial support in these corona times!



Attendees are expected to follow the entire programme. The day is one concept: you cannot taste a fair new world in pieces.


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