IETM Athens manifesto

Posted on November 5, 2013


(IETM metting Athens 19-21 October 2013)

Greece is the cradle of European culture and democracy.

It is a European obligation and interest to secure that Greece keeps on contributing to European culture and democracy by generating new ideas, new voices, sounds, images as well as making its extraordinary heritage accessible to all.



We demand to the European governments and the EU to guarantee that the condition imposed to Greece does not impact any more (further) on the investments necessary to foster the cultural development of the country and on the fulfilment of the universal human right to freely participate in cultural life, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancements and it’s benefits.

We demand to all Greek authorities, from national to local level, to increase the public resources dedicated to cultural development, to guarantee the absolute transparency on their use facilitating the citizen’s control on the use of public funds,  to restore the arts education in the class rooms, to invest on the independent arts scene, to establish participatory protocols of exchange with the all relevant actors.



We commit to makes our voice heard across Europe and we call on women and men, on institutions-organizations-enterprises, on all those who live from culture and who live culture, to act, to unite, to organize and jointly strive to fulfil the human right to culture and science for each and all, everywhere in Europe and the world.

Athens, Technopolis, October 19th, 2013

Recommendations addressed to politicians, funders and other decision makers:

Arts is an essential part of our culture. The ancient Greek dramatists have shown us that art can support a transition into a democratic, resilient society. With this in mind, we urge you to:
°Reinstall the music and theatre lessons in the school classes – they are needed to recreate public awareness of the artsas public demand is a prerogative for live art.

°Recognize artists are active citizens and accept them as your dialogue partners in decision making processes, firstly in decisions on arts and culture.
°Finance the organization of courses and workshops on arts management, advocacy, etc. for your arts professionals.

°Support the social function of places like Embros, and other artists driven actions that are reactivating democracy.

°Stop building new structures for the arts – Europe has enough buildings for the arts, but it desperately lacks support for the artists who fill them.
°Subsidize the arts, as it is essential to their continuation, especially live arts. There should additionally be tax incentives for those who support the arts as well asaccess to loans for artists.

Recommendations addressed to professionals in the performing arts, both in Greece and abroad:

° Continue repeating your arguments for why your art is important for society, while also being self-reflective and critical in your position.
° Rethink the relation to your funders – get out of the one-way and one-issuepower relation based on who’s holding the money. Move away from complaining  and towards smartpartnerships with your funders

°Research how the arts policy in Medellin, Colombia has transformed the city and utilize it as an argument.

° Find new allies outside of the cultural field in order to expand your scope,to gainimportant feedback, and to gain more advocates for the arts – in the corporate world, real estate developers/urban planners, human rights agencies and advocates, other NGO’s, etc.
°Build cross-sector coalitionsfocused on defending improved quality of life as a common frame of discourse.

° Critically rethink your audience development strategies with the honest state of mind that none of them has worked so far and the arts is still falling short of actually reaching beyond a select group in society.

°Discuss what ‘collective’ means to you and organise workshops around collective thinking and working as ways to cooperate outside of top-down working structures.
° Work collectively can mean you either
1.    Equally share the responsibility for the work as well asfor the results
2.    Accept that the one who does invest most time is taking the decisions
3.    Or you collectively hire someone to support the work processes

°Create sustainable common spaces with a multidisciplinary approach – combinding for examplecraftmenship, small commercial enterprises, legal firms and so forth, andmake them central and accessible to their local communities.

° Exploit the sense of guiltof the corporate world for how they manipulated the circumstances and left a  messand help them to reconnect

° Crowdfunding works only if it creates a crowd/a community –which is in fact the most valuable aspect of this tool. So try to shift your ideas around what you have on offer, not what you need. .
° Research experiments in community supported enterprises in agricultureas a possibly transferable model to the cultural sector.

°Focus more on your local context; thatis the future. In most countries the level of local funding for the arts is bigger than the national budget, as well as the fact that local government is more accessible than national authorities, this helps bring you in closer contact with your local context.
° Develop sharegiver values instead of shareholder values –
createp2p (peer to peer)exchange platforms for mutual exchange of time, creativity, craftmenship and other types of skillsharing.