January 7, 2015

The US Cultural Mobility funding Guide was launched during a full day Conference on January 7, 2015 which was attended by more than 300 participants. The Symposium was jointly organized by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Centre (The Graduate Centre, CUNY) in collaboration with Theatre Without Borders and On the Move. Find out more with the links below.

Program of the Symposium

Quick Report (also available at the end of this page)

Powerpoints and other resources

Videos of the Conference

Participants’ snapshots and ideas for a more culturally connected world through performing arts.


The organizers wish to thank for this event :

the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea and
Korea Arts Management Service

MCST_Korea1(1)       KAMS_Eng_LOGO

the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States
& the Open Society Foundation-Arab Regional Office


Conference at a glance: The Cultural Mobility Symposium and launch of the US Cultural Mobility Funding Guide took place at the Proshansky Auditorium (The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, The Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10016) on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 from 9:30am to 7:30pm.

Attendees: 308 registered participants attended the conference and 90% stayed during the whole day. While most of the attendees were from the USA, an interesting number of attendees came from Europe, Central and Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The participants represented the broad spectrum of profiles in the arts and cultural sector (from funders to artists, producers, programers, administrators, managers, consultants, researchers and students).

 Summary of main objectives:

– To present the Cultural Mobility Funding Guide to and from the USA together with other cultural mobility funding guides focused on Europe, Asia and the Arab world;

– To discuss with key stakeholders in the sector in the USA and worldwide about cultural mobility related issues (from visas to funding challenges and strategies of partnerships);

– To share resources and best case practices between the participants in order to enhance the opportunities of mobility and exchange between US and international artists and cultural professionals;

– To position the debate on the mobility of artists and cultural professionals in a global perspective while taking into consideration the multiple impacts mobility can have on artists, cultural organizations, local communities etc.;

– To inspire individual, institutional and infrastructure support for cultural mobility.

Articulation of the Conference: In order to meet the objectives of the conference, the Conference was divided into three main parts:

– The first morning session introduced the concept of cultural mobility as well as the contexts, contents and partners of the cultural mobility funding guides for Europe, Asia and the Arab world. This session culminated with the official presentation and launch of the US Cultural Mobility Funding Guide.

– The second morning session was conceived as a quick but focused introduction of 16 organizations from/related to the US, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. The 16 presentations of 5 minutes each functioned as a speed-introduction of organizations working on international funding, networking and collaboration. This allowed the maximization of networking opportunities between the speakers and the attendees during subsequent lunch and coffee breaks.

– The afternoon was divided between 7 parallel workshops and a final common reporting/wrap-up session. The topics covered through the workshops’ sessions were: Socially Engaged Performance; Artists & Human Rights; Visas, Taxes, Practical Challenges; Funding Practices in the US and Other Countries; Practitioners’ Experience Sharing; International Collaborations in Hybrid Forms; and Climate, Action and Cultural Collaboration. These subjects were selected in order to give a full sense to the term of cultural mobility, which can be understood in a holistic and global manner, beyond the sole travel which only benefits (or not) a specific artist, cultural professional or an organization.

The most popular workshops were the ones on “Funding Practices in the US and Other Countries” as well as on “Visas, Taxes, Practical Challenges” (all the more relevant since the Chairman of the Board of the Arab Education Forum, Serene Huleileh, did not get her visa on time to participate in the conference) and interestingly enough on “International Collaborations in Hybrid Forms”.

– The whole event ended up with a friendly final reception where participants could share a drink and continue to network in a more informal way.

 Feedback: Despite a tight schedule, which often characterizes such international conferences, the attendees felt they had the chance to interact substantively during the coffee breaks and the final evening session. They felt that overall they had access to a great amount of information (off and online). The feedback was generally very good both for the quality of the program and the international networking opportunities offered in a single day and on a free basis. From a local (American) perspective, quite a number of participants noticed the uniqueness of such an event being able to gather quite an important number of US and international funders and/or decision makers.

Live streaming: The Symposium was live-streamed and recorded by www. howlround.com.tv. Howround is an online community, magazines and live-stream site for theatre professionals from all around the USA and the world. On January 7, people from ten different countries (United States; Mexico; Romania; United Kingdom; the Netherlands; Belgium; Canada; France; Finland; Greece) watched the Symposium online. From January 8 to January 12, the “Welcome & Launch” video was viewed 138 times and the “Presentations” (featuring all the morning speeches) was viewed 159 times.

Ideas for follow-ups: These ideas come both from the organizers and from some feedbacks of the attendees:

– Potential follow-up conferences – in New York (NY) or in other cities in the world – shall as much as possible include more speakers and participants from less represented countries/world regions (Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, South and South-East Asia etc.) as the challenges for cultural mobility (particularly for the Global South) are both very diverse and specific. Such an international dimension is however often limited by financial considerations and in that sense, the NY conference was developed with very limited and internal human and financial resources, beyond the great support of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, Korea Arts Management Service, the cultural services of the French Embassy in the US and the Open Society Foundation-Arab Regional Office, NY.

– The one day conference could be followed by a day articulated around smaller types of meetings, workshops focused on key issues related to cultural mobility or world regions of interest for the local cultural sector (eg. host country of the conference).

– There is definitely a strong interest from the organizers and particularly On the Move to secure partners and supporters to develop cultural mobility funding guides focused on other world regions (Africa and Central/Latin America for instance).


Finalised on 10 February 2015 by Marie Le Sourd
in collaboration with Frank Hentschker, Camille Gaume
Roberta Levitow, David Diamond, Rebecca Sheahan,
Michael Locicero, Yu Chien Liu, Joy Arab, Brad Burgess and, Sarah Stites





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