Call for Statements: Free Scene – Free Fall?

Dear contemporaries,

What structures and securities will be need to preserve the cultural landscape’s diversity? Since we anticipate cultural venues to remain closed in the next weeks or even months, we wanted to dedicate the next field notes issue to finding new perspectives for the free scene. We’d like to ask ourselves and our audience what a so-called New Deal could or should actually look like.

We’d appreciate it if you could contribute to it by answering at least one of the questions below. Some of the statements will be published in print and we will try to continuously represent the contributions online by sharing them on our platforms in order to facilitate a transparent and sustainable discussion, hopefully beyond our scene.

STATUS QUO

  • Which pre-existing social, economic and cultural problems have in your opinion become especially apparent thanks to the pandemic?
  • Which consequences do you think will be especially severe for the arts and culture?
  • How has the past year been for you? What has been especially difficult, what has been positive?

STRUCTURES AND SOCIAL SECURITY

  • Freelancers have been working precariously even before the pandemic and have been hit especially hard by its economic consequences. Where do you personally see the most need for action in order to preserve the diversity of the cultural landscape?
  • Neither short-time work allowance nor financial aid - the pandemic had many cultural workers face questions of basic social security, i.e. Hartz IV. How could (especially during times of crisis and temporarily lost revenue) alternative models for basic income look like?
  • How could employment relationships be improved?
  • Which measures need to be taken to protect artists from the looming threat of age-related poverty?

FUNDING

  • The term “projectitis” describes the effect of groups and individual artists from the scene navigating from one project to another without any planning security. How could sustainable funding schemes look like?

VENUES

  • Affordable production and presentation spaces form the basis of a functioning infrastructure. What needs to happen in Berlin so that we can preserve the existing spaces? How could new spaces be acquired for cultural use?

DIGITALISATION

  • What needs to be built or improved in order to make the free scene future-proof?

RESPONSIBILITY

  • Lack of diversity, decreasing audiences and obsolete formats - what responsibility does the free scene have to create a better future for itself?

RESTART

  • The work of ensembles and groups has been severely affected, if not made completely impossible during the pandemic. What challenges will you be facing at a potential restart?
  • The NEUSTART KULTUR stimulus package on a national level as well as federal financial aid was meant to help cultural institutions and the cultural infrastructure. Do you think it’s realistic for your venue to open again in a way that is both epidemiologically sound as well as economically feasible?
  • What will it take to make a restart of event series and festivals a success?
  • Which potential problems do you anticipate for a soft restart during the spring and summer months?
  • What potential could a restart have? How could the current situation pave the way for improvements, what could proactively be improved and reinforced?
  • What would you consider your institution’s responsibility over the next few months?
  • What will it take to make the scene flourish again? What could or should politics and the audience as well as the scene itself do in order to guarantee a smooth and steady restart?

ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES

  • The last year was marked by several discussions around, for example, unfair royalty payments in the streaming world, inequitable allocation by collecting societies and other social and economic solutions like a universal basic income. Where do you personally see the most need for action when it comes to offering new economic perspectives?
  • The audience seemingly plays a minor role not only in artistic conception, but also in financial planning. Ticket revenue only makes up a small percentage of the overall costs. What approaches could make it possible for the free scene to underscore its social relevance, expand its reach and prove its economic resilience with a bigger audience?

E-Mails to: redaktion [​at​] field-notes.berlin