The collection above contains many organisations that are clearly labelled and which organisations in their respective fields can join. For example, any education department of an opera or dance company can join RESEO, any youth orchestra can join EAYO, and any local authority can send its arts officers to Les Rencontres. Those interested in joining such specific organisations should refer to the individual websites to find out how.
In many of the networks individual professionals will already be represented. For example any member of the Society of Authors in Britain will be included in the European Writers Congress and CISAC. Any museum that is part of the Museums Association will be represented in NEMO. Any theatre manager who is a member of the Theatrical Management Association or orchestra manager in the Association of British Orchestras will be covered by PEARLE.
Here are details of some of those networks that can be joined directly as individuals or non-membership organisations (i.e. companies, independent arts groups etc.)
International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD) – INCD is based in Toronto and is now becoming an articulate and active champion for those cultures and aspects of culture (such as minority languages, crafts, small film industries, musical styles) seen to be at risk from homogenisation. Organisations and individuals can join. The most rewarding aspect of participating is the very wide range of people and territories represented.
International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) – Established for over 60 years, ISPA is very much an arts manager’s network and the subjects it discusses reflect this. It has a worldwide reach, and an active European chapter. It has a useful function in facilitating professional contacts. It is open to all organisations and individuals in its sector.
Culture Action Europe - As is said above, CAE has become the main Brussels linking mechanism for arts organisations wanting to monitor and influence the EU and Council of Europe institutions. There are various categories of membership based on type of organisation and turnover that determine voting rights on some issues in the annual assembly. Though many people will already be linked to it in theory, direct membership is a far more certain way of plugging into EU and Council of Europe processes.
European Festivals Association (EFA) –has been in existence for over 50 years. Many British festivals have used the British Arts Festivals Association’s collective membership. It has loosened its rules in recent years so that it has moved beyond classical music festivals. EFA can be a helpful way of discussing artistic projects between festival directors and its office is one of the most active in the sector. The network is based in Gent and Brussels, where it hosts the European House of Culture in the Flagey Arts Centre.
European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA) – Based in Amsterdam, ELIA has a massive membership – of over 800 colleges, university arts departments and all the variations between – which means that it has the critical mass to undertake substantial projects and be taken seriously as a real voice for arts education. Several Welsh institutions are already members. While there is no official category for individuals to be members, in practice it is very accommodating and inclusive. Highly recommended.
Europa Nostra – Europa Nostra is over 40 years old. It is based in The Hague, and sees itself as ‘the voice of European civil society caring for cultural heritage’. Any ‘heritage professionals and volunteers; associations, networks and federations; foundations; public authorities and agencies; museums, schools and universities; corporations and businesses’ can join. While natural heritage is an important concern, it is very much the cultural heritage, rather than the environmental, elements that are uppermost. Europa Nostra has widened its size and scope enormously in recent years and its influence with the European institutions means that it is a network that nobody in the heritage part of culture in Europe should ignore.
International Network for the Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM) – Another highly successful network that styles itself instead as the network that links theatre and dance people of all varieties and has produced some highly effective collaborations on the fringes of its formal agenda. Its ability to diversify into regional and special issue meetings between its large-scale annual conferences has given it considerable vitality. This is a network that any eligible professional keen to widen contacts beyond the British scene should be in touch with, especially since it is individually, not just organisationally, based.
International Festivals and Events Association Europe – the European chapter of IFEA is a much broader organisation that the EFA. It is open to public and private organisers, city officials, festival managers and marketing personnel, tourist destination organisations, venue managers, suppliers, academic researchers, and many others. IFEA is also open to students aiming for a professional career in public events management.
Lab for Culture
Lab for Culture is a networking platform for information on European arts and culture. They work with and for artists, arts and culture organisations and networks, cultural professionals and audiences in the 50 countries of Europe, as well as providing a platform for cultural cooperation between Europe and the rest of the world.