An artists' guide on mobility issues for foreign creators of culture and events organisers in Austria was planned for Dec 2012.
3.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation
Examples of inter-ministerial cooperation in recent years are on the issues of the creative industries (see chapter 4.2.3), cultural tourism ( chapter 4.2.2), cultural diversity ( chapter 4.2.4), architectural policies ( chapter 4.3) and intercultural dialogue (see chapter 4.2.7).
On the occasion of the 2009 "European Year of Creativity and Innovation", the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture initiated numerous events, projects and activities, which are introduced on a specially established internet portal http://www.kreativinnovativ09.at, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry for Health (formerly also responsible for youth), the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth, the Federal Ministry for Science and Research and the Federal Chancellery Austria and other special interest groups from the economy and society.
In 2008, the bmu:kk commissioned a study "Zur sozialen Lage der Künstler und Künstlerinnen in Österreich", (Schelepa, Wetzel, Wohlfahrt, Mostetschnig), ed L&R Social Research (On the social situation of artists in Austria). The study revealed a dramatic level of poverty and came to the conclusion that the already precarious income situation of artists had worsened in comparison to studies from ten years earlier.
The publication of the study in 2009 and a conference on the topic provided the impetus for inter-ministerial working groups (IMAGs), founded on the initiative of the Minister for Education, the Arts and Culture, which have been working on the issues of social security for artistic, cultural and media workers, employment law, unemployment insurance law, social security and mobility in order to improve the social situation of artists in Austria. Various meetings have taken place between these IMAGs and representatives of the scene, interest-groups (IGs), trade union and social-partnership representatives. The IMAGs are composed of experts from the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (BMASK), the departments for women's affairs and equal opportunities in the Federal Chancellery (BKA), the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth (BMWF), the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMeiA) and the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture (bmu:kk). These inter-departmental working groups are managed by the BMASK and the bmu:kk. The following topics were sketched out and discussed in working meetings:
Demands such as the introduction of supplement systems for employees in theatre and film-making, the raising of the threshold on earnings from second jobs, minimum-wage standards, collective agreements, the combination of self-employed and directly employed work, abolition of multiple insurance, recognition of business expenditure / advertising costs, abolition of the "foreigner tax" and double taxation, raising of the minimum limit, improved information etc., are being dealt with in the IMAG and solutions are being sought.
There has indeed been the establishment of the Social Insurance Authority (SVA) Service Centre for Artists, opened in February 2011, where affairs of social security and labour-market services are consolidated. Another improvement is the possibility of registering an idle period in self-employment in order to improve compatibility of general social security with unemployment insurance. Apart from this, a new actors' law was passed as well as a mentoring programme for and by women for the improvement of the social situation of women artists. An artists' guide on mobility questions for foreign creators of culture and events organisers in Austria has been prepared in cooperation between the Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture (bmu:kk), the Ministry of the Interior (BMI), Ministry for International Affairs (BmeiA) and the Ministry for Employment, Social Security and Consumer Protection (BMASK) and interest-groups; the mobility-guidelines have been published in December 2012 and are available online at http://www.artistmobility.at/home.html.
The data in the study on the social situation is five years old, but the interest groups and the Kulturrat Österreich (Austrian Council for Culture) have so far seen no substantial improvement for artists. They criticise the fact that the initially promising IMAG process is bogged down and has produced too few improvements in the situation of artists. Proposals for further measures, e.g. changes in the implementation practice and amendments to the law have been formulated among others by the IG Fine Arts and the Austrian Cultural Council. Particular criticism is made of the inadequate insurance for artists in the case of unemployment and the preconditions for claiming benefit from the Artists' Social Security Fund (KSVF): anyone who does not earn the required minimum income from artistic work has no right to support (see chapter 5.1.4). What the KSVF recognises as artistic work is also limited: e.g. no teaching activities, for example if a musician also works as a music teacher or work in art education.
In the framework of the establishment of a national cultural diversity contact point in March 2010 (see chapter 3.4.3), as called for from the ratifying member states by UNESCO in the course of the implementation of the UNESCO agreement on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural forms of expression, an expert commission was set up composed of representatives of the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture, (bmu:kk), the Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMeiA), the Ministry for Economy, Family and Youth (BMWFJ) and the department for media affairs in the Federal Chancellery (BKA), representatives of the federal provinces, interest groups (IGs), NGOs and independent experts. The task of this expert commission is to facilitate the exchange of information and opinion on the agreement as well as consulting on the focuses and priorities of its implementation, which are to take place through the national contact point. The national contact point takes care of the tasks envisaged in the agreement and in the implementation guidelines. Nationally, these are information and advice, coordination and incorporation of all actors as a "clearing office", awareness raising and publicity work as well as taking care of the ARGE Cultural Diversity. Internationally it functions as the interface with other national contact points as well as between the organs of the agreement and Austrian civil society, makes a contribution to drawing up Austrian positions and prepares the report for UNESCO, which is to be drawn up every four years; the "Austrian Report 2012 on Measures to Protect and Promote the Diversity of Cultural Expressions" has been submitted to UNESCO.
Annual intergovernmental information meetings (Landeskulturreferentenkonferenz) are held between the nine Bundesländer and the federal government, where important cultural projects or events are discussed. On request, informal, inter-ministerial meetings are organised between the various ministries and administrators.
Alongside Vienna and the provincial capitals, practically all cities and towns with more than 10 000 inhabitants are members of the Austrian Association of Cities and Towns; cultural agendas are dealt with by the association's cultural committee. Alongside the Association of Austrian Municipalities, which represents the smaller towns, the Association of Austrian Cities is the discussion partner for the government at national and provincial level.