COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Belgium/ 8.1 Support to artists and other creative workers  

8.1.3 Grants, awards, scholarships

Flemish Community

In addition to subsidies provided to arts organisations, there are also measures to stimulate the creativity of individual artists. Commissions are given out in the fields of music and the performing arts, for compositions and for plays, under certain conditions. Bursaries are awarded to creative artists. The Flemish Community purchases works of art for the collection of the Flemish museums of contemporary art and for its own collection. There is also a purchasing policy for literature. The Flemish Community, provinces and municipalities also award prizes.

In the framework of the Arts Decree, subsidies for artists are a special - and growing - point of interest. Support is given in different ways:

  • development grants for artists;
  • project subsidies for artists' projects
  • subsidies to commission artistic works
  • grants and allowances for international activities

Apart from the funding possibilities in the arts decree, there is an experimental "microcredit" programme ("minitoelagen", or "mini-allowances") which provides loans for professional artists in the context of selected projects.

French-speaking Community of Belgium

There is particular support available for artists in the form of scholarships in the sectors of individual artistic practices (plastic arts, literature and music in the case of contemporary composition). This is a way of supporting both creation (music, writing, theatre, etc.) and continuing training, although it remains inadequate. There are also scholarships available in the field of dance to support artistic research, with no requirement to lead to any creation.

When it comes to the plastic arts, the Ministry of the French-speaking Community of Belgium acquires works of art, lodged with municipal or provincial museums, in art centres and with public administrations. The French-speaking Community of Belgium also encourages the performing arts by backing cultural institutions in hosting young companies and new shows.

When it comes to the cinema, aid is available for script-writing and the development and production of shorts and feature films. In addition to this direct aid, the Ministry of the French-speaking Community of Belgium also supports specific structures (support workshops and production workshops) specialising in the development of the production of film projects, mainly documentaries.

Aside from the main institutions in the field, all music institutions get aid every year and sometimes on a project basis. In addition, the French-speaking Community of Belgium promotes show planning (performing arts: choirs, storytelling, theatre, etc.) in cultural venues in Wallonia and Brussels, by awarding one subsidy per performance, for shows which have been recognised in advance as being of a high calibre.

Various literary prizes are also awarded: the five-yearly literature prize, the three-yearly poetry, novel and essay prize, the prize for the best first work, the translation prize, and the prize for publicising Belgian writing abroad.

There are also initiatives to create and develop artists’ workshops and support structures (theatre, dance, cinema) and residencies (mainly for the performing arts, but also for translation) in various cultural institutions.

German-speaking Community

  • Eastern Belgian Art Prize (every three years);
  • Ceramics Prize (annually); and
  • Prize awarded by the Council of the German-speaking Community for literary publications or publications dealing with topics relating to the German-speaking Community (annually).

Chapter published: 02-12-2014

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