Professional associations and interest groups are associations with restricted membership, aiming at representing the common interests of their members vis-à-vis the general public, other professional associations or the state. They regard themselves as lobbyists for creative artists and cultural workers and/or operators and assist their members in professional questions and conduct. Traditionally, they are involved in many decisions, including consultations on bills and other issues, and frequently serve as negotiating partners in policy decisions.
The Austrian Council for Culture (Kulturrat Österreich) is a union of interest groups of artists and creators of culture. It is a platform for shared cultural-policy issues and objectives, and it represents these to politics, media and administrations. The Council promotes cultural, educational, media and socio-political debates.
The 10 members are:
- ASSITEJ Austria (Association of Children’s/Youth Theatre)
- Professional Association of Austrian Visual Artists (Berufsverband der bildenden Künstler)
- Austrian Filmmakers Association (Dachverband der Filmschaffenden)
- IG Bildende Kunst (Association of Visual Artists)
- IG Freie Theaterarbeit (Association of Independent Theatre)
- IG Kultur Österreich (network and lobby for the autonomous cultural initiatives in Austria with 750 members and nine provincial offices)
- Austrian Music Council (Österreichischer Musikrat)
- IG Übersetzerinnen Übersetzer (Association of Translators)
- Verband Freier Radios (Association of free radio broadcasters)
- VOICE (Guild of Announcers and Voice Artists)
In addition to these and the Austrian copyright collecting societies (see chapter 4.1.6, 7.2.1), there are professional associations active in the fields of arts and culture, for example:
- IG Autorinnen / Autoren (Ass. of Authors), including the association of playwrights
- Austrian Composers’ Society (Österreichischer Komponistenbund)
- mica (Music Information Centre Austria)
- Central Association of Austrian Architects Österreichs (Zentralvereinigung der Architekten Österreichs)
- IG Architektur
- Austrian Society for Architecture (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Architektur ÖGFA)
- Design Austria
Moreover, artists have the possibility of joining the Younion (Gewerkschaft Kunst, Medien, Sport, freie Berufe), a trade union representing professional and social interests of self-employed and/or employed creative artists, journalists, art educators, art administrators, event organisers and related professions in the areas of art, the media, education and sports.
In 2014, SMartAT (Société Mutuelle Pour Artists) was established in Austria. This non-profit organisation was developed in Belgium 1998 and currently is also established in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Hungary. SMart operates autonomously in accordance with the national framework conditions. SMartAT takes over administrative tasks for artists and creative workers with the aim of achieving improved framework conditions and minimising risks. SMartAT offers sustainable solutions for the supervision of projects and activities, artists’ involvement in social-security issues and permanent employment and the professionalisation of their work.