Following a request from Krzysztof Bobinski, Co-chair of the EaP CSF Steering Committee, during  our attendance at the Eastern Partnership Culture Congress in Lviv, Studio Biscoe has proposed the establishment of a micro-investment fund for artists in the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus) together with a multi-language website which would allow artists in these countries to communicate ideas and developments with each other and with the rest of the world.

See the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

There is a desperate need for such EU support of artist development in the Eastern Partnership  countries. A little cleverly managed funding will go a long way to developing collaborative arts practice, freedom of artistic development and emerging entrepreneurial arts based development across these regions!

In outline, the proposal calls for:

> An apolitical, non-governmental, cross-border, non-territorial, infrastructure that supports grassroots artistic activity in the Eastern Partnership countries: funding, advice, web/mobile based infrastructure, cross-cultural communication and collaboration.

> The languages and cultures of each Partnership country would be equally represented. Parallel coverage in English would support the communication of artist’s practice and send stories to the EU and elsewhere.

> A focus on the application of new media art (or art that can equally be distributed by and/or accessed from digital devices) will not only allow wider access and distribution but equally encourage development of new digital skills that can lead to entrepreneurial development emerging from arts practice.

> The initial programme should run for at least three years and have sufficient funding to operate the infrastructure – a low overhead supervisory team, and critically offer funding of between 1,000 EUR and 10,000 EUR on an equitable basis to independent artists and small collectives/organisations.

> Funding would be offered via a number of ongoing and open funding calls over the life of the initial programme. The aim would be to support at least 150 projects per year across the six countries (based on funding of 1 million EUR per year over 3 years).

> Funding decisions would be made through a combination of a small review panel of in-country part-time advisers and online peer reviews open to all members and artist colleagues. Promotion and reach would be extended through lowcost, in-country, town hall style meetings to promote and discuss funding opportunities.