Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: “I am proud to have launched this first-ever EU funded scheme helping artists and cultural professionals to gain experience abroad and build new partnerships with other creators across borders. This is key to boosting innovation and competitiveness in Europe's cultural and creative sectors which have an important role to play in our economies and societies.”
To qualify for support from i-Portunus, applicants had to demonstrate a specific and well-defined objective, such as developing an international collaboration, engaging in a production-oriented residency or in professional development in the destination country. Between April and September 2019, more than 3,200 applications for support were submitted by artists and cultural professionals.
Feedback from the participants and the cultural sectors has been very positive. i-Portunus resonated most with young and emerging artists. A conference in Brussels on 15 and 16 October brought together some of the artists taking part as well as major stakeholders representing sectors such as music, theatre, dance, festivals and literature, and national and international cultural institutes like the European Cultural Foundation to discuss how to improve the scheme. The discussions will feed into the recommendations that stakeholders will present to the Commission at the end of the project.
In 2020, the Commission will invest another €1.5 million in two similar trials. The results and recommendations from all pilots will then define the permanent action proposed for the next Creative Europe programme 2021-2027.
In May 2018, the European Commission published its Communication “A New European Agenda for Culture” which sets out objectives for cooperation at EU level and proposes 25 priority actions. One of these is to encourage “the mobility of professionals in the cultural and creative sectors”. A cross-border mobility scheme for artists and creative people was also included in the 2018 Creative Europe Work Programme, to test a new funding scheme to be scaled up in 2019 and 2020, and implemented on a regular basis after 2020 under the future Creative Europe programme.
i-Portunus is a short-term pilot project, selected and funded by Creative Europe, the EU programme which supports the European culture and audiovisual sectors.
To implement this new initiative, a call for tenders was published in 2018. The successful bidder was a consortium consisting of the Goethe-Institut (Germany), Institut francais (France), Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts (Lithuania) and Izolyatsia (Ukraine). The pilot project started in January and will run until February 2020 when the consortium is due to put forward its evaluation and policy recommendations.