As a result of the covid-19 pandemic, the European cultural & creative sectors are suffering great economic consequences. The enormous loss of revenue and the restrictions on public gatherings threaten the survival of many cultural organisations worldwide. In order to mitigate these losses and support the cultural & creative sectors in this time of crisis, European governments have developed different initiatives and measures for financial aid. Intercult follows closely the measures taken to strengthen and support the cultural & creative sector in all the different parts of the EU. What follows is an overview of the different measures taken by European governments to ensure the survival of the cultural & creative sectors during a global crisis. In Sweden both the national government, regions and municipalities introduced crisis measures which are now being distributed to actors in the CCS.
The Swedish government has set aside SEK 500 million (app. EUR 45 million) of financial support to the cultural & creative sectors. The support is available for both individual artists and/or cultural organisations, regardless of organisational form or size. The grant focuses mainly on supporting cultural organisations/individuals who have been forced to cancel or postpone their cultural events because of the pandemic. Following the outbreak of covid-19, restrictions on public gatherings issued by the Public Health Agency have put a temporary stop to cultural events and activities. The purpose of the financial support is to serve as a substitute for the loss of revenue caused by these restrictions.
Individual artists or cultural/arts organisations can apply for the financial aid from a number of Swedish grant-allocating agencies, such as Kulturrådet (Swedish Arts council), Konstnärsnämnden (Swedish Arts Grants Committee) and Filminstitutet (Swedish Film Institute). Some of these grants are available exclusively to individual artists and cultural workers, while others are open to both organisations and individual projects.
On May 8th 2020 a new aid package (SEK 319 million; app. EUR 30.131865 million) was proposed by the government. The aid package is intended for the support of public cultural institutions such as museums, theatres and art galleries. These public institutions have largely been excluded from earlier grants, since they are already receiving financial support from the government. But the loss of revenue has been great enough to prompt additional aid. How much each institution will receive is not yet decided.
Examples of financial grants available to cultural organizations:
Kulturrådet (Swedish Arts council) distributes financial grants for a number of different cultural events and projects; mainly concerts, performance arts shows, exhibitions, lectures and other similar events. Applicants must meet certain criteria to be eligible. For example, the applicant must be a legal person or a sole trader based in Sweden. The applicant must be a professional organizer of cultural events or projects. Artists who were supposed to participate in a cancelled/postponed event can also apply for the grant (such as music groups, independent dance groups or theatre ensembles). Individual artists are not eligible for financial aid from Kulturrådet. In order to qualify for financial aid the cultural event in question must have been planned to take place on May 31st 2020 at the latest. The outbreak of covid-19 must be the reason for cancellation. Moreover, the event must be open to the public.
Filminstitutet (Swedish Film Institute) has adopted a number of measures to protect and support the Swedish film industry during the crisis. They will increase their financial support for Swedish cinemas, give an additional SEK 5 million (app. EUR 471.482) to the development of Swedish film projects (mainly fiction and documentaries) and to the continual launch of Swedish and international films. An increased production grant will also be available to ongoing or planned film productions until the 1st of June 2020. The financial support offered by Filminstitutet is mainly intended for organizations, not individuals.
Examples of financial grants available to individual artists/cultural workers:
Konstnärsnämnden (Swedish Arts Grants Committee) offers financial aid in the form of stipends. A crisis-stipend has been developed to support individual artists within the cultural field – such as arts and craft, theatre, dance, circus and film. Applicants must be professional artists based in Sweden. The crisis-stipend will compensate for loss of revenue caused by cancelled events that were supposed to take place between 12th of March – 31st of August 2020. In order to qualify for this stipend, the loss of revenue must be at least SEK 15.000 (app. EUR 1.417). The applicant must be able to supply documents that verify the loss of revenue.
Sveriges författarfond (Swedish Authors’ Fund) offers stipends to writers, translators, photographers and freelancers working with visual arts. Sveriges författarfond has been commissioned to distribute a crisis stipend of SEK 10 million (app. EUR 943.862) to support struggling freelancers who are losing revenue as a result of covid-19.
Musikerförbundet (Swedish Musicians’ Union) has established a crisis fund with the support of Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief. All donations will be distributed to freelancing artists, musicians and stagehands whose livelihood has been jeopardized due to corona. Individual artists/workers are eligible for financial aid from this fund.