DATE: 12-09-2018

Lobbying and Advocating for Higher Music Education - AEC Update

In the last newsletter, which was published in June, it stated that AEC's advocating and lobbying activities in the first half of the year 2018 were strengthening cooperation with other European associations. These activities have been further substantiated and reinforced in recent months.

Advocating at the European level

In addition, AEC has launched a targeted initiative to re-establish the eligibility of short-term mobility from one to six weeks as part of a revised Erasmus policy.
  • Whilst the European Commission's and Parliament's cultural agenda has, over the past few years, repeatedly emphasised the issue of the economic added value of culture and the arts, more issues now appear on the list of priorities. This applies to, above all, the question of whether and how art and culture contribute or should contribute to the cohesion of society (which always includes the question of how the society can contribute to make sure that art and culture can coexist). The issue of how music and music business should or have to face the digital shift isn't brand new, but it is being addressed more often and louder than ever before. This also demonstrates that AEC is ahead of the game when launching its new Creative Europe project SMS ("Strengthening Music in Society").
  • AEC was part of several coordinated campaigns to advocate for the interests of art and artists at European level. Particularly noteworthy is the campaign to ward off claims addressed by internet giants such as Google, Facebook and YouTube. To dilute a draft law on the renewal of copyright and exploitation rights, which was unsuccessful at first reading but is now entering a second round with new vigour. Also, worthy to be mentioned is an initiative led by Culture Action Europe with the objective to keep Art & Culture as an independent line of funding within the Creative Europe funding program beyond 2020. This independence seemed threatened, at least temporarily, and AEC made a significant contribution to this initiative.
  • As there will be a new vote on the copyright directive on the 12th of September 2018, the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (GESAC) has initiated a communication campaign to give more public support to the line proposed by Rapporteur Voss, in support of the creative sector. AEC supports this campaign "Europe for Creators" via Twitter (#EuropeForCreators) with the belief that the whole creative sector should stand united in these efforts.
  • At the moment, the most visible project of cooperating with representatives of other art disciplines is the preparation of an International Summit on Art Education (ISAE) jointly organised by AEC, European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), the Federation of Film and Television Universities (Cilect) and the Association of Design Faculties (Cumulus) to be held in early summer 2020 in Bulgaria.

Strengthening partnerships at the global level

  • However, the political framework also shows that it is becoming increasingly crucial to join forces with other stakeholders in the field of music, the arts and higher education. First contacts with ClassicalNEXT and the International Music and Media Center (IMZ) have already been made earlier, but now, concrete projects are envisioned. A working meeting with these partners is scheduled on 22 September, which will be attended by both AEC's president and CEO.
  • New contacts have been established with partners outside Europe, notably the US association "The College Music Society", representing not only American Music HEIs, but also orchestras and concert halls, and the "Global Music Education League" (GMEL), a rather young association dealing with music education at all levels. Meetings at senior management level are scheduled with both associations still in 2018.

AEC position paper on ERASMUS + beyond 2020

Many European funding programs will run out in their current form by the end of 2020, including programs such as Horizon 2020, Creative Europe and Erasmus+, all of which are of significance to the day-to-day work of European Music HEIs and the AEC. For some time now, drafts of a renewed version of Erasmus+ have been circulated around in Brussels and hearings take place in which the AEC's point of view has gained significance.

In July, the AEC launched a position paper on the further development of the Erasmus+ programs. One of the core requirements of this paper is the implementation of short-term stays at an Erasmus partner institution lasting between one and six weeks. This could be used to enable students to attend a masterclass or a summer course, or to participate in a concert or opera production using Erasmus funds without interrupting the continuity of the individual one-to-one lessons at the home institution.

These short-term stays might also replace the former Erasmus Intensive Programs which have been abolished in 2013, much to the chagrin of Music HEIs in particular.

Please read the AEC position paper on the AEC website.

For the time being, the proposal launched by the AEC has been received with reservations by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). It is now even more important that the AEC members seek discussion at a national level with their respective Erasmus agency in order to promote this proposal. Experiences from the past have shown that they are powerful enough to make their voices heard.