ASEF Mobility First travel grant for artists

About ASEF Mobility First! travel grant for artists

Since 1997, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) has been signposting mobility information, connecting mobility funders and supporting the travel of cultural professionals to attend its events. In 2017, ASEF launched the Mobility First! travel grant for artists. This has since been recognised by UNESCO as a success story for multilateral cultural co-operation.

Goals of ASEF Mobility First!

Promote cultural exchanges

Promote wider and more balanced exchanges of artists and cultural professionals between Asia and Europe

Sustain ASEF's role in cultural mobility

Sustain ASEF’s role as a funder, facilitator and information hub on cultural mobility

Nurture long-term alliances

Nurture long-term alliances between Asian and European artists based on trust, reciprocity and fairness

Contribute to global dialogue

Channel civil society voices on cultural mobility to UNESCO every 2 years

Contributing to the ASEM Process

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe. Presently, it comprises 53 Partners: 30 European and 21 Asian countries, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat. ASEM addresses political, economic, financial, social, cultural, and educational issues of common interest in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.

The ASEF Mobility First! travel grant for artists contributes to the ASEM process by connecting civil societies in Asia and Europe through meaningful cultural exchanges based on equal partnership and enhancing mutual understanding.

Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The ASEF Mobility First! travel grant for artists is committed to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It supports capacity building for young cultural professionals as a priority, and thus contributes to SDG 4.4 (relevant skills for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship among youth) and SDG 5.5 (equal opportunities for leadership for women). The project also prioritises travel from/to non-capital cities thereby contributing to SDG 11.a (supporting links between urban and rural areas). But the main SDG that the project contributes to is 10.a: facilitating the mobility of people. In this vein, Mobility First! strives to facilitate bi-directional mobility between Asia and Europe and also strengthening regional connections

Mobility First! testimonials from governments

“The ASEM Culture Ministers acknowledge the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) as the only institution of ASEM and recognise its important role in facilitating multilateral cultural cooperation among artists, arts organisations and museums in Asia & Europe. In particular, the Ministers positively acknowledge […] the new travel fund Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative […] to enhanced Asia-Europe connectivity.”

Chair’s Statement, 8th ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meeting (ASEMCMM8)

“One of the success stories [for multilateral cooperation] is the Asia-Europe Foundation’s ‘Mobility First’ Fund, launched in April 2017 in recognition of existing funding gaps to support artists’ mobility in the Asia-Asia and Asia-Europe contexts.”

Khadija El Bennaoui, ‘Surviving the Paradoxes of Mobility’ in ‘Re-shaping Cultural Policies’, UNESCO Global Report 2018

“ASEF’s Mobility First! travel grant for artists is a good example for fostering international cultural cooperation.” 

Gytis Andrulionis, Lithuania Vice-Minister for Culture

Mobility First! testimonials from the cultural sector

“Cultural mobility is increasingly high on the ASEM and ASEF agenda, and all the more with the Mobility First! fund. Working with ASEF colleagues on cultural mobility related projects always implies a sense of trust, mutual enrichment and warm professionalism.”

Marie Le Sourd, Secretary General, On The Move (France)

“The ASEF Mobility First! Grant was a boon for Experimenta 2017 as it facilitated the participation of acclaimed Filipino film artists and curators to travel to India to share their work. It was a rare and special opportunity for Experimenta audiences to interact with them in person, and an honour and privilege for us to host these wonderful artists in Bangalore. I am grateful for the crucial role that ASEF plays in promoting cross cultural dialogue in the region.

Shai Heredia, Festival Director, Experimenta India – The International Festival of Moving Image Art 

“The ASEF Mobility First! grant was of great assistance to the Asia Pacific Screen Lab to bring world-class, award winning film-makers to Brisbane. In our Lab they come and share their knowledge and experience as mentors and experts for the emerging filmmakers’ projects in the Lab. It is these exchanges that are enhancing stories of and from the Asia Pacific region and developing highly skilled film-makers. The Mobility First! grant has made this possible. Working with ASEF is always a pleasure along with warm professionalism.

Herman Van Eyken, Head, Griffith Film School (Australia)

“ASEF’s Mobility First! grant enabled connections with Germany to share ideas on critical contemporary topics of Gender and Hierarchy in art in Korea. The details of the topics may be quite different, but we found many common threads between the West and East in finding important narratives outside the male centric linearity. Mobility First! enabled the physical presence and more in-depth discussions with collaborators making a more long-term communication and network possible and mobile.”

InYoung Yeo, Director, Space One Seoul (Korea) 

Equal Opportunities

Mobility First! is an equal opportunities programme. Applications from artists and cultural professionals of any ASEM nationality, ethnicity, caste, creed, gender or sexual orientation are welcome. ASEF does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability or marital status.

About the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

The Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) is an intergovernmental not-for-profit organisation located in Singapore. Founded in 1997, it is the only institution of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). ASEF promotes understanding, strengthens relationships and facilitates cooperation among the people, institutions and organisations of Asia and Europe. ASEF enhances dialogue, enables exchanges and encourages collaboration across the thematic areas of culture, education, governance, sustainable development, economy and public health.

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