ASEF Mobility First! 2020

Update related to COVID-19:

The health & safety of our grantees & partners are paramount and we are committed to support physical distancing measures by governments in Asia & Europe. As such, we regret to announce that the ASEF Mobility First 2020 open call (general open call) is now cancelled. Kindly check our website for further updates on our other special open calls.  

Read more about Mobility First!’s response to Covid-19 here.

Essential Information

Applications are welcome from individual artists/cultural professionals who are:

  • nationals/citizens of any Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) partner country
  • working in any artistic genre (such as visual arts, performing arts, film, heritage etc.) 
  • at least 18 years old at the time of travel 
  • seeking support for travel within the ASEM region 
  • seeking travel support to participate in any of the 6 types of eligible activities (workshops/training; conferences/forum; festivals/biennales, or international exhibitions; artists’/writers’ residencies; partner meetings to set up or maintain an existing partnership and practice-led research trips) 
  • not recipients of the Mobility First! grant in 2019 (Refer to our Reapplication Policy below)
  • Only applications that meet the Eligibility requirements will be evaluated
  • Priority will be given to applications focusing on contemporary artistic & cultural disciplines
  • Early career artists & cultural professionals are encouraged to apply; applications showing relevance to the applicant’s professional development will be prioritised
  • First time visits to destination countries are encouraged
  • Mobility First! support is given depending on how well the application has managed to:
    • Convey specific and well thought out purpose of journey and their mobility objectives
    • Closely fulfil one or more of Mobility First!’s focus areas of skills transfer/knowledge exchange, innovation in arts and culture, local cultural development and art and society

Read our Application Guidelines to find out more about Mobility First!’s guiding principles and priorities.

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.

Mobility First! supports international travel for the following mobility routes:

  • Asia to Europe
  • Europe to Asia

Applicants should be seeking support for travel within the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) region.

The ASEM partner countries are Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Lao PDR, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and Viet Nam.

The Mobility First! grant is intended for covering international travel and visa costs only.

Accommodation and any other costs (such as per diem, registration fees etc.) are excluded from the grant amount.

Mobility First! will not be accepting re-application for a period of 1 year from the following categories of applicants:

  • Past successful 2019 grantees – both individuals and arts and cultural organisations
  • 2019 grantees who have been awarded the Mobility First! travel grant under a successful arts organisation grantee and are intending to submit an individual application
  • 2019 grantees who have been supported by our special open calls with Cambodian Living Arts, Prince Claus Fund

For the holding period of 1 year, this would mean that if your application to Mobility First! was successful in 2019, you will only be allowed to re-apply in 2021. However, if your application to us has not been successful, you are welcome to apply again.

The mobility call will be open and accepting applications from Monday, 20 January 2020.

Applicants can expect to hear feedback about their application in 2 cycles – March and May (tentative). 

All travel should take place between 20 January to 30 November 2020.

Important Documents to Read Before Applying

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Selection Panel 2020

Two cultural experts from Asia and Europe join the ASEF Team in the Mobility First! Selection Panel

ASEF Mobility First Ferdinand Richard

Ferdinand Richard (France)

Ferdinand is the founder/director of the AMI Association in Marseilles (since 1985), a multi-sectoral cultural development platform with a consistent international cooperation programme and the first incubator for cultural micro business in France. He also co-founded of La Friche Belle-de-Mai in 1992 and has been Deputy Director for the past 8 years under architect Jean Nouvel. From 2009-2019, Ferdinand was President of The Roberto Cimetta Fund, funding the mobility of artists and cultural activists in the Euro-Arab-Middle East regions.

Ferdinand is a member of governance of the Institut du Monde Arabe in the Hauts-de-France Region (since 2016). He is also the Founder-President of Global Grand Central, a global internet platform for artists and cultural projects, archives, and narratives (since 2017). In addition, Ferdinand is a board member of the Observatoire des Politiques Culturelles-France (since 2002), as well as President of The European Forum for the Arts and Heritage (re-named today Culture Action Europe). Further, he is a collaborator/expert for Agenda 21 for Culture (United Cities and Local Governments) since 2006. He is also a premier coordinator and expert of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity/UNESCO experts panel (2006-2015).

Ferdinand currently sits on the Selection Committee for Asia-Europe Foundation’s Mobility First! programme (since 2017). Ferdinand was a musician and producer from 1971-2000.

ASEF Mobility First Tay Tong

Tay Tong

TAY is an internationally experienced arts worker, enabler and consultant, with close to 30 years of professional experience, working both locally and internationally. He was the Managing Director of TheatreWorks (Singapore) and its home and creation space, 72-13, created in 2005. From 1989 to 2018, he has produced over 200 productions and international arts festivals here in Singapore and internationally. He was Aide to the Festival Director for Singapore International Festival of Arts, 2014 – 2017. Most recently, Tay consulted for the National Arts Council (NAC), Singapore, formulating the blueprint and providing a business plan for the implementation of the Arts Resource Hub that aims to provide arts freelancers with the necessary resources to sustainably continue their practice, unlock new opportunities and grow meaningful careers. 

Tay is an advocate for engagement with diverse cultures and across disciplines. He firmly supports the philosophy of ‘celebrating differences’ and cultural negotiation as well as the internationalisation of the arts. He produced the long-running inter-cultural, multi-disciplinary Flying Circus Project between 1996 and 2013 as well as the capacity building programme, The Continuum Asia Project in Luang Prabang, between 2002 and 2012, and the first edition of the Curators Academy 2018, for TheatreWorks. Tay was also the Director of Arts Network Asia (ANA) from 1999 to 2017 and he brokered greater intra-Asia dialogues and exchanges. He currently sits on the panel for the Asia-Europe Foundation’s Mobility First! grant programme, and was Advisor to the Next Generation : Producing the Performing Arts, a programme by the Japan Foundation Asia Centre

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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