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National budget for 2007

October 6, 2006

The governmental proposal for national budget for 2007 has just been released. I have had a very quick check at some issues of particular interest from the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs. Before digging into details it is obvious that the proposal in general is very positive. Personally I am particularly excited about the increase in funding for Bergen kunsthall BRAK and Vestfossen kunstlaboratorium.

Electronic arts do not seem to get any major additional funding in 2007.000 BEK Atelier Nord NoTAM and the Production network (PNEK) all seem to get support on equal level as 2006.000 There might be a small increase for TEKS wit a suggested funding of NOK 803.000 I believe they got 500.000 in 2006.000 In particular in the case of PNEK this is disappointing. The current level of funding is far from sufficient to maintain and further developed networked collaboration on a national level the way we were able to a few years ago when PNEK was funded by Norwegian Art Council.

The most disturbing matter however is the following statement concerning an evaluation of the Art Council:

Departementet legger til grunn at institusjoner
og virksomheter som mottar fast årlig statstilskudd
selv tar ansvar for å skape rom innenfor sine bud-
sjetter for tiltak som kan fremme forsøk og utvik-
ling i egen virksomhet. Som hovedregel skal slike
virksomheter derfor ikke kunne søke Norsk kulturråd om tilskudd.

Rough translation: The Ministry intend that institutions and activities receiving regular yearly governmental support have to take responsibility for funding of activity and development within their existing budgets. As a general guideline such activities will not be able to apply to support from the Norwegian Arts Council.

All of the organizations within new media art are totally dependent on additional support for projects in order to maintain artistic activity. As of today non of these organizations have sufficient funding to be able to found large-scale projects from their own budget. Project funding from the Arts Council has been a major source for additional project-related funding for all of these organizations. I doubt that this is a special case I believe this is the case more or less for all small cultural institutions and thus most of the organized activity going on within all fields of contemporary arts practice. If this practice is to change it has to take place over several years and the organizations need some sort of compensation to avoid a radical reduction of activity. I am convinced that that is not the intention of the Ministry but further discussions are required between the Ministry The Art Council and the organizations before any changes can take place.

Anyway I am not convinced that this is a good idea to start with. If it is mainly aimed at the large institutions (museums etc.) it might make sense but for the alternative contemporary art scene the result might easily be a more fixed and rigid set of organizations.