A year ago this month the Finnish Composers Copyright Society, Teosto, brought their ambitious Cultural Ambassadors Project to Brussels.
The Cultural Ambassadors Project began life in 2009 as a hugely successful Finland-based scheme ...and its national activities continue to this day. A marriage of simple methods and grand aspirations, the Project is essentially a buddy scheme that matches MPs with creators active in their constituencies, bridging the gap between the worlds of politicians and authors and increasing awareness of the economic and cultural input creators contribute every day.
Teosto nurtures these ongoing relationships by setting up meetings and providing updates on current issues important to the Finnish authors, like tax legislation, social security and internet piracy.
The decision to extend the project to MEPs based in Brussels reflects an increasing need felt by professional music authors to have their voices heard – especially in the context of an evolving policy environment at European level. There are a lot of people thinking and talking about issues affecting the creative sector in the European capital today – so making sure that authors' views are informing the debate is crucial.
Anna Eriksson, a popular Finnish author and Cultural Ambassador in Brussels says 'As a cultural Ambassador I act as a link between the world of politics and the everyday life of an author. I hope that my connection with MEPs stays active.'
Sirpa Pietikäinen, Finnish MEP, agrees that the scheme is important: 'I believe that we, as MEPs, can benefit from our Cultural Ambassadors and that they can help us promote a vibrant musical and cultural life both in Finland and in Europe.'
Back in Finland, over the course of the last few months Teosto has visited 10 Finnish cities with the Cultural Ambassador Project, meeting politicians and music authors from north to south of the country.
"The response has been positive from both the authors and politicians. Many politicians have pointed out that the importance of creative industries is growing and that they need to be more aware of the issues that are important to people working in the creative industries", said Tomi Korhonen, Director of Communications at Teosto.
Teosto is now busy organising a networking event for MEPs and creators in July. More news on that to follow!
Authors Tuomo Prättälä (left) and Jyrki69 from the band 69Eyes are both Cultural Ambassadors.
Published on 08 May 2012
The Power van Jan Fabre © Wonge Bergmann (SABAM-Magazine 70, 2012)