For the past 10 years, we have been striving to professionalize all the relations at stake in the artistic and cultural fields. SMartBe, a professional association for the creative professions, emerged as artists expressed their difficulties in managing their status and activities; difficulties often linked to the constraining intermittent nature of artistic activities and to the irregular income that ensues.
Our approach consists in making the entrepreneurial and artistic activities meet, placing the human being at the center of this encounter rather than profit. SMartBe defends social economy values, which are defined as follows: “A final purpose of service to the community or to the members of the organisation rather than one of profit, a vision of self-governance, a democratic decision process, a greater importance given to the people and their work over capital when it comes to sharing out revenues”.
The Professional Association for the Creative Professions is one of the structures working under the SMartBe Foundation. For legal reasons, each category of service is handled by a separate structure:
- artistic contracts are under the supervision of the Intermittent Workers Office (Secrétariat pour Intermittents) ;
- non-artistic contracts are under the supervision of the temporary work agency Le Palais de l’Intérim ;
- management and production of activities are under the care of Productions Associées
- financial and leasing services are managed by Matlease
Members of the association can access all the different services through a single electronic Web interface and can benefit from individual guidance by counsellors.
The group currently deals with case files from more than 30.000 members and is in contact with over 30.000 ordering parties, from Brussels, Wallonia, Flanders and abroad. These projects workers (artists or intermittent workers) bring in more than 100.000 contracts per year, through their projects and services. Together, the different branches of the group bill more than 80 millions euros yearly.
We dedicate ourselves to helping creators of the artistic and cultural sectors, giving their projects ground to emerge and to evolve towards a greater autonomy and a professionnal, structured and secured approach. To attain these objectives, we have created a democratic structure based on the pooling of ressources. We anchor our work in field practice and make sure to create a suitable environment respectful of current rules and regulations. This back-and-forth motion between the two allows us to impact on their evolution in order to ensure that they meet the needs of a cultural and artistic sector in continuous evolution. We offer direct support to the artists and intermittent workers through the availability of a toolbox specifically designed to facilitate the day to day activities of creative professions.
The members, artists and intermittent workers, entrust the Professional Association for the Creative Professions with the defence of their interests, with their legal and political representation, and with the development of research studies aimed at a better understanding of this sector, often ignored, badly regarded or misinterpreted. These studies are crucial in order to propose viable long-term solutions. The above mentionned missions are conducted by our various offices: the legal service office, the research department, the training department and the international development branches of SMartBe (SMartFR and SMartEu).
Daily work, conversations and exchange with members, analyses and research that emerge from these interactions are all elements allowing us to deepen our knowledge of the field thus providing us with the necessary understanding to develop a global approach to the artists and intermittent workers situation. From there, the association puts in place new tools and services and modifies existing ones. Their implementation is under the good care of the sister entities.
The end of illegal work for artists and intermittent workers and their insertion in the employees social security system.
A better communication regarding employment law and sectorial collective agreements in order to ensure a clear understanding from artists and ordering parties.
The definition of a minimum limit under which we will refuse to work.
A guidance offered to artists and intermittent workers in their fee determination.
The defense of artists and intermittent workers’ interests.
A continued dialogue and open debate with all the concerned public and private authorities.
A continued effort to obtain legal and fiscal frameworks answering the specific needs of the artistic and intermittent sector.
The implementation of innovative solutions adopting a non-market approach.
The availability of concrete tools, the guidance provided by counsellors (at the administrative, legal or production levels) and the handling of files and booking contracts are the core and heart of SMartBe activities. This field experience feeds and legitimates the action undertaken by the Professional Association for the Creative Professions.
Initiatives at the national level:
Production and project management.
- Wage reserve fund.
- Insurance tailored to intermittent work specificity.
- Legal advice and support.
- Coaching services / individualized advice.
- Computer tools.
- Research department.
Following in the footsteps of SMartBe, other organizations are being created to promote and support European mobility, as is the case of SMartFr in France. The objective is to eventually structure a network of operators all using the same electronic access point with homogenized procedures across Europe.
Culture Action Europe Contact: Sarah de Heusch Ribassin
Project Officer – Research department – International Development
Professional Association for the Creative Professions
Rue Emile Féron 70
T: +32 2 542 19 47
+32 2 542 10 80
F: +32 2 420 52 93