Solidarity Sessions #1: Info-exchange

Solidarity Sessions: Info-exchange on Corona and the Cultural Sector was a success! Watch the video recording and read the report here.


On the 6th of May, 2020, Platform BK, Salwa Foundation, W139, and Margarita Osipian co-organised Solidarity Sessions. It was an informal and interactive live-stream about the current situation around COVID-19 in the Netherlands and its consequences for the cultural sector. Participants included:

  • Artist Julia Sokolnicka
  • Artist Alina Lupu
  • Artist Eshan Fardjadniya
  • Yara Said of the Salwa Foundation
  • Jeremy Bierbach, lawyer at Franssen Advocaten, specialized in immigration law
  • Koen Bartijn, Sepp Eckenhaussen, and Tatjana Macic of Platform BK
  • Peter van den Bunder of Kunstenbond, the Dutch Arts Union
  • Nathalie Hartjes of De Zaak Nu
  • Margarita Osipian
  • Nadia Benchagra of W139
  • Digital-spatial hosting: Market.

Watch the video registration of the entire event below, or read the written report, linking to all interesting texts, initiatives and websites that were mentioned by participants during the event.

Listening to cultural workers

During the first 30 minutes of the program, which were moderated by Margarita Osipian, four artists took the stage. They spoke of their artistic and activist work during the crisis.

Ehsan Fardjadniya told of his struggle to stay in his anti-kraak apartment, or at least get a good alternative. See Eshan’s Facebook-page for his posts and vlogs about the struggle. Eshan discussed the following organisations: Eigen Haard, GGZ, Gemeente Amsterdam, Bond Precaire Woonvormen (union for precarious ways of living) and radio program De monitor. Read more about Eshan’s struggle here.

Alina Lupu discussed her (art) writing practice for TAAK, Platform BK, and her own website, among other platforms. Read the announcement of Alina’s Our New Normaal here and read Before We Knew What Hit Us, Alina’s text for Platform BK, here.

Julia Sokolnicka talked about her conversations with her land lord, Urban Resort, and other (tenants of) broedplaatsen, such as De Appel and WOW. Together, they aim to push for a (temporary) rent reduction.

Yara Said spoke of the establishment and work of the Salwa Foundation.


Advocacy organisations

The second part of the program, which was moderated by Sepp Eckenhaussen, consisted of short statements by people and organisations working in the interest of artists and cultural workers.

Tatjana Macic spoke as studio and living space expert of Platform BK. She discussed the manifesto for affordable studio space in Amsterdam, which we published in 2017, and our  research report No City Without Art #2. She called on everyone who wants to join efforts and think collectively, to send an email to tatjana@platformbk.nl.

Natalie Hartjes, director of Showroom MAMA and board member of De Zaak Nu, spoke about the problems of small exhibition spaces and the relation between these institutions and artists. She mentioned the Mondriaan Fund and the open letter published by its director Eelco van der Lingen, the Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten, the Stimuleringsfonds, and the guideline for artist fees.

Peter van den Bunder, is the visual arts and freelancer specialist at Kunstenbond (the Dutch Arts Union). He told about the lobby work of Kunstenbond, about the Creative Coalition, and about the support measures of 300 million euros for the cultural sector.

Jeremy Bierbach is a lawyer, specialised in immigration law, and working for Franssen Advocaten. He shared information on TOZO and other schemes. He explained, in simple terms, the legal foundations on which the Dutch ministry of law and security, and the Dutch immigration office work.



In the third and last part of the program, there was space for questions from the audience. This part was moderated by Nadia Benchagra, coordinator of  W139. The following questions were posted, in this order (watch the YouTube video to hear the answers, starting from 1 hour, 14 minutes):

  • Can a self-employed worker with a non-permanent partner-visa, apply for TOZO without risking their status?
  • Is it advised to agree with the payment installments offered by Urban Resort to their tenants?
  • How can we stimulate solidarity/dialogue between cultural workers?
  • Can we discern that there is more focus on artists and that independent curators are overlooked in these discussions?
  • What is the regulation with TOGS, can individual artists/cultural workers also apply, for instance to cover the costs of their studio space? Should TOGS also apply for presentation institutions?
  • Can somebody change the way they are recognised by the KvK (SBI-code)?
  • What is the Fair Practice Code?
  • What to do when the TOZO is not being transferred to your bank account?
  • Is there a working group for the development of guidelines and fees for independent curators? (Tip: yes, there is, at Platform BK)


Solidarity across workers

During the Q&A, Sakiko Sugawa made a short statement. Sakiko is a culture worker and researches reproductive labor. She spoke of her advocacy work for solidarity with undocumented migrant domestic workers. She referred to the crowd-funding campaign for FNV Domestic Workers and the project Masks of solidarity by Black-Renaissance. To support this group of precarious workers on the long term, also if you do not have financial resources to give, please contact the Solidarity Network for Domestic Workers: solidaritynetwork.dw@gmail.com.



Scenographic concept: Martin Sämmer.

Art direction, scenography, and technical production: Chun-Han Chiang, Dave Fransz, Thorsten Grahl, Bert Jacobs, Petra Ponte, and Nelmarie du Preez.

Organisation: W139, Platfrom BK, Salwa Foundation, and Margarita Osipian.

About Platform BK

Platform BK researches the role of art in society and takes action for a better art policy. We represent artists, curators, designers, critics and other cultural producers.