Mapping cultural and creative sector working conditions in the EU

Welcome to the new platform on the status and working conditions of artists and cultural professionals!

The platform is a unique EU-wide knowledge resource solely focused on working conditions in the cultural and creative sector. Providing concise and factual information, it will allow for comparative mappings and issue-based analysis.

How did this come about?
The development of this platform is part of the EU Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026. The creation of this knowledge resource is based on the recommendation of the Open Method Coordination Group, which consisted of expert representatives from the 27 Member States of the EU.

What does it offer?
This will be the one-stop-shop resource to access concise and user-friendly information on key aspects of working conditions in the cultural sector in the 27 EU member states: regulatory status, social security, labour relations, learning and skills, and artistic freedom. The platform will in the future host analytical pieces and case studies on the topic, produced with the help of its key per-country material and external contributions.

What is its focus?
The platform will focus solely on the issues of working conditions for artists and cultural professionals. It does not aim to replicate existing platforms on cultural policies or knowledge repositories on social security and labour relations for all workers.

Why is it important?
It is high time we can:

  • access status-quo snapshots on various aspects of artists’ working conditions in all 27 countries of the EU
  • understand the EU-wide diversity of policies, regulatory frameworks, and sector initiatives
  • lead informed debates and take stock of policy and legislative changes
  • exchange, compare, and stimulate peer-to-peer learning among decision-makers

What's next?
At this moment, the platform is still young and is meant to grow and develop further. It is an agile and evolving resource that will be filled with more content in the near future. We look forward to engaging with diverse stakeholders to populate this resource. The knowledge hosted and generated by the platform will also feed a series of workshops and meetings we will organise in the future.


Select up to 3 countries to view their specific policies.

Select a country
from above
to compare









Status and social security

Labour relations

Learning and skills

Artisitc freedom


Culture in the EUs National Recovery and Resilience Plans

This publication, developed by Culture Action Europe and its membership, offers an overview of the place of culture in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) of the Member States of the European Union.

More Info
European cultural and creative cities in COVID-19 times

The publication outlines the severe economic and social impact of COVID-19 on European cultural sectors, with closures and distancing measures threatening over seven million jobs. Despite challenges, some cities are innovating to engage communities while governments implement policies to support recovery and adapt to post-pandemic conditions. Proximity tourism and new cultural services are proposed to mitigate losses and enhance societal well-being.

More Info
The status and working conditions of artists and cultural and creative professionals

The European Commission and stakeholders published a study  that sheds light on the status and working conditions of artists, cultural and creative professionals.The study suggests Member States improve artists' working conditions, while recommending the European Commission share best practices and inform on available policies and measures for the Culture and Creative Sectors.

More Info
Cross-border Employment in the Live Performance Sector

In order to support the work of social partners in general, and more particularly in sectors characterised by a high degree of cross-border mobility, this report explores the often neglected issue of the social security and employment status of ‘highly mobile workers’.

More Info
International Labour Organisation:The Future of Work in the Arts and Entertainment Sector

This paper highlights the trends steering major sectoral changes and analyses how these transformations may impact the future of work in the arts and
entertainment sector.

More Info
‘A crisis of sustainable careers?

Prepared between January and September 2022, A crisis of sustainable careers? explores key issues related to the precarious working conditions of artists and independent workers in the cultural and creative sectors (CCSs), including the role public agencies currently play and how could they further strengthen these conditions. This public report is a part of IFACCA’s Sustainable Futures series and is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria (an IFACCA Affiliate Member).

More Info
The Culture Fix: Creative People, Places and Industries

The report addresses issues in cultural and creative sectors in terms of employment, business development, cultural participation and funding, both public and private. It provides analysis of how these sectors contribute to economic growth and inclusion, taking into account the impact of COVID-19 related crisis on jobs and firms. Finally, it offers recommendations on how to capitalise on the role of cultural and creative sectors in national and local recovery strategies.

More Info
Status and working conditions for artists, cultural and creative professionals

This ‘Status & Working Conditions for Artists, Cultural and Creative Professionals’ Brainstorming Report results from a Brainstorming Meeting organised by Voices of Culture on the 27th and 28th of April 2021. Its main objective is to provide a channel for the voice of the cultural sector to be heard by EU policymakers, a voice represented by a group of expert practitioners in Europe selected through an open call. These dialogues are also intended to strengthen the advocacy capacity of the cultural sector in policy debates on culture at a European level, whilst encouraging the sector and the Commission to work in as collaborative a way as possible.

More Info

The OMC report reveals the EU-wide state of play of working conditions in the cultural sector.

The report published in July by the Open Method of Coordination group of EU Member States' experts sheds light to the status and working conditions of artists and cultural and creative professionals.

November 11, 2023


The Creatives Unite platform features stories and interviews with artists, culture, and creative professionals from various countries in the EU. The platform highlights the shared challenges they face and how mobility, cooperation, and integration can strengthen cultural, artistic, and creative production.

Status of the Artist: six key points of the EU snapshot

The Open Method Coordination (OMC) working group comprised representatives from all 27 EU Member States, encompassing a mix of experts in the domains of culture and social affairs. As part of the process, experts were asked to complete a survey on different aspects of working conditions in CCSs in their respective country 1 . Here are a few key points we can glean from analyzing the survey results.

1. There is some form of status for artists in most EU countries

In the majority of EU Member States, there is a policy framework or legal structure that defines the status of artists, which can pertain to areas such as social security, taxation, employment, funding, official recognition, and more. Many of these systems primarily focus on social security or taxation. Specifically, 18 countries have established dedicated social security provisions for artists through specific laws or legal frameworks, and 13 countries have implemented special tax regimes for artistic income.

2. Different art sectors and professionals have relatively equal access to the 'artist status', with non-artist workers being the least covered.

While there may be an imbalance of support for various creative sub-sectors in some countries, in the overall EU-wide context, writers, composers, choreographers, as well as performing, visual, and audiovisual artists have relatively equal access to most existing status types. Performing artists and professionals in the audiovisual sectors benefit the most from social security systems, while the status related to taxation primarily covers visual artists, writers, and composers. Non-artist professionals, such as technicians, are the least covered by the various existing status frameworks.

Status of the artist: Access By Sector and Profession

  • Writers, Composers, Choriographers (40)
  • Performing Artists (38)
  • Audio Visual Artists (38)
  • Visual Artists (37)
  • None-Artist Professionals (eg. Technicians) (22)
  • Other ( )

1 The survey was not mandatory, so not all questions were answered by all 27 experts.

Image 1: 25 respondents had the option to select one or multiple categories of professionals who have access to one or several different status types in their country (six types in total). There were a total of 178 options selected (excluding 'not applicable' responses). Category ‘Writers, composers, and choreographers' was chosen 40 times, while 'audiovisual artists' and 'performing artists' each received 38 selections, and ‘visual artists’ was selected 37 times. Non-artist professionals were mentioned 22 times.

3. Proof of activity and income are the most frequently applied criteria; diploma in the arts is the least applied

The majority of status-related schemes center on individuals' actual activity within the sector, including its duration or publicly available outputs, and place less emphasis on ranking elements related to recognition, such as received prizes and awards, or education.

Proof of income generated from artistic activities, along with the corresponding tax payments, is also an important eligibility criterion for many programs. It is not only about having earned a required minimum, but in some cases, it is also about not having earned enough - often with a requirement to demonstrate that the reasons for this were beyond one's control.

Artistic quality is not a major criterion in the EU-wide snapshot, even though it is still considered in many programmes. A diploma in the arts is the least frequently considered factor. Only a few 'status of the artist' schemes have special strands or conditions for career entrants.

Status of the artist:Access Criteria

  • Proof of artistic activities (34)
  • Proof of income (28)
  • membership in an association (18)
  • Artistic quality (17)
  • Education (9)
  • Other (10)

Image 2: 25 respondents had the option to select one or multiple access criteria applied to six different status types. A total of 116 selections were made (excluding 'not applicable' and 'other'). 'Proof of artistic activity' was selected 34 times, 'proof of income' received 28 selections, while 'membership in a professional association' and 'artistic quality' were chosen 18 and 17 times, respectively. 'Proof of relevant education' was mentioned 9 times.

4. Government agencies are the most involved in granting artists' status

In the majority of countries, a blended decision-making system is in place, which involves a mixed body or the assessment of applications in steps by various stakeholders. Government agencies are the most involved in granting artists' status, particularly concerning social security and taxation frameworks. Peer commissions are primarily involved in assessing applications for grants and subsidies, although in some countries, they also participate in granting access to social security systems. In very few cases, decisions are made by independent non-governmental bodies.

Decision - Making

  • Government and its Agencies (28)
  • Peer Commissions (19)
  • Independent Bodies (4)
  • Other (16)

Image 3: 25 respondents had the option to select one or multiple stakeholders granting access to six different status types. A total of 67 selections were made (excluding 'not applicable'). 'A commission of professionals’ was selected 19 times, 'an administrative department' received 28 selections, while 'independent body' and 'other' were chosen 4 and 16 times, respectively.

5. Having an official register dedicated to artists and creative professionals is not very common, but some changes are underway

Out of the 25 respondents, 18 said their country does not have a register of artists or creative professionals; however, five countries are in the process of developing one. The majority of existing registers are used for granting various types of financial support, and only a few are also dedicated to research purposes. In a number of countries, artists and cultural professionals are registered as part of a nation-wide statistical system, while in many states, professional associations develop and manage lists of their members.

6. Social security frameworks specific to artists mostly cover unemployment and pension-related benefits

Social security frameworks for artists and cultural professionals offer a diverse range of benefits, with unemployment insurance and various pension provisions being the most commonly offered across all frameworks in place in the EU member states. This is often in recognition of the irregular nature of artists’ work and income. Work accident insurance is the least covered by existing frameworks for artists.

Social security contributions are obligatory for the majority of frameworks, and they are primarily paid by artists themselves. In about a third of the cases, contributions are covered by the state, and a few programmes apply a mixed system, in which the government supplements artists’ payments.

Social security types

  • Unemployment (10)
  • Health (9)
  • Basic Pension (9)
  • Disability (8)
  • Sickness (7)
  • Before-pension supplement (7)
  • Maternity/Paternity (6)
  • Training/Carrer transition (6)
  • Supplementary pension (6)
  • Work accident (5)

Image 4: 25 respondents had the option to select one or multiple social security benefits / types that are available in their country as part of a specific system for artists. A total of 74 selections were made (excluding 'other').

“This Is How We Work” is part of the Creatives Unite-platform. We do make our best to ensure the accuracy of the information on “This Is How We Work”-part of the Creatives Unite platform, which aims at disseminating accurate and up-to-date information from a variety of sources. No guarantee is given as to its quality, accuracy or completeness.

We cannot be held responsible, in particular, for failure to update information or forms, inaccuracies, errors, gaps in the information provided, encoding errors or system manipulation, and do not accept responsibility or liability for any consequences of using the information on this part of the platform, nor for the information on or correctness of the information contained in external links and external websites, or on their personal data protection practices.

As soon as Creatives Unite becomes aware of any illegal content or content that does not correspond to the intended purpose of “This Is How We Work” part of the Creatives Unite platform, the hyperlink will be removed, without this in any way giving rise to any liability on the part of Creatives Unite for the period during which the hyperlink was offered.

If you encounter any errors or would like to contact us in relation to the “This Is How We Work” content of the Creatives Unite platform,
please do inform us using the following e-mail address:

Photo by daisy on Unsplash