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And what about those codes of conduct? 'The Fund sees the tick marks as a baseline measurement.'

According to the minister, when applying for your grant this year, the Fair Practice Code, the Diversity and Inclusion Code and the Culture Governance Code would be decisive. In several reviews by the Culture Council in the BIS and also locally, artists have been rejected on the basis of poor substantiation of their following the code of conduct. Not so with the Performing Arts Fund. What about this?

The Fund's decision reads as follows: 'Reflections on the Fair Practice Code, the Diversity & Inclusion Code, and the Culture Governance Code and the action points formulated were not part of the assessment process of the advisory committees. Applicants do have to endorse the three codes, otherwise a grant may be refused.'

Tick with consequences

So in this case, a tick was enough. What else you said about it counts later, the paper shows. The Fund is clear about it: 'In most cases, institutions' reflections on the application of codes of conduct are remarkably positive. Perhaps this is because (intended) performance in relation to fair practice, diversity and inclusion and governance at other granting parties is assessed.'

This can hardly be read as anything other than ironic. In fact, this says nothing other than what applicants now write in their applications about those codes is completely gratuitous. We can also infer this, albeit neatly worded, from Fund director Henriette Post's response. She refers to the text on the fund's website, which states that the assessment will only follow later.

'...In addition, with regard to the Fair Practice Code and the Diversity & Inclusion Code, you also clearly indicate where you are now, what steps you intend to take between 2021 and 2024 and where you want to be at the end of that period. These intentions form the basis for the annual monitoring interview the Fund holds with the companies, ensembles and festivals that receive a multiannual grant. During these talks, we will also discuss whether we think the pace you have planned is fast enough, whether you are making enough progress. Our observations will be recorded and will, in principle, be included in the application for the 2025-2028 period. For all three codes: apply and explain. Insufficient compliance with the Culture Governance Code can also lead to additional conditions in the decision or to interim measures. But that is not news.

Zero measurement

To clarify, Post adds: 'We consider the reflection on the codes as a baseline measurement, you could therefore conclude.' And additionally: 'Furthermore, it is not the case that diversity & inclusion played no role in the assessment. The 'quality from the plan's activities' included looking at the intrinsic and authentic motivation to tell 'other stories'. This is sometimes reflected in the choice of creators and/or performers, but may also be reflected in the type of performances a company plans to make.'

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Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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