Mimeta is neither an arts organization nor an arts exchange program, but a development organization. That is why we support what we call the service providers. We believe they are the right ones to improve the conditions of the sector, which is needed to give people free access to art and culture. And that is our objective.
Mimeta gives priority to those organizations that work on behalf of the arts, as service providers, to improve the sectors´ position on rights issues, in political and legal matters, the professionalism, the sustainability of the sector, and to secure a backbone within arts and culture in times of societal crisis and transitions.
These organizations, the service providers, are rare in most of the geographic areas we work, but still needed for an efficient development of the sector. Thus Mimeta concentrate its resources on development of this capability, in organizational matters, allocation of tasks, funding and re-granting instruments. It is needed to support both the actual service providing organizations, and the development of the services they are providing (eg. how to run a culture policy process).
Mimeta believes targeting the service providers is a right strategic approach to enhance the culture sector. From a practical point of view, you cannot expect from the artist, producers or event organizers that they will leave their main focus to take on issues relating to the framework conditions of the sector as such. Furthermore policy, advocacy, organizational development, training, education, research, fund management etc. calls for experts and specialized organizations to succeed.
Mimeta is part of well working partnerships for development processes, support and re-granting both in the Arab-speaking world and in the Sub-Sahara. The cooperation is based on common “western“ support of the regional service providers, and these partnerships would never have happened without them as key drivers and in the position to initiate and facilitate cooperation between our organizations. Thus we also avoid initiatives managed by western culture agencies, organizations or governments. It is not politically possible nor in our interest to allocate funding through other western organizations, even if they have local representations. We believe such representation is not sustainable in the long run, and not in favor of building the needed capabilities of the local service providers to the arts and culture sector.
Mimeta also underlines the need for these organizations as independent mediators between the culture sector and the many different policy and funding bodies involved in financing the arts and culture, from local governments to families with fortunes and international engagement. We see that some regional funding-mechanisms even are in position to establish an arms length principle between source of and object of funding within the arts area, to secure the artistic freedom at least on the financial level.
During times with special challenges the service providers have the utmost importance. They are there to organize civic responses to injustice, and have in recent years demonstrated their ability to address issues of freedom and democratic change. Even cultural relief initiatives are organized to support and empower distressed communities suffering from war, displacement, violent political turmoil, or difficult living conditions, through providing them with tools for expression, learning, healing, creativity and communication and by organizing arts communities.
In last years their representatives more frequently have taken part in international networks and multilateral forums, which addresses human rights, culture policy and formulation of development issues. Mimeta welcomes these efforts, as they strengthen the voices of the global south.