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Workshop For All Artists' Needs & Desires*


21 February 2024
6 – 8 pm
ZB Library of Zeeland

Photo: Lukas Neven | Workshop For All Artists' Needs & Desires*

On Wednesday evening, February 21, 2024 from 7pm to 9pm, all artists and creative professionals from Zeeland were invited to attend the workshop For All Artists' Needs & Desires, with Pascal Gielen (writer and professor in cultural sociology), Adriënne van der Werf (assistant curator Vleeshal) and Marloes Matthijssen (writer, cultural scholar, cultural liaison). This workshop took place at the ZB Library in Middelburg.

During the workshop, participants discussed the impact of trust and the idea of commonism: exchanging shared goods and needs. Are there other, new ways to move each other forward as an arts field, beyond the free market and the world of funding?

Although some bread funds, cooperatives and neighborhood initiatives already exist, Zeeland still lacks shared studio spaces and exhibition areas, as well as shared use of facilities and knowledge. Imagine four new incubators in Zeeland, spread across the province, with studios, exhibition spaces, a restaurant and useful equipment. A public reservation system, sleeping places for those who need them and hundreds of keys in circulation. This workshop brought together the visions of artists and creative professionals to compile and then discuss them.

Prior to the workshop, Gielen gave a lecture using the book Trust - Building on the Cultural 'Common' and Mobile Autonomy: Exercises in Artists' Self-Organization as a guide. In this lecture, he elaborated on creative sustainability, with a specific focus on the development of an artistic biotope. This highlighted the needs of artists and the implementation of sustainable policies, based on experiences and insights gained during studio visits and interviews with more than 2,000 artists in Europe. The subsequent workshop aimed to map the current and future arts field in Zeeland in an innovative way, taking into account needs and desires. This in order to gain a better understanding of each other and to develop policies that connect with the local artistic community. This evening revolved around jointly drawing up a list of beneficial sub-systems, both for the present and for the future.

*For All Artists' Needs & Desires is the tagline of the Verffabriek, a studio space in Ghent in a former factory where artists and residents work together.

This workshop was part of the Cultural Standplaats Zeeland. The Culturele Standplaats is an initiative of the ZB Library. During this annual event, the ZB invites experts from cultural, social or scientific fields to share their knowledge. From February 19 to 22, 2024, the ZB organized the Culturele Standplaats with the theme: Intrinsic Value of Culture for Zeeland, in collaboration with Vleeshal. To reflect on the conditions of a healthy cultural sector in Zeeland, Vleeshal invited writer and professor of cultural sociology Pascal Gielen. Gielen researches the political and social contexts of creative labor and has recently published the book Vertrouwen (Trust), in which he argues for giving cultural and social initiatives room to maneuver and trust in how they handle their responsibilities. During two sessions - a panel discussion and a workshop - Gielen, together with Vleeshal and Zeeland's cultural sector, explored Zeeland's cultural field and took us through his research on trust.


Vleeshal is an internationally oriented center for contemporary art, rooted in Zeeland. In Zeeland Focus, Vleeshal highlights regional artists, takes part in and celebrates local contemporary art and culture.