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This database is initiated and built up by Flanders Arts Institute. Flanders Arts Institute is a support organisation for music, performing arts, audiovisual and visual arts in Flanders. As a part of our task, set in the Arts Decree, we try to map out the art ecosystem in Flanders. This overview is used, one the one hand, for artists and art workers, and for research, on the other hand.

For artists and art workers, we provide overview lists of actors in the arts field. With these overviews, they can find a bearing in the field and get a first feeling of the richness of that field. For each discipline, we describe certain activities of those makers. For stage performers, we look at the productions they make. For musicians, we describe releases. And for visual artists, we list their expositions.

From a research perspective, we treat these data as a starting point. For most questions, more information is needed. We get these data from partners. But data is rarely enough to capture the complexity of the arts sector. That’s why we always complement quantitative research with qualitative analyses.

We are very aware that our data collection bumps into serious shortcomings. These shortcomings are inherent, in the sense that we will never be able to completely mitigate them. Nonetheless, it is important to acknowledge them and to have processes to deal with tehm. We can not ignore them. As an example, we can never be exhaustive. The reason for this is complex.

On the one hand, a database with its rigid structure can not handle the nuances of a concious play of artists with artificial boundaries. Such an inherent shortcoming would require endless technological adjustment; we rather have ongoing exchanges and discussions with artists.

On the other hand, we are currently still maintaining selection criteria, that mimic existing exclusion mechanisms in the arts sector. We are dealing with this currently. A first step is to rethink exclusion, and we engage with artists and art workers to be better informed. We are also modernising the data infrastructure.

Would you like to be a part of this discussion? Please, reach out to us, so that we can invite you for focus talks on this topic.

Flanders Arts Institute

Expertise centre for performing arts, music and visual arts.