The Antwerp Arts Council (AKO) has lost confidence in Culture Councilor Nabilla Ait Daoud: “Wants an opinion from the entire college” | Antwerp

AntwerpAntwerp’s Kunstenoverleg (AKO) asks the entire Antwerp Council for an opinion on the desired arts and culture policy and to act accordingly in the rest of the legislature. Striking: AKO says it no longer has any confidence in the Culture Council Nabilla Ait Daoud (N-VA). “We only want to talk to the college.”

AKO, the official advisory body for arts and culture policy in the city of Antwerp, met with all affiliated organizations on Tuesday. Conclusion: AKO will still talk, but not with Nabilla Ait Daoud and her cabinet. Ait Daoud had invited AKO for further consultation. A few days ago it was said that AKO was prepared to accept Ait Daoud’s invitation. It changed after consultation in the various art organisations.

“In recent weeks, the Culture Cabinet has repeatedly made savings decisions without consulting us,” says AKO. “Add to that the offensive statements from the ships in the media. That’s why trust is now lost.”

Way out?

According to AKO, the only way out of the impasse is a discussion with the council about Antwerp’s cultural policy and in particular the position of the culture cabinet. “Over the last few weeks, this has ignored the extensive knowledge and insight of Antwerp’s art field by taking unilateral decisions. On October 11, the government informed AKO that there are no more project grants for the next three years. Eight days later, the only meeting with the cabinet and we are told that everything has been decided collegially by the mayor and councilors and is therefore irrevocable. A significant conversation proved to be out of the question.”

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Councilor Nabilla Ait Daboud (N-VA) says her door is open to the Antwerp Arts Consultation. © Tessa Crane

AKO points out that they have subsequently insisted on a new consultation several times. “Yet we had to learn about new decisions exclusively through the media.”

“Provocation”

AKO calls the interviews with Nabilla Ait Daoud, which among other things appeared on November 9 in Het Laatste Nieuws, “a sad low point and an unnecessary provocation for everyone who contributes to the city’s cultural flourishing”. AKO recalls a passage in the administrative agreement that promises to continue to profile Antwerp as an international city of art and culture with a rich past and a creative future. Artists should also have every opportunity to develop and show their work to the public.

“The door is open”

Councilor Ait Daoud himself answers briefly on Tuesday evening. “I have always said that I am happy to enter into a constructive dialogue with Antwerp Kunstenoverleg”, she emphasizes. “By the way, I already invited AKO to an open discussion last week. The AKO board then replied that it would coordinate with Antwerp’s art field, but that there would definitely be room on the agenda to sit together and that they look forward to a proposed agenda. My door is open for consultation.”

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