Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Graduated in History at the University of Liege, Jörg has been working for the cooperative SMart since 2011, currently in the role of project supervisor and consultant. Originally from the German-speaking community of Belgium, he is responsible for the territorial development of the cooperative. SMart is a non-profit organisation created in Belgium in 1998, which is now active in 9 European countries. SMart is a shared structure that strives to empower freelance workers through mutualization. SMart is the emancipation of workers from various sectors, who join together, in a cooperative with a social purpose, who borrow its legal person, to equip themselves with the means to develop their own economic activities in complete autonomy and to obtain socialized and taxed incomes.
I am firmly convinced that the worker is the only value driver of his work. Convinced that economy is also socially feasible and above all with the certainty that only Buttom-up structures are sustainable. My main task at the moment is the territorial development of the cooperative.
The development of the Comptoire des resources creatives, the work in the cross-border network CHE creatif hub euregion) are just as much a part of my tasks as the organization of conferences and training modules.
What do you consider your distinctive achievement?
Our challenge is to accompany the members and to find out their needs. But also to create the necessary framework conditions for them to be able to do their work. Working for yourself but succeeding together is one of our Leitmotifs.
This experience, as the defense of artists at many occasions, defines SMart as an innovative structure that can provide pragmatic solutions to new issues linked to the labour market evolutions. Our experience also shows us the difficulties of this co-construction; we see ourselves as facilitators and proceed according to the try and error system, but we can give the members a legal framework and do focused lobbying for them.
In 2016 we did a recommendation paper for the European commission, with was accepted by the AEBR the topic « recommendation paper for mobility of professionals in arts and culture sector to Patchwork workers of Europe ».
What are you looking forward too?
The euregional Speed dates event on Wednesday in Eupen! And the next forum of the AEBR, the next CHE meeting, the next and every step of progress and production in the cultural field of the Euregio!
Which advice would you give to other professionals?
What the most of our actions have in common is the reflection on how we can work better together than alone, how we can help each other and how we can reduce costs (buying equipment together, negotiating the price of raw materials but also setting prices in a harmonious way and stopping seeing ourselves as rivals/competitors). Bundle forces and sharing costs and to learn from the mistakes of others and train each other.
What are the challenges that we need to come to make about cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
Mutualizing tools, working with others and connecting with others seem very important to me. On the political side, more needs to be done to make it clear that creative industries can create jobs that cannot be easily delocalized. In my view, all of this can only be achieved by button-up structures and the cohesion of the creative sector.