Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative

The 2021 Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative is now open for submissions. Please visit: Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative 2021 – Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

Mobility First! – ASEF Cultural Mobility Initiative is a mobility grants programme that supports the mutual cultural practice of those working in the arts. Since it was launched in 2017, Mobility First! has supported cross-border mobility of over 300 cultural professionals between 48 ASEM countries.

In 2021, in response to the continuing restrictions on travel and physical gatherings due to Covid-19, Mobility First! will offer virtual collaboration grants to artists and arts managers from Asia and Europe to jointly create new works or texts. This initiative aims to create opportunities for international cultural exchange and professional connections at a time of very limited face-to-face encounters.

What are the benefits of the programme?

  1. Engaging in creative work – A fixed grant of SGD 500 per grantee or collaborator that is meant for artists’ fee and time spent on producing creative outputs
  2. Knowledge sharing – grantees benefit from a true exchange of ideas from working with their peers from Asia and/or Europe
  3. Building and strengtening connections – collaborations allow for meaningful conversations and diverse cultural expressions


Focus areas:

The following focus areas will be prioritised for the Mobility First! open call:

  1. The role and value of artists/arts in a time of crisis Activities that raise awareness of the significance and contribution of artists & the arts in bringing people together and nurturing positive social change in times of uncertainty
  2. The arts in crisis Activities that respond to challenges in the arts in the time of Covid-19, particularly the loss of livelihood of many artists & cultural practitioners, disruption of traditional business models of arts organisations, unequal opportunities, and the current debates on the arts as ‘non-essential’ services in a crisis
  3. International cultural collaborations in the new normal Activities that inspire new and innovative approaches to international collaborations in the time of physical distancing and restricted mobility. International collaborations that involve cross-sectional themes between arts/culture and sustainability & climate change, technology, economy, public health etc. are welcome
  4. Art and well-being Activities that contribute to the growing body of knowledge on the intersection between art and mental health. Activities that demonstrate improving health and well-being through the arts

Note: The activity which you are intending to collaborate on does not need to tackle all four focus areas.

Who can apply?

Eligiblity is via 2 tracks:

  1. Individuals – 2 or 3 artists or arts managers may submit a joint proposal for an activity they wish to collaborate on
  2. Organisations – Arts organisations may submit a joint proposal for 3-6 collaborators for an activity they are organising

Please refer to the  Application Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions for more details on eligibility.

How much is the grant value?

Each selected participant will be awarded a grant of SGD 500. The total grant amount is dependent on the number of participants in the collaboration.

The Mobility First! collaboration grants open call is accepting applications from 1-28 February 2021. Applications close on Sunday, 28 February 2021, 23:59 SGT (GMT+8)

Enquiries about submissions should be directed to the Mobility First, please always refer to their website for complete details and information.

Please note, this prize is run by Mobility First, not Commonwealth Writers.