Code of Conduct
Last amendment: March 2021
The board, team, members, Supervisory Board (Raad van commissarissen) and the Advisory Board of Kunstverein have taken note of the Cultural Governance Code, the Diversity & Inclusion Code and the Fair Practice Code as developed and practiced in the Dutch cultural sector, and fully endorse them. In addition we are drafting our own ecological code of conduct. In the following pages we describe our interpretation of each code:
A. Cultural Governance Code
B. Diversity & Inclusion Code
C. Fair Practice Code
D. Ecological Code of Conduct
A. Cultural Governance Code
The Cultural Governance Code provides a normative framework for proper governance and insight into cultural organisations. Kunstverein adheres to this code. In accordance, we annually share information and insight into Kunstverein’s management and financial workings via our annual report, which is made publicly accessible via our website.
Kunstverein is a foundation with a legal entity. Responsibility for the management of Kunstverein rests with a single director, with the position currently held by Yana Foqué. The director (the board) is supervised by a Supervisory Board.
The Supervisory Board appoints and dismisses the director and also fulfils the function of supervisor. The board can approve or withhold approval for a number of important board decisions: budgets, annual accounts and general (long-term) policy plans. It also determines the remuneration policy for the director. The board has no substantive say over the artistic direction, but does ensure that the aim, social objective and continuity of the organisation are respected and upheld. The board is aware of the risks associated with the business operations of an institution such as Kunstverein and will therefore prepare itself, in accordance with the intention of good governance, for adequate action in the event of internal or external destabilisation.
The Supervisory Board itself proposes (new) board members (in conversation with the director), appoints new board members and a chair. The Supervisory Board strives for independence, expertise and diversity in its composition.
A retirement schedule has been put in place on March 1, 2019
Maxine Kopsa (chair)
– First term 1-03-2019—1-03-2020
– Second term 1-01-2022—1-01-2024
– First term 1-03-2017—1-03-2019
– Second term 1-03-2019—1-03-2021
– Final term 1-03-2021—1-03-2023
– First term 1-03-2018—1-03-2021
– Final term 1-03-2021—1-03-2022
– First Term 1-03-2014—1-03-2018
– Second term 1-03-2018—1-03-2020
– Final Term 1-03-2020—1-03-2022
Our organisation’s priorities for the Cultural Governance Code for the 2021–2024 period are:
- To put in place a structure for feedback and self-evaluation for the board and team, to determine annually within its own ranks whether it is acting responsibly and/or is/was equipped to do so
B. Diversity & Inclusion Code
The Diversity & Inclusion Code is a Code of Conduct for and by the Dutch cultural and creative sector committed to diversity and inclusion. The code is an instrument of self-regulation that serves to ensure that the Dutch cultural and creative sector represents the broad diversity of Dutch society. A basic requirement is that the sector is equally accessible to everyone, including: makers, producers, workers, volunteers and audience members.
Kunstverein strives to be an inclusive place where everyone feels welcome and valued, including the artists we work with, staff members, Kunstverein members and visitors.
The core objective of Kunstverein is to set up a program and organisation that challenges the usual structures and tackles the gaps in Western art history. In our program, we aim to provide a platform for artists and movements that are often overlooked or that venture to the limits of current art history. We try not to shy away from difficult issues and strive to raise them in an open, safe environment. With our program we indirectly aim to reveal negative patterns that have persisted precisely by showing what does not streamline with them. As a result, we address prejudices regarding gender, sexual orientation, cultural background and age. Questioning and offering a counterbalance to ingrained patterns is the basis of our social objective. In principle, every exhibition, presentation and activity must be accessible* to a wide audience. Kunstverein emphasises that the diversity inherent in contemporary art does not always perfectly match the expectations of the equally diverse population. Nevertheless, there is always a best efforts obligation.
Kunstverein aims to take into account the socio-economic and cultural diversity in the region as much as possible within a small organisation in its programming, its personnel policy and composition of the Supervisory and Advisory Board. We want to actively support this.
We are part of the international fields of visual art, performance art and design. Our institutional peers are mainly located in the ‘global-north’, but offer programs in which there is room for different backgrounds and gender identities, which in turn a diverse audience can identify with.
Our audience, team, Supervisory and Advisory Board are still not diverse enough to meet our own benchmarks. Nevertheless, our workforce is consciously international. We recruit internationally and hope to introduce different perspectives and working methods to the Dutch cultural field, so that a wider audience can identify with our organisation and program. Because of our orientation towards the gaps in the cultural fabric and in contemporary art history, we also make no distinction on the level of education, socio-economical or academic background or stage in someone’s career.
Our organization’s priorities for diversity and inclusion for the 2021–2024 period are;
- To increase the diversity of our employees and board members
- To invest in better communication channels so that more entry points into our program are provided for a wider audience
- To continue to support projects by all artists who give a different view on common narratives
- To give more attention to projects by avant-garde artists (of all ages)
- To continue to use sensitive language in both our formal and informal communication, for instance by avoiding the use of language that refers explicitly or implicitly to a single gender
- To better implement the use of the protocol for when a complaint is made to a member of staff or the confidential advisor about discriminatory behaviour of any kind
- To improve the physical accessibility to our spaces
C. Fair Practice Code
The Fair Practice Code is a code of conduct for doing business and working in the arts, culture and creative industries based on five core values: solidarity, diversity, trust, sustainability and transparency. The code invites critical reflection and provides a helping hand to the sector in order to foster a future-proof labour market and professional practice.
Kunstverein believes that transparency about working relationships, expectations and authorship, as well as money flows and remuneration, enhance the atmosphere within a foundation with a limited number of employees. The small-scale of the team (approximately four core members along with regular freelancers) naturally ensures continuous contact and feedback, enhancing mutual respect and trust. Kunstverein works with the principle that if it is not possible to compensate everyone fairly, fewer program components should be set up.
a. Remuneration & Insurance
Following existing remuneration guidelines and making good working arrangements are important principles of the Fair Practice Code. Kunstverein adheres to this and believes it is very important that all permanent and freelance employees as well as all artists receive a fair remuneration. To this end, Kunstverein follows the guidelines set by Kunsten Honorarium for the financial compensation of artists and the guidelines Richtlijnen Functie- en Loongebouw voor beeldende kunst to determine the compensation of its employees. Kunstverein also wants to fully comply with these guidelines for contributions for less prescribed program components, such as lectures, events, textual contributions, etc.
Everyone working for Kunstverein does so as a ‘ZZP’er’ (a self-employed person without staff). In the event of unemployment, illness, or incapacity for work, Kunstverein is not legally bound to insure its staff income. To resolve this precarity, Kunstverein is committed to set up a ‘broodfonds’ for all its staff, volunteers and members and to take up a share of the monthly donations to the fund for the former.
b. Copyrights & Authorship
A creator of an original work automatically obtains the copyright to that work and Kunstverein always asks for permission before using a work in an exhibition, publication or event (with the exception of quotes), based on Article 25c of the Copyright Act (Auteurswet). However, if the work (such as custom-made furniture) is produced through a contract with Kunstverein, the copyrights lie with Kunstverein (unless agreed otherwise beforehand).
The entitled party is compensated for the use of the work. Disputes between parties will first be attempted to be settled through mutual consultation. The Copyright Act’s disputes committee can assist in case of disputes relating to the exploitation agreement through mediation and binding advice.
c. Safe, Healthy and Pleasant Working Environment
Kunstverein strives to be a safe and healthy environment for both its personnel and volunteers, as well as its members and audience. In order to implement the Fair Practice Code successfully, Kunstverein believes it is important that employers and employees continuously exchange thoughts about what good employer practices and good employee practices mean to them. We believe that this creates mutual understanding for other’s positions and helps professionalise the collaboration. This implies investing in the potential and further development of workers in our organisation, and that:
- Opportunities for further education and development are offered, where financially possible
- Evaluation is part of any collaboration
- Employers and employees jointly take responsibility to prevent mental and physical overburdening
- Work is done with a view to quality over quantity
We aim to limit the risk of physical accidents and have first aid kits and fire extinguishers available at every location or event.
Kunstverein also actively invests in preventing misconduct and discriminatory behaviour (whether of a sexual, physical, verbal or racial nature) from flourishing within our spaces and community by:
- Clearly communicating our Codes and standpoints
- Actively going over the Code of Conduct with the whole team (on a yearly basis)
- Sharing the Code of Conduct with new team & board members, and artists at the start of a project
- Employing a External Confidential Advisor
- Training all staff in the recognition of signals and responses to misconduct
In 2019 Kunstverein appointed a confidential advisor for both employees and volunteers.
She acted as a neutral person with whom the employees and volunteers could discuss the performance of the director or their fellow employees and, if necessary, bring transgressional behaviour to the attention of the Supervisory Board. From 2020 this role is being further developed to include the care for audience members and members of Kunstverein. A new certified confidential advisor will be trained and appointed for the position in 2021.
Beginning in November 2020, Kunstverein and its audience can also make use of the services of Mores.online. Mores.online is an independent office of certified confidential advisors that have many years of experience speaking with victims of transgressional behavior. They have a duty to maintain the confidentiality of personal data and all matters discussed with them. Also, they can be reached out to if individuals are suffering or have suffered from any form of intimidation, abuse, aggression or violence (including abuse of power).
Our organisation’s priorities for Fair Practice & Inclusion for the 2021–2024 period are:
- To provide working and/or commission agreements to all freelance workers
- To set up the above mentioned broodfonds for employees of Kunstverein
- To develop and offer sensitivity training for all staff in collaboration with professional advisors
- To set up Joint effort with other cultural actors: an umbrella-like organisation working across various spaces in Amsterdam that guarantees the confidential advisor of their independence
D. Ecological code of conduct
Kunstverein is conscious of the fact that we live on borrowed time. Our natural environment and resources have been heavily impacted by our presence as a species on this planet. Though the natural world is not often at the center of our programming, we live by the rule of thumb that if we can’t make it any better, then let’s do our best to at least not make it any worse.
Our organisation’s environmental priorities for for the 2021–2024 period are;
- To move all financial accounts to a bank with a sustainable investment portfolio
- To only take up contracts with utility companies that can provide us with energy from renewable sources for all our locations
- To use energy-efficient transportation as much as possible
- To host our website and email accounts on servers that run on renewable energy sources
- To continue to support wildlife through the members RSPB bird badges
- To continue to support sustainable beekeeping
- To avoid single-use materials and to recycle materials when possible for exhibitions and events
- To work with environmentally friendly printers for the production of our publications and other printed matter
- To continue to restrict the amount of publications we put out to a limited number of copies (250–500)
*What does access mean to us? Exhibitions and most events are free for all. Memberships are available at different entry levels. With a membership our publications become available at half price. English is the primary language we use for all communication to be able to communicate and include a larger group of people. Current members of staff also are fluent in Dutch, French, and can therefore mediate content if English is not spoken. Kunstverein offers each visitor guided tours through the exhibition. A written handout is made available. Our graphic identity consciously makes use of a sans serif typeface, and avoids the use of italics as much as possible. Texts are mostly justified to the left.