Unlike many other European networks, the AEC does not (yet?) provide the position of a policy or advocacy officer or coordinator as part of its office team. In recent years, the scope of the advocacy tasks has steadily increased and to take care of them within the AEC office team is up to the AEC Chief Executive Stefan Gies. A look at Stefan’s Advocacy Diary over the past few weeks might give an idea of what this means in detail, but also how comprehensive the advocacy work done by AEC actually is.

When we report on current events in the field of advocacy in our monthly AEC newsletter, the focus is often on contacts with the institutions of the European Union. But as Stefan’s diary from the past four weeks shows, even these contacts and activities might be quite different from each other, not only concerning the topics and people addressed but also regarding the nature and characteristics of these activities.


On 22 November, Stefan Gies and Linda Messas took part in one of the regular meetings of the European Higher Education Stakeholder Group, a group of experts set up by the EU, of which AEC is a permanent member, as the only representative of higher arts education institutions. The Commission had submitted a suggestion for how to use some left-over money in the budget to investment funds for the next three years and now asked the expert panel for an assessment and feedback. This is a quite usual and typical hearing situation as they are regularly taking place. However, in particular, in the run-up to the election campaign, not only the European Commission and its subordinated bodies organise expert hearings, but also the party families. 


On 6 December, the AEC Chief Executive was invited by the Socialist & Democrat Party Family to discuss their ideas on the cultural policy priorities of their election programme. Moreover, representing the interests of the AEC and its members vis-à-vis the institutions of the European Union also includes participating in events that the DG EAC regularly organises to provide information on the latest developments and promote its policies. In this context, Stefan took part in the event The European Education Area: A reality for all, which took place on 30 November in Brussels.


Despite this variety and wide spectrum of activities, contact with political decision-makers is only a part of what makes up AEC’s advocacy work at the end of the day. Because much of successful advocacy can only be achieved in a joint effort with partners, notes on events such as the FAST45 Multiplier event can be found in the AEC Chief Executive’s advocacy diary. The FAST45 Multiplier event took place in Brussels on 6 and 7 December as you can read in this short recap item. The event was organised in close cooperation with ELIA. 


AEC representatives also took part in the MusicAire final event, organised by the European Music Council (EMC) on 14 December in Brussels. The event allowed the participants to reflect on the impact of MusicAIRE on the green, digital, and just & resilient recovery of the music sector in Europe and look towards possible future actions. Events like these can be important building blocks in the overall structure of representing the interests of the AEC and its members and networking with relevant stakeholders. After all, part of successful advocacy work means also being present at such events, talking to people, exchanging concerns and priorities with representatives of other networks, but also flying the flag of higher music education to make it visible among those networks active in neighbouring disciplines of all kinds.


In the past 6 weeks, Stefan Gies has also represented the interests of the AEC in a completely different way, namely as a guest speaker at events of very different types and on different topics, as an interview partner in podcasts, as an author of articles in anthologies and journals, things he did always in his capacity as AEC Chief Executive and thus contributed to strengthening the reputation of the AEC and to getting AEC’S message out to the world.


Among others, the following should be mentioned in this context: