'Artists' subsidies are an important part of France'
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Kim Montels is a 32-year-old Canadian circus artist based in Toulouse for the past 10 years. She told FRANCE 24 about her experience with France’s unique system of subsidies for unemployed artists, and why she thinks it should remain intact.
"I’m from Montreal, but have been in France for 10 years. My husband and I are circus artists; we practice artistic bicycle, “hand to hand” and acrobatic tango.
I used to be an “intermittent du spectacle” (an arts and entertainment industry worker who receives payments and benefits during periods of unemployment), but am no longer one because I’ve been taking care of my children so I slowed down my career. It was my choice. My husband is still an “intermittent”.
The system is awesome, because you end up having time to create new shows, practice your art, or rest. Without it, you might be performing every day, when you do things like circus or dance, your body wears out after a while. But with this system, it helps you last longer in your career. We don’t get used up as quickly here in France.
Artists in France know they’re lucky to be here and to have this advantage. We have colleagues and friends abroad that do three times as many shows as we do in a year, and as a result they have to retire earlier.
Certain artists and technicians in France do try to get around the rules. Some try to get the person who last hired them to exaggerate the number of hours they worked so they can get the salary and benefits when the contract ends.
This reform doesn’t sound good. We’ve been hearing for years that the system would end at some point. But it’s an important part of France and French culture."