Within the SHAKIN’ project, we conducted interviews for two years (2021/2022) in France, Serbia, and Germany with the aim of understanding the challenges that young professionals in the fields of cooperation and culture face as well as their needs and desires for better and fairer cooperation projects. Based on their expression, we noted that young professionals expect to see “invisibilized” stories and knowledge within academic spaces of knowledge production, in the heritage spaces, in the public space, in archives or performance venues. These expectations can be considered as new forms of politicization of the cultural sector (other readings and other ways of doing culture at the European level).
Young professionals struggle to articulate these objectives of transforming the modes of production of knowledge in a professional environment that is still very hierarchical and conservative. Work environments are becoming more and more specialized, more and more competitive, and more standardized. These situations lead to exhaustion and burnout or to vocational crisis. This process often induces a loss in the meaning of the activities, and their collective, living, political, and social relevance. The question that arises as part of the « professionalization » in the arts and culture fields is the following: what does it mean to be professional and activist?