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Networking in Progress

Culturelink review, no.22/August 1997 - contents - imprint - archive

The Society for International Development (SID)

Created in 1957, the Society for International Development (SID) is a unique global network of individuals and institutions concerned with development which is participative, pluralistic and sustainable. SID has over 6,000 members in 115 countries and it cooperates with more than 200 associations, networks and institutions. It has a holistic, multidisciplinary and multisectorial approach to development and social change.

In 1997, SID celebrates its 40th anniversary: 40 years of playing a leading role in shaping the theory and practice of development, and 40 years of contributing to the advancement of the international development agenda.

SID envisions a world which is people-centred, democratic, just and inclusive. A world where people and civil society groups are subjects of development and not mere objects. Therefore, it contributes to this goal by promoting an alternative concept of development based on a heightened participation of civil society and by implementing activities aimed at strengthening civil society worldwide. In this respect SID sees itself as:

  • A bridge between diverse development constituencies
    As such, it aims to bridge the gap between development theory and practice, between development policy-makers and grassroots organizations, between development experts and the general public.
  • A development resource centre
    SID aims to identify, gather and disseminate information on innovative development initiatives to all relevant actors.
  • A global catalyst for civil society
    It aims to mobilize and strengthen civil society groups by actively building partnerships among them and with other sectors.

To provide a point of reference for the dialogue between activists and intellectuals committed to the search for alternative paths of social transformation towards a more sustainable and just world, SID publishes a quarterly journal entitled simply Development. Development explores collective initiatives at local, regional and international levels which promote sustainable livelihood and aims to bring accountability, equity and democracy to development. Issue no. 1/Vol. 40, 1997, is devoted to Forty years in development: The search for social justice. Among the many articles by experts involved in this subject, we would like to point out only two: 'On cultural and social sustainability' by Lourdes Arizpe and 'People and places: Beyond the dependency culture' by James Robertson. The theme of issue no. 2/1997 is Globalization: opening up spaces for civic engagement, pointing out the process of remapping of the global politics from diverse cultural, social and political positions.

For more information, please contact: Society for International Development Secretariat, via Panisperna 207, 00184 Rome, Italy, fax: +39 6 487 2170 e-mail: development@sidint.org

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The Southern African Cultural Information System (SACIS)

A brand new initiative to coordinate cultural information sources of the region by creating a computer network is called the Southern African Cultural Information System (SACIS). With UNESCO's support, a feasibility study was undertaken in January 1995. Its results were discussed by the sub-regional meeting of experts held in Lusaka in June 1995 and the meeting of the Sector for Culture and Information of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Pretoria in July 1995. At the latter meeting it was decided that each Member State of the SADC would be responsible for developing its own National Coordinating Unit (NCU) to coordinate specialised data based on culture and thus develop national networks for cultural information. The NCU of a given country would normally be managed by the national government department responsible for cultural affairs.

The SACIS would thus constitute a network of all the national systems in the region. The requirements for the regional system would be: a regional policy on culture, a regional steering committee, and a Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU). It was also decided in Pretoria that the responsibility for the RCU would be assigned to Mozambique, with assistance from South Africa.

For more information, please contact: SADC Sector, Coordinator for Culture and Information, 780, Francisco O. Magumbwe Av., 10th Floor, Maputo, Mozambique; tel.: (258-1) 49 34 26; fax: (258-1) 49 34 27.

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Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres

A Boom for Regional Arts

Cultural history was made in October 1996 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by representatives from performing arts centres in the Asia Pacific region who gathered at the Victorian Arts Centre, Australia, for the inaugural meeting of the Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres (AAPPAC).

The Association's mission is to establish the Asia-Pacific region as a leading force in the performing arts through the exchange of information, products, knowledge and experience, and the development of relationships within a non-political environment.

It will do this by taking a leadership role in the development of the arts industry in the region and fostering closer ties and better understanding among the people of the region, promoting the exchange of artistic programmes which expand the experience of artists and audiences in the region, fostering the development and growth of technical and administrative skills and expertise through staff exchange and training programmes, establishing an information network about the performing arts in the region, and providing a forum for the exchange of information, products, knowledge, staff and experience.

The Association represents a cultural richness that is unique, and a body of experience that is invaluable. Its activities will help not only to enrich the cultural experience of audiences but also to project the region to the world.

The Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres founding members

Adelaide Festival Centre   Perth Theatre Trust
Aichi Arts Center   Queensland Performing Arts Trust
Chiang Kai Shek Cultural Center   Seoul Arts Center
China Performing Arts Agency   Singapore Arts Centre Co.
Cultural Center of the Philippines   Sydney Opera House Trust
Office of the National Culture Commission, Bangkok   Victorian Arts Centre Trust

For further information on the AAPPAC, please contact: AAPPAC Secretariat, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004, Australia, tel.: (61 3) 9281 8322; fax: (61 3) 9281 8282.

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Pearle

Founded in 1991 in Amsterdam as the only Europe-wide organization representing the interests of performing arts producers and managers, including theatre, opera, dance and orchestras, Pearle, the Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe, embraces some 250,000 employees (producers, directors, actors, singers, dancers, musicians, technicians, managers and administrative personnel) through major national performing arts employers' associations in the Western European countries. Its objectives are:

  • to exchange information and ideas of mutual interest;
  • to collect and disseminate information concerning European and other issues of interest to its members;
  • to facilitate collective decisions;
  • to make strategic representations to European Union officials and other relevant authorities on matters of mutual concern; and
  • to advocate on behalf of the members' collective interests.

The current issues on Pearle's agenda include the EU's cultural policy, employment legislation, health and safety issues, tax and funding, copyright law, performing and neighbouring rights, and the impact of new technologies on the performing arts.

Pearle is open also to Central and Eastern European countries, encouraging them to establish national network organizations and supporting them through training opportunities.

Pearle holds membership conferences twice a year.

For more information, please contact: Rudolf Wolfensberger, Pearle Executive Officer, Herengracht 122, 1015 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands, tel.: (31) 20 62 09 000; fax: (31) 20 63 85 151.

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SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts

The SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SPAFA) was launched in 1978 as a project. It constituted the first project in the area of culture under the aegis of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO).

SPAFA was initiated in a proposal submitted by the Khmer Republic of Cambodia during the Sixth SEAMEC (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Council) Conference in 1971. This proposal was subsequently approved by the Tenth SEAMEC Conference in 1975. The project was to be called ARCAFA (the Applied Research Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts) and was to be located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Council reconstituted the project into a Regional Centre in 1985, and the Government of Thailand agreed to host the institution, maintaining SPAFA as the acronym for the Centre. As with other SEAMEO Centres, SPAFA operates as an autonomous and international institution.

Professor M.C. Subhadradis Diskul, one of Thailand's most illustrious professors in the fields of history and archaeology, was SPAFA's first Centre Director. The current Director, Dr. Ruang Charoenchai, an eminent educator and expert in cultural organization activities, was appointed in July 1993.

SPAFA's activities are as follows:

  • Training
  • Seminars and workshops
  • Research and development
  • Personnel exchange programmes
  • Library and documentation services.

For further information, please contact: Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts, SEAMEO-SPAFA, 81/1 Sri Ayutthaya Road, Samsen, Theves, Bangkok 10300, Thailand, tel.: (66-2) 2804022-29; fax: (66-2) 2804030; e-mail: exspafa@external.ait.ac.th

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Mercator-Education (ME)

Mercator-Education (ME) is the European network for information, documentation and research on minority languages and education. In ME, institutes of different language communities of the EU are working together. A key common element is the databank for the distribution of professional knowledge to experts from the educational world, as well as more general information to the general public.

The following types of data are gathered:

  • bibliographical material about minority languages and education;
  • non-bibliographical material regarding organizations and people active in the field of minority languages;
  • data about language courses in minority languages;
  • data related to education in the broadest sense of the term.

ME collaborates with the other Mercator Centres (Media in Aberystwyth and Legislation in Barcelona) and is coordinated by the European Commission. ME is hosted by the Fryske Akademy in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden.

ME has recently published Language Courses 1997, a list of Regional and Minority Language Courses.

If you are interested in this list and other publications, please contact: Mercator-Education, P.O. Box 54, 8900 AB Ljouwert/Leeuwarden The Netherlands, tel.: +31 58 213 1414; fax: +31 58 213 1409; e-mail: mercator@fa.knaw.nl

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CODESRIA, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa

CODESRIA, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, is a Pan-African non-governmental organization established in 1973 in order to stimulate and facilitate the exchange of views and information among African researchers. With its programmes and publications, CODESRIA aims to decolonize the study of African societies and make African social scientists key players in the creation of African knowledge.

For more information, please contact: CODESRIA, PO Box 3304, Dakar, Senegal.

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Association d'Entraide pour le Libéria

In May 1996, a group of French and Liberian citizens no longer willing to helplessly watch the calvary of this small West African country established the Association d'Entraide pour le Libéria (AEPL). The Association's humanitarian, cultural and ecological objectives are as follows:

  • to assist the Liberians leaving their country and to facilitate their integration;
  • to assist Liberians through a humanitarian programme in Liberia itself;
  • to promote a better image of Liberia by informing the international community of its social and economic potential, as well as its natural and cultural riches.

The first planned project is a collaboration with the country's orphanages, which are in a critical condition. With the peace process stabilizing, work on counteracting the wartime plundering of works of art and cultural goods is planned, as is the re-launching of the natural park project envisaged before the conflict broke out.

For more information, please contact: Association d'Entraide pour le Libéria, 56 rue Ambroise Croizat, 94800 Villejuif, France, tel./fax: 01-46 78 62 44.

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Publish Australia

Formed in 1994, Publish Australia is a national network of independent Australian publishers. The organization provides a means by which such publishers, whatever their size, can compete in a market largely dominated by multinational companies. It does so through the development and implementation of innovative marketing and distribution strategies, services and products through cooperation and partnerships.

Publish Australia seeks to increase the profitable activities of Australia's independent publishers both in Australia and overseas, including the Asia-Pacific region.

Publish Australia produces catalogues of its members' publications, both comprehensive and on specific themes, such as business books. The general catalogue reveals the diversity of the books, including fiction, children's, women's studies, education, general trade, and reference and professional. Rights availability is indicated, along with contact details of the member publishers.

Publish Australia is sponsored by the Australian Federal Government through the Cultural Industry Development Program in the Commonwealth Department of Communications and the Arts.

Further information can be obtained from Meredith Hall, Publish Australia Group Enterprises Pty Ltd. 60/89 Jones Street, Ultimo NSW 2007, Australia, tel.: (61) 2 9281 9788; fax: (61) 2 9281 1073.

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The Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy

The Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy (CMP) (See Culturelink no. 19/August 1996, pp. 19-20.) has recently published its Cultural and Media Policy Update 1997, informing about the way ahead in 1997 - announcing conferences and seminars, new research programmes and grants, reviewing its publications and new postgraduate offerings.

Researchers at the Key Centre are currently completing two commissioned research projects, entitled Women's Employment in the Cultural Industries, collecting information about women's work practices and career development, and Intellectual Property Protection for Multimedia, investigating legal and policy issues for governments and producers. A number of titles are currently under development in a new series called Government and Culture: Studies in Cultural and Media Policies. Complementing these theoretical and conceptual accounts, the Cultural Policy Case Studies present analyses of cultural policy in practice.

The 1997 Culture and Policy journal will feature papers from two events held by the Centre in 1996 - the Workshop on Cultural Policy (covering consuming culture, measuring access and audience development, the role of the Commonwealth in cultural development), and the Culture + Citizenship conference held in September/October. (See Culturelink no. 18/April 1996, p. 69.)

The two issues of the Media and Culture Review newsletter will focus, respectively, on the cultural and media policies of Australia's coalition government and of the whole of Asia.

A seminar on public access to the Internet is planned in Brisbane, while a workshop defining research agendas in cultural and media policy for the Asia-Australia region will be held in September 1997 in Singapore.

As of 1998, the Centre will be offering a new resource-based distance degree, Master of Arts in Cultural and Media Policy, with tutorial and supervisory support provided by means of telephone and electronic mail. Areas of focus will include:

  • Cultural Policy: History and Institutions,
  • Media Institutions and Policies,
  • Cultural Administration, Resources and Planning, and
  • Issues in Cultural and Media Policy.

A Reading Course allows students to examine selected aspects of cultural and media policy in detail and to develop research skills. The course is offered in both full and part-time modes, with topics of study to cover print media, cultural planning, arts administration, broadcasting policies, cultural industries, museum and heritage policies, urban development, film and media, tourism, cultural development, intellectual property, multimedia, indigenous media, Australia-Asia media policies, and globalization.(For Graduate Winter School, follow this link.)

Two Internet discussion groups have been established by the Key Centre, one (CMPresearch) discussing research in the field of cultural and media policy, and the other (CMPnews) providing an update on the Centre's happenings. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to listproc@gu.edu.au

More information is available at the Centre's Internet website at http://www.gu.edu.au/gwis/akccmp/home.html

For more information, please contact: Ms. Karen Perkins, Manager, Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, Faculty of Humanities, Griffith University, Nathan 4111, Australia, tel.: 61-7/3875 5350; fax: 61-7/3875 5511; e-mail: k.perkins@hum.gu.edu.au

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Afrique en Créations

Co-founded by the French Ministry for Overseas Development and the Ministry for the Arts, following the Afrique en Création convention held in Paris in January 1990 under the title Artistic Creation, Dialogues between Cultures and Development: The Stakes of Cultural Cooperation, the association (recently turned foundation) Afrique en Créations aims to:

  • promote North-South and South-South dialogue and exchanges;
  • enable African artists to take part in major international artistic movements by creating a flow of information on techniques and works, within each African country and beyond their frontiers;
  • form a close partnership with artists, getting involved on the scene;
  • assist in setting up training courses in the arts;
  • raise funds from both public and private sources;
  • do everything possible to facilitate and encourage the creation, production, promotion and travel of the various forms of African cultural expression today.

Marking its sixth anniversary, Afrique en Créations has published a booklet reviewing its publications, the history of activities of its resource centres, long-term programmes, productions and co-productions, its scholarships, training courses and financial aid programmes. In 1996, Afrique en Créations published the first edition of its Guide to Theater in Africa and the Indian Ocean (Guide du Théâtre en Afrique et dans l'Océan Indien), reviewing the state of theatre ensembles, venues, festivals and administrators, as well as the second edition of its Guide to Contemporary African Art (Guide de l'Art africain contemporain) (See Culturelink no. 19/August 1996, p. 111.), listing cultural institutions, studios, galleries, museums and foundations active in the field.

The Foundation also regularly publishes La lettre d'Afrique en Créations and Afrique en Scènes, aimed at all cultural workers and covering theatre, music, dance, all live performances, and contemporary creation.(See pp. 82-83 in this issue.)

As part of its mission to support and promote African creative arts, in January 1997, Afrique en Créations launched a support programme for African artistic and cultural associations, to be carried out in four stages, aiming to:

  • identify the cultural institutions in Africa which play a role in promoting contemporary creative arts and contribute to artistic exchanges on the continent and beyond;
  • find out how and where they intervene and who their partners are;
  • asses their requirements regarding information and documentation;
  • develop products such as directories to promote the work of these African associations among professional partners in the cultural world.

The information gathered will be stored in an African Cultural Association data base.

The current publications and databases of Afrique en Créations are now also accessible on-line at http://www.ina.fr/AfricArt

For more information, please contact: Afrique en Créations, 51 rue Sainte-Anne, 75002 Paris, France, tel.: (+33 1) 42 60 61 03; fax: (+33 1) 42 60 60 82; e-mail: aec@pratique.fr; URL: http://www.ina.fr/AfricArt

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La Chartreuse - National Centre for Playwrighting

The Chartreuse, one of the largest and most ornate Carthusian monasteries of France, was founded in 1356 by Innocent VI, the fifth Pope of Avignon, at the foot of the Fort Saint Andr‚ hills, in the department of Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon.

Situated near Avignon, the centre of Christianity at that time, the monastery was a place for solitude, meditation and writing. Through the centuries, the Chartreuse grew in wealth, influence and in beauty, until the French Revolution, in which the monastery suffered great damage and many of its works of art and precious books from its rich library were dispersed.

The State started to restore the monastery in the beginning of this century. In 1973, a cultural centre was established in the Chartreuse, with the mission to create cultural projects linked to the restoration of the monument.

In 1991 the Chartreuse became the National Centre for Playwrighting (Centre national des écritures du spectacle), keeping the link with Avignon, whose festival made it a major international theatrical centre. Now the old monastery is a place for research, first public performances, and residencies for playwrights. These provide a starting point for various activities aiming to defend and promote contemporary playwrighting.

Residents (playwrights with grants from various institutions) live in the ancient monks' cells, which are small houses, each with a closed garden. Each house has the necessary amenities for a residency of several months. The National Centre for Playwrighting has a library and a specialised bookshop.

The National Centre for Playwrighting is an interface between playwrights and other theatre professionals. It actively develops meetings between authors, stage directors and actors. It opens its doors to the first work necessary at the beginning of a project, with sessions lasting several days. The Centre may also invite the creation of a contemporary play. In general, the Centre can also give advice and support for the production of plays of French-speaking writers.

The Centre receives about 500 manuscripts each year. Some are programmed in the 'Rendez-vous de la Chartreuse' for a public reading during the winter, or during the 'Rencontres de la Chartreuse/Festival d'Avignon' in July. These readings enable unpublished plays to become known to stage directors and theatrical companies.

The Centre's publishing activities contribute to the recognition and development of information and study of today's playwrighting. The plays written during residencies organised directly by the National Centre for Playwrighting are printed in small quantities as numbered documents. This 'first printing' ('Première impression') enables the authors to communicate their plays as soon as they are finished to producers or stage directors. Prospero's Notebooks (Les Cahiers de Prospero) is a magazine conceived as a working tool and a means of theoretical study on today's dramatic writing in France and in Europe. The editorial staff is mostly made up of playwrights.

Presently the Chartreuse is preparing the Directory of French Contemporary Playwrights. The directory will contain information on French playwrights and their work since 1950, and is to be updated each year.

Experimental work read or staged at the Chartreuse may result in a public presentation to which producers and theatre managers are invited. These sketched theatre forms (first reading of a play by its author, presentation of work in progress) are also presented in the theatres, libraries, universities and cultural centres of the region.

The Chartreuse is also a venue for contemporary plays with producers. In this case, a residency is offered to theatrical companies for rehearsals. The National Centre for Playwrighting presents a preview of the play thus prepared.

As a study centre, the Chartreuse organises national or European conferences and seminars on the subject of writing for professionals in the field of performing arts. The Centre is place for workshops to study writing for specific dramatic forms: opera, radio, cinema, television, puppet show, children's theatre, etc., as well as for courses on heritage and culture, where the students and their teachers become familiar with the Chartreuse, its architecture and its cultural project. In the classes, students practice readings and learn the analysis of plays. Actors, stage directors and authors can exchange their points of view in working sessions open to teachers as well as to producers and theatre managers.

The National Centre for Playwrighting is a member of the Association des Centres culturels de rencontre, which brings together all cultural institutions housed in prestigious historical monuments. It is also a member of the following European cultural networks: Informal European Theatre Meeting, European Network of Cultural Centres in Historical Monuments, Euro-Sud Network of Cultural Centres, European Network of Residential Centres, Forum of European Cultural Networks, and the Network of Networks for Research and Cooperation in Cultural Development - Culturelink.

For more information, please contact: La Chartreuse - BP 30, 30404 Villeneuve Avignon cedex France, tel.: 04 90 15 24 24; fax: 04 90 25 76 21; e-mail: chartreuse@avignon.pacwan.net

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The National Book Centre of Greece

The National Book Centre of Greece is a public welfare legal entity founded by the Ministry of Culture in order to plan and implement a national policy in books and reading, monitoring and recording developments in the field, and providing information as well as technical and academic support to those concerned with the promotion of books. The Centre's aims include:

  • the creation of a Book Monitoring Unit to carry out research and statistical studies related to the production and distribution of books, their availability to the public, and to the public's reading habits,
  • the publication, in printed or electronic form, of statistical, bibliographical and research data and educational programmes,
  • the study of modern Greek publishing history and the establishment of a printing museum,
  • the creation of a bibliological library and documentation centre to serve the needs of an interdisciplinary approach to books and reading, linked to Greek and foreign data banks,
  • the creation of an archive of Greek authors and a bank of audiovisual materials,
  • the creation of a workshop for professional training serving the entire book profession, and
  • the development of contacts with international organisations, foreign educational and research centres and collaboration in research programmes and programmes of the European Union.

The National Book Centre has published a paper by Mirsini Zorba entitled Politique de l'Etat concernant le livre et politiques de la lecture (State Policies Concerning the Book and Reading), seeing such policies as one of the bases for cultural development strategies. The paper investigates the various agents of social reality surrounding the book in Greece, national reading promotion policies, and management conditions and methods.

For more information, please contact: National Book Centre, Villa Botsis,3-5 Sapphous Street, P.O. Box: 51258, Politeia 14671, Athens, Greece, tel.: +30-1-6209960-1; fax: +30-1-6250266; e-mail: ekevi@culture.gr

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Associação Sons da Lusofonia

The idea of creating this Association was born some years ago in the head of the Portuguese saxophone player Carlos Martins as a result of his habit of playing music with people from different countries, Brazilians, Africans, and Portuguese in particular. The idea came to fruition in the beginning of 1996, when the Associação Sons da Lusofonia was legally established as a non-profit cultural Association.

The principal aim of this Association is to contribute to cultural cooperation between the Portuguese speaking countries, promoting the development of a Lusophone identity based on the traditions shared by these countries but oriented towards the future.

The activities of the Associação Sons da Lusofonia cover the following fields:

  • Research on ethnomusicology;
  • Global education through music;
  • Technical and cultural cooperation;
  • Preparation and production of books, CD's and videos;
  • Promotion of concerts.

The Association has produced a detailed plan of activities for 1997/98.

For more information, please contact: Ms. Lurdes Júdice, Associação Sons da Lusofonia, Avenida da Liberdade, 229, 3rd floor, 1250 Lisbon, Portugal, tel.: (351 1) 354 17 69; fax: (351 1) 352 49 66.

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The Office of the National Culture Commission

ONCC, Thailand

Thailand's national culture and cultural affairs are traditionally regarded as the responsibility of all governmental and non-governmental agencies, as well as individual citizens. The late 1970s saw several attempts on the part of the government to revive interest in cultural development, which was practically abandoned during the 1950s when the social climate favoured economic development as a top national priority. The efforts culminated in legislation which called for the establishment of the Office of the National Culture Commission (ONCC), attached to the Ministry of Education.

The ONCC is today divided into 5 divisions and 1 institute.

The General Affairs Division is supporting the other divisions, so that they can work smoothly in each of their functions.

The Cultural Policy and Plan Division is a cultural focal point on the national level. The division is in charge of preparing suggestions for cultural plans and policies, preparing the budget, following and evaluating programmes and projects for cultural policy implementation.

The Cultural Promotion Fund Division is responsible for the drafting of policies concerning the administration of the Cultural Promotion Fund. It takes care of fund-raising to improve the welfare of artists and persons of cultural merit.

The Private Sector Relations Division is in charge of non-governmental organizations, providing suggestions and support and supervising their administration.

The External Cultural Relations Division is in charge of policy formulation and planning for the dissemination of Thai culture, cultural exchange and cultural coordination at the international level. It also collects resources from foreign countries for the development of culture and cultural affairs in Thailand.

The Institute of Culture Education is responsible for the performing arts programmes and cultural exhibitions, promoting Thai cultural activities and transmission of culture, promoting and preserving folk culture, cultural education, research and development, and public relations. The Institute administers the annual selection of national artists and persons who have made outstanding cultural contributions.

For more information, please contact: Office of the National Culture Commission (ONCC), Ratchadapisek Rd., Huay Khwang, Bangkok 10320, Thailand, tel.: (66 2) 247 0013; fax: (66 2) 245 77 35.

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Theatrum Gedanese Foundation

The Theatrum Gedanese Foundation is a non-profit organization, founded in 1990 in order to reconstruct a Renaissance theatre in Gdansk and to create an international centre of arts and research. The original playhouse, modelled on the Fortune theatre in Shakespeare's London, was built around 1610 and was the first public theatre in Poland. It served as the city's only stage for nearly two centuries. The Gdansk theatre was a remarkable example of the city's culture at the time of its highest development. During that time theatrical companies from all over Europe performed there, so that the Gdansk theatre may be seen as a monument to the European performing arts.

To revive the historic cultural links between Gdansk and different European countries, the Foundation is arranging a variety of cultural events, conferences, concerts, arts exhibitions and theatre performances. In 1993 the Foundation initiated a project called Shakespeare's Days in Gdansk, which is an overview of Shakespeare productions from Poland and abroad, and in the future it will become an international Shakespeare festival.

The Theatrum Gedanese Foundation's next cultural project is an annual event called Nations of Europe Cultural Festival. The idea is to celebrate each year the achievements of a chosen nation or a group of nations against the wide background of European culture. The Festival may take a different focus each year, depending on the region which is being celebrated - it may be theatre, opera, visual arts, music, etc.

The Theatrum Gedanese project is also supported in the United Kingdom by a registered charity - the British Friends of the Gdansk Theatre Trust.

The Foundation publishes its information bulletin Theatrum Gedanese in Polish.

Next year Gdansk will be celebrating its millennium. This will be a good opportunity to reconsider the city's fascinating past.

For more information, please contact: Theatrum Gedanese Foundation, Prof. Jerzy Limon, President, ul. Dlugi Targ 11/13, 80-828 Gdansk, Poland, tel.: (+48 58) 35 68 00; fax: (+48 58) 31 34 11.

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Artec - the Arts Technology Centre

Artec, the Arts Technology Centre seated in London, is the UK's leading organization working with the arts sector, training and industry towards the artistic development and application of digital media. Artec is constituted as an autonomous unit within Islington Council and is supported financially by the London Arts Board, the Arts Council of England and the European Social Fund.

The Centre develops digital media projects as an agency or as an independent producer, and creates opportunities for individuals, artists' groups and organizations, public bodies and other non-government organizations to develop their expertise in digital media. Artec provides services to the education, industry and arts sectors. It works closely with local government and arts organizations, including Islington Council, the Arts Council of England and London Arts Board. Much of Artec's training and research work is organized through the European Union.

Artec was established in October 1990 under the European Commission's London Initiative as the UK's first arts centre dedicated to exploring creative applications of digital technology. It was one of a series of pilot projects in the capital cities of the EC, developing innovative solutions to economic problems in urban areas.

Artec has from the beginning operated as a multidisciplinary project, providing resources for research, development, education and training in the creative applications of computers, and offering a laboratory for artists and creative professionals to explore new ways of recording, processing and presenting ideas and information.

Artec has a unique studio complex which offers production facilities for sound, music, video, photography, graphic design and animation. The initial project was a vocational training programme funded by the European Social Fund. This was followed by the Multimedia Workshop, and a 'media lab', developing digital media projects for commercial clients as well as public sector organizations, such as the Crafts Council of Great Britain. Artec's professional production services encompass web design and management, sound design, animation and videographics, interactive multimedia production, and live events. Artec also provides a consultancy service on multimedia development for such clients as the North West Arts Board, the Edinburgh City Council, the Eastern Arts Board, and the Watershed Media Centre.

Artec's role is to support and facilitate the development of new work and to provide creative and technical support for arts organizations, working with individual artists as well as projects with large arts organizations on a local, regional, national and international level. Projects include Internet Arts, Live Arts On-Line, CD-ROMs, and collaborations with the Tate Gallery, the Royal National Theatre, the National Portrait Gallery, as well as educational arts projects with schools and colleges. Artec also provides long term vocational training, closely linked with industry, specialist training and educational projects, and takes part in ambitious research projects looking at the future of learning with digital technology.

Artec publishes the Artec News newsletter, reporting on its current programmes, courses and projects.

For more information, please visit the Artec home page at http://www.artec.org.uk/artec

Address: Arts Technology Centre, 257-258 Upper Street, London N1 1RW, United Kingdom, tel.: +44 (0)171 477 2775; fax: +44 (0)171 477 2813.