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Culturelink review, no.24/April 1998 - contents - imprint - archive

Cultural Policies Research and Development Unit

A new initiative within the Cultural Policy and Action Division of the Council of Europe

The wealth of experience and knowledge gathered over the years by the Council of Europe in the cultural field can now be fully exploited with the establishment of the Cultural Policies Research and Development Unit.

Since 1993 work has been carried out to set up a specific structure at the Cultural Policy and Action Division to enable the Division to respond to certain important developments which influence its work, namely:

  • The political changes in Europe: Since 1989 the Council of Europe has been confronted with many more member states in need of restructuring not only their economies and political systems but also their cultural sector. These new member countries have requested information on practices elsewhere, on experience, and on basic facts and figures within the field of cultural policies.
  • The consequent changes in working methods: The growing number of member states, governmental and non-governmental partners, networks and associations has increased both the volume of information requested and of the information available.
  • The accumulation of material of great potential interest to key partners: A number of major projects have been carried out by the Division over the past decade, producing a wealth of information worth being systematically analysed and made more easily accessible to cultural policy makers or other interested parties. The most prominent among these projects are the Reviews of National Cultural Policies, which have undoubtedly produced the largest amount of cultural policy relevant information ever available on the European level (14ÿnational reviews will be completed by 1998 and 17 by 1999), the Culture and Regions, Culture and Neighbourhoods, and Electronic Publishing, Books and Archives projects.

To maximise the chances of exchange and dissemination of expert information and data, in 1997 the Culture Committee of the Council of Europe approved the functions of a new structure and adopted its name: Cultural Policies Research and Development Unit. A voluntary contribution by Austria helped to set up the basic facilities necessary for communication and information.

The Division is happy to take up the challenge of adopting a new strategic and systematic approach to its work in the field of cultural policy.

Status, objective and tasks of the Unit

The Unit is a permanent service activity of the Council of Europe Secretariat, a working tool closely linked to all ongoing projects within the Division and within other relevant Council of Europe departments, as well as to the Council of Europe Culture Committee and to a network of corresponding partners. Its main objective will be to improve the efficiency, policy relevance and information flow of the work carried out by the Division in the field of European cultural policies. Therefore, in order to maintain a good balance between 'memory' functions and 'forward-looking' initiatives, it has been entrusted with the following tasks:


  • memorise, process, analyse, evaluate, up-date and follow up Culture Committee projects/research as well as other information and activities on European cultural policy relevant to the work of the Division,
  • carry out or commission comparative research into areas of interest to the Culture Committee.


  • disseminate policy relevant information (e.g., via 'policy notes'; see below),
  • keep open channels with both information providers (e.g., research institutions, networks...) and users (priority will be given to Governments/Cultural Ministries).

The working structure of the Unit

Network of corresponding partners:

  • A network of corresponding partners is being established, which will complement the close contacts maintained with Culture Ministries through the Culture Committee. This network will include cultural research institutions in each member country of the European Cultural Convention, European cultural research networks, as well as relevant and interested associations and institutions.

Group of advisers:

  • A group of advisers has been appointed for two years. They will inspire and oversee the activities of the Unit and regularly report back to the Culture Committee of the Council of Europe. The group is presided over by the Austrian representative and former president of the Culture Committee, Mr N. Riedl. The other members are MsÿR.ÿAlberotanza (Italian Delegate at the Culture Committee), Ms B. Lundh (Swedish Delegate at the Culture Committee), Ms B. Cvjeticanin (Culturelink Director at IRMO/Zagreb), and Ms M. Cloake (Development Director, Irish Arts Council).

Work programme of the Unit

The budget of the Unit is allocated on an annual basis by the Culture Committee. Given the modest financial and human resources available, the Unit will concentrate on a few main tasks during its establishment phase. In 1998, activities will very much centre on publications.

  • A new series of policy notes will offer short synoptic and/or comparative reports on topical cultural policy issues or summary notes on policy relevant activities or research carried out by the Cultural Policy and Action Division. Work on two notes began in 1997, on the subjects of Cultural Policy for the Young and VAT and Book Policy. They are available in draft form from the Unit. Policy notes planned for 1998 will address the following issues: Culture, Creativity and the Young, Culture and Neighbourhoods, New partnerships with the third sector/civil society (working title), New structures at the governmental level for integrated cultural planning and policies (working title), and a note dealing with the four Cultural policy principles inspiring the work of the Council of Europe: identity, diversity, creativity and participation. The first five notes will be available by September 1998, and the last two by the end of the year.
  • A Compendium of Basic Facts (working title) is under preparation. This publication will draw largely on the National Cultural Policy Reviews and be produced in co-operation with European cultural research networks such as CIRCLE and CULTURELINK.
    For 1999, a Compendium of Recommendations (working title) is envisaged: this will be drawn from the various Culture Committee activities, projects and research, and will also take into account the results of the first Transversal Study on Privatisation carried out at the Division in 1998.
  • From summer 1998 onwards other regular activities and products of the Unit will include an Internet home page, regular liaison with partners, information services and current documentary activities.

For further information, please contact: Kathrin Merkle, responsible for the Unit, tel.: +33 3 88 41 28 84; fax: +33 3 88 41 37 82; e-mail: kathrin.merkle@coe.fr

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In from the Margins. A Contribution to the debate on Culture and Development in Europe

Summary version. Council of Europe, June 1997, 56 pp.

La culture au coeur. Contribution à la réflexion sur la culture et le développement en Europe

Version abrégée. Conseil de l'Europe, Juin 1997, 65 pp.

This is a shortened summary version of the report In from the Margins(See In from the Margins, Culturelink no. 22/ August 1997, pp. 45-46. The central messages are also analysed in Mediacult Newsletter no. 87/December 1997, pp. 1-4.), with the foreword by Mr. Daniel Tarchys, Secretary General of the Council of Europe. It is published in French and English, with the support of the Swiss Confederation.

The following four key themes are dealt with: promotion of cultural identity, endorsement of Europe's multicultural diversity, stimulation of creativity of all kinds, and encouragement of participation for all in cultural life. Europe is pictured as the continent in transition, where cultural rights, as an aspect of human rights, underpin people's liberties. They consist of the right to identity, the right to language, the right to participate in cultural life, the right to the cultural heritage, and the right to education. This shortened version stresses in particular that the governments need to address two interlocking priorities: to bring millions of dispossessed and disadvantaged Europeans in from the margins of society for the cultural debate and to bring cultural policy in from the margins of governance. These central themes underlie the recommendations.

In from the Margins is the first sectoral report covering the entire continent of Europe. The shortened version is well-structured and much easier to read than the whole report. It offers an opportunity to look at culture in the context of other development areas. This might influence the governments to give greater weight to the cultural dimension of their own work. The task force of the Council of Europe that produced this report, as well as the governments who decided to support this work, hope that culture can be brought in from the margins in many countries at national and local levels. Such hopes should certainly be welcomed and sustained if possible.

The report can be ordered from the Council of Europe Publishing, F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France, at the price of 120 FF per copy (postage and packing included).

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Arts Education in Europe: a Survey / L'éducation artistique en Europe: une étude

by Ken Robinson, Culture Committee, Strasbourg, 1997, 188 pp.

Within its Culture, Creativity and the Young project, the Council of Europe's Culture Committee has published Arts Education in Europe: A Survey by Professor Ken Robinson (See Culturelink no. 21/April 1997, pp. 41-42, and no. 23/November 1997, p. 46.).

The survey of current provisions for the arts in formal education at primary and secondary levels has now also been published in French under the title L'éducation artistique en Europe: une étude (CC-ARTSED 97 4).

For more information, please contact: Ms. Françoise Mallet, Cultural Policy and Action Division, Council of Europe, 67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France, tel.: (33 3) 88 41 26 32; fax: (33 3) 88 41 37 82.

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New Ideas in Science and Art

Final Acts of the Prague Conference
Council of Europe, 1997, 176 pp.

Within the framework of its Project on New Technologies: Cultural Cooperation and Communication, the Council of Europe has published the proceedings of the international conference New Ideas in Science and Art, held in Prague, 19-23 November 1996.

For more information, see the Dossier in Culturelink no. 21/April 1997, pages 127-154, which included selected chapters from three of the studies presented at the conference.

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COUNCIL OF EUROPE, Eurimages. Support for the distribution of European audiovisual works. Deadlines: 23 Feb., 11 May, 13 July, 19 Oct. 1998
Tel.: +33.38841 2639; fax: +33.38841 2760; e-mail: Bernadette.bertrand@apeurim.coe.fr

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List of documents / Liste des documents

Council for Cultural Co-operation, 1997

A selection of some of the documents recently produced by the Cultural Policy and Action Division of the Council of Europe (DECS.4) is now available.

Prices indicated in the list are valid until 30 September 1998.

To obtain the list, please contact: Division des politiques et de l'action culturelles, Council of Europe, F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France, tel.: 33 (0)3 88 41 26 32; fax: 33 (0)3 88 41 37 82.

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Historic Gardens Review

European Gardens (See Culturelink no. 22/August 1997, p. 49.), the Historic Gardens Foundation's English/French publication, has changed its name to Historic Gardens Review, wishing to emphasize its concern for the historic aspect of gardens worldwide. The UK-based charitable trust founded to promote interest in, and preservation of, historic garden spaces aims to create links between all those concerned with the preservation, restoration and management of historic gardens, promoting greater official awareness and public appreciation of this important part of our cultural and environmental heritage. Recently, the Foundation has set up its Internet home page at http://members.aol.com/histgard

As part of the Cultural Routes Programme of the Council of Europe, the publication communicates news about historic gardens, as well as ideas and techniques regarding their conservation.The Autumn 1997 issue visits the gardens of Alsace and presents the French regional organization of its garden heritage. Continuously refined techniques of garden restoration are explored and effective maintenance methods for the preservation of trees and hedges examined. Newly published books are also reviewed.

Address: The Historic Gardens Foundation, 34 River Court, Upper Ground, London SE1 9 PE, United Kingdom, tel.: 44-171-633 9165; fax: 44-171-401 7072; e-mail: histgard@aol.com; http://members.aol.com/histgard