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Culturelink review, no.27/April 1999 - contents - imprint - archive

4th Meeting of the Group of Advisers to the Cultural Policies Research and Development Unit

The fourth Meeting of the Group of Advisers to the Cultural Policies Research and Development Unit (RDU), an initiative of the Cultural Policy and Action Division of the Council of Europe (See Culturelink no. 24/April 1998, pp. 53-56.), took place at the Institute for International Relations, focal-point of the Culturelink Network, in Zagreb on 6 February 1999.

At this annual meeting of the Group, the 1998 activities of the Research and Development Unit were reviewed and an in-depth discussion was held about the activities planned for 1999, in particular the publications to be prepared by the Unit. It was decided, inter alia, to produce a policy note following the first transversal study by the Cultural Policy and Action Division on national cultural institutions in transition: désétatisation and privatisation. The group proposed to further improve the visibility of the activities of the Council of Europe in the field of cultural policies, e.g., through a more systematic liaison with the specialised press. The Advisory Group welcomed the recent acquisition of an information manager to the Unit and was pleased that regular background activities in the area of information and documentation had been taken up. Given that the terms of reference for the Advisory Group come to an end in the spring of 1999, a second meeting was envisaged for the autumn of 1999, which will bring together the outgoing and the newly incoming members of the Advisory Group to the RDU.

The afternoon was dedicated to an in-depth exchange of views on the Compendium project. Experts from cultural policy research institutes (IMO, ERICArts, the Österreichische Kulturdokumentation, and the Institut für Kulturelles Management) who had been involved in the early work on the Compendium joined the Group. Inspired by and based on the Council of Europe's programme of Evaluation of National Cultural Policies, the Compendium aims at collecting country profiles giving information on cultural policies in all the member states of the Council of Europe. It will serve as a kind of manual for ready reference and be made available in hard cover as well as in the electronic form. The discussion was supposed to fine-tune the methodology of the next project phase, that is, to decide on questions of scope, issues/indicators, presentation and dissemination forms, realisation and timing. Obviously, such an activity can only be carried out on the basis of shared work, e.g., in the form of partnerships. Moreover, for the collection and update of the relevant data a decentralized approach is necessary. It was unanimously felt that the Compendium should be perceived in terms of a process rather than a final product, although already the issue for 1999 aims at covering some fourteen to sixteen countries.

For more 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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Culture and Neighbourhoods Series

  • Volume 1 (1995) - Concepts and references, a collection of texts: presentation of the general and conceptual framework of the project; contributions and results of the two conferences held in 1994 on 'The urban space and cultural policies' and on 'Urban regeneration in European neighbourhoods'; bibliography on culture and neighbourhoods.
  • Volume 2 (1997) - A comparative report, by Franco Bianchini with Lia Ghilardi Santacatterina (Cultural Planning and Research Unit, School of Humanities, De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom).
  • Volume 3 (1997) - Talking about the neighbourhood: views from locals and artists, by Michel Steimer (video artist, School of Applied Arts, Strasbourg, France).
  • Volume 4 (1998) - Perspectives and keywords, by Giandomenico Amendola (professor of urban sociology, School of Architecture, Polytechnic of Bari, Italy).
  • Volume 5 (forthcoming) - Human resources for cultural participation (working title), by Eduard Delgado with Alfons Martinell (Observatory of Urban and Regional Cultural Policies - Interarts, Barcelona, Spain).

As, with the progress of globalization, social conflicts on the outskirts of cities or in certain inner-city areas, complex multicultural relations, growing isolation, anonymity, and loss of primary and physically close relationships have become common features of the cities, the Council for Cultural Co-operation of the Council of Europe has undertaken Culture and Neighbourhoods (See Culture and Neighbourhoods Project, Culturelink no. 11/November 1993, pp. 61-64.), an action-based research project involving 24 neighbourhoods from eleven European cities, aiming to identify the needs, existing policy and possible innovatory action in this field.

The project carried out between 1993 and 1997 was to raise cultural awareness amongst city planners and urban policy-makers about the cultural needs and realities of neighbourhoods, and stimulate communication between the academic community and the world of cultural workers as well as between initiatives in local cultural work, international organisations and governments, and between cities and citizens. The research focused on practical issues such as:

  • existing cultural facilities and administrative infrastructure of local cultural policies,
  • participation of the public both in cultural life and in policy making,
  • funding, and
  • multicultural relations.

A five-volume series has been planned to set up the context and describe the results of the project. The publication reviewed here is the fourth in the series (See Culture and Neighbourhoods Volume I, Culturelink no. 17/November 1995, p. 46, and Culturelink no. 20/November 1996, p. 63, as well as Culture and Neighbourhoods Volume II and III, Culturelink no. 22/August 1997, pp. 47-49.). It complements the general and conceptual framework (Volume I), the analytical final report on the project (Volume II), and the views of locals and artists on their neighbourhood expressed in Volume III. Volume IV is a collection of essays on culture and neighbourhoods, while Volume V is to represent a training manual for local cultural administrators (forthcoming).

Presenting some of the finest contemporary thinking on the issue of urban development and culture, Volume IV of the Culture and Neighbourhoods Series carries an introduction to the subject matter, as well as interviews with a city planner, a sociologist, a city historian and a philosopher, presenting different opinions and perspectives on the subject. Practical and theoretical issues covering new forms of contemporary European cities, changes in the life and functions of urban neighbourhoods, localism and globalisation, the role of migrants and foreigners in contemporary city culture, and social demands of city governments are discussed.

The contributions are intended as stimuli for discussion among professionals, policy makers and citizens. The author, Giandomenico Amendola, himself a Professor of Urban Sociology at the School of Architecture in Bari, Italy, adds a personal lexicon of urban neighbourhood cultural life keywords, expressing both controversial issues and widely shared approaches, concepts and operational tools.

Volumes I, II and III can be obtained in English and French.

Volume IV of the Culture and Neighbourhoods series is now available from: The Council of Europe Publishing Sales Unit, F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France, tel.: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 81; fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 39 10; e-mail: publishing@coe.fr; WWW: http://book.coe.fr/