A Civilization of Networks
When Culturelink was first launched ten years ago, its editorial team decided to devote an issue of the Culturelink Review to the 'civilization of networks' and 'networking of cultures'. At that time, such concepts were new and barely known. Now, ten years later, we are witnessing great progress and expansion of cultural networks: indeed, the whole world is networking. The present issue of the Culturelink Review carries a wealth of information about networks and networking, both well-established and new projects. Two such projects are the International Network of Observatories on Cultural Policies and the International Network for Cultural Diversity.
According to a recommendation in the Action Plan adopted by the Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development, held in Stockholm in 1998, which invited the Director-General of UNESCO to 'encourage the establishment of networks for research and information on cultural policies for development', a workshop was held in Hanover in September 2000. The Hanover workshop, entitled Towards an International Network of Observatories on Cultural Policies, stressed the need for such a network in order to focus on innovations in cultural policy concepts, as well as on education, development of comparative research methods and instruments, statistics and indicators, new relations and linkages with other areas ('cultural policies as a trans-sectorial development activity'), and development of innovative systems of cultural cooperation.
At almost the same time, at Santorini, Greece, the founding meeting was held of the International Network for Cultural Diversity. The network, for which the impetus also came at the 1998 Stockholm Conference, will be headquartered in Canada, and it hopes to be the key actor in sustaining cultural diversity internationally. The founding meeting stressed that expression through arts and culture was a fundamental part of a diverse human society and that the creation and sustainability of cultural diversity worldwide should not be left to the market forces.
I would like to draw your attention to Charles Landry's article entitled A Cultural Approach to Developing the Creative City, which notes that traditional urban planning has been dominated by land-use, transport and engineering specialists, but the new modes of planning should rely much more on the insights of local habitants, cultural activists, social affairs people, and those who understand global dynamic processes.
The Dossier is again devoted to cultural policy issues - this time in America. The overal topic is Cultural Policy Issues in the American West. The contributions under this heading reflect the dissatisfaction among American cultural experts with the attitudes of the public and private spheres towards the values of art and culture. The issues raised in this Dossier will, I hope, stimulate cultural policy specialists in other parts of the world to share their views with the rest of us. The pages of Culturelink - both on the Internet and in the printed form - are wide open to future contributors.
Our special thanks are due to Dr. Vjeran Katunarić for his effort in the preparation of this Dossier.