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Research and Programmes

Culturelink review, no.37/August 2002 - contents - imprint - archive

The Role of the European Community Concerning the Cultural Article 151 in the Treaty of Amsterdam

Sustaining the Development of Intercultural Competence within Europe
by Joost Smiers
Centre for Research, Utrecht School of the Arts, April 2002

What is so special about Joost Smiers' article that it has been repeatedly quoted in several newsletters in the past few months? Peter Inkei from the Budapest Observatory calls him a 'dreamer' and speaks about Joost Smiers' courageous dreams about arts and culture.

Culturelink would also like to draw the attention of our members and readers to this interesting research paper entitled The role of the European Community concerning the cultural article 151 in the Treaty of Amsterdam with the subtitle: Sustaining the development of intercultural competence within Europe. As the author himself says in the introduction "this essay is a set of proposals, it is an invitation to lay the building blocks for a future book, which describes how cultural policy could flourish in Europe thanks to the marvellous complementarity of the efforts of local, regional and national authorities, the co-operation of the member states concerning cultural policies, and the active role of the Community itself contributing to the flowering of the cultures of the member states and taking cultural aspects into account in its actions in order to respect and promote the diversity of its cultures".

In many respects, this article represents an innovation in assessing the role of the European Community in the field of cultural policy. Smiers analyses specific policies and sectors, trying to assess the efficiency or lack of action in the cultural field, what is even more important, he offers concrete suggestions for improvements and innovative policies.

Smiers' paper starts with an introduction explaining the content of Article 151, its evolution and the role it plays in guiding Community actions in the field of culture. Joost Smiers believes that this article is far richer than is usually thought and that it offers numerous opportunities for actions to be undertaken either by the Community or by the member states. When evaluating specific policies, Smiers turns to many topics that have been long debated in different European fora, but he brings his own input providing both the analysis and recommendations for future actions.

He believes that the member states should be encouraged to spend part of their subventions for culture on projects in which artists co-operate Europe-wide. The cultural dimension is necessary for achieving true European integration which will be meaningful for its citizens. Smiers highlights the importance of culture in the process of enlargement, which should be carried out so as to respect both economic and social differences between the member states and the accession countries. He calls for a serious evaluation of the current situation and recommends that culture should be included in different funds in order to help to overcome the existing discrepancies.

When speaking about cultural diversity, Joost Smiers touches upon some of the most sensitive issues, such as the tendency of a limited number of cultural conglomerates to dominate substantial parts of cultural markets, thus affecting the distribution, promotion and organisation of the reception of artistic creations. He questions the role of the World Trade Organisation and refers to the concept of cultural exception and the new international treaty on cultural diversity. He also calls for the maintenance of linguistic diversity, which of course requires substantial amounts of money and energy. According to Smiers, it is worthwhile having one European Union only if and when the diversity of languages is a living practice. To illustrate his approach, he offers several suggestions, such as to replace the dubbing of films with subtitling.

Smiers has a great deal to say about the cultural industries. He believes that film distribution rather than production is the main problem in Europe; he suggests revisions of the Directive Television with Frontiers, and opens the debate about fixed book prices and the effects of these measures on the book market.

In fact, it is hard to think of any segment of cultural life that is not touched upon in this research paper. Although he is analysing the situation in Europe, the way Smiers organises and presents his research makes this text interesting not only for European researchers, policy-makers and practitioners but also for those living outside Europe. Therefore, we invite our members to read this research paper and, of course, send their comments to Joost Smiers, thus starting another debate about culture, its present role and future destiny in our societies.

To read the text, please visit: http://www.hku.nl/pub/index.html
or contact: Prof. Dr. Joost Smiers, Centre for Research, Utrecht School of the Arts, P.O.Box 1520, 3500 BM Utrecht, The Netherlands, tel.: (31) 30-233 22 56; e-mail: joost.smiers@central.hku.nl

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Bridging Arts and Business in the Balkans

Most artists and artistic organizations in Eastern Europe are victims of a popular and well-spread fallacy: that the money they lost from subsidies because of the transition period should be replaced by sponsors. When the latter fail to do so, the blame is always put on defective legislation, which does not provide for tax relief for sponsors, and on the sponsors that lack the understanding of the artistic process.

What is most evident is that arts organizations lack the necessary skills and knowledge to communicate with business and to present their ideas and projects. Artists and arts organisations need to understand the businessman's point of view when he decides to sponsor an artistic project. On the other hand, it is also rather evident that businesses know little about what is going on in the world of art.

These were the initial facts that prompted the project Bridging Arts and Business in the Balkans. The idea behind the project is simple - to provide a meeting point for local business and arts organizations, where they can learn more about each other. Bridging Arts and Business in the Balkans is a joint project of the Soros Center for the Arts - Sofia, Orbitel Inc., and the Red House Centre for Culture and Debate. (See p. 7 in this issue.)

The main activities of the project are:

  1. Organizing seminars by local businesses for arts organizations;
  2. Creating a website for the promotion of the role of the arts and business relationship for the development of a vibrant arts and culture sector;
  3. Establishing a base for dialogue and exchange between professionals and practitioners in the arts and business on specific issues of sponsorship practice.

The pilot phase of the project was organized in Bulgaria and was completed in April 2002. The project is to enter its second phase of multiplication in the Balkan countries when partner organizations are identified.

The partner organisation should undertake the following activities:

  1. Maintain a website as a permanent link between the project and the broader context of arts and business. The website should contain news, information, resources and analyses in line with the development of the project;
  2. Organize seminars for cultural practitioners and organizations on topics such as sponsorship seeking, communication with businesses, and related issues;
  3. Maintain an on-line support forum for arts practitioners to meet with business people;
  4. Present the most successful examples of arts-business interaction in the Best Practices Corner.

For more information about the project, please contact: Krassimira Teneva, Outreach and Development Manager, The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate, kteneva@redhouse-sofia.org or Nikolay Neykov, Coordinator, Soros Centre for the Arts - Sofia, neykov@abbulgaria.org

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KulturKontakt Artists-in-Residence

In 2003 KulturKontakt will carry on its well-established and successful artists-in-residence-programme in fine arts and photography. This year KulturKontakt offers two additional arts awards in cooperation with the company Henkel CEE.
For more information, please contact: brigitte.burgmann@kulturkontakt.or.at

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Inventory of Key Terms in the Current Debate on Cultural Policy in Europe

A new project by the European Forum for Arts and Heritage

From now on you will find in each EFAH newsletter one item of the 'Inventory of key terms in the current debate on cultural policy in Europe', a brief discussion of a series of notions, concepts and words that seem to play a significant role in the official documents of the EU or in the discussion among operators in the cultural field.

The inventory encompasses notions from various contexts, from issues of identity and diversity to culture and trade, or the development of relevant documents or names of agreements. Complex philosophical concepts with cultural connotations are among the entries, as well as much more technical terms. Instead of trying to give comprehensive explanations or clear analyses, this project is focused on one aspect of the debate, with the intention of reflecting upon a few critical positions and ideas which should encourage some further discussion.

So far, you can find descriptions of the following terms:

  • Culture 2000
  • European Cultural Observatory
  • Cultural Identity.

The inventory can be considered as research in progress, as it was started earlier this year by Therese Kaufmann while she was working for EFAH in Brussels. The inventory will now be completed by her from Vienna and published step by step on EFAH's website. The project was made possible with the support of the European Cultural Foundation.

The definitions that will also be available in the near future include the European Added Value, Cultural Policy at the European Level, Europe as a 'Cultural Union', Cooperation and Exchange, Stability Pact and Cultural Governance.

To read more about this project and EFAH's other activities, please visit: http://www.efah.org

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Art and Education - Active Art Mediation within Educational Processes

Summary and Recommendations
Executed by ÖKS Österreichischer Kultur-Service, Vienna, 2001, 15 pp.

During 2001 the ÖKS Österreichischer Kultur-Service executed the study Art and Education - Active Art Mediation within Educational Processes commissioned by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. (See also Culturelink no. 34/August 2001 where ÖKS contributed several texts to the Dossier entitled 'The Role of the Arts in Processes of Social Change'. The Dossier was edited by Sabine Schaschl and included texts by Michael Wimmer, Erhard Busek, Renata Salecl and Max Fuchs.) This study is not only a description of the political, administrative and professional setting in which cultural education takes place in Austria and abroad, but is also a first evaluation of different practices in the field combined with recommendations for a more easily sustainable future development.

The study Art and Education was published in German, with a summary and recommendations translated into English. The study focuses on the relation between art and education with the aim of intensifying the links between these two fields and facilitating concrete mediating work. It seems that this effort is even more important considering comprehensive social changes taking place at present, which makes it impossible to maintain 'simple modern age' traditions. This paper aims to highlight some trends crucial for the development of art as well as education, stressing the importance of rapprochement of the two fields.

The study reviews some changes that have occurred in both art and education, which also reflect the position of these two fields in modern society. In order to survive, art and education, just as any other sector, need to adapt to the new environment and standards defined by the overall development of our societies. However, the authors claim that the mainstream of art education does not always acknowledge the need for the changes. In view of the focus of this paper, the authors express their belief that an 'exchange of languages and codes' across borderlines, going beyond the technical discourse of the established disciplines, has only just begun. So the stage should be set now for a theoretical discussion, not only to open new opportunities but also to support already existing practices.

The study also offers a more concrete summary as regards the ways of putting these ideas into practice. It gives an overview of the situation in art and education both in Austria and in the rest of Europe. Comparing the existing data on European practices and the results of a questionnaire sent to Austria's most important art and culture institutions, the authors give an overview of the current situation in individual arts, such as music, performing and visual arts, etc.

The concluding part of the study is a short survey of current measures in the field of further training for teachers. Here, the ÖKS has developed a range of subject-specific training courses which should acquaint teachers with contemporary art and its representatives.

The integral parts of this publication are two sets of recommendations: one at the European and another at the national (Austrian) level, which can also serve as a basis for further research and debate on the best practices and best policy solutions for this important field.

To find out more about the work of the ÖKS Österreichischer Kultur-Service or to order the publication, please contact: Mag. Daniela Kaser, ÖKS Österreichischer Kultur-Service Projektmanagement, Stiftgasse 6, 1070 Vienna, Austria; tel.: +43 (0)1 523 57 81; fax: +43 (0)1 523 89 33; e-mail: daniela.kaser@OKS.at; http://www.OKS.at/

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The Artist-in-Residence Programme in Andalucia

Artecasa is an international art centre where artists from different cultures meet each other and hold exhibitions together. Artists dealing with ceramics, sculpture, oil painting, watercolour, pastel, drawing, jewelry and more are welcome.

The Artecasa centre, in cooperation with the city of Cadiz (South Spain), presents visual artists with an opportunity to combine a stay in a wonderful area in Andalucia with creativity and exhibition. Both workshops and galleries are located in the renovated fortress of Santa Catalina near the sea.

The centre will start operation in September 2002 and will be open throughout the year.

For further information, please contact: Artecasa International Art Centre, Alex Mero, Project Coordinator, tel.: +32 2 306 95 11 or mobile phone: +32 475 939 903; e-mail: info@artecasa.org; http://www.artecasa.org/

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Postgraduate Courses in Cultural Management at Barcelona University

The University of Barcelona has for the past 12 years been running postgraduate courses in the field of cultural management and policy with the objective to provide good training for cultural professionals. The first course that they organised was Master in Cultural Management, followed by three other courses.

  • Master in Cultural Management (Máster en Gestión Cultural) is a two-year course that can also be taken as a distant education course through the Internet. The course programme includes introduction to cultural policy, theoretical framework for cultural management, different development strategies, analysis and evaluation of projects, etc. By the end of the course, in addition to fulfilling course obligations, the participants have to complete a research project and do the internship in some cultural institution, as well as two study trips.
  • The Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural Management and Policies (Diploma de Postgrado en Gestión y Politicas Culturales) is intended for experienced professionals from Spain and Latin America interested in cultural policy issues and challenges of contemporary cultural management. The course consists of four parts: conceptual framework, analysis of the cultural sector, management of cultural organisations, and development of cultural projects. The course organisation is suited to working professionals and it is organised in 5 one-week intensive sessions taking place once every 6 weeks. During the course, the participants must complete a study trip, as well as elaborate and develop their projects (with the help of individual tutors).
  • The Postgraduate Diploma in Iberoamerican Cultural Cooperation (Diploma de Postgrado en Cooperación Cultural Iberoamericana) is envisioned as a platform for cooperation and exchange of experiences between cultural institutions and managers from both side of the Atlantic; who are interested in Iberoamerican cooperation. It takes place in two stages - the first stage in which the participants attend intensive training session in Barcelona and Madrid and the second stage lasting three months which is realised at a distance (away from home institutions) and in which the participants further elaborate their cooperation projects. The programme consists of three parts: conceptual framework, strategies for cultural cooperation, and instruments for the development and management of cultural cooperation projects.
  • The Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural Tourism (Diploma de Postgrado en Turismo Cultural) is a one-year course that aims to link tourism and culture and is intended for professionals from both fields. The programme has three parts: conceptual framework, cultural tourism strategies, and project management. During the course, the participants analyze different case studies and make study visits in order to learn from the experience of their colleagues. By the end of the programme, the participants must complete practical work or a research project relevant to their professional profile and experience.

In addition to these four already established programmes, a new course has been planned to start in 2003 entitled the Postgraduate Diploma in the Production and Management of the Performing Arts (Diploma de Postgrado en Producción y Gestión de Espectáculos).

For more information, please contact: Secretaría de los Cursos en Gestión Cultural, Aurora Tresserras i Conxita Camós, Universitat de Barcelona, Pg. Vall d'Hebrón, 171 Edifici Migdia, 08035 Barcelona, Spain, tel.: (+34) 93 403 44 27; e-mail: cultura@eco.ub.es; http://www.ub.es/cultural/

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Grants Programme of the Fund for Central and East European Book Projects (CEEBP)

In response to requests from publishers from various Central and East European countries to develop a programme of support for publications that would enhance integrating their societies into Europe, the Fund for Central and East European Book Projects (CEEBP) (See also pp.75-76 in this issue.) has launched the European History and Integration Programme 2001 - 2005. Especially in the EU-accession and pre-accession countries, the need for books on European history and integration aimed at non-specialist readers is acutely felt.

Calls for proposals: 15 February and 15 August. Publishers can request support for the translation of a title from a list of recommended books, or send in proposals of their own choice.

For the list of recommended books and further procedure details, see the website: http://www.ceebp.org/

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The Banff Centre 'Beauty Thematic Residency'

October - December 2002

'It is certainly not true that there is in the mind of man any universal standard of beauty with respect to the human body'. (Charles Darwin)

The thematic residency of the Banff Centre from 21 October to 6 December 2002 will focus on the concept of Beauty. The organizers seek proposals from artists who have completed their basic training, produced an independent body of work, and received recognition of their peers through public presentation of their work. Resource facilities include ceramics, mixed media, computer arts/new media, painting, paper media, performance art, photography, print media, sculpture, television and video, textiles.

As the concept of 'beauty' evolved through time from Darwin through St. Thomas Aquinas' beauty and aesthetics as co-dependents 'Ad pulchritudinem tria requiruntur: integritas, consantia, claritas', to Kenko's undesirability of uniformity where 'leaving something incomplete makes it interesting, ... imperfect sets are better', the residency programme in the same way leaves the beauty aspects to be defined by the artists themselves.

For more information or to participate, please contact: The Banff Centre, Office of the Registrar, P.O. Box 1020, 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive, Banff, Alberta T1L 1H5, Canada, tel.: +403 762 6180; fax: +403 762 6345; e-mail: arts_info@banffcentre.ca; http://www.banffcentre.ca/arts