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Reports from Conferences

Culturelink review, no.43/August 2004 - contents - imprint - archive

UNCTAD - XI United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

High Level Panel on Creative Industries
Report from Sao Paulo

The High Level Panel on Creative Industries held the day before the official opening of the XI UNCTAD Conference on 13 June 2004 comprised more than 40 eminent artists and experts from the cultural community, industry, academia, international organizations and civil society from many parts of the world, both developed and developing. Introductory speeches included that by the minister of culture of Brazil, Gilberto Gil-Moreira; Nane Annan and Rubens Ricupero, Secretary General of UNCTAD.

This was the first time that UNCTAD placed the discussion on creative industries on its agenda. As stated in the background information: 'The creative industries - from music and films to broadcasting, publishing and software production - can provide new opportunities for developing countries to leapfrog into new areas of wealth creation. Creative industries are among the most dynamic sectors of world trade, with high skill and value-added content and strong employment linkages, particularly in smaller and medium-sized enterprises. Developed countries, through policy support and other forms of assistance (for example, in trade negotiations), should support the efforts by developing countries to strengthen these industries as a potential source of export earnings, job creation and poverty alleviation. Enhancing developing countries' participation in new dynamic growth opportunities in creative industries is essential in order to realize development gains from international trade. Innovative policy measures are needed to enable developing countries to diversify into dynamic, high-value-added products.'

The High Level Panel explored the trade and development opportunities arising from these industries, enabled exchange of experience on best practices and contributed to suggesting policy recommendations aimed at enhancing their promotion and development.

The participants on the High Level Panel highlighted that creative expression, by drawing on a well of historical and contemporary values and symbols, allowed countries to tell their own stories, project their own images, and share their own challenges and aspirations, both among their own citizens and with those from other countries. In this respect, support for domestic creative industries should be seen as an integral part of the promotion and protection of cultural diversity. Moreover, such diversity, because it is a global public good, deserves to be fully supported by the international community.

The Panel recognized that creative industries represented one of the most dynamic sectors in the global trading system. However, their dual economic and cultural functionality calls for innovative policy responses in the new post-liberal trading environment. With a view to drawing lessons for developing countries in this promising new cluster of economic activities, ranging from music, film, broadcasting, television and handicrafts, to design-based activities and computer software, the Panel examined national and regional experiences, and best practice cases from both the developed and developing countries.

The Panel concurred that the opportunities for employment expansion, value creation and technological upgrading had often gone unrealized in developing countries and that effective national policy can make a difference. Policy intervention in this area needs to focus on facilitating market access for the smaller players and sharing more equitably the rewards of their creativity. In the new economy, the digital environment is becoming increasingly important for creative industries. The digital exploitation of rights offers many new possibilities and opportunities for developing countries in the field of creative industries, provided that there is a level playing field and that the different types of IPRs are adequately managed and exploited. It was agreed that the copyright regime could provide developing countries with an important additional source of revenue creation and revenue sharing derived from creative industries, provided that a level playing field exists between the different rights holders.

Obstacles to the development of creative industries were identified and suggestions made with regard to overcoming barriers to market entry. In developing the new policy response for the promotion of creative industries, a combination of market- and non-market-based mechanisms was favoured. Elements of the new policy framework include public-private sector partnerships, cultural entrepreneurship, networking, intermediary institutions to forge collaboration among various stakeholders, and stimulation and building of domestic markets. Moreover, it was considered essential to create new and innovative sources of finance and mechanisms aimed at facilitating more equitable access for, and remuneration from, the creative industries. Focusing on developing export markets alone is not sufficient.

The role of the international community in support of creative industries was highlighted. The Panel indicated that special measures were needed for the development of creative industries at the international level, particularly in the trade and financing arena and in ensuring cultural diversity in developing countries. The Panel recommended the establishment of an independent entity, such as an international forum on creative industries, that would deal specifically with the development of creative industries in developing countries.

For more information, please contact: Ms. Zeljka Kozul-Wright, Economic Affairs Officer Policy Analysis and Research Cluster, Special Programme for Least Developed Countries, UNCTAD, United Nations, Palais des Nations 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; tel.: +41 22 907 6289; fax: +41 22 907 0046; e-mail: zeljka.kozul-wright@unctad.org; or visit the website http://www.unctadxi.org/templates/Event____33.aspx

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Managing Cultural Transitions: Southeastern Europe

Report from Dubrovnik

This was the fourth in a series of postgraduate courses on 'Redefining Cultural Identities', organized by the Department of Culture and Communication of the Institute for International Relations, Zagreb. It took place at the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik, 9-16 May 2004. It was attended by nineteen students and ten lecturers from twelve countries (Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, and USA). In its fourth session the course concentrated on cultural transitions in SEE. The first course in 2000 was devoted to the 'Multicultural Contexts of the Central European and Mediterranean Regions', and it was followed by a course that dealt with the 'Redefinition of Cultural Identities in Southeastern Europe'. (The Proceedings from the first two seminars were published in Culturelink Joint Publication Series: Redefining Cultural Identities: The Multicultural Contexts of the Central European and Mediterranean Regions, ed. by Nada Švob Đokić, 2000, 220 pp. and Redefining Cultural Identities: Southeastern Europe, ed. by Nada Švob Đokić, 2001, 214 pp.) The third course entitled 'Cultural Industries and Technological Convergence' concentrated on cultural industries, technological convergence, cultural consumption, and cultural identities in the Southeastern European and Central European countries in transition (See Culturelink Dossier in: Culturelink no. 37/August, Vol. 13, 2002, pp. 113-142.).

'Redefining Cultural Identities' continued with this year's course entitled Managing Cultural Transitions: Southeastern Europe. After a brief introduction that included a short history of the project, the course started with the session on overview of theoretical and conceptual frameworks of cultural transitions. Jirina Šmejkalova in her lecture 'Cultural Transitions: Some Conceptual Issues' noted that due to globalization processes, triggered through new technologies, cultural transition occurs at different levels all over the world. She concentrated on three theoretical research areas important for studying cultural transitions in the Eastern European (EE) region. These are: East European studies, cultural studies, and the current regional cultural research. During the last decade these areas had to position themselves in relation to Marxism, which was a prevailing theoretical framework of cultural research during socialism and communism. Due to their complex discourses and the connection with Marxism, cultural studies did not evolve as a particular specialization within social studies. However, the key problem of cultural research in the EE is the loss of focus after the dissolution of the former regimes. Transition did not provide a supportive framework for further development and specialization of social studies and humanities.

In her concluding remarks Jirina Šmejkalova stressed that it is up to contemporary researchers of Southeastern Europe to develop regional cultural research and thus establish cultural studies by going beyond the tradition of East European studies.

In her lecture 'Cultural Contexts of Transition Processes' Nada Švob-Đokić stressed the difficulties of contextualizing cultures in today's world. It is ever more difficult to define culture as it is becoming intertwined with the activities and regulations that are not strictly cultural. Differences between transition vs. transformation were outlined, and it was explained how they relate to cultural context and cultural space. Due to the globalization processes, cultural transitions move cultures from national towards international and global cultural spaces. This sometimes occurs through the establishment of 'integrated cultural zones' that transcend borders and turning cultures into 'liberated' spaces of creation and production. In the contemporary world such zones are mostly urban, regional or continental. They provide space for vivid and intense intercultural relations, strong mutual influences and new creativity. In such environment cultures produce new values in their own right and turn to markets ever more. However, such zones tend to remain concentrated on education rather than on culture (e.g., European higher education space).

The lessons of the second day offered an insight into the cultural economics of the SEE region. In the presentation entitled 'Mapping the Position of Cultural Industries in Southeastern Europe', Jaka Primorac analyzed the field of cultural industries in the region. The key problems encountered during the analysis of the cultural industries in the region are the following: lack of data; the fact that data that exist are not structured; the existing structured data differ from country to county and this is the reason why comparisons are rather difficult. After separate insights into the existing data on cultural industries - film industry, book industry, recording industry, and the media - the overall assessment of the situation of cultural industries in SEE was given. All sectors of cultural industries have similar tribulations: problems of distribution in and out of the country, piracy/copyright violations, small-scale production, costs of translation, and the need for regulation of the market. What is needed in cultural industries of the region is the openness towards international cultural industries according to the global economic interdependence.

The art market and the position of the artist in the market was discussed in the workshop 'Arts and Markets', held by the artist Slaven Tolj, director of Art Radionica Lazareti (Art Workshop Lazareti) based in Dubrovnik. Slaven Tolj outlined the position of the contemporary artist in Southeastern Europe. They are burdened with a number of problems. According to him, the art market in the region, notably in Croatia, does not exist. Minor artists and minor art products are easily sold. The position of the artist is non-transparent and rather difficult. It is interesting that artists rarely react by self-organizing themselves. If they join together, it is more on the basis of artistic style, rather than according to similar economic problems. When networking eventually occurs, implying solutions of economic problems, it unfortunately disappears before the funding for such networking stops. The position of the artist is complicated by the occurrence of the 'curator star system', through which artists may be presented in foreign countries, but remain underpaid and sometimes humiliated.

In order to illustrate the work of the Art Radionica Lazareti, a film was made on the basis of an international art project called the 'Island', organized by the Art Radionica Lazareti and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Zagreb.

The third session dealt with the social context of cultural transitions. Vjeran Katunarić presented his 'work-in-progress' entitled 'After Decentralization: The New Public Culture', in which he outlined some of the key aspects of the new public cultures in SEE and influences of cultural policies on the rise of a new public culture. One of the problems is that cultural policy is either not clear or too abstract. Cultural policy actors are afraid of confronting the question of the goal of (current) cultural policy. Vjeran Katunarić noted that in SEE the marriage of economy and culture is not a happy one and that neither artists themselves nor cultural workers know how to solve the problems of the triad - art/market/cultural policy. The public culture is changing and the differentiation between old and new public culture is being examined. As a concluding remark Vjeran Katunarić presented James Ensor's painting 'Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889' as an illustration of what he sees as the new public culture model.

The lecture given by Vesna Čopič 'Culture in Transition: Reconceptualization of the Role of Politics, Experts and Civil Society' also examined aspects of old/new public culture. She stressed that we have to think about the change of the overall social sector's policy and not only about the cultural policy. In the context of EU enlargement, cultural policy is not an area of special EU interest. Vesna ^opi~ presented the key cultural policy differences between the 1980's cultural policy model in Slovenia and the current one, which illustrates the transition that is still under way.

The fourth day of the course was dedicated to cultural policies. The first presentation, 'Cultural Policies - Needs and Impact Assessments' by Delia Mucica, gave guidelines important for the development and creation of cultural policies. After presenting some key objectives of cultural policies as they occur in international cultural policy documents, Delia Mucica noted that there need to be four key principles in cultural policymaking. These principles are subsidiarity, proportionality, transparency and openness, and consultation and participation of stakeholders. These principles should be taken into account when detecting the needs and impact assessments of cultural policy - they need to be done by (for example) SWOT analysis apparatus and various other tools and techniques. Cultural policymaking process is a never-ending process as it is always difficult to articulate the current public interest due to the changing socio-economic and cultural environment. Delia Mucica concluded that what is needed in the cultural policymaking process is a logically consistent process linking policy, regulation, cultural activity and their assessments at macro and micro levels.

In the following lecture, 'The Influence of the EU Enlargement on Cultural Policies in Countries in Transition', Nina Obuljen stressed that EU cultural policy exists, although it is not defined separately. This can be highlighted through the model of policy transfer - either across countries/regions, or across disciplines. We have to examine other policies, resolutions, and directives in order to detect the presence of cultural policy issues. A new problem appears there - the EU cultural policy was hijacked by other fields!

When analyzing the issue of EU enlargement, an important question is what consequences are produced by which process that are happening simultaneously, i.e., transition, access to the market economy, enlargement and trade liberalization, and globalization. The impact of the enlargement can be twofold - direct (harmonization, changes of legislation, etc.) and indirect (arising as a consequence of policy transfer). It can be concluded that the formulation of cultural policies in the context of EU enlargement is rather difficult due to: harmonization of legislation, implementation of new legislation, and most of all due to rather conservative/defensive approach concerning culture and cultural policies of EU.

The questions raised during these two presentations were developed into a workshop entitled 'Criteria of Evaluation of SEE Cultural Policies' to which Nada Švob-Đokić and Nina Obuljen gave a brief introduction(Based on the article 'Comparative Cultural Policy Issues Related to Cultural Diversity in South East Europe' that is available on-line at Policies for Culture website: http://www.policiesforculture.org/dld/PfC_NSvob-Djokic_SEEDiversity.pdf). It appeared that cultural diversity, as presented in cultural policies of the region, is a rather abstract issue. The participants offered comments or in-views into cultural policies and their implementation in their respective countries. The attention was often concentrated on practices related to observance of cultural diversity and minority/majority relationships.

The cultural communication session opened with the lecture by Dona Kolar Panov entitled 'Cultural Policy and the Digitization of Culture'. Digitization has changed the culture field immensely by creating new spaces of communication, organization, sociability and knowledge and information markets. The question of the digital divide is present, but as Dona Kolar Panov argues, all things considered, it is more a question of an equal access to the same digital resources. In addition, not only that the means of production of culture have been digitized but the means of preservation of cultural heritage as well. This new situation also opens the problem of preserving and archiving born-digital material, and it also introduces the problem of copyright issues that are not yet clearly defined. Considering the cultural policy and digitization question, she stresses that in the region there is more or less no cultural policy practiced, just guidelines might be given. This can especially be noted in SEE, as the new technologies (as well as other cultural industries like sports, fashion, tourism, etc.) are never included in national cultural policies. Unfortunately this shows that culture is not recognized as an equal part of economic development. Dona Kolar Panov concluded: 'Digitization is what culture in the information society is about; it is not only the means of preservation of cultural heritage and the collective memory, or of yesterday's culture, but it is also the means of preservation of the culture and creativity of today'.

Zrinjka Peruško's lecture on 'Transnational Media Concentration and Its Impact on Cultural and Media Diversity in Southeastern Europe' was next on the agenda. She stressed that media diversity and pluralism are the central theme of the contemporary European media policies. The danger of pluralism in the transition context of SEE comes from two sides - from the past (before democratic consolidation) and future (after democratic consolidation). In this way one has to examine some of the global trends that influence the SEE region, such as media concentration, technological convergence and hyper-commercialization of media industries. Some of these problems (such as media concentration) are more pronounced in Central and Eastern Europe than in the West. It is interesting that in the SEE region media concentrates in clusters. In order to make changes in this sector, one should develop better monitoring systems for ownership transparency, audience and content concentration. Legal regulation against concentration, monopoly and global liberalizing trends should be developed. Regarding media diversity, for the time being there is no European model for regulating it and no recommendations for it. Nevertheless, it is crucial that policy makers of SEE take into account the ramifications for cultural diversity and pluralism of opinion.

Managing Cultural Transitions: Southeastern Europe ended with a plethora of new themes opened for further discussion and research. The theme on 'Managing Cultural Transitions' will be the main topic of the course next year as well, but the programme will concentrate on the issue of creative industries.

For more information, please contact: Jaka Primorac, Institute for International Relations, Vukotinovićeva 2, 10001 Zagreb, Croatia, tel.: +385 1 48 77 460; fax: +385 1 48 28 361; e-mail: jaka@irmo.hr; http://www.imo.hr

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European Visions: From Cultural Networks to Politics

Report from Berlin

In an atmosphere of rich variety of cultural events, searching for new parts/visions, the city of Berlin played host to an international conference entitled Eurovisions: From Cultural Networks to Politics. The conference, organized by the Goethe Institute, was held on 29th and 30th April 2004. The impressive number of 500 participants from 25 European countries showed that the topic was well chosen and that it was very timely in the light of the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union. As the introductory speaker said, the 'European project" can only succeed if it is supported by the Union's citizens. Art and culture play a decisive role in Europe's unification and in the development of a European identity. Creative artists and cultural activists are 'European visionaries', or 'Eurovisionaries', who open the space for all citizens to take part in debates and to learn about the 'European project' from first-hand experience. This project profits greatly from the dynamics of cultural networks, which is the reason why the conference was dedicated to the analysis of the present situation - the institutional progress and the developmental potential of the European cultural networks. The European Union gave its full support to the establishment of networks when they were first introduced in the 1980's. The networks fostered dialogue, co-operation and partnership on an international scale: 'Europe today is organized in networks', said a participant aptly, speaking about networking in civil society.

The conference tried to answer some of the fundamental questions: What do cultural networks do? What is the impetus they give to the strengthening of the European public space within the framework of a new, emerging order? Which cultural values do they introduce into the European integration process? How political and institutional decision-makers can be persuaded of the importance of these values? What are their limits? If culture shapes Europe - which was the topic of a panel discussion within the conference - the role of cultural networks is crucial, because they stimulate flexible, open, non-hierarchical communication, mobilize dynamic forms of linkage, and mediate different values in broad public space. Therefore, networks are part of the policy of the European Union, advocating as they do the preservation, protection and development of cultural diversity and at the same time enable everybody to take part in cultural action and in art, irrespective of the firmly established structures. If European culture seeks partnerships and lobbying, then it needs networks. Artists and cultural workers enjoy the support of their 'allies', but such support is insufficient and in the case of politics almost non-existent, as was well noted by the representatives of the European Forum for Art and Heritage (EFAH). Large corporate foundations and enterprises are good partners in strengthening the commitment of civil society and they are increasingly willing to co-operate with networks. Good examples of this are the Robert Bosch Foundation (the co-organizer of the Berlin conference) and the European Cultural Foundation. The constraints that networks experience are primarily financial, as is usual in culture, both old and new, in the European countries. Critical remarks were made by some speakers of the Culture 2000 Framework Programme and other programmes run by the European Union, in view of the inadequate funding for culture in the Union's total budget (0.01% to 0.03%).

General agreement was expressed to the effect that networks realize many important projects, while on the political scene there is still a vacuum. While the original version of the sub-heading of the conference was 'From Cultural Networks to Politics', by the end of the conference it was turned upside down - 'From Politics to Cultural Networks'. Perhaps we are witnessing - as noted by Reimer Traube from Deutsche Welle in his concluding remarks - the emergence of a new and different version of civil society, a new generation of artists and cultural workers, self-confident, spontaneous, transnational, network-oriented - a new vision of the 'European generation'.

For more information, please visit: http://www.kulturbetrieb.com or http://www.goethe.de

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INCD / NACSA Workshops in South Africa

Report from Durban

Eighteen leaders of cultural NGOs from eight African countries gathered in Durban from March 28 - April 2, 2004 for a week-long training workshop in globalisation and its impact on cultural diversity. Representatives from Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique and Cameroon participated in intensive sessions such as:

  • What is globalisation?
  • What is cultural diversity, and how does globalisation impact on it?
  • What is the Convention on Cultural Diversity all about?
  • What is the current status of the WTO and bilateral trade agreements and how do they impact on cultural diversity?

For many of the participants, it was the first time that they had a chance to hear about these issues, but still, many of the experiences that they were having in their respective countries - such as declining subsidies, increased emphasis on commercialisation and the privatisation of public cultural institutions, could now be understood in the context of global forces.

Garry Neil, the International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD) Coordinator and INCD Steering Committee member Nina Obuljen, Mike Van Graan from the INCD office in Cape Town, provided inputs as facilitators at the workshop which was made possible by funding from partners such as HIVOS, the Danish Centre for Culture and Development, Pro Helvetia and SIDA.

The INCD is planning to organize similar seminars in other African regions.

Those interested in the seminar or the work of the INCD in Africa, should contact: Mr. Mike van Graan, INCD Southern African Coordinator, Network for Arts and Culture South Africa/INCD, Postnet Suite 126, Private Bag X18, Rondebosch, 7701 South Africa, tel.: + 27-21 6740520; e-mail: art27m@iafrica.com