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Reports from Conferences

Culturelink review, no.44/November 2004 - contents - imprint - archive

Cultural Policy Research in the Countries of Southeastern Europe: Setbacks and Prospects

Report from Belgrade

The international workshop Cultural Policy Research in the Countries of Southeastern Europe: Setbacks and Prospects, organised within the framework of the Policies for Culture programme and its Task Force for Cultural Policy Research, was held in Belgrade, 2-3 October 2004. It brought together almost 40 experts, researchers, cultural operators and representatives of international organisations working in the field from the countries in the region, Western Europe and the USA.

During the two days of debates, the participants agreed upon the urgent need for coordinated and sustainable action in this direction. The Policies for Culture Task Force will now start elaborating a plan for further research activities, focusing on the main directions identified during the workshop, namely:

  • Making use of and further developing the existing research infrastructures;
  • Establishing a research focus on issues that touch upon the economic and political levels in the SEE and promoting an interest in research related to the creative industries, the relationship between arts, building of social capital, culture and development, culture and employment, etc.;
  • Giving sustainability and weight to the research activity itself by developing partnerships with existing institutions, initiatives and events, by facilitating encounters and exchanges between cultural policy researchers in the region, etc.;
  • Raising awareness in the region about global issues and regional challenges.

The present workshop represented the first major activity of the Task Force, having four main objectives:

Mapping: To map out gaps arising between policy and research in individual SEE countries, as well as some good examples of productive partnerships between the policy community and the research community in the SEE and other countries.

Raising awareness: To raise an awareness of liabilities of the lack of research on the one hand, and assets resulting from the policy supply with independent research results on the other.

Capacity building and networking: To initiate - by incorporating research into the Policies for Culture action triangle - the development of research interests and capacities in the SEE countries, which may be supported by the SEE states as well as inter-governmental or non-governmental organisations, and which may further be upgraded, e.g., as a regional research network.

The key objective of the workshop:

Setting an agenda: To define the most urgent topics of research as well as methodologies to be applied in order to convert research findings into policy papers which could have an impact on the national and local level. The proposed agenda will also be submitted to the inter-governmental organisations active in this field, and particularly to UNESCO, the EU, the Council of Europe, and the Central European Initiative.

The full report of the workshop is available at www.policiesforculture.org

For more information, please contact: Oana Radu, Regional coordinator of the Policies for Culture programme, ECUMEST Association, at tel./fax: +40 21 21 22 100 or at e-mail: oana.radu@ecumest.ro; http://www.policiesforculture.org

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International Forum on Building Partnerships in Cultural Tourism

Report from Ulaanbaatar

The Arts Council of Mongolia organized the International Forum on Building Partnerships in Cultural Tourism, which took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 21-22 October 2004. The forum had an overall goal of establishing local and regional partnerships and networking involving Mongolian and international cultural and tourism sectors to promote cultural tourism as an important step towards making culture a viable economic asset when coupled with growing tourism. The specific goals of the Forum were the following: analyzing the current situation of cultural tourism in Mongolia, Central Asia and world wide; exploring best local and international practices for the development and implementation of cultural tourism policies; exploring best practices in Europe, Central and South East Asia and North America for building partnerships between cultural and tourism sectors; sharing best practices for the development of cultural tourism projects and products that contribute to local and national economic growth and poverty reduction in Central and South East Asia, Europe and USA; and studying best international practices and possible solutions for combining the preservation of cultural heritage and development of cultural tourism.

Cultural tourism is a burning issue in Mongolia at present, and the Forum also focused on establishing a Mongolian cultural tourism steering committee to provide regular and systematic leadership in coordinating policies and activities in cultural tourism and in initiating the facilitation of a cultural tourism development strategy to be integrated into national culture and tourism development plans in the near future.

Mongolian and international experts from the USA, Lithuania, Croatia, Singapore, China, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Belgium presented research studies on the policy and legislative framework to support cultural tourism (the role of the state), as well as on policies and partnerships to promote cultural tourism (the role of international organizations, NGOs and businesses). On the second day, the Forum discussed arts, heritage, environment and their links with cultural tourism, as well as cultural industries and their links with cultural tourism.

Especially productive brainstorming workshops on possible policies to promote the tri-sector partnership on cultural tourism in Mongolia and Central and South East Asia, as well as on possible partnerships to create cultural tourism products in Central and South East Asia and in Mongolia resulted in a concrete proposal - to use Genghis Khan's 840 birth anniversary in 2006 as a Mongolian cultural tourism product. All the participants agreed on the power of Genghis Khan's personality and its suitability for promotion as a unique Mongolian cultural tourism product.

The report and the conclusions of the Forum will be published by the Arts Council of Mongolia and sent to the Mongolian Government to serve as a basis for the organization of the event, as well as for creating a unified cultural tourism policy in Mongolia.

To find out more, please contact: Arts Council of Mongolia, Delta Foundation Building, 4th Floor, Juljnii Gudamj, Ulaanbaatar 38, Mongolia, tel.: +976 11 319015; fax: +976 11 319 017; e-mail: artscouncil@magicnet.mn; http://www.artscouncil.mn

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INCD Annual Meeting in Shanghai

Report from Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China, was the venue for the annual gathering of the International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD) which brought together the recently-elected and expanded Steering Committee and international observers for four days of intensive discussions. During this meeting, held 11-16 October 2004 in Shanghai, China, the INCD's leadership was restructured and an Executive Committee was elected. The Committee will set the agenda for the Steering Committee, decide on the INCD's representation at events, resolve membership questions and provide overall leadership. The new Co-Chairs are Jacques Béhanzin, (Benin), Leonardo Brant (Brazil), Mireille Gagné‚ (Canada), Yvon Thiec (France), and Danny Yung (Hong Kong-China). Mireille Gagn‚ was selected by the group to serve as Chair of the Executive Committee.

The policy matters on the agenda included a thorough review of the progress of UNESCO's Draft Convention on the Protection of the DIversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions and the initial intergovernmental negotiations that took place in September. The INCD expanded its earlier submission in preparation for the filing of a formal written response to the Draft by the November 15 deadline. The Committee agreed to three fundamental objectives which the Convention must meet. The Steering Committee also worked on advocacy strategies for the adoption and implementation of a timely and effective Convention.

The INCD's work in developing cultural capacity took a new turn as the Steering Committee agreed that the INCD's campaign to allocate a fixed percentage of development organizations' budgets to cultural projects should become a priority in the coming year. This campaign, alongside the efforts to include cultural impact assessment indicators under existing Sustainable Development Strategies, will support work to expand the INCD reach in Africa and Latin America.

The Steering Committee decided that INCD would hold an open conference and annual meeting in conjunction with the next meeting of the International Network on Cultural Policy (network of culture ministers) in Dakar, Senegal, to take place in October or November 2005.

The Steering Committee examined the state of play of the global trade talks, the renewed push to conclude a new General Agreement on Trade in Services, and the pressures being exerted on cultural policies in bilateral and regional negotiations now underway. The Committee considered the implications and timing of the formal consultations between the WTO and UNESCO about the Convention. An action alert would be sent to all members in the next two weeks urging them to work with governments to ensure that the governments' positions in Geneva were in agreement with the positions on cultural policy they had taken in Paris.

On 13 October, the INCD hosted a joint conference with the partner organization in Shanghai, the Shanghai Federation of Arts and Literary Circles, on the themes of Tri-Sectoral Collaboration and Traditional Cultures and Modernization. For this meeting, the INCD Steering Committee members were joined by thirty representatives of China's cultural community, including academics, media professionals, folklorists, performing artists and researchers. The result was a fascinating and engaging dialogue.

The INCD had several opportunities to meet with the ministers gathered for the annual meeting of the International Network on Cultural Policy (INCP). Two official receptions provided an opportunity for dialogue on the key issues and the INCD's work plan. Finally, once again this year, the INCD was invited to make a formal presentation to the INCP ministerial meeting.

For more information, please visit the INCD's web site at www.indc net. or contact: Ms Jennifer Heale, administrator, International Network for Cultural Diversity, 804-130 Albert Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1P 5G4; tel.: 613 238 3561 Ext. 17; fax: 613 238 4849; e-mail: Jheale@ccarts.ca

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Building Networks of Cooperation and Dialogue Between Civil Society and Public Administrations in the Enlarged Europe

Report from Bologna

This conference, organised by ECAS (Euro Citizen Action Service), ERVET (Emilia Romagna Valorizzazione economica territorio Spa) and the Italian region of Emilia Romagna, was held in Bologna, 18-19 October 2004. The conference was organised as part of the 'Cooperate' international project that aims at improving social capital in the participating countries and facilitating the implementation of European programmes by favouring the exchanges and social dialogue between relevant public authorities and civil society.

The conference was an excellent opportunity for deepening the understanding and discussions of issues of greater involvement of civil society. It focused on the development of social capital, the practical implementation of the partnership principle in European Union (EU) programmes and projects, as well as the improvement of cross-sectoral cooperation and dialogue by bringing together representatives of public authorities and third sector from various countries of the enlarged EU.

The first plenary session presented the larger perspective on the issues covered during the event. The speakers analysed the future of the EU cohesion policy in the light of the most recent developments, the key role of the third sector in decision-making processes, the implementation of the partnership principle in the old and new EU member states, the building of a social dialogue, and the role that the 'Cooperate' project could play.

Three workshops deepened the discussions and analysis of some of the most crucial practical elements of the conference, such as the implementation of the partnership principle, co-financing and alternative financing strategies, the instruments for a successful dialogue, and active participation through monitoring committees.

The final plenary session summarised the debates of the conference and the workshops, thus re-opening the perspective on the wider European level and drawing some conclusions concerning the role of the 'Cooperate' project in building ties among actors within the enlarged Europe.

For more information, please contact: ECAS (Euro Citizen Action Service), 53 rue de la Concorde, Brussels B-1050, Belgium, tel.: +32 2 548 0490; fax: +32 2 548 0499; e-mail: admin@ecas.org; http://www.ecas.org