Ten Years of the Culturelink Special Issue
It gives me great pleasure to present the tenth anniversary Special Issue of the Culturelink Review, devoted to the theme of great importance - Convergence, Creative Industries and Civil Society: The New Cultural Policy. The issue carries papers from the international conference under the same title jointly organized by Nottingham Trent University and the Nottingham City Council.
The ten special issues of the Culturelink Review have marked important stages in the life and growth of the Culturelink Network. When we started the Special Issue Series in 1991, it was intended to draw the attention of our members to world trends in culture and to analyze them on a theoretical level. It was natural, therefore, to organize the first special issues around the theme of networks and networking. The early nineties of the last century were called the "age of networks", and many theorists analyzed the role of networks in the exchange of cultural values and international cultural communication. This was when the process of revaluation of cultures began worldwide, stimulated, inter alia, by the existence of networks. The First World Culturelink Conference in 1995 was devoted to cultural change, dynamics of communication and the role of networks. The Special Issue with the proceedings of that conference in some way summarized the twentieth century with its painful experiences, anxieties and dilemmas and at the same time opened new planetary vistas into the third millennium.
The special issues that followed dealt with cultural development and cultural change - from institutional and value changes in Central and Eastern Europe to cultural change and development in South Africa. Gradually, the cultural/creative industries came into the focus of interest. A recent UNESCO document, entitled Culture, Trade and Globalisation, notes that the present situation in the field of cultural industries necessitates significant changes in national policies, so that they can provide strategic answers to the challenges of globalization on national, regional and subregional levels.
The focus of the international conference held in Nottingham in September 2001 was on the creative industries and new cultural policy. The present issue carries a selection of papers and discussions from that conference, dealing with new developments in the creative industries and their impact on society and cultural policies. As noted in the conference report published in the November 2001 issue of Culturelink (issue no. 35/2001, pp. 45-47), the "new cultural dynamics is based on industrial cultural production and located in regions and cities. It stresses cultural diversification and, at the same time, the need for communication, cooperation and new partnerships." For such new partnerships, we need - to quote Paul Jeffcutt, one of the contributors to the present issue - "proactive, future-oriented and transnational networks".
We are confident that this project will lead to further debates and help spread the idea of a new cultural policy.
Our heartfelt thanks go to Professor Colin Mercer, Guest Editor of this Special Issue, for his dedication and effort in preparing this issue for publication.