Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 9, no 9, Monday, March 16, 2009

Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!

IN THIS ISSUE :

Convention Update

Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Recent Publications

Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Other News of Interest



Convention Update

Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!

At the first Conference of Parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the Intergovernmental Committee was tasked with developing operational directives for convention implementation. The Committee held a regular meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from December 10 to 13, 2007, and a special session in Paris, France, from June 24 to 27, 2008. The second ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee recently took place in Paris from December 8 to 12, 2008. Another Committee meeting will be held in March 2009, before the Conference of Parties, scheduled to occur in June in Paris.

At press time, 96 states had ratified the treaty. On March 5, 2009, Nicaragua submitted its ratification instrument to UNESCO, joining the States Parties to the Convention. Efforts to implement the treaty are well underway, but the mobilization campaign to encourage Member States who haven’t already done so to ratify the treaty must continue with commitment and conviction. The Convention’s legitimacy will be directly proportional to the number of countries from all parts of the world that ratify, accept, approve, or join the treaty.

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Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Pilot Project for Artist Mobility: the call for proposals by the European Commission is underway

The European Commission recently issued a new call for proposals as part of the Pilot Project for Artist Mobility.

According to the Commission website, “the transnational mobility of artists and cultural professionals is of major importance in helping to make a common ‘European cultural area’ a reality and to bring about cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. Artists and cultural professionals need to travel beyond borders to extend their scope of activities and meet new audiences, to find new and inspiring sources of inspiration to make their creations evolve, and to exchange experiences and learn from each other with a view to developing their careers.”

The transnational mobility of artists and culture professionals has been a priority of the Culture program since 2000. It has been further reinforced as one of the three specific objectives of the Culture program for the period 2007–2013, as a means of enhancing the cultural area shared by Europeans and encouraging active European citizenship, states the Commission.

In late 2008, the European Parliament adopted a new line in the 2009 EU budget in order to make room for the Pilot Project for Artist Mobility.

The deadline for proposal submission is May 15, 2009. For more information, please visit the European Commission website.

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Preparatory Action MEDIA International: the call for proposals continues

The European Parliament adopted a budget of €5 million on December 18, 2008, for the second year of activity of Preparatory Action MEDIA International. According to the European Commission website, Preparatory Action aims to strengthen cooperation between audiovisual industries of third countries and European countries.

The call for proposals is designed to address the three main objectives of Preparatory Action MEDIA International: exchange of information on and knowledge of audiovisual markets, competitiveness and distribution, and circulation.

Regarding circulation, the call for proposals consists of five separate components:

  • Training for audiovisual professionals (Component 1). This support is for training projects aimed at students/professionals/trainers from the audiovisual industry. The objective is to build, through a training course or joint training measures, a deeper understanding of the operating conditions, legal framework, and systems of financing of the audiovisual markets in all the countries participating in the proposed project.
  • Promotion of cinematographic/audiovisual works (Component 2). This component is aimed at supporting promotion actions which, through intervention upstream or at production segment levels, facilitate access to international markets for cinematographic/audiovisual works (market for co-productions, pitch events, etc.), thus improving the conditions for their future distribution.
  • Distribution of cinematographic works (Component 3). This support is aimed at facilitating and improving the distribution of cinematographic works of developing countries in theaters in the EU and, vice versa, the distribution of European works in cinemas in developing countries.
  • Screening of cinematographic works in cinemas (Component 4). This component is aimed at encouraging cinema operators in the EU and in developing countries to increase, on a reciprocal basis, the scheduling and screening conditions (duration of showing and number of screenings) of exclusive first releases of films.
  • Audience (Component 5). This component is aimed at supporting actions liable to sustainably improve the potential audience for foreign cinematographic/audiovisual works. In particular, it seeks to encourage actions to educate and raise the awareness of the European public (particularly young people) about cinematographic/audiovisual works of third countries and, vice versa, actions to educate and raise the awareness of the non-European public (particularly young people) about European cinematographic/audiovisual works.

The deadline for proposal submission is June 2, 2009. For more information on this call for proposals, please visit the European Commission website.

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Recent Publications

Informative brochure retracing the history of the campaign for cultural diversity and presenting the UNESCO Convention

The International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) website now features a brochure retracing the history of the campaign for cultural diversity and presenting the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

This 16-page color publication produced by the IFCCD relates the milestones of the last decade, describes the major issues, and provides concrete illustrations of why the fight is important. It is backed by quotes from world-famous people.

The brochure describes the UNESCO Convention, including its objectives, monitoring bodies, the Fund for Cultural Diversity, the weight of the Convention in relation to trade agreements, and the obligations of States.

It also presents the mission of the Federation, whose founding members include 42 national coalitions for cultural diversity representing more than 600 cultural professional organizations. In addition, it presents practical information on implementing a coalition for cultural diversity.

According to the brochure, “the next few years will be crucial. If the Convention is to have true political and legal weight and international reach, it must, of course, be ratified by a significant number of countries from all regions of the world. It is also essential that creators, artists, and the general public be made aware of the existence of this Convention, that they take ownership of it and use it as an actual tool to promote cultural diversity. The Convention has been adopted. Now it is up to each of us to make sure that it takes shape and thrives to its fullest potential. The campaign for cultural diversity has just begun. Make it your campaign.”

The brochure is available in French, English, and Spanish. To read it and get a better idea of the Federation’s actions, please visit the IFCCD website.

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La documentation française publishes “Les politiques culturelles”

La documentation française has announced the publication of a work entitled “Les politiques culturelles,” edited by Philippe Tronquoy. This issue (no. 348) of Cahiers français was published in early 2009, which marked the 50th anniversary of France’s Ministry of Culture. “This is an invitation to readers to examine the cultural policies (role, means, objectives, results) of governments, particularly now in the face of major technological and economic change,” states the publisher on the website.

The issue includes some fifteen articles grouped under the following three major themes: government and culture, public policy in the face of changes in the cultural economy, and cultural acceptance and democratization.

To find out more about the content of this issue and how to obtain a copy, please visit the website of the publisher, La documentation française.

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Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

In March, the Commonwealth Foundation promotes books and literature from the Caribbean

In celebration of World Book Day on March 5, the Commonwealth Foundation is organizing a series of events to be held throughout the month of March to promote publications from the Caribbean. The schedule includes a special event held at the British Library with representatives from the Caribbean Publishers Network aimed at promoting the development of audiences for books from that part of the world, a series of events in London libraries, and a symposium on Caribbean Studies and Publishing at the University of London.

 “Caribbean publishers operate in a difficult climate, dwarfed by the much more developed publishing industries of their larger neighbors, Canada and the United States,” states the Commonwealth Foundation. “Improving conditions for Caribbean publishers and building wider audiences for Caribbean literature have therefore been identified as a priority for the Commonwealth Foundation in the extension of the outreach and education program of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.”

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Prague prepares to host the Forum for Creative Europe

The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Culture is busily preparing a conference for the Forum for Creative Europe being held as part of the Czech Republic’s presidency of the European Union. The conference will be held in Prague March 26 to 27, 2009.

According to a site created for the event, the goal of the ministerial conference is to “draw attention to the incredible potential of creativity in building an open civil society and making Europe more competitive on the world market. It will present the concept of creativity and its role in transforming modern society as well as the means of putting education to work for the economy.”

“The conference is being organized by the Czech Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the European Commission. It is one of the main events of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation (2009) and one of the contributions to the discussion of the European program for culture at a time of increased globalization.”

The concept of creativity will be explored and discussed as part of three thematic blocks: art, culture, and creative ecology; creativity and society; and creativity and education.

For more information on the conference, please visit the Forum website.

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The 2nd European Conference on Plurilingualism to be held in Berlin in June 2009

The 2nd European Conference on Plurilingualism will be held in Berlin/Genshagen June 18 and 19, 2009. The mayor's offices of Paris and Berlin are jointly sponsoring the event, which is backed by the European Commission as part of the “Europe for Citizens” program, the governments of France and Germany, and a number of other partners, The conference will bring together researchers, decision makers, and key members of civil society.

Three main themes will be addressed: Citizenship: Language, Mobility, and Culture; Education: Language Strategies from Mother Tongue to University; and Companies: Language in Business Strategies and Labor Relations.

The deadline for proposals is March 28, 2009. For more details on the event program and the content that will be addressed, please visit the European Observatory on Plurilingualism.

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Other News of Interest

France: Minister Christine Albanel hopes to help make Web surfers more aware of cultural diversity

On March 11, French Minister or Culture Christine Albanel spoke before the National Assembly on the occasion of the review of a bill against the pirating of cultural works on the Internet. On the occasion, the minister declared that she was defending a bill that was “both ambitious and realistic and examines the role the Internet can play in democratizing culture while contributing to increased awareness and the introduction of a new mindset among websurfers regarding cultural diversity and the economic and legal conditions that are indispensables to its preservation.”

“Today,” states Ms. Albanel, “the technological conditions are in place in our country for everyone to have unhindered, quick, and easy access to an almost unlimited catalog of films, songs, and soon literature, virtual exhibits, filmed theater performances, and operas. It is our responsibility to ensure that this newly available material develops in full richness and diversity to the benefit of all citizens, be they consumers, creators, or businesses in all aspects of the cultural industry and communications networks.”

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