Vol. 9, no 20, Monday, June 1, 2009
Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!
IN THIS ISSUE :
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 Intergovernmental Committee has held two regular meetings to date: one in Ottawa, Canada, from December 10 to 13, 2007, and the other in Paris, France, from December 8 to 12, 2008. In addition to these meetings, two special sessions were held in Paris from June 24 to 27, 2008, and from March 23 to 25, 2009. The second Conference of the Parties will be held from June 15 to 18, 2009, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
At press time, 99 Parties (98 states and the European Community as a regional economic integration organization) had ratified the treaty. 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.
A new website designed as a “one stop portal for information about the arts in Africa” was officially launched on May 25 in Johannesburg. “The idea of the Arts in Africa website was born in 2007 at the Arterial Conference on revitalizing African Cultural assets held in Goree Island in Senegal. One of the resolutions made at the conference was the need to create a repository of information, resources, and material on African arts and culture. Accordingly, the Arterial Network, with the support of the European Union and HIVOS, decided to produce, host, and maintain a comprehensive and up-to-date website on African arts, culture, heritage, and the creative industries.
“[…] Facts are listed by country as well as discipline. The site also includes information on UNESCO branches, funding agencies, E-newsletters, cultural policy, creative industries, events, conferences, training institutions, and civil society organizations, among other things,” states the homepage of the new site, which is available in French and English.
The European Commission invites everyone to mark their calendars for two events to be held at the end of summer.
The Culture Program Conference on Monday, September 28 will present past and ongoing projects (funded by Culture 2000 and the Culture Program 2007–2013), encouraging exchange of experience and good practice between cultural operators.
The European Culture Forum on September 29–30 aims to bring together around 600 participants from culture and civil society, Member States, and EU institutions to take stock of progress in implementing the European Agenda for Culture.
Over two days, participants will exchange views and experiences regarding the three strategic objectives of the Agenda: cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, culture as a catalyst for creativity, and culture as a vital element in the EU's international relations. Keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops will all feed the debate.
A preliminary program and information on how to register are available on the European Commission website.
The Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity has announced the recent publication of Rediscovering music in cities of the South, a guide offering theoretical and practical guidelines on how to draw up and implement policies to develop the music sector at the local level. The guide is published by the NGO Culture et développement.
“Following the success of the Viaduc program—“Music, Cultural Diversity, and Development”—and with the support of UNESCO’s Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity and authors from Africa and the Caribbean, Culture et Développement has recently published Rediscovering music in cities of the South: The local elected representative’s Africa-Caribbean guide to developing the music industry.
This pragmatic tool is a reference book and is based on the result of the accumulated experiences and case studies of cultural operators in the South within the greater framework of the Viaduc program.
Led by Culture et développement in partnership with other organizations, this program aims to support the efforts of local collectives in Africa and Caribbean countries so as to create favorable conditions for the development of musical creation and local music industries.
The publication, which is a result of the Viaduc program, suggests methodological and practical elements to help implement policies for the music sector at the local level. Case studies from Burkina Faso, Cuba, Côte d’Ivoire, and South Africa help reflect the challenges and opportunities faced by people in the music sector by illustrating the processes entailed in attempting to develop administrative frameworks for music development, training infrastructures, and networks of cultural enterprises in the music sector. The lessons learnt could assist others in the music industry, including policymakers and those who have interests in cooperating and collaborating with music and cultural professionals, to develop activities related to musical creations,” states the Alliance.
The book is available in English, French, and Spanish. To learn more on how to obtain a copy of this publication, email email@example.com.
The Culturelink Network has announced the recent publication of a book entitled Creative Industries Switzerland: facts.models.culture by Christoph Weckerle, Manfred Gerig, and Michael Söndermann (Zurich University of the Arts/Birkhäuser).
According to the website, the book “provides a greatly needed overview of the concepts and specific characteristics of this sector. It analyzes the international discourse, presents up-to-date empirical-statistical Europe-wide analyses, derives models and draws conclusions for the current debate in Switzerland, and places special emphasis on the innovative potential of the creative scene and its dynamics for the entire creative industry.
“Policy makers at all levels are discovering the notion of creative industries: the music industry, literature and book market, art market, film and television industries, performing arts, design, architecture, advertising, software/computer games—from economic and innovation strategies to education policy and urban development, the creative industries are being described as a model for success.”
The publication addresses individuals who wish to familiarize themselves with the creative industries on a strategic-political level, who want to deepen their knowledge, or who are active in developing means of funding.
The names of the winners of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize were recently unveiled at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival. The two winners received their prizes from the Governor-General of New Zealand, the Hon Sir Anand Satyanand. Best Book winner Christos Tsiolkas received a prize of £10,000, while Best First Book winner Mohammed Hanif claimed £5,000.
The announcement came at the culmination of a week-long series of events in New Zealand where the regional winning writers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa gave readings, took part in public Q&A sessions, and visited schools and prisons in Auckland, Napier, and Wellington.
The Commonwealth Writers' Prize aims to reward the best Commonwealth fiction written in English by both established and new writers and to take their works to a global audience. It is sponsored and organized by the Commonwealth Foundation with the support of the Macquarie Group Foundation.
Key players in the music sector of the Indian Ocean region recently announced their plans to create the Indian Ocean Music Network (IOMN) following a meeting held in Johannesburg bringing together 40 representatives of the music sector and festivals celebrating 12 of the region’s countries and islands. “Aside from the need to stimulate job creation, pool resources, boost creativity, and encourage cultural exchange, it is also crucial to promote local music at a regional level. In this regard, the meeting allowed us to identify key objectives for the Indian Ocean Music Network (IOMN). The network feels it is imperative to sustainably develop viable circuits for musicians and artists, encourage economies of scale, respect cultural diversity, and share resources in mutually beneficial ways,” states the Conseil francophone de la chanson website.
In a recent press release, the European Audiovisual Observatory states that digital filmmaking is gaining ground in Europe. According to recent figures provided by MEDIA Salles, the number of digital screens equipped with DLP Cinema or Sony 4K technology increased during 2008 by 70% to 1,529 digital screens as of January 1, 2009. The European Audiovisual Observatory estimates that between 4% and 5% of all European screens had been converted to digital by the end of 2008. The number of theaters equipped with at least one digital screen grew to 815 sites, up 48% from 2007.
“Based on an early roll-out in the framework of its Digital Screen Network—the first public initiative to support digitalization of cinemas in Europe which began roll-out in autumn 2005—the United Kingdom still leads the European digital cinema market with 303 digital screens operational at the end of 2008. However, with no further public funding available, screen growth has slowed down, with only 19 new digital screen installations throughout 2008. In contrast, France is rapidly catching up with the U.K., with digital screens almost quadrupling to 253 units in 2008, up from only 66 in the previous year. This growth is chiefly due to the decision by CGR, the third largest French exhibitor, to start conversion of its approximately 400 screens. While awaiting the outcome of negotiations over a funding scheme to support the digitalization of German cinemas—the so-called 100 model—German exhibitors were hesitant to invest heavily in conversion, transforming only an additional 10 screens throughout the year. This brought the German total digital screen base to 161, now the third largest base in Europe. Relative to their size, Luxemburg and Belgium show the highest density of digital cinema installations, with 21 and 98 digital screens respectively in operation by the end of 2008.
“While many countries are still developing schemes to support the transition to digital, the Polish Filmmakers Association scheme to support the installation of up to 300 digital projectors in smaller cinemas contributed to increasing Poland's digital screen base to 53, up from only 8 in 2007. In other countries larger exhibitors such as Cineplexx Kinobetriebe in Austria and ZON Lusomondo in Portugal followed CGR's example and decided to go ahead with the conversion of their screens, often in response to the perceived attraction of 3D screenings. As a result of these initiatives, a significant increase in digital projection systems could be observed in Russia (+59), Austria (+49), Italy (+42), and Portugal (+30) throughout 2008,” states the Observatory.
At the invitation of the Tunisian government, an international conference organized jointly by the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) will be held June 2 to 4 in Kairouan, Tunisia. It will feature a panel of political personalities and experts in the fields of culture, education, and the media. The conference will address the theme of “The Dialogue of Civilizations and Cultural Diversity.”
“The conference will bring together some twenty international organizations including the UN, the European Council, the African Union, the Arab League, the Arab Maghreb Union, UNESCO, ALECSO, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, African and Islamic development banks, and NGOs and special forums. The conference will also be an opportunity to find innovative ways of creating new international cooperation policies that promote sustainable dialogue between civilizations,” states the OIF, adding that the conference is in keeping with the principles of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions adopted in 2005 by a large majority of UNESCO Member States, and the Islamic Declaration on Cultural Diversity adopted by the Islamic Conference of Cultural Ministers (Algiers, December 2004).
Following this meeting, the Kairouan Declaration and a framework for its implementation will be adopted.