Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 11, no 6, Monday, March 21, 2011

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!

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions came into force on March 18, 2007. At the first session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention in June 2007, the Intergovernmental Committee was given a mandate to develop the necessary operational directives for implementing the Convention. Since then, four ordinary and two extraordinary sessions have been held, for a total of six.

The second session of the Conference of Parties, which took place in Paris on June 15 and 16, 2009, saw the adoption of operational directives concerning nine articles of the Convention. The Intergovernmental Committee was mandated to continue developing operational directives.

At press time, 116 Parties (115 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.

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Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

International Fund for Cultural Diversity: the 2nd call for projects is launched

UNESCO announces the 2nd call for applications for the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD).The IFCD is a means to support the implementation of the Convention, by fostering the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector in developing countries. Its purpose is to promote sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing and least-developed countries that are Parties to the Convention. The use of the IFCD may take the form of legal, technical or financial support, or expertise, and must be consistent with the objectives of the IFCD.

The fourth ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee approved 31 projects to be funded from IFCD in the framework of its Pilot Phase (over 250 requests for funding had been received by UNESCO during the first IFCD call for applications launched in March 2010).

To be considered, applications must be received no later than June 30, 2011.

To learn more about the terms of this call for projects, please visit the UNESCO website.

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A look back at the European Commission conference celebrating 5 years of the UNESCO Convention

On December 8, 2010, the European Commission, with the support of the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union, organized a high-level conference celebrating five years of the adoption of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The need for action to ensure the Convention’s implementation and growing recognition of culture’s economic potential were among the topics discussed. Speakers stressed the need for culture to be systematically included in policy and development instruments in order to make the most of its potential as a tool for development and sustainable growth.

Documents from the conference are now available on the European Commission website. They include opening remarks by Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO deputy director general for culture and World Heritage Center director, a speech by Androulla Vassiliou, commissioner for education, training, culture, multilingualism, and youth, and a video that gives a good idea of the prevailing atmosphere at the conference.

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New contributions to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD)

Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Finland, Norway, and Sweden recently contributed to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD). Norway weighed in with a hefty US$664,473.22, while Finland contributed US$26,281.20, its fifth payment to IFCD.

IFCD is a voluntary multidonor fund that seeks to promote sustainable development cooperation and reduce poverty to help foster a vibrant culture industry in developing countries. IFCD resources come from voluntary contributions from Parties and other states, regional and international organizations, public and private bodies, and individuals. The Conference of Parties recommended that Parties make annual contributions to IFCD of at least 1% of their countries’ contributions to the UNESCO budget.
 
As of March 9, 2011, fund contributions totaled US$3,709,675.15.

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Ateliers for Young Festival Managers: call for intense training program in Singapore and Izmir

A call has been made to bring together young festival managers from around the world to take part in training workshops from May 14 to 21 in Singapore and October 24 to 31 in Izmir, Turkey. These intensive week-long workshops are designed to share experiences and pass on knowledge of the arts, artists, and festival formulas and themes to festival organizers through group discussions and case studies. They will bring together 45 festival managers from around the world, including Bernard Faivre d’Arcier, Rose Fenton, Goh Ching Lee, Hugo De Greef, and Nele Hertling.

Applications to take part in the October workshops must be received by April 7, 2011.

For application information, go to the European Festivals Association website.

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Call for proposals for the 37th annual Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts (STPA) Conference

The University of Kentucky will host the 37th annual Social Theory, Politics, and the Arts (STPA) Conference entitled “Cultural Policy and Arts Management in the 21st Century: Changes and Continuities” from October 13 to 17.

The conference will tackle the following questions: How will the arts adapt to a new reality? How will policy decisions affect the arts and artists? What are policy alternatives for the arts community? How are art institutions and artists adapting to new infrastructure? What continuities will remain in the 21st century? How are trends and forces developing in the United States and other countries?

Proposals that address this theme from a variety of perspectives as either an individual presentation or a panel discussion are particularly welcome. In addition, proposals that address the broader scope of issues affecting cultural policy, policy actors, and art and art making will also be accepted.

STPA is an interdisciplinary gathering of researchers, policy makers, practitioners, and students that explores key trends, practices, and policy issues affecting the arts around the world.
 
Deadline for submissions: April 22, 2011

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Recent Publications

France’s Senate Committee on Culture, Education, and Communication looks into the 2005 Convention

On March 10 France’s ambassador and permanent delegate to UNESCO, Rama Yade, addressed the Senate Committee on Culture, Education, and Communication regarding the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The committee, which is chaired by Jacques Legendre, was seeking to report on the Convention’s progress and question the strategy taken by UNESCO to promote the diversity of cultural expressions. Here is an extract from the address:

“The Convention is a success in and of itself. It represents a major step forward for its principles and has changed how culture is regarded in the international arena. [...] The Convention’s contribution runs deeper than this, however, and has become second nature to the point that it is often forgotten that the Convention made it international law. Cultural goods and services cannot be considered to be mere merchandise, according to the somewhat awkward cultural exception formula. States have the right to implement public cultural policy since the market does not guarantee the optimal allocation of resources in the cultural sector. [...]

The Convention helps promote the creation of more varied cultural industries and networks in the face of ever-greater concentration. How? Between 2005 and 2010, the States Parties drew up the operational guidelines governing the Convention’s application. It was a long but necessary process that gave cause to believe the Convention was temporarily on the decline. Not a bit of it. Its operational guidelines in favor of developing countries are now in place and beginning to work. Strengthening them is a priority. [...]

Article 20 of Convention made its principles clear: “mutual supportiveness, complementarity, and nonsubordination” in relation to other international instruments, including those of the World Trade Organization (WTO). I believe it would be premature to go beyond this, because legal interpretations are not clear: we have no way of knowing how a dispute between WTO and Convention rules would be arbitrated. Some countries are occasionally tempted, under friendly pressure, to give up rights they hold under the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions when concluding bilateral free-trade agreements. The issues are not limited to the interpretation of the law: they also concern the economy, particularly in the audiovisual goods industry, with the biggest risk being that there are ways round the Convention.

To address this situation, the European Union and France have adapted their own strategies. Whenever possible in our cultural cooperation and exchange agreements, we refer to the 2005 Convention and set out its principles and norms. It is in these ad hoc bilateral agreements that the Convention takes its meaning. [...]

The Convention is still young and has yet to bear all its fruit; it remains rich in potential. Let’s be patient, let’s let time take its course. But we must remain active, especially throughout the Francophonie, to ensure the Convention is properly implemented and bolstered in the face of other international instruments.”

The address can be read in its entirety on the Senate website.

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The March 7, 2011 edition of the Accords bilatéraux et diversité culturelle newsletter

The March 7, 2011 edition of the Accords bilatéraux et diversité culturelle newsletter features the following topics of interest:

Trade policy

  • Free Trade Agreement negotiations between the E.U. and Canada: cultural exception under threat?

Audiovisual industry

  • MEDIA program restructuring worries the European cinema industry
  • Mixed cinema-going numbers in the E.U., the U.S., and Québec
  • White paper on rights and remuneration for audiovisual authors in Europe

Digital issues

  • New Google initiatives
  • U.S. on the offensive against illegal downloads
  • Book economy gets an overhaul
  • Video-streaming market blossoms

Publications

The Accords bilatéraux et diversité culturelle newsletter is produced by CEIM (Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation) for the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF).

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Interviews with European cultural bloggers

In 2009 LabforCulture.org, a European Cultural Foundation partner, quizzed nine cultural bloggers from across Europe (Spain, Poland, Great Britain, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands) who held various positions in the cultural sphere. Their answers to questions about their profile, motivation, blog content, target audience, and economic models were published in a 2010 document entitled “Cultural Bloggers Interviewed.”

To download the document and consult an interactive map of cultural blogging in Europe, visit the LabforCulture.org website.

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Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Conference on Québec cultural policy over the past 50 years

As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Québec’s Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, on April 4 and 5 HEC Montréal will hold a conference on Québec cultural policy over the past 50 years.

One of the conference’s aims is to set up a comparative analysis of the development of cultural policy with other regions and countries, particularly English-speaking Canada, the United States, and E.C. countries, as well as look at cultural policy issues in the 21st century. The conference will follow up on two previous conferences: “Public Authorities and Cultural Policy: National Issues” (HEC, 1991) and the “International Symposium on Cultural Policy Trends and Challenges in Western Countries” (Québec, 2008). It is aimed at researchers, students, agency and public authority representatives, cultural artists and professionals, professional associations, culture councils, and other groups.

For more information, visit the HEC Montréal – Chaire de gestion des arts website.

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Cultural Development and Exchange Fund Denmark–Vietnam

The Cultural Development and Exchange Fund (CDEF) supports contemporary artists and cultural performances in Vietnam and cultural exchange activities between Denmark and Vietnam that seek to showcase both countries’ cultures and encourage inspiration, cooperation, and understanding between artists and citizens of both countries.

Insofar as possible Danish artists performing in Vietnam should get Vietnamese artists involved in their work and vice versa. Performances may be repeated in another country.

Danish and Vietnamese individuals and organizations may apply for project support two or three times a year. The deadlines for 2011 are June 15 and September 15.

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Training program on arts advocacy and networking to be held in Bamako, Mali

The Arterial Network’s Third Winter School on Arts Advocacy and Networking will run from April 10 to 16 in Bamako, Mali. The training program seeks “to help build and consolidate sustainable networks of artists on the African continent by helping delegates use the toolkits developed by Arterial (advocating for the arts and networking, fundraising, arts marketing, cultural policies).”

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Association des cinémas parallèles du Québec: serving the diversity of cultural expressions for over 30 years

Since 1979 Association des cinémas parallèles du Québec (ACPQ) has sought to improve access to diversified, quality cinema throughout Québec, thereby helping to promote the diversity of cultural expressions.

The association’s website notes that ACPQ’s raison d’être is to “bring together noncommercial cinema organizations across Québec in order to promote cinema throughout the province and to make diversified, quality cinema available for Quebecers to enjoy.”

A number of ACPQ members have come together under the RÉSEAU PLUS banner and receive programming support. Set up in 1992, the network focuses on broadcasting contemporary auteur films from Québec and further afield in 35 mm or digital format, depending on location. It boasts forty-odd theaters that are kept going by the commitment of all those involved across Québec. They are managed by nonprofit organizations and tend to be in cultural centers, concert halls, and auditoriums alongside other art forms.

Each theater features a carefully constructed program of 12 to 40 movies a year. They have often received awards or come to the fore at international film festivals, but tend not to be shown outside of major cities. Shorts are also shown and there is a special place for up-and-coming directors.

The OEIL CINÉMA program (Outil pour l’Éducation à l’Image et au Langage CINÉMAtographiques, or the Educational Tool for Cinema Pictures and Language) grants high school teachers free access to a bank of films and cinema-related teaching materials.

ACPQ also publishes Ciné-Bulles, a magazine available in French that focuses on auteur cinema.

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Inter-American U40 meeting in Toluca, Mexico

The Inter-American U40 meeting will be held from May 19 to 22 in Toluca, Mexico. Organized by the City of Toluca in partnership with Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the meeting will spotlight the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions at the city and community levels. It will look at the following questions: Which culture policies are available to local governments to promote local cultural expressions? Which regulations could be put in place to ensure the fair exchange of goods and services with aboriginals and minorities? Which activities and projects can civil society put in place to help protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions locally? And which activities can be set up to make communities more aware of the need to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions?

The U40 program is an opportunity for young culture experts, cultural policy experts midway through their careers, young culture professionals, jurists, graduate and postgraduate students, and other qualified professionals under 40 to take part in an international debate on cultural diversity and the implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. It was set up by the German Commission for UNESCO in 2007.

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Other News of Interest

South by Southwest Festival 2011

The South by Southwest Festival was held in Austin, Texas, from March 11 to 20. This major international event regularly unfurls a broad range of cultural expressions by way of concerts, cinema, and interactive multimedia. It is a leading international showcase and springboard for works by new artistic talents. Québec attended the festival for the first time ever, with forty-odd bands, films, and movie directors and ten entrepreneurs from the interactive multimedia industry present.

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