Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 11, no 9, Monday, May 2, 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 guidelines 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 guidelines concerning nine articles of the Convention. The Intergovernmental Committee was mandated to continue developing operational guidelines.

At press time, 117 Parties (116 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

Commissioner De Gucht responds to member of the European Parliament Arif over the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA)

In our February 21 News Bulletin we reported on the Canadian government's desire to negotiate a cultural exemption for cultural industries in the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) along with remarks made by the Canadian minister of international trade, Mr. Peter Van Loan, to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The minister notably raised the issue of the European Union's request to Canada to open up its publishing industry.

This drew a reaction from member of the European Parliament, Mr. Kader Arif who, on March 4, submitted a question to the European Commission:

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“Is the Commission aware that this stance calls into question undertakings given on cultural diversity?

[...] Will an approach which involves, on the one hand, defending and promoting cultural diversity and, on the other, taking an offensive line in these sectors at the expense of trading partners' cultural policies not lead to the loss of the European Union's credibility in the area of cultural diversity? Does the Commission intend to demonstrate a concrete commitment to cultural diversity by developing a coherent external policy that respects cultural diversity, above all with Canada, with which it shares the values of cultural diversity?”

On April 18, European trade commissioner, Mr. Karel De Gucht, responded to the member of European Parliament's question:

[...]
“In the context of the ongoing negotiation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Commission's sole question to Canada relating to cultural industries thus far has been to clarify the scope of their broad cultural reservation, so that the Commission has a clear understanding as to which services would be covered. Once the Commission has this explanation from Canada, it will need to reflect on the consequences of their reservation for these sectors.

[...] Furthermore, the EU has not requested Canada to make a commitment on publishing services. Following its intention to design a general approach, the Commission drafted a concept paper on the negotiation of protocols of cultural cooperation in EU trade agreements with third countries. This paper will be presented and discussed with the European Parliament in the very near future. It has also been presented to the Council and will be discussed with civil society.”

To consult minister Van Loan's remarks in French and English, please consult the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage website.

To read the question posed by member of European Parliament Arif and the response from European commissioner De Gucht, visit the European Parliament website.

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The Cabinet of the President of the European Commission responds to European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity over CETA negotiations

On February 27 Mr. Beat Santchi, vice president of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity, wrote to the President of the European Commission, Mr. José Manuel Barroso, to express European coalitions' concerns over CETA negotiations.

“We have been informed that the European Commission is challenging the Canadian request for a cultural exception and is trying to integrate cultural and audiovisual services into the agreement with the aim to pursue the liberalization of a few Canadian cultural services.

The European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity would like to express their deep concerns on the European trade negotiators' attitude.

First, it represents a violation of the Council's mandate of April 2009 which expressly excludes the audiovisual and cultural sectors from the scope of the agreement. […]

To include cultural and audiovisual services into the CETA negotiation with Canada would disown the strong commitment of the European Union in favor of cultural diversity. […]

Canada and the European Union are the two main leaders for a better recognition of the importance and benefits of cultural diversity in our societies. Therefore it would be unacceptable for the European Commission to pursue trade liberalization in cultural and audiovisual Canadian services and to challenge a cultural exception in order to obtain Canadian commitments in other sectors.”

On April 26, Ms Inês Servulo Correia responded to the coalitions on President Barroso's behalf. Noting the importance accorded by the Commission to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, she added:

[…] “I am afraid you have been misinformed on this issue. There is no disagreement with Canada on the exclusion of audiovisual services from market access commitments. Both parties agreed that the CETA will not interfere with their right to maintain the possibility to preserve and develop their capacity to define and implement their cultural and audiovisual policies for the purpose of preserving their cultural diversity, whilst promoting cultural and audiovisual exchanges and favoring intercultural dialogue.

There are technical discussions with Canada on the modalities of the agreement. We particularly wish to avoid the risk that European cultural operators who play an active role in Canada could be discriminated against in relation to the protection of their intellectual property rights […]

The implementation of the UNESCO convention, in conjunction with the implementation of the European agenda for culture, has emphasized and underlined the role and specificity of cultural goods and services that the Commission is taking into account when addressing these issues in bilateral or multilateral negotiations.”

The letter from the European coalitions and the response from the Cabinet of the European Commission are both available in their English original version on the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity website.

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Mark Schuster Prize in comparative culture research to be awarded

The Mark Schuster Prize will be awarded to a paper on comparative cultural policies published or accepted by an academic journal or international conference between June 1, 2008, and May 30, 2011. Syntheses of a PhD dissertation officially accepted in the same time period will also be eligible for submission (maximum 30 pages). All papers must be presented in English, although the original version may be in another language.

Candidates have until May 30 to submit their application. For more information on how to enter, visit LabforCulture.org.

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Recent Publications

Culture Track 2011

Culture Track 2011 is an ongoing national research study of the attitudes and behaviors of cultural audiences, examining trends in attendance at visual arts events and the motivators and barriers that affect participation.

Its goal remains to help better understand where the arts stand in people's lives and how it can better inspire them to engage with the arts more often and in more meaningful ways.

Data was collected from over 4,000 online respondents in 2011, statistically mirroring the U.S. population, with screening to ensure a base level of cultural participation.
 
The 2011 survey will frame current online and social media practices and outline the overarching trends that take advantage of them.

With rapidly growing online communities, many institutions have struggled to fully understand the potential of this shift in audience development. Culture Track 2011 addresses this concern head on with informative and actionable research from which arts professionals can make informed decisions.

The study defines arts participation as attendance at a specific range of cultural activities, such as museum/art exhibitions, dramatic theater, musical theater, classical music, film festivals, classical dance/ballet, modern dance, and opera.

To consult the study, visit the LaPlaca Cohen website.

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Film funding in southeast Europe

The European Audiovisual Observatory has just published a new IRIS plus report entitled An Insight into Selected Film Funding Systems.

This edition of IRIS plus looks at direct aid for audiovisual production, taking a closer look at the situation in a number of countries in southeast Europe.

Nine different film aid systems?Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia?are analyzed with regard to legality, structure, and aid criteria.

The first part of the report, ?Film Aid Rules and Trends in Europe? in a section on the European Union refers to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, stressing the importance of ?measures aimed at promoting diversity of cultural expressions.?

For more information on the report, visit the European Audiovisual Observatory website.

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Detailed draft summary of the 4th ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee

The 4th ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee—a governing body of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions—was held from November 29 to December 3, 2010, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

The detailed draft summary record of this meeting should be approved at the Conference of Parties in June 2011 and is now available on the UNESCO website.

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Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

International Conference on the Arts in Society in Berlin

The 2011 International Conference on the Arts in Society will be held at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) in Berlin, Germany, from May 9 to 11, 2011. The conference will have the same theme as the Academy for 2011–2012: “ArteFacts. Knowledge is Art – Art is Knowledge.” It will seek to rethink the ties that bind art and science. Basic questions will be asked to study crossover between art and science, including: How do the arts conduct research? How closely or remotely related are science and art and what exactly justifies this strict differentiation? Where exactly do science and art come in contact with one another? In what areas can art and science join forces to address the challenges facing society in the future?

Speakers will include eminent thinkers and practitioners in the arts, while researchers and practitioners from across the artistic community will give talks and presentations at various workshops and seminars.

To register for the conference, visit the Arts in Society website.

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Literary creation Forum in Québec

The inaugural Forum on literary creation in Québec will run from May 6 to 8 at Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal.

“For three days, writers, storytellers, producers, presenters, and representatives from various associations, groups, periodicals, publishers, bookstores, and government partners […] will come together to identify and discuss main issues and current challenges, determine approaches, and put forward recommendations with a view to supporting the evolution and development of literary creation and storytelling,” notes event Chief Executive Officer Yvan Gauthier.

Themes such as the diversification of practices, the challenges posed by the digital age, and creators' living standards will be discussed.

The Forum will open with a roundtable on issues facing literary creation in Québec today, and a plenary session will be streamed live on May 6 and 8 at: http://webdiffusion.uqam.ca/forumcreationlitteraire/

To download the registration form and Forum program (available in French only), please visit the CALQ website.

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Other News of Interest

The Global Caribbean exhibition comes to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto Rico

Institut français and the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance are presenting Global Caribbean, an exhibition that runs at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto Rico until May 15, 2011, in conjunction with Musée international des arts modestes de Sète (MIAM) in France, the French Embassy's Culture Department, and Alliance Française in Porto Rico.

“Beyond the diversity of the works on display, the exhibition raises a number of questions (What is Caribbean culture when it is spread over a scattered collection of islands that speak different languages? How legitimate is it to lay claim to a Caribbean identity in an age when globalization is leading to more multiculturalism and population shifts than ever? What is the Caribbean region's role on the international stage?) The variety of materials used and the themes they raise are a testament to the Caribbean region's creative powers and the multiple identities it encompasses. Under the commissionership of Edouard Duval-Carrié—a Haitian artist living in Miami— photographs, sculptures, videos, and installations meet to highlight the cultural, historical, and political complexity of the Caribbean […] ”

“Global Caribbean brings together twenty-odd contemporary Caribbean artists from various generations, each with their own way of working with photographs, painting, plastic installations, engraving, sculpture, and video. The exhibition was created in order to break with stereotypes that tend to pigeonhole Caribbean art as traditional, inward-looking, and far removed from developments on the international art scene,” reads the Institut français press release.

For more on the event, visit the Institut français website.

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Moldova: a French-language travel-writing prize is launched

On April 15 2011, a French-language travel-writing prize was launched at Maison francophone des Savoirs in Chişinău, Moldova.

The award takes the form of a contest for young writers organized by OIF in central and eastern European countries, under the patronage of Moldova's education ministry and in partnership with the Canadian Embassy, Wallonia- Brussels delegation, Alliance Française of Moldava (AFM), the Moldova writers' Union, Maison francophone des Savoirs in Chişinău, and the Cartier publishing house.

The award seeks to scout out and encourage up-and-coming literary talent in the French language and is aimed at Moldova residents age 16 to 36.

Application forms and contest rules can be downloaded on the Primăria municipiului Chişinău website.

Applications must be received by July 10, 2011.

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Croisements Festival in China

Organized by the French Embassy in China with the support of the Chinese Culture Ministry in cooperation with a profusion of artistic partners in France and China, the Croisements Festival will run until June 18 in 25 Chinese cities.

Created in 2006, the celebration of French and Chinese culture features a lineup of over 180 events for 2011, including cinema, dance, music, theater, circus, photography, and street entertainment.

For more information on the Festival program, please visit the Institut français and 2011 Croisements Festival websites.

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