Vol. 12, no 5, Monday, May 7, 2012
Efforts to implement the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are underway!
IN THIS ISSUE :
The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and 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, five ordinary and two extraordinary sessions have been held, for a total of seven.
The third session of the Conference of Parties, which took place in Paris on June 14 and 15, 2011, saw the approbation of operational guidelines concerning three articles of the Convention and measures to ensure the visibility and promotion of the Convention . In total, twelve articles of the Convention now incorporate operational guidelines.
At press time, 122 Parties (121 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.
In our November 7, 2011 edition, we detailed the concerns expressed by the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity regarding the list of trade barriers drawn up under the STRI (Services Trade Restrictiveness Index) initiative in the audiovisual sector by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We reported on letters sent by the French Coalition in September 2011 to the ministers of France’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Communications, and Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Industry to alert them to the dangers of this practice.
On March 15, 2012, the French Coalition, still concerned about the risks to the audiovisual sector posed by the STRI effort, sent a letter to the secretary-general of OECD, Mr. Angel Gurria.
In its letter, the Coalition restated the risks of the STRI venture vis-à-vis the diversity of cultural expressions:
“[…] Despite your assurances that the diversity of cultural expressions would qualify as an objective under the initiative, the French Coalition nonetheless fears the project is by its very nature biased, and poses a risk to any public policy that does not directly envision the liberalization of trade.
“What this means is […] OECD country policies will be measured only against their commercial aims, without balancing the Services Trade Restrictiveness Index against how useful these measures are for developing and promoting the diversity of cultural expressions .
“As a result, the Services Trade Restrictiveness Index will negatively quantify the impact of measures in favor of a public objective considered essential by the 29 OECD countries that signed and ratified the UNESCO Convention UNESCO on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.”
In his reply dated April 10, 2012, Mr. Ken Ash, OECD director of trade and agriculture, sought to allay the French Coalition’s concerns as to the nature of the STRI initiative in the audiovisual sector. He noted the following points among others in his reply to the Coalition:
“[…] This instrument is in no way intended to pass judgment on measures implemented by States to promote cultural diversity. The STRI is not designed to evaluate policies or recommend a particular model for regulating audiovisual services.”
“[…] Our concern as OECD Secretariat is for the index to be neutral vis-à-vis policy objectives. I share your belief that the index should not favor any one country or call into question the policies of a country.”
“ […] I would further point out that the list of measures for the audiovisual sector is not yet carved in stone and is currently under discussion by the Trade Committee. We appreciate your input. Rest assured that the STRI will reflect a consensus of OECD Member State delegates on the measures to include.”
The text of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is now available in Bambara, one of Mali’s most commonly spoken languages, on the UNESCO website.
The Bambara version was made possible by Acte Sept, a Malian cultural association that founded the Malian Coalition for Cultural Diversity, a subject we mentioned in our April 2, 2012 newsletter.
Translating the Convention into Malian local languages is one of Acte Sept’s primary aims, in order to promote better understanding of the Convention by all stakeholders in Mali and contribute to Convention implementation and development of a regional cultural policy.
For more details, please consult the UNESCO website.
The International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) has just published the report “Creative Intersections: Partnerships between the arts, culture and other sectors.”
This report presents the results of a research project on the study and analysis of “creative intersections,” the partnerships that exist between the arts and other sectors, and the figures, structures, and policies that influence them. More precisely, the objective of the research project was to look at the ways that artists are working in diverse settings (from communities through to the commercial sector) and the nature of partnerships (“intersections”). It also looked at the ways that governments at all levels (local, national, international) initiate, support, or influence such relationships through policies or programs.
The report covers four key areas. The first is a general review of creative intersections and the types of sectors where these intersections occur, based largely on the information gathered from the respondents and delegates of the 5 th World Summit on Arts and Culture held in Melbourne, Australia, October 3–6, 2011. The second is a perspective on the structural aspects of partnerships prompted by the information and vision provided by the experts consulted. The third summarizes the policies and programs undertaken by the funding bodies surveyed, and the fourth identifies elements and themes for further research and discussion.
To consult and download this report, please visit the IFACCA website.
Interarts and the Proyecta Cultura network have just released a report entitled “Access of Young People to Culture in Ibero-America: Trends, Obstacles and Experiencies” (Acceso de los jóvenes a la cultura en Iberoamérica: Tendencias, obstáculos y experiencias), which results from a research project undertaken in 12 Ibero-American countries in 2011. Local correspondents in each of the countries under study described the legal and institutional frameworks relevant to the access of young people to culture, identified trends and case studies, and collected testimonials from young people addressing their perception of cultural life. Later on, an editorial team analysed the evidence and prepared the final report. The project was funded by the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development and provides the basis for forthcoming activities in the context of Proyecta Cultura, in which Interarts is involved.
The full report and an executive summary, both in Spanish, are available on the Interarts website.
Interarts is a Spanish private agency with international projects to support the design of cultural policies, contribute to the processes of development through the cultural sector, and facilitate the transfer of knowledge and information in the field of culture.
Proyecta Cultura acts as an international platform for cultural actors from a variety of backgrounds and experiences to come together to develop mechanisms for culture-based management, programs, and projects at a local level.
The April 2012 edition of the Coalition Currents newsletter is now available.
This edition features the following articles:
Coalition Currents is published by the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity in partnership with the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity. It is available in French, English, and Spanish.
The launch of the African Festival Network (AFRIFESTNET) took place in Accra, Ghana, from April 19–21 with 37 festivals from 18 countries in attendance.
The idea for such a network first surfaced at a seminar hosted by the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) and Arterial Network in July 2010, with the vision “to build the independent sustainability of and to promote African arts festivals as key platforms to nurture, celebrate, and project excellent and emerging African artists nationally, regionally, and internationally.”
The launch included keynote addresses by Korkor Amarteifio, chairperson of Arterial Network, and Kathrin Deventer, chief executive officer of the European Festival Association (EFA). Ms. Deventer also expressed her desire to make EFA a potential partner of AFRIFESTNET. Roundtables and workshops were also organized to address a variety of topics including fundraising and sustainability strategies for festivals, the use of social media in marketing festivals, building and consolidating festival circuits and training festival managers, as well as various actions for implementing AFRIFESTNET effectively and for improving festivals on the African continent.
Moreover, a founding resolution and a constitution to legalize the African Festival Network were adopted and an eight-person steering committee to lead the organization over the next two years has been elected.
By the end of the launch event, AFRIFESTNET had 155 registered members representing festivals and events in theater, music, dance, film, heritage, literature, visual arts, and multidisciplinary events from all five African regions.
The International Francophone Theater Commission (Commission internationale du théâtre francophone-CITF) offers funding to theater coproduction projects involving three artistic partners (including at least two theater companies) from three different French-language countries on at least two continents.
The next deadline for submitting an application for the CITF program is May 15, 2012.
Artists and companies from Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East are all invited to participate in the CITF program. To date nearly 200 projects have received support, giving artists the opportunity to work together to develop and produce works of theater, to explore and enrich their approach to art, to discover other French-speaking cultures, and to reach new audiences. This program is also a boon to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions with its promotion of projects involving international cooperation (coproductions) in the field of theater.
The registration form and program details are available on the CITF website.
Created in 1987, the International Francophone Theater Commission supports multilateral projects for the creation and distribution of works of theater. It is made up of government representatives and experts from the theater milieu.
Following the success of its previous year’s program, the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), in partnership with the Arts Network Asia (ANA) and the European network Trans Europe Halles (TEH), have launched the second edition of the “Creative Encounters – Cultural Partnerships between Asia and Europe” program for 2012–2013.
This program aims to showcase the cultural diversity of Asia and Europe. It supports multilateral projects in various disciplines of contemporary arts, including performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, film and new media , and crossdisciplinary and networking projects.
The Creative Encounters program fosters engagement across cultures through artistic collaborations, exchanges, and dialogues, with the aim of deepening mutual understanding between the cultural communities of the two regions.
Arts and cultural organizations are invited to submit proposals by June 30, 2012 for the second edition.
The selected projects will take place between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013.
For more information regarding this program, please visit the Asia-Europe Foundation.
The European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and ENCATC, the leading European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centers, have officially launched the call for applications for the 6th Young Cultural Policy Researchers’ (YCPR) Forum.
The YCPR Forum will bring together researchers, students, academics and cultural policy experts in the cultural field drawn from a wide range of countries in Europe and beyond to meet in London, September 11–12, 2012. Initiated in 2006 by ECF and managed since 2008 by ENCATC, this important initiative has proven over the years to be an ideal occasion for young cultural researchers to expand their networks and explore new cooperation and publishing opportunites. The forum thus provides young/early career cultural policy researchers with the opportunity to meet fellow researchers, share their experiences, and analyse topical research issues regarding content and methodology.
The deadline for applications is May 30, 2012.
The YCPR Forum is an initiative by the European Cultural Foundation and ENCATC, as part of a larger collaborative project involving the Cultural Policy Research Award (CPRA) and the Online Young Researchers Forum, a new participatory online tool in cultural policy research, in partnership with LabforCulture and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.