Cultural diversity

Newsletter
The Diversity of Cultural Expressions

Vol. 12, no 6, Monday, June 4, 2012

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 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.

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Press Releases, Speeches, and Declarations

Draft free trade agreement between Europe and the United States

On May 21, 2012, the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity issued a press release expressing alarm about the discussions recently held between the European Union (EU) and the United States with a view to concluding a free trade agreement.

The French Coalition fears that the United States will use these negotiations as an opportunity to deregulate audiovisual and cultural services and challenge the policies supporting cultural diversity in Europe.

In concluding his May 11 speech to the American-German Chamber of Commerce in Hamburg, European Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht affirmed the need for this transatlantic agreement to be ambitious and include all major economic sectors, which makes the French Coalition all the more concerned.

According to the Coalition, “any renunciation by the European Union to obtain the exclusion of audiovisual and cultural services, whether digital or not, would for Europe be politically inconsistent, culturally disastrous, and industrially hazardous.”

The French Coalition “therefore calls on the President of the [French] Republic, François Hollande, and his government to exercise the utmost vigilance with regard to these transatlantic discussions, which could undermine 20 years of [France’s] struggle for cultural diversity.”

To read the Coalition’s press release, visit the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity website.

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Recent Publications

Contribution of the European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity to the quadrennial report of the European Union

In January 2012, the European Commission organized a civil society consultation with a view to preparing the first quadrennial report of the European Union (EU) on implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, as the other Parties to the Convention.

Deeming the scope of consultation to be too limited to civil society actions, the European Coalitions for Cultural Diversity drafted an independent contribution on this subject. They first present the actions they have taken to implement the Convention on the European, national, and international levels. They then comment on integrating the “cultural diversity” dimension into European and other policies, stressing the need to fully comply with the Convention by completely excluding audiovisual and cultural services from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) currently being negotiated between the EU and Canada. They also mention civil society involvement with regard to European policies affecting cultural diversity.

To consult this document, which is currently available in English, please consult the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity website.  

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“Mobility & Touring in East Africa”

Art Moves Africa (AMA), an international not-for-profit organization, just published a report entitled “Mobility & Touring in East Africa”, which presents the results of a research study on the performing arts sector in East Africa.

The objective of the study was to identify the main actors in the performing arts in East Africa and to analyze the relevance and frequency of artistic mobility from that geographical area towards the whole African continent.

With the support of AMA partners in the region and interviews carried out in situ, the study resulted in a three-part publication concerning

  • The identification and mapping of available infrastructure and human resources in the performing arts;
  • The identification and analysis of opportunities and major obstacles to mobility in East Africa;
  • Proposed feasible and practical solutions for the implementation of mobility.

An e-published version of this report is available for download on the Arterial Network website.

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ON-AiR: Reflecting on the mobility of artists in Europe

After an intensive two-year collaborative project with 19 European partners looking at artistic residencies and mobility, ON-AiR : Reflecting on the mobility of artists in Europe has been published, along with other online information tools on artist residencies.

With this publication the partners of the ON-AiR project aim to take the reader on a “journey,” reflecting on the current state of mobility in which artists in Europe operate and their art flourishes. It also includes a summary of the results and outcomes of the ON-AiR project.

An editorial team consisting of 18 mobility experts from the different regions of Europe, all working as partners in ON-AiR, proposed 10 topics or thoughts for a more in-depth approach. Ten essays by authors from across Europe are the result. The content and format of the essays differ enormously, varying from a letter written to a resident artist to an examination of the much-discussed “brain drain” phenomenon in Eastern Europe.

The partners of ON-AiR also published a useful toolkit on artist residencies, including the ON-AiR workshop manual packed with tips and advice for artists considering applying for residencies, as well as regional information on mobility with maps of residency opportunities from project partners in various parts of Europe.

To order this publication and for more information, please visit the ON-AiR website.

ON-AiR is a collaborative project of 19 artist-in-residence centers, art education institutes, municipalities, knowledge centers, and artists-run initiatives in Europe funded by the European Commission and coordinated by Trans Artists.

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“Measuring the economic benefits of arts and culture”

Arts Council England has just published the report Measuring the economic benefits of arts and culture”.

Written by BOP Consulting, this report sets out practical guidance for any arts or cultural organization thinking about conducting research into its economic benefits. In particular, it discusses four methods of measuring the value of a cultural organization’s activities, which fall into two distinct categories: measures of spending and valuations of wider benefits. Spending-measure techniques look at actual spending by organizations, audiences, and performers, and its effects on the economy. Valuation techniques, on the other hand, try to put a price on the wider benefits people gain from culture, even in cases such as museums with free admission where no money changes hands. A series of case studies explores the relative merits of each of the four approaches.

To consult the report in question, please visit the Arts Council England website.

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The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: A Commentary

In The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions: A Commentary, thirty diplomats, practitioners, and academics explain and assess the Convention in a commentary style. Article by article, the evolution, concepts, content, and implications of the Convention are analyzed in depth and are complemented by valuable recommendations for implementation. In an unprecedented way, the book draws on the first-hand insights of negotiators and the experience of practitioners in implementation, including international cooperation, and combines this with a good deal of critical academic reflection.

This publication is a valuable guide for those who deal with the Convention and its implementation in governments, diplomacy, international organizations, cultural institutions, and non-governmental organizations and will also serve as an important resource for academic work in such fields as international law and international relations.

For more details and to order this book, please visit the Springer website.

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Cultural Policies and Measures – Best Practices

Cultural Diversity Ministerial Forum of the Asia Pacific Region

The Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Bangladesh and UNESCO organized a three-day ministerial Forum from May 9 to 11, 2012, in Dhaka, with a view of strengthening bilateral and multilateral cultural cooperation between countries in the region and encouraging further ratification and implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions at the country level.

The ministers of culture and representatives of the region’s thirty-three countries attended this meeting, which ended with the adoption of the Dhaka Declaration on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The declaration calls for strengthening cultural cooperation as a driver of sustainable and humane development in the region. Moreover, since only 12 out of the 44 member countries in the Asia and Pacific region have ratified the Convention, the Declaration also calls upon UNESCO to raise awareness of the Convention and continue to provide technical assistance for its implementation.

By participating in this forum and unanimously adopting the Declaration, nations in the Asia and Pacific region stressed their commitment to protect cultural diversity, promote cultural and creative industries, and strengthen regional cooperation in those fields.

For more details regarding this event, please consult the Cultural Diversity Ministerial Forum of the Asia Pacific Region website.

The forum was supported by the International Fund for Cultural Diversity, established by the Convention, and is included in the projects that have been approved for the first call for funding applications (2010).

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New contributions to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity

In April and May 2012, seven Parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions contributed to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD). This includes the first contribution from Montenegro (US$1,324.50). Mauritius, Estonia, and Sweden are on their second payments (respective amounts of US$805.46, US$1,360.00, and US$41,126.50), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and China are on their third (respective amounts of US$312.00 and US$50,000.00), and Andorra is on its fifth (US$13,280.20).

The International Fund for Cultural Diversity 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 May 23, 2012, a total of US$5,402,444.55 had been collected in the Fund.

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Information session on the Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in Abidjan

In response to the request by various African Member States of UNESCO, an information session on the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions will be held June 9 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

The objective of the session is thus two-fold: by presenting African Member States with pertinent information about the Convention, it is aimed at encouraging ratification by those 16 African States not yet Party to the Convention and also at promoting effective implementation by those 31 States that are already Party to the Convention.

The information session is mainly addressed to the representatives of African National Commissions and will focus on objectives and mechanisms of the Convention, including the quadrennial periodic reports, the funding available under the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), and IFCD project evaluation. This session is part of a larger capacity-building program that the Section for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is launching in Africa thanks to the Emergency Fund made available through voluntary by UNESCO Member States, including many African States.

To consult the preliminary agenda or to obtain more information on this event, please consult the UNESCO website.

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Senegal: Trias Numerika training program

The Trias Culture association has set up a training program called Trias Numerika, which consists of practical and theoretical courses for Senegalese cultural and artistic actors, with the objective of promoting greater mastery of existing technology tools and Internet services.

Six 70-hour training sessions are planned from June to December 2012, with courses on computer literacy, emailing, photo and video (including online), social networks, e-commerce, copyright, and more. This project will involve fifteen artists and cultural promoters who may or may not be familiar with the use of computers and Internet services. These sessions will thus help expand their knowledge and creative capabilities, strengthen their professional competences in an increasingly technological world, and facilitate access to knowledge and the creation of physical meeting and discussion spaces.

This project was made possible with support from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo-AECID), in partnership with Jokkolabs, Campus numérique francophone (CNF), Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (UAF) of Dakar, and various cultural entities in the country, such as Centre culturel régional Blaise Senghor.

Trias Culture is a Senegalese association based in Dakar, which focuses on managing artistic and cultural projects, especially those linked to digital technologies.

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Other News of Interest

IOF and UNESCO: Presentation of a publication on World Day for Cultural Diversity

To mark the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21, IOF (International Organization of the Francophonie) and UNESCO jointly presented the French version of the work entitled Policies for Creativity: A Guide for the development of cultural and creative industries.
 
The Policies for Creativity guide was first published in Spanish and English, at the initiative of UNESCO, and then IOF became a partner for the publication of this work adapted to the needs of a specific Francophone audience. The guide contains practical and action-oriented guidelines for the training, management, and follow-up of policies promoting cultural and creative industries with high potential for creating jobs in Francophonie countries.

This initiative is in keeping with the partnership these two institutions maintain for implementing the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and taking culture into account in the international development agenda. It is also in keeping with IOF actions aimed at supporting francophone cultural production and assisting its member countries seeking to adopt a real cultural policy capable of protecting their national identities and promoting them on the international stage.

Frédéric Bouilleux, director at IOF’s Direction de la langue française et de la diversité culturelle et linguistique, and Alain Godonou, director at the UNESCO Division of Cultural Objects and Intangible Heritage, present the guide in a short video available on the IOF website.

To consult the English version of the guide Policies for Creativity, also available in French and Spanish, please visit UNESCO website.

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