Discussion, analysis, and information dissemination are key obligations of the parties to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Among other things, the Convention requires that “Parties agree to exchange information and share expertise concerning data collection and statistics on the diversity of cultural expressions as well as on best practices for its protection and promotion” (Article 19). The Convention also stipulates that “Parties shall provide appropriate information in their reports to UNESCO every four years on measures taken to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions within their territory and at the international level [and] shall share and exchange information relating to the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions.”
To meet these requirements, Parties must have relevant and objective statistics, which is why today we draw your attention to a major statistical reference for culture and communications in Québec: Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec (OCCQ, Observatoire).
OCCQ’s mission is to provide a reliable and changing statistical portrait of the culture and communications sector in Québec. It seeks to meet the real and tangible needs of stakeholders in the sectors of culture and communications as well as of those who have dealings with those sectors in matters of statistics, research assistance, and monitoring. The Observatoire is an administrative unit or branch of Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ).
In short, OCCQ’s mandate is
We invite you to visit the OCCQ website and familiarize yourself with the many available products and services. There you can consult the 2004 Québec Culture and Communications Activity Classification System, “the first classification of its kind in Québec.” This reference document “lists all types of creation, production, dissemination, or training oriented establishments in the fields of culture and communications in Québec: visual arts, performing arts, heritage, books, cinema, TV broadcasting, etc. The system was devised by Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec (OCCQ), following consultation with cultural milieus. The goal of the classification is to provide a logical structure, a nomenclature, and a series of definitions describing the topics on which OCCQ produces its statistics. All the works of the Observatoire are based on this classification and its vocabulary.”
The Observatoire indicates that “although it has been expressly designed to be used as a framework for the statistical works of OCCQ, the system contains information likely to be of use to other interested parties. This is why OCCQ chose to publish the work and make it accessible to the general public. Cultural workers, artists, analysts, program managers, researchers, and the general public will be able to use it as a reference work in order to find out, for example, what characterizes the economic activity of ‘artist centers,’ ‘dubbing studios,’ or ‘show presenters.’”
The Observatoire gathers and integrates data, carries out samplings and surveys, keeps a registry of businesses and organizations in culture and communications, and runs shared data banks.
OCCQ broadcasting activities take two main forms: a website and study reports and subject compilations. For instance, the “ Statistiques en bref” newsletter, published on an ad hoc basis, deals with various topics in connection with Québec’s culture and communications sector in each of its issues. Each issue contains an analysis of statistical information, tabular data, and charts. The Observatoire also issues annual documents entitled “Statistiques principales de la culture et des communications au Québec” and “Statistiques sur l’industrie du film et de la production télévisuelle indépendante.”
On March 17 at the Creative Economy Forum in Gatineau, Québec, OCCQ director general Dominique Jutras outlined the role and functions of his organization. Entitled “ La statistique au service du système culturel québécois”, the presentation will interest all those considering adopting such an instrument to better track the extent and social and economic impacts of culture and communications in their area. In this regard, we would also draw your attention to another presentation Mr. Jutras made to the International Congress on Working with Cultural Observatories held in San Sebastian, Spain. The presentation entitled “ Les Observatoires de la culture dans le monde: l’apprentissage par l’expérience” concludes with a call to establish an international partnership in order that various cultural observatories develop original approaches to studying the effects of globalization on culture.
Some OCCQ statistics are contained in the “Chiffres à l’appui” statistics booklet, which has just been published by Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec. The booklet is designed to be a handy reference to statistics on public funding, artistic and cultural organizations, cultural industries, cultural practices, and programs administered by the ministry.
Take a moment to add the Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec website to your bookmarks!