The Australia Council for the Arts and UNESCO regional bureau in Bangkok recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote cultural diversity across the Asia-Pacific.
Through the MOU the Australia Council and UNESCO will support international collaboration, partnerships, research, and the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions in this region. The MOU will help both organizations implement UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, to which Australia became a signatory in 2009.
The first project under the MOU is the Diversity of Cultural Expressions Project. This initiative, in partnership with the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) at the University of Western Sydney, will research, analyze and promote up to six significant Australia Council–funded projects exploring the intersection of diverse cultural expressions across a range of art forms and practices.
Professor Ien Ang, the Director of the ICS said that "this research opportunity allows Australian researchers and artists to be at the forefront of the debate on cultural diversity under the 2005 UNESCO Convention. We at the ICS look forward to understanding the dynamics of how critically acclaimed culturally diverse artworks are created in Australia."
This MOU follows recommendations at the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture held in Melbourne in 2011, where over 500 delegates from 70 countries requested that governments commit to activating and implementing the spirit and principles of the Convention and deliver on its objectives by making it central to national, state, and local cultural policies.