culture360.asef.org » Cultural Policy http://culture360.asef.org Connecting Asia and Europe through arts and culture Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:54:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Interview with Christa Meindersma: Saving Heritage helps a community to survivehttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/interview-with-christa-meindersma-saving-heritage-helps-a-community-to-survive/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=interview-with-christa-meindersma-saving-heritage-helps-a-community-to-survive http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/interview-with-christa-meindersma-saving-heritage-helps-a-community-to-survive/#comments Thu, 13 Mar 2014 02:16:18 +0000 culture360.org http://culture360.asef.org/?p=40105

                  Contributed by Ulla-Alexandra Mattl Christa Meindersma has been director of the Prince Claus Fund since 2011. She is an international...  Read More

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Christa Meindersma, Director, Prince Claus Fund

Christa Meindersma, Director, Prince Claus Fund

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributed by Ulla-Alexandra Mattl

Christa Meindersma has been director of the Prince Claus Fund since 2011. She is an international lawyer with extensive experience in Asia, Africa and Europe and a passion for art and culture. Previously, Christa worked as deputy coordinator of the Task Force Sudan of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and negotiator and senior political advisor for the United Nations, in East-Timor, Indonesia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kosovo, Darfur, Nepal, DR Congo, Sudan and New York. Christa is member of the Advisory Council of the Prince Claus Conservatory and School of Performing Arts.

The Prince Claus Fund initiates and supports activities in the field of culture and development and works in cooperation with individuals and organisations, mainly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and is a platform for intercultural exchange.

At the 6th World Summit on Arts and Culture in Santiago de Chile on 13-16 January 2014 Christa was a panellist of the session “Cultural heritage at risk: protection and reconstruction post-disaster” where she gave examples of successful interventions and described some of the challenges her organisation faces on a daily basis.

In an interview during the World Summit she shared details about her work in Asia as part of the Cultural Emergency Response Programme (CER). The programme, which was founded in 2003, provides quick help to evacuate, stabilise or rescue cultural heritage under imminent threat of destruction or damaged by man-made disasters, natural disasters or conflict. The programme has now been running for more than 10 years with emergency interventions in 54 countries.

Can you tell us about the places where the Prince Claus Fund has been active in Asia?

“We have done quite a lot of work in Indonesia but also in the whole Himalaya region (Bhutan, Nepal and Sikkim in India) which has been affected by earthquakes in recent years. We have done work in India, in Pakistan, in Thailand, many different countries.”

How is your work in Asia different to your initiatives in other parts of the world?

“We can’t say that any of this work is specific to Asia because each country is very different and has its specific situations. The whole Himalaya region for example is a seismically very active region with earthquakes. What we find is that we have to deal with similar issues in the different communities after a disaster. For example, in many communities in the Himalayas traditional buildings were affected. The question people were looking at was how to rebuild in a traditional way and how to restore the buildings in a way that they were more resistant; they are looking at the incorporation of new technologies in very traditional buildings. The other issue that came up in different places was a lack of skills, in particular traditional buildings skills, and knowledge about how to build and restore the traditional buildings; carpentry, masonry, and all the details of the buildings. In some cases older craftsman were found to teach young people and they helped with the work that was carried out. We also find that often not only buildings but also murals are affected like for example in Bhutan. We have also been working on murals in Thailand and on temple structures all across the region.”

So you mainly work with saving and restoring built heritage?

“No, buildings and murals are not the only things that communities like to save after a natural disaster. We also see that they like to save instruments, for instance in Burma after cyclone Nargis in 2008. We received requests to support the rebuilding of particular instruments and also the teaching of the skills needed for this. The instruments are used to accompany a puppet theatre and the communities were anxious to not lose the traditions around the puppet theatre. After earthquakes or floods people also very often want to save archives – photo archives and documentary archives. Therefore, the concept of heritage we work with is very broad.”

Do you see any specific mentality in Asia towards saving or not saving heritage, for instance traditional or colonial buildings or heritage?

“This depends very much on the community. In some communities there is a very strong awareness of wanting to keep certain buildings or the use of certain traditional building methods. Very often after a disaster there is a discussion of various groups or members of the same community. For instance in Bhutan, when we visited one of the temples which had been very badly affected, the community itself, the craftsmen, the leader of the monastery and the local authority had very different views on what should be done. Some wanted to tear it all down, some wanted to keep the traditional building style; because it constitutes the soul of the building, it would get lost if one replaces the traditional structure with a concrete structure. There are many issues engulfed in those discussions but it is very interesting to see those discussions taking place. There are also situations when an authority may just demolish certain buildings, in particularly after a natural disaster, while the community would have liked to save them. In China people are moved out of the houses which are then demolished although the people say no damage was done. And the temple [in Bhutan] was saved because the community wanted to save it and was able to find ways to make it happen.”

What more lies behind the will to save or not save an affected structure?

“Situations are very different but in the discussion about saving or demolishing, replacing buildings by concrete buildings, the value or price of the land can also be a crucial factor; but also concepts about modernity and concepts about what is the value of the traditional. In some communities, for example in Sikkim -  in the Northeast of India, after the earthquake, a lot of buildings were torn down immediately and replaced by concrete structures, even with concrete temples placed on top of old structures.

But now there is a move among certain architects from the region to run awareness campaigns in villages to save damaged traditional structures that have not yet been torn down. Often it is also a matter of creating awareness among communities and sometimes we also get a request to support these awareness campaigns.”

With this in mind it would make sense to work on awareness campaigns in regions prone to natural disasters before the disaster actually strikes?

“We support a number of activities; one is very practical; we support trainings for disaster intervention teams in different countries which are organised together with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome. People get trained knowing the specific context of their country. Afterwards they go back to their country and set up their own teams and train them. People are trained on how to respond if disaster strikes depending on the different context of their country, for instance flood or earthquake prone, and also the type of heritage – museums, collections or archives. In certain places disaster will strike, we know that, we just don’t know when. This is the very practical side we work with. On the other hand, as I mentioned before, we get requests to support awareness campaigns.”

Who are your partners in Asia?

“Where possible we always try to work with local partners. Sometimes the local partners work with non-local involvement but very often it is purely local. In Indonesia for example we work with the Indonesian Heritage Trust. They have around 80 local branches on the different islands and can be very fast with a damage assessment mission when something happens. Because of our ongoing collaboration they know exactly how we work and we can move very fast, which is key. We also have a very good partner in Burma who has been involved in our work for some time and has also taken part in one of the trainings in Rome. We have a very trusted partner whom we work with in the whole Himalaya region and a very trusted partner in Nepal, the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT). These partners are our direct link to these countries. They are the ones who go in and do the work. In many countries we already have strong partnerships but we are of course trying to develop them further and also our networks all across the world.”

Can you identify any main challenges despite the diversity of projects you are working on?

“It is very important to listen to the communities, so that one sees how they value their heritage, what heritage they value and not to impose one’s definitions of what is a monument, what is heritage, what is valuable from the outside. It is definitely also very important for the locals to be taking the initiative and to be fully involved in the action. Creating awareness is essential, but again the campaigns that work best are local campaigns to create awareness of the value of certain heritage. For the emergency response it is important to act very quickly in order to save whatever can be saved; the investment of larger sums of money and bigger interventions will need to take place later. Initially it is important to put a roof on the building so that the murals can be saved, evacuate archives etc.”

And a last question – are there any other organisations that lead on similar programmes?

“No, we are the only one; to our great surprise. We try to convince other organisations, humanitarian organisations as well as cultural organisations to pick this up. There is much more to be done than we can do and it is also important to realise that

“saving heritage, which is important to the local community in times of great distress and disaster, really helps the community to survive, to reconstruct itself in order to want to keep going; this is an extremely important component.  It is about much more than just saving a structure. It really has to do with the survival of a community and giving meaning to a situation.”

 

Ulla-Alexandra Mattl is Director of The Castalian Pool, a not-for-profit organisation with a focus on furthering cultural and political development through projects and initiatives. She is also the EU Correspondent for the Artsmanagement Network. Ulla is specialised in cultural co-operation and cultural relations with a special interest in Asia-Europe co-operation. She holds an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management from City University London and an MA in Finno-Ugric Studies and French with focus on Sociolinguistic. Follow her on Twitter: @uajm and @castalianpool

 

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6th World Summit on Arts & Culture | Critical times, creative spaceshttp://culture360.asef.org/news/6th-world-summit-on-arts-culture-critical-times-creative-spaces/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=6th-world-summit-on-arts-culture-critical-times-creative-spaces http://culture360.asef.org/news/6th-world-summit-on-arts-culture-critical-times-creative-spaces/#comments Wed, 19 Feb 2014 09:25:15 +0000 Anupama Sekhar http://culture360.asef.org/?p=39883

What does it mean to be human in the 21st century? This was the powerful - albeit invisible - question that many speakers were responding to at the recently concluded 6th World Summit on Arts and Culture (13-16 January 2014, Santiago, Chile)  Read More

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What does it mean to be human in the 21st century?

This was, for me, the powerful – albeit invisible – question that many speakers were responding to at the recently concluded 6th World Summit on Arts and Culture (13-16 January 2014, Santiago, Chile) with the most evocative response coming from UK’s Alan Davey. Quoting Seamus Heaney in his closing remarks, he reminded the gathering that we are, ultimately, “hunters and gatherers of values.”

The 3-day event – organised by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) and the National Council for Culture & the Arts, Chile – brought together over 400 policymakers, artists and cultural professionals from around the world to explore how “the arts and culture can transform the possibilities of development in the dynamic world we live”.

We live in a critical time of contradiction, in a contemporary flux. This timely reminder came from Sonia Montecino, one of Latin America’s leading intellectuals, in the very first key note address of Summit. This century is, without doubt, an age of unbridled technology, development and commerce. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the triad emerged as leitmotifs across many panels and sessions of the Summit.

How much technology should we let into our lives?

The intersection of technology, human interaction and creative expression was a key point of debate. In a special video message, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei hailed modern communication technologies as the most important human creation of all time. They provide invaluable opportunities to access knowledge, build partnerships and liberate ourselves, he said. Google’s Hayes Raffle argued that new languages and paradigms are best learnt from children, through play or via cutting-edge technology.

On the other hand, Spain’s Angel Mestres called for a return to making face-to-face connections in the physical world. What we lack today is conversation, he said, urging us all to huddle more often at the coffee machine. Musician Manuel Obregon, who is also Costa Rica’s Culture Minister, concurred. His message: let’s begin to invest in people over material things.

The culture-in-development debates

In the last decade, culture has come to be acknowledged as a driver and an enabler of sustainable development.  Texts such as the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Hangzhou Declaration (2013) are setting a new tone and asserting the value of culture within a cultural or creative economy. Culture is now included as one of the Millennium Development Goals in the post- 2015 development agenda.

In the face of this growing validation of the role and value of culture, two very interesting questions were raised at the Summit. Does culture take an active or reactive role in the social, political and environmental crises of our times, enquired Chile’s Minister President of the National Council for Culture & the Arts, Roberto Ampuero. Recognising that culture may sometimes be an impediment to development (as evidenced in the African context), Mike van Graan of the African Arts Institute wondered what the relationship between culture and social justice is.

Creating meaning outside markets

Does the focus on the value of the creative economy take away from the arts, asked South Africa’s Avril Joffe. She argued that the market is an inadequate guardian for the arts because people have collective needs and identities that the market simply cannot fulfil. “We are all not either sellers or buyers. We have other identities,” she concluded.

The discussions around market and meaning often echoed Charles Landry in Culture at the Crossroads: the market economy does not intrinsically invite an exploration of higher purpose and goals. Culture, on the other hand, does.  The need of the hour is to recognise this difference and flip our world view from an economy-centred to a culture-centred one, exhorted Arjo Klamer of Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Building on this idea, New Zealand’s Elisabeth Vaneveld called for the creation of a new language for the arts that moved away from market terms such as ‘sector’ & ‘industry’.

In critical times, what is the role of culture?

The role of culture is to humanise and regenerate us in a noisy, mercantile and technologically-saturated world, said Chile’s Ampuero opening the Summit on 13 January 2014. Built around the overarching theme, Creative Times: New Models for Cultural Development, the Summit explored in depth the changing role of the arts in education, knowledge transfer, innovation, healing & creative convergence.

Do not separate culture from education. This was the warning call from the Costa Rican Culture Minister. Sonia Montecino lamented the growing devaluation of arts and humanities and highlighted the increasing contradictions between the formal education system and home cultures. The importance of cultural activities and alternative educational opportunities at the community level were strongly emphasised in the discussion on community leadership.

The past surfaced in myriad forms across various sessions: the importance of post-disaster heritage protection; the need for spaces of contemplation in the reconstruction of memory in post-conflict societies; and, the value of simultaneously honouring the past and developing the future.

The problem of inequality was introduced into the cultural diversity agenda. As one speaker eloquently put it, we have left out some people from the table of abundance.

New systems & new models for cultural development

The significance of networks, cultural centres and inter-sectoral partnerships for social innovation in the nonprofit sector were driven home through a variety of good practices. Open and porous platforms were recognised as critical to broaden traditional spaces for arts presentation and new forms of dialogue with audiences and the larger public. The complexities of cultural leadership – passionately undertaken by artists, collectives, curators and arts managers – in these critical times were shared.

The changing nature of cultural policy making in critical times emerged as a key topic across the three days of the Summit.  The alarming cuts to public arts funding (and reassessments of the subsidy model) in the wake of the global recession were discussed, leaving some participants wondering why governments were keen to save financial institutions, such as banks, in tough times at the cost of social programmes. Egypt’s Mohammed el Sawy reiterated that culture continues to be seen as a luxury by governments and thus ineligible for priority funding. The new trend of public-private partnerships in arts and culture was explored by Singapore’s Kathy Lai and UK’s Beatriz Garcia.

The rise of cities as centres of thinking and decision making in cultural politics was widely recognised by speakers. The role of arts and culture in making cities creative, inclusive and sustainable was explored.

In all, the search was for both a greater voice for culture in contemporary times and deeper inspiration to build a more cohesive cultural ecology, which is both creative and sustainable.

The next World Summit on Arts and Culture will take place in October 2016 in Valletta, Malta and will be hosted by the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts. Previous World Summits on Arts and Culture have been held in Ottawa, Canada (2000), Singapore (2003), Newcastle Gateshead, England (2006), Johannesburg, South Africa (2009) and Melbourne Australia (2011).

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Exchanging Visions and Experiences on Mobility. Exploring the Asia-Europe connection.http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/exchanging-visions-and-experiences-on-mobility-exploring-the-asia-europe-connection/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=exchanging-visions-and-experiences-on-mobility-exploring-the-asia-europe-connection http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/exchanging-visions-and-experiences-on-mobility-exploring-the-asia-europe-connection/#comments Wed, 03 Jul 2013 02:42:44 +0000 Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio http://culture360.asef.org/?p=34440

  On 5 and 6 June 2013 the city of Prague hosted the Platform meeting of Asian and European Cultural Mobility Funders, as part of the second edition of the...  Read More

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On 5 and 6 June 2013 the city of Prague hosted the Platform meeting of Asian and European Cultural Mobility Funders, as part of the second edition of the Creative Encounters funded by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and its partners Arts Network Asia (ANA) and the European network Trans Europe Halles (TEH).

This excellent initiative, organized by Art Theatre Institute (Czech Republic), Kelola Foundation (Indonesia), and On The Move (Belgium), started with a clear and concise declaration of Petr Hnízdo, Director of International Relations Department of the Czech Ministry of Culture, who said: “I’ve just came back from the 2nd World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue in Baku, Azerbaijan, where I recognized how cultural mobility is important especially for intercultural dialogue”.

This statement – delivered in front of an audience of approximately 50 people from around 28 different European and Asian countries – pointed out a crucial point related to cultural mobility: the importance of learning from diversity and practicing intercultural dialogue.

The intensive two-days meeting, developed through different sessions, focus groups and projects presentations, highlighted the growing importance of global cultural mobility and the urgency to create an agenda to support and strengthen the Asia-European connections.

As Sophie Travers, from Australia Council for the Arts and IETM/Belgium, emphasized: “there is a growing interest in non-European markets from European projects”.

During the meeting, participants compared models, discussed different philosophies, and elaborated on the know-how of cultural mobility, with the idea of offering more accurate answers to the following questions: Why, how, and what kind of conditions are required to give support and to fund cultural mobility?

The debate and the exchange of ideas were very dynamic. Generally speaking, participants pointed out and emphasized a positive view of cultural mobility. The vast majority of them converged on the importance of mobility as a helpful instrument to connect and to create new networks, as an inspirational engine for innovation, and as a creative hub for dealing with and reimagining the world.

As Nguyen Phuong Hoa, from Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam, said: “For artists and cultural operators, exchange and mobility can help to broaden their eyes, open their minds, enrich their experiences, enhance their professional capacity and strengthen networking. It opens new opportunities and horizons”.

In the same view, some of the participants highlighted as well the social and political ingredients of mobility. Angie Cotte, from Roberto Cimetta Fund, highlighted the importance “to develop a dialogue with policymakers on funding strategies and create alliances with local authorities”. Dr. Shahidul Alam, from Chobi Mela/Bangladesh; Gemma Sharpe, from VASL/Pakistan and Arundhati Ghosh, from India Foundation for the Arts, stressed the different aspects of cultural mobility related to mediation, cross-border dialogue or the reduction of social inequalities.

Considering the above mentioned remarks, we can conclude that cultural mobility operates not only as a tool for increasing the mutual understanding between cultures, but also as a confrontational and at the same time cooperative practice that could help in peacekeeping by means of connecting territories, geographies, and narratives. Through the practice of mobility we can build new contexts from where to analyze the present and to deal with the challenges of the future. As one of the participants said, mobility can be an “antidote to cultural introspection”, that is, an important device for education and social transformation.

Many key issues were raised during the meeting, from sustainability and environmental challenges to visa rules and diplomatic conventions.

During the panels, participants explained in deep their diverse organizational strategies for funding mobility programs and shared local experiences, achievements, and failures. Beyond differences, it is important to stress here the common key findings and inputs for concrete outcomes that all the participants composed together in the last morning session of the meeting.

First of all we do have to recognize the multiple impacts of cultural mobility, not only in the artistic and cultural fields, but also from a social, political, economical and environmental point of view.

Another concept deeply discussed in the meeting was reciprocity –a good idea not always easy to materialize, but which can help to create a sustainable and ethical model for international exchange. Non-monetary exchanges could offer a valuable solution and, related with this issue, the group discussed the important role of the interface organisations.

More crucial points were addressed such as funding “quality projects”; promoting “fair exchanges”; supporting locally engaged cultural mobility instead of superficial “tourism”; establishing a more creative, transparent, and effective methods of evaluation, where to consider the whole process and not just the outputs; and finally, generating a strong advocacy policy to facilitate visa processes as well as consolidating and disseminating new narratives, studies, and researches on cultural mobility.

This first meeting of Asian and European cultural mobility funders and supporters clearly shown the growing mutual interest to organize common projects in and between the two continents on the one hand and the importance of creating a dialogue about the multiple aspects, models and visions of cultural mobility among the different stakeholders on the other.

Meetings like this help us to see the importance of creating stable networks and the need to feed our platforms with contents and give them solidity and continuity. We need to identify our common challenges and key issues in order to improve the international practice of cultural mobility and its positive impact on our life and society.

 

For more information about the Platform meeting of Asian and European Cultural Mobility Funders, visit:
http://on-the-move.org/about/ourownnews/article/15512/platform-meeting-of-asian-and-european-cultural/

 

Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio holds a European PhD in “Art History, Theory and Criticism” from the University of Barcelona.

His current lines of investigation involve the subjects of intercultural processes, globalization and mobility in contemporary art as well as the interactions between artistic, educational, media and cultural practices in contemporary society. He has participated in several international conferences and developed projects and research residencies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. As an art critic and independent curator, he writes articles for several international magazines and is co-founder of the Platform for Contemporary Art and Thought, InterArtive (http://www.interartive.org).

 

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Facilitating arts and cultural policy dialogue between Asia and Europehttp://culture360.asef.org/asef-news/facilitating-arts-and-cultural-policy-dialogue-between-asia-and-europe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=facilitating-arts-and-cultural-policy-dialogue-between-asia-and-europe http://culture360.asef.org/asef-news/facilitating-arts-and-cultural-policy-dialogue-between-asia-and-europe/#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2012 00:35:54 +0000 Anupama Sekhar http://culture360.asef.org/?p=20842

In 2012, which marks the 15th anniversary of the Foundation, policy dialogue initiatives will focus on heritage, creative industries, cultural infrastructure and the role of culture in development.  Read More

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Civil society recommends greater involvement for artists in urban development and education to the ASEM8 Summit (Brussels, 2010)

Facilitating dialogue on arts and cultural policies as well as issues of mutual relevance and common interest for Asia and Europe has been a key priority for the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), since its inception in 1997 by member governments of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

In 2012, which marks the 15th anniversary of the Foundation, policy dialogue initiatives will focus on heritage, creative industries, cultural infrastructure and the role of culture in development. These initiatives will bring together both government officials and civil society representatives in keeping with ASEF’s role as a neutral multi-stakeholder dialogue platform.

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Focus on heritage

Cultural heritage management remains a key priority for governments and civil society in Asia and Europe. The upcoming 5th ASEM Culture Ministers’ Meeting (September 2012, Indonesia) will focus on “Managing Heritage Cities for a Sustainable Future”. It will build on discussions relating to the challenges of heritage management begun at the 4th edition of the Culture Ministers’ Meeting (September 2010, Poland), which also acknowledged the significant role of non-governmental stakeholders in heritage.

Heritage as an area of common interest for civil societies in Asia and Europe was reaffirmed at the 2nd Experts’ Meeting on Cultural Policy, organised in Melbourne in October 2011.

In July 2012, ASEF will co-organise a Public Forum and Experts’ Meeting, “Managing Heritage Cities in Asia and Europe: the role of Public-Private Partnerships” to channel civil society inputs to the 5th ASEM CMM, in the form of recommendations and good practices. Facilitating such bi-directional dialogue between heritage professionals in Asia and Europe aims to stimulate collective reflection and knowledge sharing, while also serving as an engine and vehicle of civil society contacts. By further aligning this dialogue with the overall intergovernmental ASEM dialogue and including policymakers in the discussions, ASEF reaffirms its role as a conduit between civil society and governments.

Exploring culture and development

Another area of focus emerged in response to the growing acknowledgement of the role of culture in development. The Connect2Culture programme, which has been exploring the intersection between the arts and climate change in recent years, will investigate the role of culture in sustainable human development through dialogue platforms in 2012 and beyond.

Creating dialogue platforms

ASEF will continue to facilitate broad multi-stakeholder dialogue on issues of mutual relevance in arts and culture for Asia and Europe through the third edition of its annual series of Experts’ Meeting on Cultural Policy in 2012. The series, launched in Seoul in 2011, has brought together over 40 civil and governmental experts in two meetings in 2011. Heritage, creative industries and arts education were three topics identified by participating experts for further dialogue in 2012.

Supporting cultural policy research

The Experts’ Meeting series complements ASEF’s support to the global cultural research platform, WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies, which aims to significantly enhance access to current information and analyses on the cultural policies and trends of ASEM countries.

Facilitating information exchange

In addition to supporting cultural policy research, information exchange on relevant policy areas in arts and culture is facilitated through culture360.org as well as publications. Specially commissioned features and interviews on cultural policy will be featured on this portal throughout the year. ASEF’s most recent publication in the field of cultural policy is Mapping Cultural Diversity-Good Practices from around the Globe, which profiles 39 innovative projects that protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions in different parts of the world, including 17 from Asia and Europe.

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Korea | An introduction to Cultural Policy – Part IIhttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/korea-an-introduction-to-cultural-policy-part-ii/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=korea-an-introduction-to-cultural-policy-part-ii http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/korea-an-introduction-to-cultural-policy-part-ii/#comments Tue, 27 Mar 2012 00:35:26 +0000 Anupama Sekhar http://culture360.asef.org/?p=20727

By Kiwon Hong South Korea is among the first Asian countries whose cultural policy profile has been commissioned for the global cultural research platform, WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies...  Read More

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By Kiwon Hong

South Korea is among the first Asian countries whose cultural policy profile has been commissioned for the global cultural research platform, WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies (worldcp.org). In this article, Kiwon Hong, who is also the author of the upcoming cultural policy profile of South Korea, sets out the historical development of the country’s cultural policy priorities.  

In this article, the final of a two-part series, Kiwon Hong traces the development of cultural policy in South Korea from the 1990s onwards, when focus moved from regulation to autonomy, from central to local and from producer to consumer.

1990s: From regulation to autonomy

It was only in the 1990s that cultural policy came to hold as an independent policy field, both nominally and practically. A nationally renowned writer, Rhee Uh-Ryung, took the first ministry position, in a symbolic move to represent professionalism in the arts and culture. This was the first time in the history of cultural policy that a civilian-professional figure took the lead in a newly-formed Ministry of Culture to manage the independent field. The year 1994 marked the nominal beginning of democratic government that drew a line away from the authoritative military government in the past. Policy focus moved from regulation to autonomy, from central to local, from producer to consumer, and from division to unification.

The financial crisis of Korea in 1997 served as a turning point to redirect cultural policy and administration towards a market-oriented one. Cultural industries gained substantial attention. Along with the interest in the creative sector worldwide, this was seen as a potential new source of producing wealth. The rapid growth in the IT sector and its clientele, the cultural content industry (especially the gaming industry) achieved significant growth, not only locally but also in international market.

Cultural policy issues in the 21st century

It could be said that at the turn of 21st century, changes in global economic environment have greatly affected policy direction in the cultural sector. As the interest in the arts as ‘creative industry’ or ‘cultural industry’ increased worldwide, culture came to be seen as an important factor both in the life of human beings and as an economic means. The cultural sector as a whole was regarded as essential groundwork for every developmental aspect of society and economy. Continuous effort has been taken to maintain the standard of ‘1% for culture of national budget’.

 

South Korea: Percentage of yearly budget for culture

Balancing commercial and public interests

Cultural policy issues in contemporary Korea could be summarized into three main subject areas. How to make policy balance between the commercial drive and public aspect of culture is one crucial area. Support for cultural industry has shown a great leap recently. It is centered around developing technology related to the culture and content industry. Actual subsidy is aimed at supporting infant industries or developing human resources. Contradictory to common assumption about the spread of Korean popular culture in Asia that could have been an outcome of governmental support, those two have no direct linkage in policy terms. Several fields within cultural industries such as online gaming, popular music (K-pop) and television dramas do overwhelmingly represent the cultural industry sector. It is true that success stories in this field trigger more interest in terms of economic impact, domestically and internationally, which buttresses justification for public subsidy requests. However, it remains a big question as to how and to what level the government should act on this matter with commercialized culture increasingly becoming an inevitable component of cultural life.

Enhancing the cultural welfare of citizens

The second issue is how to enhance the cultural welfare of citizenry. Cultural policy has taken two steps to tackle this issue. Cultural welfare cannot be achieved solely by enriching the single side of demand or supply. Maximizing opportunities of encounter between the two has been supported through arts education programmes and cultural vouchers. Legislation to promote arts and cultural education was enacted in 2007. Government funding for placement of ‘arts educators (artist)’ in schools and ‘artist as teachers (TA)’ programme has escalated. More recently, arts and cultural education have come to be regarded as core themes of ‘social education’ and ‘education of lifetime’. Arts and cultural education policies have been initiated based on the belief and evidence that an earlier stage of life cycle act as a stable link between demand and supply.

Another policy within the comprehensive boundary of enhancing cultural welfare is the cultural voucher programme, especially the aftermath of the worldwide financial crisis of 2008 aggravated the economic condition of socially-excluded classes. Various sources have been mobilised to finance the policy. The National Lottery Fund, proceeds from the National Arts and Culture Fund, local government budgets and private contributions form the main components. Details of policy description have evolved so as to minimize stigmatising effects.  Supporting diversified supply has also been attempted to gain some balance in this kind of consumer sovereignty system.

Acknowledging multiculturalism

Acknowledgment of cultural diversity and multiculturalism issue is one of the unanticipated phenomena in the cultural policy scene in South Korea. Given the longstanding tradition of emphasising national culture and its homogeneity, migration and its cultural impact needed to be coped with in regard to the existing value system. It was not only a matter of economic or socio-geographical problems. Ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) was timely enough to look at these local changes in the global context. It is the cultural sector’s responsibility to steer proper policy discourse in this regard.

There has also been consideration around policy issues such as the advancement of IT and its impact on cultural life; and, cultural policy correspondence to the unification of Korea. However, the fundamental mission of cultural policy in Korea, considering its centralised and state-oriented system, may lie in inspiring public participation towards the enjoyment of cultural life.

Kiwon Hong is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy and Industry, Sookmyung Women’s University, South Korea. She also serves as Director of the Cultural Policy and Administration Programme at the School.

Links and resources to information on Korean cultural policy

Read Part I of this artcle at: http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/korea-an-introduction-to-cultural-policy-part-i/

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Korea | An introduction to Cultural Policy – Part Ihttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/korea-an-introduction-to-cultural-policy-part-i/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=korea-an-introduction-to-cultural-policy-part-i http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/korea-an-introduction-to-cultural-policy-part-i/#comments Mon, 26 Mar 2012 00:30:19 +0000 Anupama Sekhar http://culture360.asef.org/?p=20720

By Kiwon Hong South Korea is among the first Asian countries whose cultural policy profile has been commissioned for the global cultural research platform, WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies...  Read More

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By Kiwon Hong

South Korea is among the first Asian countries whose cultural policy profile has been commissioned for the global cultural research platform, WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies (worldcp.org). In this article, Kiwon Hong, who is also the author of the upcoming cultural policy profile of South Korea, sets out the historical development of the country’s cultural policy priorities.  

In this article, the first of a two-part series, Kiwon Hong sets the historical context of cultural policy development from the 7th century CE to the 1980s.

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Historical context of cultural policy development

The political thinking about the arts may been seen to originate during the 7th-8th century (under the unified Shilla dynasty) from the Confucian order and its role in maintaining the state. Music, art, and state ritual were regarded as useful instruments in cultivating and refining human nature to incarnate the Confucian ideal. The state was conferred with the important role of setting theoretical standards in various art forms, especially for those used in courts and governmental ceremonies. However, Confucianism was not prevalent in the everyday life of common classes. The cultural life of ordinary people was a blend of various religions such as Buddhism, Taoism and folklore practices. Confucianism was reinforced only in the late 14th century with the establishment of the Chosun dynasty, when political doctrine and everyday norm had come to a concordance. The state yielded influence on cultural production and consumption by managing royal institutions in the arts.

The invention of Han-Geul (한글: Korean alphabet) may represent the centralised and state-oriented attitude in cultural undertaking. Han-Geul was invented during the reign of King Sejong (1397-1450). King Sejong, a revolutionary monarch dedicated to the establishment of national identity and a knowledge-based society, founded a form of special institution solely devoted to academic research and the creation of new alphabet (Jip-Hyeon-Jeon). While the Chinese script was used by the learned class, it was hard to learn for the common people. It also did not coincide well with the spoken language. As a result of strenuous effort, a new phonetic alphabet system was finally created in 1446 (proclaimed by publishing Hoon Min Jeong Eum: Righteous sound to enlighten the people). The written language was an effective medium to convey inherited wisdom and ethical norms that could not only develop knowledge, but also sustain the solidarity of the society. It is also noteworthy that literary art flourished as the language system evolved with time.

 

Original script of Hoon Min Jeong Eum (훈민정음)

The Japanese colonial period (1910-1945) acts as a great divide in terms of the cultural sector. Historical facts were distorted, traditional cultural practices and conventions debased, and heritage sites and monuments were disrupted to serve its interest. Use of the Korean language was banned and policy to convert surnames to Japanese was reinforced. All in all, there was no room for proper cultural policy discourse in this antagonistic situation.

Cultural policy during the modernization period

1940s and 50s: Infrastructure building begins 

Political turmoil after the Second World War (1939-45) and the Korean War (1950-53) had an indirect impact on the formation of modern cultural policy in South Korea.

The independence of the Korean Peninsula from Japan in 1945 was followed by the territorial division of the North and South. With this originated the subsequent ideological contention, also evident in the cultural sector. As communist doctrine towards art and culture were evident (state-control of style and content), so too was present an ideological drift in the other half of peninsula. There was no specifically pronounced cultural policy orientation, except for the ideological drift that any kind of activity that could be regarded as endangering democratic polity was to be curtailed.

Basic endeavours in terms of building infrastructure were undertaken, such as establishing a few national cultural facilities such as the National Library, the National Museum, the National Theater and the National Korean Traditional Music Institute.

1960s and 70s: An inception period of modern cultural policy

The decade from the 1960s to the 1970s could be regarded as a period of contradictory accomplishment in terms of cultural policy. Being a government that came into reign by coup d’états, it retained a two-fold attitude in dealing with cultural matters. The government put forth great effort to refurbish national cultural identity and to restore cultural heritage damaged during the colonial period. By conferring upon itself the role of safe guarder of national culture, the government tried to partly certify justification for its regime. The other side of preserving national culture was the oppression of culture that envisioned liberal, rebellious, and democratic thoughts.

Despite this flaw, this could be regarded as an inception period of modern cultural policy in South Korea. The first comprehensive legal provision to promote culture and the arts, namely the Law to promote Culture and the Arts (1972) was enacted in this period. The cultural sector was not managed independently, but covered multiple fields as to include public relations and information (Ministry of Public Information or the Ministry of Culture and Information). The cultural policy area was also one of the fields that had to coincide with the overall national policy agenda and it followed the national format of setting up intermediate plans such as ‘Five Year Culture Promotional Planning’. The ‘planning’ idea in arts and culture had the effect of diminishing the autonomous development in cultural sector.

The second round of military governance partly followed the policy direction of the former, but replenished the cultural welfare side of policy. Decades of despotic government and compact economic development had a twofold effect on Korean society. It could be referred to as a flourishing period in terms of expansion in cultural infrastructure. Local governments were financially supported by the central government to build new cultural facilities such as theaters, public libraries and museums. These efforts, however, did not produce a grand impact because they had not been paired with a nurturing of human capital, which gives life to these material objects. Local governments were unprepared in terms of programmatic orientation on how to run these facilities. This ‘Grands Travaux’ type of centrally-planned policy resulted in the monotonous design and function of art centers, which were indistinguishable from each other and lacked the unique characteristics of local cultural identity.

1980s: Economic affluence impacts cultural arena

Economic affluence triggered interest in the cultural arena; however, there were limited alternatives in terms of artistic ideas and expressions. Failure to democratise the Korean political system in the 1980s brought about substantive oppression in freedom of thought and artistic expression. Confrontation with the communist North also aggravated the situation in the name of protecting national security. During this period, the opening of the cultural market to the United States and Japan was limited, as local arts and culture suffered from various regulations.

Kiwon Hong is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy and Industry, Sookmyung Women’s University, South Korea.  She also serves as Director of the Cultural Policy and Administration Programme at the School.

Links and resources to information on Korean cultural policy

Read Part II of this article at: http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/korea-an-introduction-to-cultural-policy-part-ii/

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Vietnam | An introduction to national cultural policyhttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/vietnam-an-introduction-to-national-cultural-policy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vietnam-an-introduction-to-national-cultural-policy http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/vietnam-an-introduction-to-national-cultural-policy/#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2012 00:35:11 +0000 Anupama Sekhar http://culture360.asef.org/?p=20198

By Bui Hoai Son Vietnam is among the first Asian countries whose cultural policy profile has been commissioned for the global cultural research platform, WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies (worldcp.org). ...  Read More

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By Bui Hoai Son

Vietnam is among the first Asian countries whose cultural policy profile has been commissioned for the global cultural research platform, WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies (worldcp.org).  In this article, Bui Hoai Son, who is also the author of the upcoming cultural policy profile of Vietnam, sets out the key priorities and issues in arts and culture in his country.

In Vietnam, the term “culture” is understood in a very broad sense and with different meanings that relate to all aspects of the material and mental life of human beings.

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Culture understood variously in society

Vietnam keen to play active role in international cultural co-operation

The Vietnamese see culture as something broad about human life and civilization. Thus, the Vietnamese usually use “culture” in phrases such as “cultural person” (meaning “a civilized person”) and “cultural level” (referring to their education level).

In daily life, culture is understood as literature and the arts, such as poetry, fine arts, theatre, films etc.

In some Vietnamese dictionaries, “culture” is explained as follows:

+ Culture refers to the material and mental values that were created by humans in history (Great Vietnamese Dictionary, published by the Ministry of Education and Training, 1998)

+ Culture refers to human activities that satisfy the needs of mental life

+ Culture is scientific knowledge

+ Culture refers to a high level in social life, an expression of civilization

+ Culture is a term to refer to a period of ancient history, for example Hoa Binh culture, Dong Son culture (Vietnamese Dictionary, Institute of Linguistic Studies, 2004)

One of the most common definitions of culture is the way it was understood by the late President Ho Chi Minh: “…human created and invented language, script, morals, laws, science, religions, culture and arts and daily tools for clothing, eating, accommodation…using methods. All these creativenesses and inventions are culture.”

A national definition of culture?

Vietnam has no proper national definition of culture. However, in a broad sense, culture is seen to be included in eight domains namely ideology, morals and ways of life; heritage; education and training; science and technology; culture and arts; mass media; international exchange on culture; and, cultural institutions.

In a narrow sense, culture is seen to refer to some domains that belong to the sphere of state management under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism such as performing arts; cinema; fine arts and photography; library; heritage; grassroots culture; and, ethnic culture.

Key national priorities in arts and culture

The Vietnamese government has the following key national priorities in arts and culture:

  • Building healthy people, ways of life, cultural life and environment
  • Safeguarding and promoting national cultural heritage
  • Safeguarding and promoting cultural heritage of ethnic minority groups
  • Developing the work of literature and arts
  • Paying respect and promoting the good cultural and moral values of religions and beliefs
  • Strengthening the work of mass media
  • Intensifying international cooperation in culture
  • Building a system of cultural institutions

Key cultural policies

The Vietnamese government has put forward some national policies for arts and culture. They are currently making and amending laws related to cultural heritage, cinema, libraries, education, publishing and copyrights. There is also a focus on building social movements such as “building cultural life” and “building new rural areas”.

The government is setting up policies on privatization and decentralization of cultural activities and for strengthening the management of cultural activities and services. Investment in traditional art forms is encouraged, National target programmes are in place for conservation of heritage buildings and sites as well as the preservation and promotion of the intangible heritage of Vietnam’s ethnic groups. Strengthening investment in and development of cultural institutions in mountainous, remote, borderline and island areas is a priority area. Strengthening the capacities of grassroot cultural workers is also being stressed in policy. Cinema development has also been accorded priority.

 Public funding for the arts

In Vietnam, all public institutions for arts and culture are supported by the government. In principle, the government has funding policies for arts institutions in accordance with an Inter-Ministerial Circular between Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Finance in 1989, as per which the government will support art institutions with a minimum standard investment for their activities (including salary and expenses to set up performances ordered by the government). To get the support of the government, arts institutions have to meet with some set requirements.

Role of civil society actors in arts and culture

Civil society actors have an active role in the field of arts and culture. They respond to society’s needs and demands in arts and culture. They reflect the voices of people in their forums to government institutions in culture and the arts, so that these institutions will implement proper policies and mechanisms that reflect reality. Civil society actors build partnerships with similar organisations in other countries, leading to better international understanding of and cooperation with Vietnam. They also support their members by providing information, knowledge and skills to improve activities in the field of arts and culture.

International cultural co-operation priorities

Vietnam is actively involved in some regional forums and enjoys good relations in the field of culture and the arts with UNESCO, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (ASEAN COCI), SEAMEO SPAFA Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts, World Intellectual Property Organization and ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property).

Key countries with which Vietnam enjoys good relations in the field of cultural exchange and co-operation include members of the south-east Asian ASEAN community, Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Current cultural policy issues and challenges

Firstly, the culture sector is a multi-domain sector; hence, existing cultural policies cannot cover all aspects of activities that are in this sphere. Secondly, the quality of cultural managers and workers do not meet the demands of ground reality, in terms of both numbers and quality. Thirdly, the system relevant to culture and the arts, though improving with time, still requires to be worked on in terms of amending and improving laws and regulations. Fourthly, the budget for culture and the arts are limited. Fifthly, the differing viewpoints of cultural managers and those making cultural policies affect the result and quality of the policy. Sixthly, rapid changes in ground realities in the field of arts and culture create obstacles in the path of effective cultural planning and policy making.

Bui Hoai Son, PhD, is the Vice Director of the Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies, based in Hanoi. He is currently working on the cultural policy profile of Vietnam for inclusion in the global cultural research platform, WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies (worldcp.org).  WorldCP is an international database and searchable website of country-specific profiles of arts and cultural policies, issues and trends supported by the Asia-Europe Foundation.

To read more about arts and culture in Vietnam, visit http://culture360.asef.org/country/vietnam/

To read more about the WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies, visit http://tiny.cc/282jbw

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Artists and economic growth | Interview with Malou Jacobhttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/artists-and-economic-growth-interview-with-malou-jacob/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=artists-and-economic-growth-interview-with-malou-jacob http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/artists-and-economic-growth-interview-with-malou-jacob/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2011 02:39:44 +0000 culture360.org http://culture360.asef.org/?p=17555

Malou Jacob is a playwright and the Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in the Philippines, which was started by a group of artists immediately after the revolution in 1986 and which is composed by 19 committees at lowest level.  Read More

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Malou Jacob

Contributed by Ulla-Alexandra Mattl

Malou Jacob is a playwright and the Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in the Philippines, which was started by a group of artists immediately after the revolution in 1986 and which is composed by 19 committees at lowest level.

During the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture in Melbourne, Australia on 3-6 October she calls for action in order to “turn the world economic crisis into an opportunity”.

Speaking during the session on Changing Places – Cultural Policies in Asia she says that the Philippines are one of the richest countries in the world but asks herself why they are still so marginalised economically. In a country that is prone to earthquakes and eruptions from active volcanoes, buffeted by typhoons and has had to deal with decades of conflict and poverty she argues that there can be a way to further the creative and cultural industries so that the artist is at the core.

The development of the cultural industries should also be for the economic benefit of the artist – not at his expense. She points at the fact that artists are exploited by loan sharks, galleries who take most of the profit when the art work is sold but also talks about a lack of respect for copyright.

During the summit she stresses that “in the spirit of cultural rapprochement, it is imperative that the meeting of Asia and Europe in the 21st Century be based on equality, mutual respect, and just remuneration for the Asian traditional artists.”

Jacob believes that the artist should be developed in parallel to the creative and the cultural industries. In this way, with the help of the NCCA and while keeping in mind that the originator is not the government, a new breed of cultural entrepreneurs could be created.

In 2008 when she came in as deputy director of the NCCA Jacob introduced the “Artists for Crisis programme”. So far there have been three sessions (2009, 2010 and 2011). The concept of the programme is to open the NCCA which is inclusive – not exclusive and send artists from all across the country to mostly rural and remote areas. These are visual artists, poets, dramatist, musicians who want to share their art with victims of war, natural disasters like typhoons, earthquakes etc. They create a module on how to share their talent which is then brought to the community and being tested. Then three workshops are lined up before the year ends. Those benefiting are mainly women, young people and children.

During the programme more than 90 artists across the country have been involved so far, while it all started with only four master facilitators.

Now that the model has been tested and they are sure that it works Jacob is convinced that it will be exported to other countries. “The idea has already been presented to the ASEAN and we are waiting for feedback”, she says. Since the ASEAN is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire (PRF) and also suffers from typhoons she believes that they are likely to pick up on it.

It is a strategy that opens up the NCCA to artists who are not part of its committees and at the same time, she says that they are seeing that the programme has an effect on the quality of artists who are part of them.

Through the programme the NCCA is able to distinguish the artists from marginalised communities. However, they cannot afford to go to Manila or other cities. “We have to give them opportunities to own their talent” Jacob says.

Jacob is convinced that the programme is one way of turning the economic crisis into an opportunity for artists –by involving them as much as possible.

“If you are a famous artist from the University of Manila or you are a brilliant playwright and you go to a remote area or to a marginalised community, it deepens you and changes you as an artist, it matures you. It is good for the artist coming from the city; it is good for the artist and the young people there. The NCCA gains from it because artists part of the committees become much better. The city gains from it and the child gains from it.” It is an exchange – within the country. As much as the Philippines want to work and co-operate internationally there is still a great need to connect different social groups within the country.

This is Jacob’s first World Summit on Arts and Culture. While she did not know very much about IFACCA before she arrived in Melbourne, she said she would be going back home and spread information about the organisation, believing that it is an organisation which “is really going to do something”.

During her time at the conference, she says, she has also thought of a possible future role IFACCA could be playing. “While Australia is in Asia it is sometimes counted in and sometimes it isn’t”, she says. Jacob suggests that Australia could be a bridge between Europe and Asia: “Australia can convince Europe to come to Asia in the 21st century on equal terms with fairness etc. Australia can do that through IFACCA which could have a closer look at what the role and significance of Australia could be”, she finds.

Keeping the theme of the World Summit “Creative Intersections” (exploring how the arts and creativity are integral to other sectors) in mind Jacob once more points to what is for her the most important intersection.

“An economy of culture that will primarily benefit the artists who may be traditional or contemporary. If you do not lose sight of that then there is a reason for the development of the cultural industries.”

 

Ulla-Alexandra Mattl is the Co-ordintor of EUNIC in Brussels and the Project Manager of the European project Poliglotti4.eu. She is also the EU Correspondent for the Artsmanagement Network. Ulla is specialised in cultural relations and holds an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management from City University London as well as an MA in Finno-Ugric Studies and French with focus on Sociolinguistics www.poliglotti4.eu

 

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A review of the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture | Australiahttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/a-review-of-the-5th-world-summit-on-arts-and-culture-australia/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-review-of-the-5th-world-summit-on-arts-and-culture-australia http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/a-review-of-the-5th-world-summit-on-arts-and-culture-australia/#comments Thu, 15 Dec 2011 03:00:14 +0000 culture360.org http://culture360.asef.org/?p=17432

On 3-6 October the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture took place in Melbourne, Australia, coinciding with the development of a National Cultural Policy of Australia, something of real significance for Asia.  Read More

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Contributed by Ulla-Alexandra Mattl

On 3-6 October the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture took place in Melbourne, Australia, coinciding with the development of a National Cultural Policy of Australia, something of real significance for Asia.

By now the World Summit is an established triennial event in the cultural sector and an opportunity for real international exchange and inspiration by offering a wealth of expertise from across the world. This year the event was jointly organised by IFACCA and the Australia Council for the Arts and in partnership with Arts Victoria.

The Summit’s theme creative intersections explored how artists can give a voice to diverse communities and concerns through collaborations with experts in health and well-being, the environment, education, business, new technologies, cultural identity and more. At the conference Michael Mel (Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Goroka, Papua New Guinea) explained to the audience how even the flora, fauna and bird life can play a crucial role to exchange processes in his country.

While the theme was relevant to everyone attending the Summit, global differences as well as differences between Asia and Europe became very quickly apparent. Quite noticeably issues are handled in different ways and challenges, possibilities as well as priorities differ for the cultural and creative sector and for the artist but also for individual governments, arts funding agencies and stakeholders.

At the same time, however, the three days at the Summit also showed that all of us have just as much in common. On the first day, Eduard Miralles (Cultural Relations Advisor, Barcelona Provincial Coucil) pointed out that “it used to be the case that places are different and people are the same whereas now it is the other way round – places are the same and people are different”. In his statement there is of course an obvious link to the debate around globalisation and its effects on culture.

In terms of both speakers and delegates, Asia and Europe were well represented at the conference, while, with the support of the Asia-Europe Foundation and its online portal culture360.org, an entire roundtable was dedicated to cultural policies in Asia. The rise of China and India as economic powers, the decline of Europe and the consequences for co-operation and cultural policies were mentioned in various contexts.

Kiwon Hong (Assistant professor of cultural policy, Sookmyung Women’s University, Korea) explained to me how Korea is trying to profile itself as the hub for diversity and co-operation within Asia as well as a best practice area, stressing that Europe is not at all that visible. She sees co-operation in Asia still very much bilateral, not like in Europe where two or three countries come together to cooperate on a project. “While the mobility of Asian artists seems to be increasing there is currently a lack of inbound activity”, she says.

Pooja Sood (Director, KOJ Interanional Artists’ in Association, India) underlined that for her organisation it was really important to connect with Africa and Latin America for instance, with areas that felt equally marginalised . Sood, who set up the South Asian Network for the Arts (SANA) stressed the importance of exchange, and the difference good international artists can make. “It’s important to put Indian and international artists together – that’s how we have grown.” She talks about how the spin off effect has led to suggested strategies for local artists and has been a huge learning experience for them. “Talking about art is as relevant as doing it”, she says.

Throughout the summit examples were given as to how, particularly in Asia, the arts and culture are seen as the intermediary for social change due to growing economic development. Increasingly the arts and culture are seen as important factors for the development of society and job creation. While the importance of culture for other sectors was stressed in many places, Kathy Keele (CEO, Australia Council for the Arts and IFACCA board member) pointed out at the end of the Summit that “we should never lose the value of the arts for its own sake”.

The world economic crisis and questions around climate change and sustainability were high on speakers’ agendas. Malou Jacob (Former Executive Director, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Philippines) encouraged the audience to turn the world economic crisis into a new economic order, an opportunity. She added that maybe we could come up with a new breed of cultural entrepreneurs.

The topic of climate change and sustainability was tackled in a round table supported by ASEF as part of its Connect2 Culture Programme. Alison Tickell (Director, Julie’s Bicycle, UK) works on connecting the arts and the industry and on raising awareness on how operations in the cultural sector impact on climate change. Tickell also gave a final key note speech stressing that “there is nothing of more relevance to us now than climate change.” While Europe is increasingly looking at green policies, Asia is still lagging behind and is wondering why it should get involved, the questioning leading to a continuous redefinition of issues around arts and sustainability.

Ways of funding the arts was naturally a recurring topic in view of IFACCA being the global network of national arts funding agencies. While Europe is facing fierce cuts in the cultural sector, funding in many Asian countries remains either relatively stable or is seeing an increase. An increase in funding can mostly be noticed for the cultural industries and not necessarily for the individual artist.

On the occasion of the Summit, the WorldCP-International database of cultural policies was launched. A compendium of cultural policies was already developed for Europe and is now being further developed on a global scale. The World CP aims to document the arts and cultural policies of the world. It will certainly help to stimulate dialogue between stakeholders on arts and cultural policy.

Delegates were also introduced to the Europe-China Cultural Compass by Shen Qilan (Editor, Art World Magazine, China). The Compass, an initiative by partners EUNIC in China, the Goethe-Institut, the British Council, the Danish Cultural Institute and supported by ASEF is part of an ongoing dialogue between Europe and China and contains a broad range of knowledge relevant for co-operation.

Overall, the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture offered a perfect opportunity for the exchange of best practices. The realisation how much there is to be shared and needs to be shared between countries made it such a worthwhile and uplifting event. Delegates already anticipate the the next World Summit which will take place in Santiago de Chile, on 13-16 January 2014.

Ulla-Alexandra Mattl is the Co-ordintor of EUNIC in Brussels and the Project Manager of the European project Poliglotti4.eu. She is also the EU Correspondent for the Artsmanagement Network. Ulla is specialised in cultural relations and holds an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management from City University London as well as an MA in Finno-Ugric Studies and French with focus on Sociolinguistics www.poliglotti4.eu

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Asia-Europe dialogue on cultural policyhttp://culture360.asef.org/news/asia-europe-dialogue-on-cultural-policy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=asia-europe-dialogue-on-cultural-policy http://culture360.asef.org/news/asia-europe-dialogue-on-cultural-policy/#comments Mon, 12 Dec 2011 02:56:48 +0000 Anupama Sekhar http://culture360.asef.org/?p=17576

The protection and promotion of cultural heritage; the development of independent infrastructure for the arts; and, capacity building for arts management are some common priorities shared by Asian countries...  Read More

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Taeck-soo Chun, Secretary General, Korean National Commission for UNESCO speaks at the inaugural Experts' Meeting on Cultural Policy (Seoul, July 2011)

The protection and promotion of cultural heritage; the development of independent infrastructure for the arts; and, capacity building for arts management are some common priorities shared by Asian countries in the field of arts and culture.

The promotion of multiculturalism, diversity and social cohesion at the regional level remain key priorities in Europe.

Creative industries, heritage and arts education are topics of common relevance for multi-stakeholder dialogue at the intra-Asia and Asia-Europe levels in 2012.

Experts gather at the 2nd Experts' Meeting on Cultural Policy (Melbourne, October 2011)

These were the key conclusions drawn by governmental officials and cultural professionals at two Experts’ Meetings on Cultural Policy co-organized by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) in 2011 in the framework of the WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies.

WorldCP is a central, web-based and continuously updated database of country-specific profiles of cultural policies. It was launched at the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture in Melbourne in October 2011. WorldCP is supported by an international consortium of partners, led by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) and including the Asia-Europe Foundation.

WorldCP-Asia, a central component in the development of WorldCP, is a major new initiative to document the arts and cultural policies of countries in Asia, with specific focus on member countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

As part of WorldCP, a series of Experts’ Meetings on Cultural Policy was launched in Seoul in July 2011 to facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogue on issues of mutual relevance in arts and culture for Asia and Europe. The inaugural meeting, hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, South Korea and the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, brought together a group of 20 policymakers, researchers and commentators from Asia, Australia and Europe.

The second meeting in the series, held on 7 October 2011 in Melbourne alongside the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture, gathered 23 policymakers, researchers and arts administrators from ASEM member countries.

The full Summary Reports of the two Experts’ Meetings are available below for download.

ASEF’s support to WorldCP and the Experts’ Meetings on Cultural Policy is in the framework of its programme, Asia-Europe Compendium of Cultural Policies.

Brochure WorldCP-International Database of Cultural Policies

SummaryReport-1stExpertsMeeting-Seoul

SummaryReport-2ndExpertsMeeting-Melbourne

 

 

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