IFACCA (International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies) publishes its latest research report D’Art 49 on International Cultural Networks. The report looks at the various ways in which cultural networks operate, including their resources, membership, funding and activities, views on the purpose of cultural networks, challenges and potential solutions, and their vision for the future.
During its 15 years of operation, IFACCA has witnessed firsthand the ways in which culture networks operate, advocate, manage change, and evolve. In order to share this experience and better understand the workings of culture networks around the world, in 2015 it held a workshop in Singapore – THRIVE: Networking Culture Leaders – in partnership with the Asia-Europe Foundation.
The workshop was attended by 20 participants from 16 countries and was designed to enable them to share their experiences and discuss how the operations and impact of international cultural networks might be enhanced. In preparation, IFACCA conducted a survey to identify existing skills and knowledge exchange, capacity building needs, challenges of leadership, and advocacy in international networks. The results of the survey were then used to guide discussions during workshop sessions, which addressed a range of issues including corporate governance, evaluation, diversifying funding sources, communications and advocacy.
This report draws together the outcomes of these discussions and the responses to the survey, which was circulated more widely after the workshop to gain greater insight into the work and future of culture networks worldwide.
The report includes responses from more than 50 cultural networks and organisations in 32 countries from across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific. It also includes introductory chapters from Dr Aleksandra Uzelac and Anna Steinkamp, which provide theoretical context around the conceptual frameworks and governance of cultural networks.
- Cultural networks cite their main purposes as: advocating, promoting arts and culture, collaborating, supporting creative expression, building capacity, being a catalyst for change and informing and educating.
- The majority of respondent cultural networks are small organisations, with 70 percent employing 10 members of staff or fewer.
- Overall, the largest source of income for networks is from funders. However, organisations with greater staff resources also receive significant income from membership fees and service provision.
- Of the wide range of activities that cultural networks undertake, networking, research and capacity building are the three most dominant areas of activity.
- Although digital communication plays a key role in the work of cultural networks and their plans for future activities, personal contact continues to be of great importance, with 81 percent carrying out face-to-face networking events.
- Cultural networks have a strong belief in their continued relevance, with more than 75 percent of respondents stating that their work is now more relevant than it has ever been.
- The main challenges to cultural networks are financial difficulty and economic uncertainty. However, most organisations are positive about their future and many expect to grow in size and membership at both international and regional levels
Download D’Art 49 report