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Intervention by Mr Horia-Roman Patapievici
2010 Conference Report
On September 6th and 7th 2010, EUNIC participated in CultureWatchEurope, a conference on cultural policies in the light of current social, economical and political changes.
The Council of Europe, in partnership with the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), Culture Action Europe, the Budapest Observatory, International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) and the European Cultural Foundation, organised an international conference focusing on the theme of "Culture and the policies of change". It took place from 6 to 7 September 2010 at the EESC’s Headquarters in Brussels.
There has been limited debate on the practical implications for national and local cultural policy-makers and practitioners of the shifts that have been occurring and which may increase in relation to public policy for culture. In some countries, cultural strategies and priorities are under review, in others, there is a need to re-think current methods and practices, taking into account global cultural market forces and shifts in public interests and values, while in other countries, there is talk of significant cuts to cultural budgets and institutions in 2011 and beyond. The cause of the concern is not only financial, but also a result of a re-orientation of public interests and priorities, with an increased pre-occupation about the role of culture in promoting social integration and in managing cultural diversity, and also a perceived shift in cultural values partly related to the growing impact of environmental and other concerns.
The Conference seeked to explore not only the direct impact of the financial crisis on the cultural sector in terms of threats and losses, but also to question the state’s role as a substantial provider of culture. This theme touched on related issues such as the need to re-define certain current cultural practices, the changing roles of cultural institutions, and the potential of alternative governance models, new forms of partnerships and multi-stakeholder approaches to help meet the ensuing challenges. Related topics included possible new responsibility paradigms for culture and new frameworks for public policy in the cultural domain. Given the importance of this issue in Europe, it seems appropriate to approach the subject both from a wide intellectual angle, with a mainstreaming approach to culture and cultural policy, and very practically in terms of measures and proposals that might be considered.
The Conference was aimed at senior policy-makers, practitioners and researchers who operate at national, regional and local levels, and who are responsible for the content, management or implementation of cultural policies. A keynote speech was offered by Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends.
The conference took take place at the European Economic and Social Committee
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