15 Years: The Compendium of Cultural Policies & Trends in Europe

Anniversary celebrated in Vienna, December 2013

When it all started in May and June 1998, the perspectives of what was to gradually develop into the "Compendium" www.culturalpolicies.net, as we know it today, were quite blurred: The ERICarts Institute had responded to a call for tenders issued by the Council of Europe, indicating that the planned new information tool should, at its best, take the form of a "database designed to act as an interactive, multilingual electronic space on the Internet", given that "the burden of bureaucratic procedures or high costs" should be avoided and up to date content secured. However, these and some other ideas could not be realised at once: Following an internal "0-number", later in that year, the first regular Compendium edition of 1999 came out as a loose-leaf-collection with 14 country profiles, published by ARCult Media.
Only after a 'probation period' of three more years, the Compendium could be fully established as a comparative, Web based information and monitoring system that is jointly run by the Council of Europe and ERICarts together with a dedicated "community of practice" of experts and government specialists, based on a grid with standardised specifications as well as on the feedback of users and advisors. Again and again, the Council of Europe proved to be a challenging partner, constantly on alert to see political issues or changing priorities being reflected in the system or suggesting new features and working methods. This fresh impetus as well as the support from many European governments, foundations, networks and universities kept the Compendium alive, turned it even into a model for information systems with a global outreach, such as www.worldcp.org.
Reason enough to say thanks to the many contributors and supporters, which happened at the 12th Compendium Assembly with Public Forum on 12/13 December 2013 at the "Architekturzentrum" in Vienna.
More information on Compendium events is available on the Web platform as well as on its Facebook extension.

Board Discusses ERICarts Research Strategy

Meeting in Amsterdam on 14 December 2012

Insert Image:Amsterdam2012-red.jpgAll ERICarts Associates took part in a strategy debate of the Board of Governors, held at the Boekman Foundation in Amsterdam.

In the picture from left to right:   Vesna Copic (ECURES e.V.); Olivier Goebel (ERICarts Secretariat); Ritva Mitchell, President of the BoG (CUPORE);   Ineke van Hamersveld (Boekmanstichting); Rui Gomes (Observatorio das Actividades Culturais); Andreas Joh. Wiesand (Executive Director); Susanne Keuchel (Zentrum für Kulturforschung).
The Board discussed problematic issues (e.g. current tenders of the EU or institutional partnerships with universities), highlighted the Council of Europe/ERICarts Compendium as a "flagship project", and advocated new initiatives prepared by the Secretariat (e.g. the "Helsinki Participation Research Process" or the "ABC Directory") as well as an increased collaboration to assist projects of the Associates with regard to their potential "European dimension".

An Inevitable "Clash of Civilisations"?

Three Approaches to Cultural Diversity

The ERICarts Institute hosted this workshop at the 2012 DW Global Media Forum in Bonn, June 25 - 27, a conference event visited by  ca. 1,800 experts and journalists from all over the world. Speakers were ECURES-Board member Elka Tschernokoshewa and Fabian Jacobs - both work at the Department of Empirical Cultural Studies and Anthropology of the Sorbian Institute, Bautzen. Their main theses as well as their plea for policies and practices fostering "cohesive diversity" reflected findings of "Sharing Diversity", the 2008 ERICarts study for the European Commission. Bi-cultural and bi-lingual experiences at schools in the Lusatia Region, the main settlement area of the slavic Sorb minority in the eastern part of Germany provided food for thought and debates at the workshop.

WorldCP, the global Compendium, launched in Melbourne

ERICarts an active participant in its development

The prototype of http://www.worldcp.org/, a new international database of cultural policies and trends, has been launched on 3 October 2011 by IFACCA, the global network of arts councils and ministries of culture. With its country-specific profiles of cultural policies, WorldCP has been modelled on the Council of Europe / ERICarts Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe. At the launch, the Compendium community of practice was represented by Ritva Mitchell (ERICarts Institute / Cupore). Compendium and ERICarts webmaster Joerg Torkler has been one of the architects in the construction of the new site.

Since 2008, when the "Open Compendium Initiative" had been started, several authors and editors of the European information system advised colleagues from around the world in preparing new country profiles, e.g. in the Arab countries, Australia, Asia and USA. WorldCP also benefits from close cooperation with other bodies such as the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the European Cultural Foundation, ERICarts partner Boekmanstichting and national authorities. The autonomy of regional sites like the Compendium is secured by a "federal" governance structure of the new system.

After more than 12 Years with the ERICarts Institute, Danielle Cliche takes over new position at UNESCO HQ in Paris

Danielle has been involved in most of the ERICarts activities since 1996 as a senior expert, research coordinator  or project leader. This includes, but is not limited to  a series of projects for the EU (e.g. "Pyramid or Pillars", "Culture Biz" or "Sharing Diversity"), the prominent  Council of Europe/ERICarts Compendium information and monitoring system  on "Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe", or the "Creative Europe" Report funded by the Network of European Foundations for Innovative Cooperation (NEF). In Spring and Summer 2009, her final task at the Institute has been the coordination of a global empirical survey on "Achieving Intercultural Dialogue through the Arts and Culture?" for IFACCA.

In November 2009, Danielle has taken up her new position at UNESCO, where she is now Chief of Section, Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Her vast experience and never ending dedication to the work of the ERICarts Institute will be deeply missed. On the other hand,  ERICarts' Board of Governors and staff are proud of this perfect choice for an important position in the domain of international cultural cooperation.

Compendium goes international

Decisive steps towards the launch of a global Internet information and monitoring system on cultural policies and trends based on the Council of Europe/ERICarts COMPENDIUM experience were taken September 5 at a preparatory meeting of different stakeholders in Brussels. Sarah Gardner, Executive Director of IFACCA (upper picture), explains the intended "federal" structure which foresees national profiles written by experts in collaboration with governments; regional coordination, quality control and funding assistance by IGOs, foundations and/or networks; and an international exchange and capacity building platform to be provided by IFACCA with the support of the ERICarts Institute, where the results of these exercises will be orchestrated. In the spirit of the OPEN COMPENDIUM initiative, some important steps towards internationalisation had been taken earlier, including e.g. successful implementations of the country profile grid in 8 Arab States and in Australia.

Happy with the results of the meeting (from left): Robert Palmer (Council of Europe Director of Culture/Heritage); Natasha Eves (IFACCA); Katelijn Verstraete (Asia-Europe Foundation); Tsveta Andreeva (European Cultural Foundation); Ineke van Hamersveld (Boekmanstichting); Anupama Sekhar (ASEF). Other participants of the meeting were Kathrin Merkle (Co-editor of the Compendium) and her team at the CoE Secretariat; Christine Merkel (German UNESCO Commission / Chair, CoE Culture Committee); Ritva Mitchell (BoG President, ERICarts Institute); J�rg Torkler (Compendium webmaster) and Andreas Wiesand (Executive Director, ERICarts Institute).

Gruesome Act of Violence at the ERICarts Institute

In line with old Rhineland traditions, Executive Director Andreas Wiesand was forced to surrender his symbol of male dignity to ERICarts intern Sari Asikainen on Womens' Carnival day ("Weiberfastnacht"), 11 February 2010. Our picture includes  Office Manager Olivier Göbel and J Torkler  (in the back)  who, having escaped the massacre, did not hide  their malicious glees.
As usual, this strange ritual could also  find different interpretations: maybe it  was simply  a rehearsal for the inauguration ceremony  of the European Folk Cultures Survey, the ERICarts Institute is now conducting together with its new partner organisation Boekman Foundation, Amsterdam  (Boekmanstichting).

Culture and EU Structural Funds: a success story?

New study finds opportunities and deficits

Together with the Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services (CSES), the ERICarts Institute conducted a study for the European Commission on the "Contribution of Culture to Local and Regional Development as part of European Cohesion Policy". In an effort to  involve as much practical experience from the field as possible, over 80 case studies were collected and edited by  the Institute (in charge: Olivier Göbel), several of them also by ERICarts' partners Péter Inkei and Jà¡nos Szabà³ (BudObs).
Over 100 experts involved in culture-based projects, officials responsible for developing or applying cultural or Structural Fund policies or people with a particular interest in how cultural activities impact on the economy and society participated in the study by either
- Providing information on cultural projects that have received EU Structural Funding and were successful or innovative; or  
- Attending a Seminar in Brussels which examined trends and evidence from projects funded over both the 2000-06 and the current programming periods.

The study, led by Mike Coyne (CSES), resulted in a number of conclusions and tools.  At the ERICarts Institute,  methodological and content input was coordinated by Andreas Wiesand who also presented some of the results and additional information on the issue at different European conferences.

Study on "Mobility Incentives for Cultural Professionals in Europe" submitted to EU-Commission

The study of the ERICarts Institute for the EU-Commission focuses on programmes and schemes supporting or influencing the mobility of cultural professionals in Europe.  The project began in April 2008, the final report was submitted in October 2008. The study was coordinated by Andreas Wiesand and Danielle Cliche with the assistance of Olivier Goebel; it is based mainly on existing resources, on information gained from national correspondents in the 35 participating countries, and on the contributions of six key experts: Suzanne Capiau, Rod Fisher, Ilkka Heiskanen, Dorota Ilczuk, Ritva Mitchell and Dimitrije Vujadinovic. The study and additional material can be found on the website www.mobility-matters.eu - the Executive Summary in English, French and German can also be downloaded here.

European Approaches to Cultural Diversity

In preparation for the 2008 UNESCO World Report on Cultural Diversity, the ERICarts Institute assembled information and data on how cultural diversity is interpreted in national cultural policy frameworks and structures in Europe. Country specific information can be found online through the Council of Europe/ERICarts: Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 8th edition, 2007.

More information on the goals, the proposed conceptual framework and the main activities leading to the realisation of the 2008 UNESCO World Report is available from the UNESCO website. It provides a list of the members of the advisory committee of experts and board of governors responsible for the report.

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