ERICarts European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research

A multi-stakeholder governance system for the "Compendium"

Council of Europe and ERICarts as Founding Members

From 1998 to December 2017, the Compendium of Cultural Policies & Trends in Europe ( has been developed and run as a joint venture of the Council of Europe and the European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (ERICarts), in collaboration with a dedicated community of independent national experts and specialists from over 40 governments in Europe. Kathrin Merkle (CoE) and Andreas Joh. Wiesand (ERICarts) acted as responsible editors during that period (the latter together with Danielle Cliche until 2009). Today the Compendium is recognised as the unique information and monitoring system in its domain; it served as a model for similar efforts in other continents (WorldCP).
At the Compendium Assembly held 2015 in Wroclaw, the Board of the ERICarts Institute announced that it would, for practical and legal reasons (due to a dramatic decrease of public funding), not be able to continue its management of the project and that chances for a transfer of responsibilities into more hands should be studied. In 2016/17, a new Compendium "architecture" in the form of a membership association under Dutch law has been elaborated; the Council of Europe and ERICarts acted as Founding Members in October 2017, with specific rights regarding the legacy and integrity of the information system. Inter alia, the statute of the association opens the door for new actors (governments of Council of Europe member states, research bodies and universities, NGOs, foundations, etc.), either as Stakeholders or Standing Members. As well, it recognises that Compendium authors should continue to work professionally (i.e. at "arm's length" from governments).
In November 2017, a first Board of the Compendium Association was elected at the Prague Assembly; it includes the chair of the European Association of Cultural Researchers (ERICarts Network), Ana Villaroya. The Board subsequently selected Boekmanstichting (Amsterdam) as the new service provider for the day to day management of the Compendium.

Back to the Roots...

European Association of Cultural Researchers resumes control of the ERICarts Institute

All previous Associates of the ERICarts Institute agreed, at their meeting on 28 September 2017 in Brussels, to a transfer of their ERICarts shares back to its founding organisation, the European Association of Cultural Researchers e.V. (ECURES). The members of the ERICarts Board of Governors (BoG) took this step as a consequence of the necessary reorganisation of the Institute due to the planned changes in the governance of the "Compendium of Cultural Policies & Trends in Europe". The BoG members' formal approval of this transfer (under § 8.1 and 8.2 of the Statute) was also considered as a move towards securing the "European character" of ERICarts Institute. The ECURES Assembly (8 November 2017 in Prague) thanked the Associates for their support of the Institute and started a joint process to resume control. The Executive Director was asked to develop perspectives for future joint research efforts, particularly as regards the participation of the Institute in EU calls for tender.


New handbook on cultural dimensions of human rights

Insert Image:new_cover.jpg CULTURE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: THE WROCLAW COMMENTARIES, published by De Gruyter (Berlin) and ARCult Media (Cologne), is the first basic dictionary in this domain; it is complemented by a special Internet platform with further information and a debate space. Edited by Andreas Joh. Wiesand, Kalliopi Chainoglou and Anna Sledinska-Simon in collaboration with Yvonne Donders, the handbook is composed of 130 Articles written by 96 experts from all over the world. The Council of Europe and the ERICarts Institute were involved in the 30 month preparation process, inter alia via aspecial session at the Compendium Experts Assembly November 2015 in Wroclaw, where the first public presentation and discussion of the concept and main issues took place. The official lauch happened on 14 November 2016 in that city, held in the context of Wroclaw - European Capital of Culture 2016. On 10 May 2017, the Wroclaw Commentaries were presented by the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, and by the co-ordinating editor, Andreas Joh. Wiesand at a session of the Culture Committee (CDCPP) of the CoE in Strasbourg - watch their contributions on YouTube here and here.

For previous news, see our News Archive.

UNESCO Expert Facility for the Diversity Convention

Members selected for 2015-2017

Among those selected to be part of the UNESCO Expert Facility aimed at supporting capacity development initiatives for the implementation of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions are Vesna Čopič (ERICarts Board of Governors) and Andreas Wiesand (ERICarts Executive Director). In addition, actual or former experts of the Council of Europe/ERICarts "Compendium", Milena Dragićević Šešić and Nina Obuljen, as well as ECURES member Raj Isar were selected. Former Council of Europe Director in charge of the Compendium, Bob Palmer, and Sarah Gardner, Director of Compendium partner IFACCA, also form part of the group of 43 specialists.

New "Voices of Culture" in Brussels…

The European Commission has re-organised its "structured dialogue" with civil society in the area of culture. A consortium led by the Goethe Institute Brussels (with ELIA and Flagey) organised the dialogue process in 2015/16 under the new title: Voices of Culture – European Structured Dialogue. During the initial phase, Andreas Wiesand (ERICarts Institute) acted as Team Leader of a group of experts and continued later as a senior advisor – cf. more in his interview with Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen No. 148 (2015) in German or in an English translation. The new process comprises three essential instruments:

  • About 40 experts or civil society representatives from member states of the EU discuss special themes in 5 preparatory brainstorming sessions, including: Audience Development via Digital Means; Participatory Governance of Cultural Heritage; Developing the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Potential of the Cultural and Creative Sectors; Promoting Intercultural Dialogue and Bringing Communities Together through Culture in Shared Public Spaces;The Role of Culture in Promoting the Inclusion of Refugees and Migrants.
  • The main ideas and proposals of these meetings are summarised in a results paper;
  • In a dialogue meeting, these results are then discussed with the EU Commission and could later play a role in the "Open Method of Coordination" (OMC) sessions with representatives of the Member States.

In parallel with these steps, themes, results and proposals or documents can be followed up on the website of the project.

Cultural Projects in EU Territorial Cooperation programmes

New ERICarts activities and publications

During the last decades, strategies and projects related to cultural heritage, the arts and "creative industries", originally not in the focus of European Union activities, gained recognition, including for their role in fostering economic growth, employment opportunities and socio-cultural cohesion as well as intercultural dialogue, creativity and innovation in Europe. As regards EU Structural Funds, this context appears to be somewhat less coherently recognised, despite a few references in regulations and strategies, or of a number of successfully completed projects with different cultural dimensions (cf. the CSES/ERICarts Study "The Contribution of Culture to Local and Regional Development - Evidence from the Structural Funds").

However, most of the 13 European Territorial Cooperation programmes financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) can be considered an exception, since culture-related projects had, from the very start, important fuctions in their strategies and implementation activities. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that the ERICarts Institute recently devoted some time to contribute to more transparency in this domain:

In addition to advising the SOUTH EAST EUROPE Programme on cultural dimensions and opportunities in the context of the new "SEE 2020"  strategy (lead-management: Vesna Čopič), the ERICarts Institute engaged in a larger thematic study: "Cultural Heritage and Creative Resources in the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme". The study has been carried out by ERICarts Executive Director Andreas Joh. Wiesand with Office Manager Olivier Göbel and additional advice from three experts in the region: Vesna Čopič (Ljubljana), Péter Inkei (Budapest) and Veronika Ratzenböck (Vienna). You can download the Final Report here. The study, which includes a number of conclusions and strategic recommendations, has also been a topic in the CENTRAL EUROPE Annual Conference held on 1 July 2014 in Vienna.

For previous news, see our News Archive.

Intercultural Dialogue

As a preparation for the 4th IFACCA World Summit on Arts and Culture in Johannesburg, the ERICarts Institute contributed the survey Achieving Intercultural Dialogue through the Arts and Culture? Concepts, Policies, Programmes, Practices. The report mapped views from all parts of the world and collected cases of good practice on the (potential) role of intercultural dialogue in arts policies.
More recently, ERICarts Executive Director Andreas Wiesand advised the UN Alliance of Civilisations during the preparation and evaluation of its Global Forum in Doha: Intercultural Dialogue to Boost Development as well as the Culture Committee of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) - cf. his paper Turning Intercultural Action into Policies.

Project Websites

bullet point Gender Research

bullet point Culture-Gates

bullet point Creative Europe

bullet point Cultural Policies in Europe

bullet point Intercultural Dialogue

bullet point Mobility Matters


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