ERICarts European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research


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.

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. Andreas Wiesand (ERICarts Institute) was selected as Team Leader – 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.

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", 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
Reason enough to say thanks to the many contributors and supporters, which happened at the recent 12th Compendium Assembly with Public Forum on 12/13 December 2013 at the "Architekturzentrum" in Vienna. More information on this event is available on the Compendium homepage as well as on its Facebook extension.

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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