One of the core services provided by the ERICarts Institute is the production of comparative cultural policy research and analysis.
Comparative cultural policy research is becoming an important tool in the development of national and transnational policies and programmes by offering models for understanding and, through an examination of similar efforts elsewhere, reduce the uncertainties and complexities inherent in policy making. As we bear witness to the further integration of nations, regions and peoples, national authorities require such information in order to recognise the effects of their decision making beyond their jurisdictions.
Comparative cultural research and analysis is distinct from most traditional fields of academic research. It is multifaceted, multipurpose and multidisciplinary. It employs techniques and concepts from other recognised disciplines and in the process seeks to achieve its own academic legitimacy. Researchers working with the ERICarts Institute are recognised as pioneers who have greatly contributed to this emerging field by building up areas of knowledge and setting professional standards. In recent years, the ERICarts Institute and its partners have produced some of the first studies in Europe comparing and analysing cultural policies and trends in areas ranging from the Information Society, cultural diversity, artistic creativity, the culture industries and gender equality.
One of the essential elements to producing reliable comparative cultural policy research and analysis is the ability to understand the different contexts in which policies for culture are developed and implemented. Without this basis of understanding, comparative results can be compromised and unreliable. The approach that the ERICarts Institute has taken to comparative cultural policy research and analysis is to work together with local experts which are researchers who have links to the policy making process in their own countries.
Another key requirement for conducting comparative cultural policy research is reliable national information, documentation and statistics. Centres of excellence and individual nationally based researchers work together with the ERICarts Institute to compile such resources in the form of, for example, country profiles. Standard indicators upon which information and data for country profiles are to be compiled, are developed collectively in order to pave the way for future policy comparisons. The progress achieved within the ERICarts/Council of Europe project, “Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe” or the multilingual “Handbook of Cultural Affairs in Europe" have become model projects not only in Europe but throughout the world.