At the 25th session of the Scientific Council of the Institute for International Relations in Zagreb, Croatia, the focal point of the Culturelink Network, held on 29 October 2004, the Report on the Activities of the Culturelink Network in 2000-2004 and Programme for 2005-2006 was adopted as follows:
Culturelink, the Network of Networks for Research and Cooperation in Cultural Development, was established in 1989 by UNESCO and the Council of Europe with the view to strengthen the communication between networks, institutions and professionals in the field of culture, the exchange of cultural information, ideas and knowledge, and the development of research cooperation. Pursuing these aims, the Culturelink Network has continued its activities in the period between 2000 and 2004, and drawn up its programme for the years 2005-2006. (The Report on the Activities of the Culturelink Network in 1998-1999 and Programme for 2000-2001 were published in the Culturelink review no.29/August 1999 under the title Culturelink for the Next Millennium.)
I. Impact of the Culturelink Network in 2000-2004
In this period, Culturelink, as a world-wide network, encouraged the establishment of links between existing international networks on all continents and, above all, supported the development of new networks specialized in specific fields (such as cultural policies or cultural management), professions (music or applied arts, for example) or organizations (arts councils among others). Participating in the 2001 conference in Ottawa, Canada, the Culturelink Network had part in the establishment of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA), seated in Australia. At several other conferences, Culturelink also endorsed the establishment of the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA) in 2002, located in Mozambique. In addition, Culturelink supported the establishment, development and continued operation of the International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD) in Canada.
Furthering decentralization, Culturelink, in cooperation with UNESCO, set up the Asia-Pacific Regional Centre of the Culturelink Network (APRCCN) in Seoul, Korea, which, between 2000 and 2004, focused on cultural policies of the region. An APRCCN representative presented the results of its work at the seminar organized by the Asian-Europe Foundation (ASEF) in 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Culturelink's action was also geared towards transcontinental networking activities connecting various cultural institutions (museums, libraries, theatres, music and other arts organizations to name a few), cultural centres, universities, ministries of culture, non-governmental organizations and professionals. In the past years the number of Culturelink members, coming from 105 countries worldwide, settled at around 1000, while more than 10.000 networks, institutions and individuals working in the field of culture are linked to the Culturelink Network, be it as partners or as users of its online resources (see the section on the Culturelink WWW Resource Centre). Following from an evaluation questionnaire assessing Culturelink's services in 2002 and from information received from many Network members, numerous contacts were established through Culturelink, which served as a basis for the exchange of information, views and experiences, the implementation of joint research projects, and the development of databases.
The diverse activities of the Culturelink Network have brought together an array of renowned international specialists, forming research clusters, and allowing Culturelink and the Institute for International Relations (IMO) to be perceived as the Zagreb school of study in the field of cultural policies.
To enhance its operation to the fullest, the Network continually developed its information and communication infrastructure, especially the Culturelink Members and Partners Database and the WWW Resource Centre, both updated regularly. In addition to publishing the Culturelink review, the C-News electronic newsletter was started in 2004. Several international conferences were organized by Culturelink (for example on e-culture and on regional cultural cooperation). The participation in a number of international research studies and numerous conferences were part of the Network's activities in the period under review.
The Culturelink team is made up of the members of the Department for Culture and Communication of the Institute for International Relations (IMO) in Zagreb, Croatia. The special significance of their work lies in the emphasis of certain phenomena in culture not previously discussed in the international arena: the term "networking of cultures", for example, was coined in a Culturelink workshop, the team's members have drawn the attention to the fact that cultural policies are actually a trans-sectoral developmental activity, and the Network's team was an active advocate of innovative systems and forms of cultural communication and cooperation.
II. Activities of the Culturelink Network in 2000-2004
1. Publishing Activities
Between 2000 and 2004, the Culturelink review was published regularly, at a rate of three regular editions and one Special Issue yearly. A total of 14 regular issues (from issue no. 30/April 2000 through issue no. 43/August 2004) and three special issues have thus been published. In addition to the regular sections of networking and research news, UNESCO and Council of Europe activities and book reviews, each issue included a Dossier devoted to one specific subject: cultural policies for development (issues no. 30, 31 and 32), social cohesion and culture (no. 33), the role of arts in processes of social change (no. 34), cultural diversity – towards a global cultural pact (no. 35), Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (no. 36), redefining cultural identities – cultural industries and technological convergence (no. 37), international conversations through art (no. 38), Cultura Europea (no. 39), international cooperation for cultural policy motivated research (no. 40), cultural diversity – Opatija conference omnibus (no. 41), artistic expression in a corporate world (no. 42), reflections on contemporary arts and culture (no. 43), and the challenges of cultural policies (no. 44, currently being prepared).
Special Issue 2000: Culture and Development vs. Cultural Development, editors Helen Gould, Kees Epskamp and Daniela A. Jelinčić, prepared in cooperation with the networks Creative Exchange (Great Britain) and Stichting CompArt (The Netherlands).
Special Issue 2001: Convergence, Creative Industries and Civil Society. The New Cultural Policy, guest editor Colin Mercer, prepared in cooperation with the Nottingham Trent University (Great Britain).
Special Issue 2002/2003: Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development, editors Katerina Stenou and Biserka Cvjetičanin, prepared in cooperation with UNESCO.
The selection and the elaboration of the topics discussed in the Dossiers and the special issues show that the review has successfully followed the new challenges in culture, initiating their discussion and contributing to their research through original scientific papers. Numerous renowned researchers and in the meantime recognized professionals have participated in this process, including:
Joost Smiers (The Netherlands), Alberta Arthurs (USA), Ivan Bernier (Canada), Enrique Banus (Spain), Charles Landry (Great Britain), Erhard Busek (Austria), Renata Saleci (Slovenia), Max Fuchs (Germany), Carl-Johan Kleberg (Sweden), Karl Eric Knutsson (Sweden), Christopher Gordon (Great Britain), Angeline S. Kamba (Zimbabwe), Pasuk Phongpaichit (Thailand), Fernando Delgado (USA), Lance T. Izumi (USA), Michael C. Dorf (USA), Tom Coffman (USA), Vjeran Katunarić (Croatia), Sharon Jeannotte (Canada), Eva Brinkman (The Netherlands), Cas Smithuijsen (The Netherlands), Matko Meštrović (Croatia), Rose A. Dyson (Canada), Michael Wimmer (Austria), Garry Neil (Canada), Peter S. Grant (Canada), Hong-Joon Kim (Korea), Burama K. Sagnia (Senegal), Rafael Segovia (Mexico), Jirina Smejkalova (The Czech Republic), Nada Švob-Đokić (Croatia), Nina Obuljen (Croatia), Milena Dragičević Šešić (Serbia and Montenegro), Josef Langer (Austria), Elliot W. Eisner (USA), Betty Lou Williams (USA), Vera Turković (Croatia), Kaija Kaitavoun (Finland), Hans van Poppel (The Netherlands), Eleonora Belfiore (Great Britain), Annick Schramme (Belgium), Ludwig Laher (Austria), Mike van Graan (South Africa), Aleksandra Uzelac (Croatia), Ken Wiwa (Nigeria), Mateja Herak (Slovenia), Biserka Cvjetičanin (Croatia), Nestor O. Jardin (The Philippines), Apinan Poshyananda (Thailand), Chulamanee Chartsuwan (Thailand), Louis Yu Kwok Lit (Hong Kong), Kees Epskamp (The Netherlands), Helen Gould (Great Britain), Mervyn Claxton (UNESCO), Guillermo Gutierrez (Argentina), François Matarasso (Great Britain), Paola Beck (South Africa), Penny Eames (New Zealand), Chrissie Tiller (Great Britain), James Sengendo (Uganda), Raina Cherneva (Bulgaria), Tiao Rocha (Brazil), Kazimierz Krzysztofek (Poland), Aggrey Brown (Jamaica), Gao Xian (China), Y.Raj Isar (UNESCO), Colin Mercer (Great Britain), Paul Jeffcutt (Great Britain), Tom O'Regan (Australia), Andy C. Pratt (Great Britain), Guiomar Alonso Cano (UNESCO), Indrajit Banerjee (Singapore), Lisanne Gibson (Australia), John Tomlinson (Great Britain), John Foote (Canada), Stuart Cunningham (Australia), D. Paul Schafer (Canada), Edgar Montiel (UNESCO), Janina W. Dacyl (Sweden), Edwin R. Harvey (Argentina), Christophe Germann (Switzerland), Željka Kožul-Wright (UNCTAD), Charles D. Kleymeyer (USA), Kiril Razlogov (Russia), Graciela Elizabeth Bergallo (Argentina), R.K. Singh (India).
The Culturelink review is accessible via the Internet at http://www.culturelink.org/review.
The articles published in the Culturelink review and all other publications by the Culturelink Network (see below) are regularly cited in relevant international publications.
Culturelink Joint Publications Series
Redefining Cultural Identities: The Multicultural Contexts of the Central European and Mediterranean Regions. Culturelink Joint Publications Series No 3, editor Nada Švob-Đokić, 2001, 220 pp.
Redefining Cultural Identities: Southeastern Europe. Culturelink Joint Publications Series No 4, editor Nada Švob-Đokić, 2001, 214 pp.
Culture: A Driving Force for Urban Tourism – Application of Experiences to Countries in Transition. Culturelink Joint Publications Series No 5, editor Daniela Angelina Jelinčić, 2002, 160 pp.
Other Culturelink Publications
Guide to the Culturelink Network. Culturelink Publications 3, editor Daniela A. Jelinčić, 2002, 251 pp.
Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa, editors Mate Kovacs and Biserka Cvjetičanin, 2004, 56 pp.
Observatoire des politiques culturelles en Afrique, editors Mate Kovacs and Biserka Cvjetičanin, 2004, 62 pp.
2. Information Infrastructure
Culturelink WWW Resource Centre
Through its continued development and a major redesign project undertaken in 2001 renewing its graphical design and restructuring the content layout, the Culturelink Website was successfully upgraded to a static WWW Resource Centre of global significance. At that occasion, newly created news and support sections were added, a chronological diary of currently announced international meetings and conferences was developed, and the optimized navigation mechanism was enriched with the possibility of searching through the entire contents of the Resource Centre.
Since then, the Culturelink Web pages have continually been further developed, enriching its contents regularly with news, current announcements of relevant events, a rich selection from each new paper edition of the Culturelink review, and links to other cultural e-resources. Between 2000 and 2004, the number of pages of the Resource Centre has grown from 350 to currently 550 static web pages.
The Culturelink website currently registers over 60.000 pageviews from 1500 visitors monthly, while the search mechanism is employed for some 500-600 enquiries a month. In the period under review, the site was visited by users from over 170 countries worldwide.
The Resource Centre gives access to the Culturelink review starting with issue no. 18, a text-based diary of some 300 current and over 600 past events (archived for reference purposes), and a static listing of over 360 thematically organized links to other relevant resources of cultural information available on the Internet. The Network has opened its web space to its members, offering a dedicated forum for the announcement of their news and information. At the beginning of 2004, Professor Joost Smiers has chosen just this space for the publication and global distribution of his free e-book made available in PDF format.
After a reconstruction of its index pages, during the past years the diary of events was enriched with over 450 announcements of relevant courses, conferences, round table discussions and other meetings. Included were also detailed announcements and programmes of conferences and courses held in Croatia, as well as subsequent reports and an electronically published reader (PDF format).
In addition to the Culturelink review, the Network regularly publishes on its web pages results from joint research projects and proceedings from conferences and seminars it organizes. Between 2000 and 2004 the Culturelink WWW Resource Centre was expanded with 14 regular and 3 special issues of the Culturelink review, a selection from 3 new works published in the Joint Publications Series, and 5 issues of its electronic newsletter C-News.
Following suggestions from Network members who, in the abovementioned evaluation questionnaire, have expressed their need for a brief electronic newsletter announcing news and information arriving late for inclusion in the paper edition or meriting special mention, Culturelink established its C-News in early 2004. It is published at irregular intervals, announcing calls for projects and courses, current conferences and Network news. Five issues have appeared so far.
A significant activity of the Culturelink Network lies in the development of databases, of which three are accessible online via the Internet. In addition to the textual Cultural Policy Database, which regularly receives around 6000 visitors a month, and the Database of Institutions and Networks in the Field of Cultural Development, in 2002 the interactive Culturelink Members and Partners Database was developed and made available online, offering its users free access to contact information, thus facilitating the establishment of cultural cooperation partnerships.
During 2002 and 2003 the Database of Institutions and Networks in the Field of Cultural Development underwent a major update – the data was expanded from around 1000 to 1500 records of cultural networks and institutions from all parts of the world. In addition to refreshing the content, a new interactive web-based database was developed, to replace the existing one.
All Bibliographical Databases have been revised, sorted and updated, and prepared for new updating and searching. To simplify the searching for the end user and make it more effective, a local Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) has been created, facilitating the simultaneous search through all databases.
3. Cooperation with other Web Projects
OCPA WWW Resource Centre
Based on a series of regional meetings held in 2001, the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA) was established in 2002 with a view to study the development of national cultural policies in the region and enhance their integration in human development strategies. As the Observatory was planned as a key service-oriented resource centre for the collection, analysis and dissemination of information on new concepts, challenges, experiences and examples from cultural life and development in Africa, the regional information gateway function was established through setting up the OCPA website in the same year, a task entrusted to the Culturelink Network. Having elaborated the concept and design through a comprehensive web development project for the OCPA WWW Resource Centre, Culturelink continually cooperates with OCPA, regularly updating existing and developing new information services, hosted at the IMO server. In 2004 the www.ocpanet.org domain was registered. In this period the resource centre grew to some 200 web pages, visited by users from 140 countries worldwide.
In 2004 Culturelink published the first two publications of the Observatory – a 60-page strategic OCPA document and report from the resource centre published in English and French language. The preparation of an electronic edition of the publication is also planned.
4. Culturelink Conferences
eCulture: The European Perspective. Cultural Policy – Knowledge Industries – Information Lag
Zagreb, 24-27 April 2003, in cooperation with the Cultural Information and Research Centres Liaison in Europe (CIRCLE)
The Round Table presented both European and national development guidelines of e-culture, the culture based on the use of information technology, discussing the following topics: e-cultural policies – existing/future strategies; creative industries – common denominators and trends; e-culture and new economy – inclusion or exclusion; application of ICTs in the field of culture – the arts and heritage; and logistics – existing online resources. The topic of copyright in the field of e-culture was especially vividly discussed, covering the book, visual arts, heritage and music sector. The 80 professionals from 21 European countries attending the event have not only identified current problems and uncertainties in the field of e-culture, but have also offered concrete solutions and proposals for new projects and cooperation.
All conference key note presentations and discussions were video streamed live, thus having provided an innovative possibility of Internet-based participation to those unable to attend the event physically.
Cultural Policies and Cultural Development in Southeastern Europe: New Realities and Challenges
Zagreb, Croatia, 10-11 September 2004
The Round Table, organized within the framework of the Capacity Building project, discussed conceptual and developmental issues related to the cultural policies and cultural development in Southeastern Europe, aiming to define operational scenarios for future cooperation in the region. The purpose of the expert meeting was to propose new ways for future cultural cooperation in the region, to diagnose which organizational forms could be most suitable to support more systematic and continuous regional cultural development, and to stimulate joint research into cultural changes in the region.
It was concluded that following a period in which the countries of the region focused their efforts on the elaboration of cultural policies and strategies, we now find ourselves in a period displaying an obvious need for an evaluation of the results achieved so far. The existence of a rich local knowledge about cultural problems was identified and it was established that a better regional communication and the transfer of this knowledge would benefit the development of the region.
As currently most initiatives are conducted by foreign institutions, foundations and the EU, better regional communication and a greater visibility of regional initiatives could secure an equilibrium between international and local initiatives. A lack of understanding for the situation in Southeastern Europe has lead to the frequent problem that international experts offer inappropriate models to institutions of the region. A better developed regional expertise could ensure a transfer of knowledge among cultural actors which is applicable in the region. Concrete possibilities for cooperation were discussed, especially concerning the research into cultural changes within the framework of the planned IMO Seminar on Cultural Transitions in Southeastern Europe, to be held at the Inter-University Centre (IUC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in May 2005.
Advancing Cultural Diversity Globally: The Role of Civil Society Movements
Opatija, Croatia, 13-15 October 2003
Hosted by the Culturelink Network / IMO, the fourth annual conference of the International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD) was held in Opatija, Croatia, on 13-15 October 2003. The conference programme, the papers presented and the list of participants are available at the Web page http://www.incd.net/events/2003conference.html.
5. Internships at Culturelink
At the suggestion of several international organizations such as the Council of Europe and the Open Society Institute (OSI), Culturelink has organized several internships for young researchers from Eastern European countries, Russia and Mongolia at its IMO focal point.
The Culturelink Network received a number of awards and acknowledgements, especially for its Web information services. The Culturelink WWW Resource Centre has been included in such global directories of selected information sources as the Scout Report for Social Sciences and Britannica's The Web's Best Sites directory. Acknowledgements include the selection among the 15 finalists in the Culture and Entertainment category of the Stockholm Challenge Award 2001, Anthro.Net's peer reviewed Best Practices Award for Social Sciences, and the selection of Culturelink's Website as the Croatian nominee for the e-culture category of the World Summit Award 2003.
In the past Culturelink's primary sources of financing were UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Croatia, and the Network's annual membership fees. However, the financial situation has deteriorated over the past two-year period, as Culturelink has received no UNESCO financing since the project is no longer part of UNESCO's regular Budget. At the same time, financing from the Council of Europe was decreased, which means that Culturelink now has to turn to other sources of financing.
III. Programme for 2005-2006
1. Second World Culturelink Conference
The First World Culturelink Conference was held in June 1995. Ten years later, in June 2005, the Second World Culturelink Conference shall be held in Zagreb, Croatia, entitled Dynamics of Communication – New Ways, New Actors. The conference shall discuss such topics as the role of the state and national cultures, new actors, new ways of communication and cooperation, and the advancement of multiculturalism / interculturalism.
2. Cultural Cooperation in Southeastern Europe Project
This project was started in 2004 under the name Capacity Building (see above). Further development of the information infrastructure is foreseen for the next two-year period as is the exchange of ideas and knowledge in the framework of an IMO seminar on Cultural Transitions in Southeastern Europe, to be held at the Inter-University Centre (IUC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in May 2005.
3. Laboratory of European Cultural Cooperation (LAB) Project
At the invitation of the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), Culturelink serves as partner in the EU project application of the Gateway to Cultural Cooperation: Preparatory Actions proposal. If accepted, it should serve as preparatory project for LAB, the Laboratory of European Cultural Cooperation Portal project, which will aim to further cultural cooperation in Europe. As a first step, the establishment of an Interactive Portal is planned, which is envisaged as the point of reference for European cultural cooperation.
4. Further Development of the Culturelink WWW Resource Centre
The long-term objective of the Culturelink Network is the development of a world-wide information system for the study of cultural development and cooperation, not only allowing the use of online databases but also making possible the interactive participation in Internet conferences.
With its 550 static Web pages, the Culturelink WWW Resource Centre has reached the limits of its technical maintainability and content manageability. In order to ensure its regular updating and future enlargement, the process of preparation and formatting of the content needs to be automated and its management has to be dynamized. A dynamic content management system is to facilitate the internal production through the organization of tasks and the management of resources, and to allow the filtering of the content to generate a personalized user's view of relevant data. A content management system would at the same time significantly enhance the functionality of the existing diary of scientific conferences and other events, facilitating their regular timely announcement. The system would also provide a search mechanism for the entire site, including the full-text search of PDF and MS Word documents.
Future development plans include further work on the currently experimentally accessible Database of Institutions and Networks in the Field of Cultural Development, aiming to establish an interactive database, which would make possible searching the database by various criteria as well as updating the online data by the users themselves and collecting new data.
The Bibliographical Database, which holds data on documents and publications from the field of cultural development, is to be set up as an interactive database freely accessible online.
5. Development of the OCPA WWW Resource Centre
Plans for the future development of the OCPA WWW Resource Centre include a fundamental redesign of the pages to include the Observatory's new logo developed in 2004, a reconstruction and consolidation of the existing content layout, and the development of further information services, especially databases (such as the planned Database of Specialists and Institutions Working in the Field of Culture, Cultural Development and Cultural Policies in Africa). The large number of available documents calls for a new classification and organization model, while the growing quantity of links requires a clear structure of hierarchical categories.
6. Proceedings of the Conference e-Culture: The European Perspective
The publication of the proceedings is planned for the end of 2004.
7. Production of a Monograph about the Zagreb School of Cultural Policy Research
The impact of the researchers active in the field of cultural development in Zagreb, Croatia over the past years, has rightfully led to the perception of a distinct "Zagreb school", established in the nineteen-nineties through the work on UNESCO's cultural policies project (Culturelink's scheme was later taken over by the Compendium project), the elaboration of the cultural policies of Croatia and other countries for the Council of Europe, and the presentation of papers at numerous international meetings and conferences (at one of which the role of the "Zagreb School" was emphasized). Croatian experts – Vjeran Katunarić, Sanjin Dragojević, Žarko Paić, Matko Meštrović and others – will be invited to join IMO's researchers in this study.
8. Partnership in the Organization of International Conferences
Representing already part of Culturelink's tradition, the Network has again been invited to coorganize several conferences.
The publication of the electronic newsletter C-News at irregular intervals will be continued.
Though the 2000-2004 Report and the 2005-2006 Programme are only published in a summarized form, they give insight into the diversity of Culturelink's activities and its contribution to the spread of worldwide communication and cooperation, the research of new cultural phenomena and the establishment of infrastructural information systems in culture. The Culturelink Network is what every international network ought to be per definitionem: a dynamic system of communication, cooperation and partnership, with openness, flexibility, and, as should be especially emphasized, great heterogeneity representing its main characteristics.