Culturelink Network Overview
Culturelink, the Network of Networks for Research and Cooperation in Cultural Development, was established by UNESCO and the Council of Europe in 1989 in Paris at the UNESCO Consultation of Representatives of Regional and Sub-regional Networks for Cultural Development Research and Cooperation.
The Institute for International Relations (IMO, formerly IRMO), Zagreb, Croatia has been the Network's focal point since its inception. This year, Culturelink will celebrate 20 years of continuous activities in promoting and strengthening communication and cooperation among cultural networks, cultural institutions, organisations and cultural professionals and scholars throughout the world.
During the past twenty years, the Network has primarily been serving as a platform for research in the field of cultural development, cultural policies and international cultural cooperation. 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). Culturelink's action was also geared towards transcontinental networking activities connecting various cultural institutions (museums, libraries, music, theatres and other arts organisations to name a few), cultural centres, universities, ministries of culture, NGO's, artists and professionals in the cultural field. In the past 20 years, Culturelink Network's community has grown to over 1500 members coming from 105 countries world-wide, encompassing a wide range of members who have participated in Culturelink's activities, from conferences and seminars to joint research projects and publications. More than 3000 networks, institutions and individuals working in the field of culture are linked to Culturelink Network, be it as partners or as users of its online resources.
In the course of the last decade, Culturelink has become a significant source of information on global trends in cultural development and research. The international positioning of the Network is reinforced with the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Regional Centre of the Culturelink Network - APRCCN as an integral part of the Culturelink Network of Networks. The initiative for this venture came from the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, which offered to host the headquarters of the regional centre. Culturelink also endorsed the establishment of the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa (OCPA), located in Mozambique and hosted online at Cutlurelink's web server. In addition, Culturelink supported the establishment, development and continued operation of the International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD) in Canada. Culturelink is represented in the boards of leading cultural organizations like Observatoire des Politiques Culturelles, Regional Observatory on Financing Culture in East-Central Europe, Culture.mondo, LabforCulture, etc.
Research and Publishing Activities
One of the major research projects undertaken by Culturelink at its very outset, in 1991 and 1992, was instigating the, at the time, first Cultural Policy Databank which was subsequently complemented by the publication of the Guides to the Current State and Trends in Cultural Policy and Life in the UNESCO Member States, covering all world regions (Europe, Arab States, Africa, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific). This research gathered experts on cultural policy from all continents, which continued to be a regular practice for all subsequent and current Culturelink's research projects and research activities.
The research undertaken by Culturelink has included global and interregional cultural projects in the field of cultural development, cultural identities, cultural diversity, cultural policy and intercultural communication. In the period of the last five years, Culturelink's research activities have been focused on cultural industries, ICT and digital culture, cultural tourism and local cultural development.
Since its inception, the Network has been editing and publishing regular issues of Culturelink's publications. From 1990 to 2004, forty-four regular issues of the Culturelink Review were published along with twelve Culturelink Special Issues. Each Special Issue was dedicated to a specific topic in the domain of cultural development and was complemented by a Dossier. The Culturelink Joint Publications Series, that publishes proceedings from conferences organized by the Network, was introduced in 1997 and since twelve editions have been published,, ranging in topics from cultural industries and creative cities, to digital culture and dynamics of communication, cultural diversity and sustainable development, cultural transitions in South East Europe, cultural tourism etc.
Thematically, all Culturelink Network's publications have consistently followed and, in many cases preceded, global and European trends in cultural development research. The selection and the elaboration of the topics discussed in Culturelink's publications show that they have successfully pursued the new challenges in culture, initiating their discussion and contributing to their research through original scientific papers. The publications, that have been distributed to all continents of the globe in the past two decades, feature articles and contributions from numerous renowned authors and scholars. Articles published in Culturelink's publications are regularly cited and referenced in relevant international publications. Recently, Culturelink publications are being made available for free download online at Culturelink's website.
Conferences and Seminars
In the past twenty years, Culturelink has organized many international conferences and seminars. By organizing such events, the Network has accomplished stronger communication and cooperation between its members and secured a platform for the generation and the exchange of new knowledge. The Network aims to organize two conferences per year. Apart from the regular annual conferences, Culturelink has hosted the First World Conference in 1995 and the Second World Conference in 2005. In November 2009, Culturelink will organize the Third World Conference, marking its 20th anniversary. The theme discussed at the conference will be Networks – The Evolving Aspects of Culture in the 21st Century.
Culturelink Network's Virtual Presence
Culturelink was one of the first networks that had made its resources available on the Internet. Aiming to develop appropriate means of communication and accelerate the flow of information, Culturelink set up its Internet Gopher service in 1994, while the Culturelink home page was first established on the World Wide Web in 1996. The Culturelink Review was available online starting in 1994 along with the Culturelink Databank that was accessible to all members of the Network. Today, the Culturelink Members and Partners Database is available online, offering its users free access to contact information, thus facilitating the establishment of cultural cooperation partnerships. The Cultural Policy Database was the first systematic virtual resource on cultural policies and it was used as a template for the creation of subsequent online cultural policies databases. At popular demand, in 2004 Culturelink started to publish its e-newsletter called C-News, aiming at periodically keeping its members up-to-date with a reminder of current events, calls and deadlines, along with an overview of important current announcements.
The Culturelink Network's web portal has reached a volume of 1200 html pages which are viewed by users from 130 countries in 24.000 visits per month. In total, over 100.000 pages are viewed monthly, generating an online data transfer of 5GB. The Network's publications that are available online are presently the most used resource.
Culturelink's activities were acknowledged through a number of awards. The Network's web pages are listed in the world's information resource directories like the Scout Report for Social Sciences and 1000 of the Best Internet Sites for Educators. Culturelink's website was included in The Web’s Best Sites directory by Britannica.com and was awarded the Anthro.Net Best Practices Award in the field of social science. Culturelink was also shortlisted among the best innovation projects selected for the information technology prize, the Stockholm Challenge Award in 2001.
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During the past twenty years Culturelink has brought together an array of renowned international specialists forming research clusters, developing the arena of cultural research and cooperation. The results obtained through these activities, namely research, publication of research findings and virtual communication, represent a notable contribution to the advancement of intercultural dialogue and international cultural cooperation. Culturelink initiated new approaches towards the structuring of cultural policies and introduced issues such as the role and implications of new technologies and digital culture in contemporary cultural development. The Network’s main contribution to the cultural field may be defined as the promotion of knowledge on the position that cultural networks have in redefining global communication and cooperation.
Past Research Themes and Projects
Cultural Diversity, Intercultural Communication and Digital Culture (2006 – on going)
Intercultural Communication and Cultural Identity
Impact of Transition in the Field of Culture
List of Publications
Culturelink Joint Publications Series
Culturelink Review Special Issues
Culturelink Review Dossier
Culturelink Network's Events (1995 – 2009)
- Third World Culturelink Conference - Networks: The Evolving Aspects of Culture in the 21st Century. Zagreb, 2009.
- International Round Table - Intercultural Dialogue and Digital Culture. Zagreb, 2008.
- International Symposium - Virtual Culture and Its Impact on Cultural Tourism: Experiences from South-East Europe. Zagreb, 2007.
- 2nd Culture.mondo International Roundtable - Cultural Portals: A New Era of Cooperation. Dubrovnik, 2006.
- Postgraduate Seminar - Cultural Transitions in Southeastern Europe. The Creative City: Crossing Visions and New Realities in the Region. Dubrovnik, 2006.
- Second World Culturelink Conference - Dynamics of Communication: New Ways and New Actors. Zagreb, 2005.
- Conference and Postgraduate Course - Cultural Cooperation in Southeastern Europe - Managing Cultural Transitions in Southeastern Europe: The Impact of Creative Industries. Dubrovnik, 2005.
- Expert Meeting - Cultural Policies and Cultural Development in Southeastern Europe: New Realities and Challenges. Zagreb, 2004.
- International Course - Managing Cultural Transitions: Southeastern Europe. Dubrovnik, 2004.
- Fourth Annual Conference of the International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD), in partnership with the Culturelink Network - Advancing Cultural Diversity Globally: The Role of Civil Society Movements. Opatija, 2003.
- CIRCLE and Culturelink International Round Table - E-Culture: The European Perspective. Zagreb, 2003.
- French Institute and Culturelink/IMO Forum -
Discussion Series on Cultural Diversity. Zagreb, 2003.
- International Course - Redefining Cultural Identities: Cultural Industries and Technological Convergence. Dubrovnik, 2002.
- International Seminar - Culture: A Driving Force for Urban Tourism - Application of Experiences to Countries in Transition. Dubrovnik, 2001.
- International Course - Redefining Cultural Identities: Southeastern Europe. Dubrovnik, 2001.
- International Course - Redefining Cultural Identities: The Multicultural Contexts of the Central European and Mediterranean Regions. Dubrovnik, 2000.
- International Conference - The Mediterranean: Cultural Identity and Prospects for Intercultural Dialogue. Dubrovnik, 1997.
- International Conference - Europe of Cultures: Cultural Identity of Central Europe. Zagreb, 1996.
- First World Culturelink Conference - Dynamics of Communication and Cultural Change: The Role of Networks. Zagreb, 1995.