Conference discussed cultural development and achievement since 1989

29 June 2009

From 4-6 June in Krakow, the European Festivals Association participated in a conference on ‘Culture and Development: 20 Years After the Fall of Communism in Europe’, an experts’ round table organised by the Council of Europe in the framework of “CultureWatchEurope”, the Council of Europe’s information platform for culture, heritage and media development. Under the patronage of the Polish ministry, 40 experts on cultural policy discussed the state of play of culture and cultural policies in the former communist countries. Subject areas including the position of culture, values of culture, cultural behaviours, culture in rural areas, what citizens spend on culture, the place of culture in the economy were analysed and discussed. The Cracow process The conference resulted in a statement on the key role of culture and cultural policy for development and progress. Participants agreed, amongst others, that culture must be given a more central position in the policy and development strategies at every level.The final recommendation paper will be presented to the Culture Committee of the Council and brought into national ministries. The contribution of the European Festivals Association Networks as a meeting place and catalysts for new thinking, other discussion and debate platforms are needed to initiate a lively cooperation and a real discussion about culture in countries of the Council of Europe – a clear invitation to festivals and the arts to raise these issues in their particular contexts and offer platforms for discussion and debate. From its inception, EFA – with members in 32 Council of Europe countries and celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2012 – has been concerned with the fight for freedom of speech, artistic freedom, cultural diversity, access to culture, intercultural dialogue. At the occasion of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, EFA endorsed the Arts Festivals’ Declaration on Intercultural Dialogue to help shaping the mindset of decision makers and plea for the need of dialogue. Forthermore, EFA initiated the European House for Culture which is to serve as a hub to EU and non-EU cultural policy debate. What’s more, the A Soul for Europe initiative offers various forums across Europe in which the civil society invites politicians from various levels to engage in a real discussion about the place of culture and the arts in societies today. Related documents: • Conference statementEFA statement calling political decision making bodies to support arts and culture