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6th International Master Workshop on Theatres and Theatres Company Management

Xu YongSheng Vice President of the Central Academy of Drama

From December 8-10, 2017 the 6th International Master Workshop on Theatres and Theatres Company Management took place in Beijing China. The Central Academy of Drama, the China Drama Association and the British Council sponsored it. There were UK speakers from ACE, RSC, ROH, Creative Scotland, The Wales Millennium Centre and Goldsmiths University of London. The UK contingent were all requested to write 3000 words on their organisation and the role and the policy context it had in the UK. Goldsmiths was asked to do something different by looking at how or if recent policy changes in the UK cultural sector had an impact on those programmes teaching arts management – were new skills needed.

There were over twenty Chinese speakers and participants as well as a great range of students from the Central Academy of Drama who were the hosts.

Gerald Lidstone, Director of ICCE

The format was different from may such events, in the morning there were formal 20 minute presentations from all speakers, however in the afternoon there were parallel chaired discussion between Chinese Speakers and those from the UK, key Chinese participants chairing and the UK participants note taking to feed back at the end of the day. These sessions were also open to students. There was input at these sessions from the Director of Arts of the BC China and North East Asia and The Vice President of the Central Academy of Drama and the General Manager of Beijing Poly Theatre Management Co Ltd. It was particularly interesting to understand the role played by BPTM as an independent commercial management company managing over 40 state theatres. Also how the China Collaborative Innovation Centre for Theatre Arts Management , constituted as a not for profit organisation was created by the Central Academy of Drama.

Guo Wenpeng General Manager of Beijing Poly Theatre Managment Co., Ltd

This all sounds a little dry, but the event was particularly interactive and open to debate. The UK contingent left with a much deeper understanding of how China undertook both theatre management and cultural policy. In some areas there was clearly a relationship with UK systems and in others considerable concentration was needed to understand how certain things worked very differently. However with this format there was time to discuss and interrogate what each other meant.

Jayne Brewer, Deputy Director, Wales Millennium Centre

It is this sort of event and dialogue that leads through networking to collaborative initiatives. Some of those in the UK contingent had already toured/ co produced there, but benefitted from a wider perspective.

We were hosted very well by the sponsors, the students of the Academy and BC staff were always on hand to provide insights into Chinese society and performing arts. No doubt this event will lead to future collaboration.

Gerald Lidstone, Director of ICCE

 

 

 

ENCATC IN CONTACT

In anticipation for the 7th ENCATC Academy on Cultural Diplomacy: “The Rising Role of Cities” from 15-16 February 2018 in New York City, we sat down with Gerald Lidstone, Director of the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London. As a leading expert in culture in external relations, we talked about the focus of the 2018 Academy and why this is a unique and important learning opportunity for ENCATC members and participants.

Photo “New York City” by Jeff Turner via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Why this Academy’s focus on “The Rising Role of Cities”? What unique roles do cities have to play in cultural diplomacy?
In Europe, cities were the initial drivers of diplomacy as many were city states before they were  countries.  In the United States, big cities command a lot of practical power, economically and diplomatically. Cities have always harnessed the power of commercial culture, mature ones like Milan for fashion and Hollywood for film.

Within Europe there are the European Capitals of Culture that benefit from the funding and structure of this EU initiative developed in 1985 and has, at date, been awarded to more than 50 cities across the European Union. These cities are able to invest in placemaking, creation, and promotion of their identities and branding.

However, for many cities, there is still a great need for cooperation between public authorities and creatives. Structural support and financing can stimulate creative industries and hubs that can launch and/or propel a city’s brand and cultural image to the world stage.  In the United States it is also interesting to see stories of turn- around, regeneration, and re- establishment, stories of cities like Detroit.

Why are you excited to have the ENCATC Academy in the United States for the first time? By having it in New York City what new components and opportunities will this bring to the Academy and its participants?
Running the ENCATC Academy outside of Europe is going to bring a very new perspective. The United States has always been a strong player in global diplomacy. It is one of the first countries to articulate the power of diplomacy and role culture can play.

Participants are going to gain first- hand experience of  the US perspective. In designing the Academy’s  programme, one of our roles will also be to articulate from the European perspective and how Europe is not a solid entity, but a very disparate collection of countries each with their own agenda. There will be an area of interest looking at the different states in America and their cities, each with their own agendas as well. We’ll be listening to many voices and narratives.

Photo “Close up Statue of Liberty” by Prayitno via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Of course being in New York we are in  a prime physical location to talk about key topics. Furthermore, collaborating with our fellow ENCATC member New York University we will pool knowledge and expertise on the rising role of cities in culture and diplomacy. The combination of experts, academics esearchers and practitioners from Europe and the United States will be an invaluable asset to this learning opportunity and enrich our discussions and exchanges.

Also in an Academy first, we are linked to the 7th ENCATC  International Study Tour taking place in New York City from 12-14 February. For Academy participants also attending the Study Tour, they will get behind- the-scenes visits to arts and cultural institutions in this iconic city that has such an undeniable presence and role in international cultural diplomacy. Moreover, as many of the Study Tour participants will also attend the Academy, this will allow participants to get to know each other before we delve into the presentations, lectures and talks in the Academy framework.

Why should academics, researchers, cultural managers, practitioners, artists, and policy makers working at all levels (not just local, but regional, national, and international) be concerned by the rising role of cities in cultural diplomacy?
I think the value for all of these profiles is hearing the narrative of how perceptions of cities, countries and cultures are made outside of the international communications which come through press, cultural products and television – especially television. For example, each week in Europe people watch infinitely more hours of series produced by HBO and Netflix that have images and narratives of cities and culture than they do watching the news. During the Academy, we will also understand the role of commercial organisations and independent media to create the images of countries and cities. These often have much greater impact on cultural diplomacy than official or national initiatives from governments which tend to underestimate the power commercial interventions have in different countries.

Also, with the rise of fake news and as some politicians try to communicate with the world through Twitter, this phenomenon is very relevant to our debate. It brings up issues of international trust and who is relevant to speak for communities.  Who we now believe is becoming increasingly important.

In the design of the Academy’s intensive learning programme in 2018, what makes it unique from other learning formats on culture in external relations?
The ENCATC Academies are different from other learning programmes because they are very interactive. We provide the environment, atmosphere and programming that makes it possible to have real dialogue and for all participants to make contributions. By the end of the Academy we will have had very enriching discussions amongst a diverse group of individuals bringing many perspectives and insights.

This matters because there are no “right answers” in cultural and external relations and its complex and interconnected ties to economic, social, political and environmental strands.

I do want to stress that while these will be high-level discussions there is an important and very valuable opportunity here to gain insights for people with interest in this area, but who have yet to accumulate a lot of experience in it.

All participants will come away with new and stimulating knowledge, perspectives, practical examples, cases, testimonials, and narratives that will ignite a desire to continue the discussion and learning.

Finally, what also sets ENCATC’s Academies apart are their success to attract a very diverse audience from many countries, professional disciplines and areas of interest under the wide umbrella of cultural diplomacy. For the participants this means establishing new professional connections with others who share the same interests but whose paths do not cross in their respective professional spheres.

Register to the ENCATC Academy on Cultural Diplomacy: “The Rising Role of Cities” (15-16 February 2018):
www.encatc.org/en/events/detail/encatc-academy-on-cultural-relations-and-diplomacy-the-rising role-of-cities/

Register to the 7th ENCATC International Study Tour to New York City (12-14 February 2018):

www.encatc.org/en/events/detail/7th-encatc-international-study-tour-to-nyc/

Gerald Lidstone, BA MA ATC Dr.h.c FRGS is the Director of the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at  Goldsmiths,  University  of  London and founder of the MA Arts Administration and Cultural Policy and co-founder of the MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship programme and the MA in Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy, the first worldwide. For the British Council and other agencies he has also taught Arts Management courses including, Arts Marketing, Arts Education,  Fundraising,  Copyright  and Strategic Planning in over 20 countries. He has worked for over twelve years on behalf of The Ministry of Culture and Information in Viet Nam establishing Arts Management education in Hanoi University of Culture, funded by the Ford Foundation, well as being awarded the national medal for culture in Viet Nam. He was also the director of a four-year British Know-How Fund (Foreign Office) project establishing arts management education in Slovakia. Read his full biography here:

www.encatc.org/media/2845-new_york_speaker_biographies.pdf

Published in ENCATC News N°113.

See our PhD student Hannah Hull’s Madlove TEDx Talk

( TEDx Talks, published on 20 Dec 2017 )

Crazy people take over the world. Now more than ever.

Hannah Hull believes therefore we need some madlove. She tells us, why we should stop curing mental health diseases like a broken arm and what to do instead.

Hannah Hull is an artist and researcher specialising in socially-engaged practice. She is an ICCE PhD student holding a Studentship. Hannah also completed a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and PGCert Innovation in Practice at Goldsmiths.

Hannah is a situation-specific artist, creating social sculptures and political interventions. Her work is often dialogue-based and temporal. She is interested in empowering individuals to creatively and critically intervene with their world. She is also a crazy person.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Hannah’s Wellcome Collection installation Our Provocation – created with young homeless people – was exhibited 21 November 2017 to 21 January 2018.

Sara Whyatt, our MA Cultural Policy, Relations & Diplomacy student, contributes to UNESCO report

Sara Whyatt, a student on the MA in Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy, was a speaker at the event launching the UNESCO 2018 Convention report in Paris on 16 December 2017.

I spoke to her about her work on the UNESCO 2018 Convention report, how her degree contributes to the work she does outside her studies, and the ways in which studying at Goldsmiths has inspired her.

Iman Mohamed: How did you contribute to the UNESCO 2018 Convention report and launch?

Sara Whyatt: I was invited to research and write the chapter of the report on freedom of artistic expression, bringing my experience of working on promoting global freedom of expression, and more recently seeing how human rights principles can be brought into the field of arts and culture. So the chapter looks at what kind of threats artists face globally in the practice of their creativity, with a focus on legislation that dampens artistic freedom, and the growth of advocacy on behalf of artists, among other issues. Artistic freedom is a new area of exploration in the Convention so I was one of four experts who had contributed to the report to be invited to speak at the report’s launch in Paris in December. The other experts covered artists’ mobility, civil society in the cultural sector and on how the Convention is being implemented by States. It was a shame that not all the 10 authors could be there to speak on their chapters.

IM: What made you choose the MA Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy course at Goldsmiths? 

SW: I found that I was increasingly being asked to take part in projects linking global human rights advocacy to artistic freedom and felt I needed to have a have a better understanding of cultural policy, particularly as it is applied in international relations, to strengthen my work in this area. Goldsmiths’ cultural diplomacy MA fits this perfectly. Added to this, I have very good memories of my time here studying for my BA some years ago and liked the idea of returning to such a vibrant and exciting environment.

IM: How do you feel the course impacts or influences the work that you do outside of your study?

SW: Just one term into my studies, I feel I am just at the beginning, but already I’ve gained insights and different perspectives to my work, and not just by having the opportunity to step back and spend time that in my normal day-to-day I am not able to give. Being with other students who are looking at different aspects of Cultural Diplomacy, and who come from different countries and with perspectives is energising and inspiring. I have also enjoyed having access to great tutors and meeting with visiting experts. I was asked to give a seminar on my work for UNESCO to my fellow students, which was a first for me and a fantastic experience. In turn I am hoping to engage Goldsmiths with the UNESCO Convention team in future.

IM: What do you hope further study at Goldsmiths will help you achieve in your career?

SW: As a mature student who has already had a fascinating, rewarding career and who recently has turned freelance, my goal is to enhance and enrich my work as a consultant, to be better able to bridge the worlds of human rights and arts. I have always been involved with and surrounded by artists and my wish is to find ways to help them to withstand political pressures and to defend their rights to artistic freedom which right now is under considerable strain world-wide.

Sara Whyatt

Japanese Modernity Reconsidered, Gakushuin Women’s College Symposium, 2nd December 2017

Tomoko Tamari and Mike Featherstone were one of four researchers from the UK and Japan invited to present their research on Japanese modernity.

The Symposium “Japanese Modernity Reconsidered”

Gakushuin Women’s College Symposium (Tokyo Japan), ‘Japanese Modernity Reconsidered’ on Sat 2nd December, 2017.

It can be said that sociology started as a reflexive understanding of modernity. For that reason, ‘What modernity or what a modernizing process is’ has always been an important issue for sociology. After a hundred years studies, sociologists seem to accept that there are several routs or courses of modernization. Japan is one of the earliest societies that began modernization processes outside of the West. Therefore, the modernization of Japanese society has been a controversial topic not only in Japan but in other countries. From the perspective of multiple modernities, what significance can be attached to the modernizing process of Japan? What kind of implications can the modifier “Japanese” carry?

With the general awareness of the globalizing world, it is getting more and more important to reconsider questions such as; What is ‘Japanese’ modernity? Is it unique? If so, what makes it unique? What changes have happened to Japanese society? Or what impact does Japan have on the globalizing, modernizing world?

Speakers
Mike Featherston (Professor at Goldsmiths, University of London)
Wolfgang Schwentker (Professor at Osaka University)
Tomoko Tamari (Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London)
Eriko Kimura (Lecturer at Gakushuin Women’s College)

Mike Featherstone: Questioning Modernity and Problematizing Culture
The Latin term modernus was first used in the fifth century AD/CE to distinguish between the Christian present and the pagan Roman past.  It pointed to the beginning of a new era. The conceptualization of a new era or epoch tends to denigrate the past and create a dichotomy – modernity versus tradition. In more recent understandings of modernity it is the economy and technology, or as some would call it ‘the techno-economic subsystem,’ that is seen as the dynamic driving force. Yet what about the role of culture in modernity? For modernisers culture is defined as static, conservative and fixed. It is seen as tradition and backward – something lagging behind. Does this mean there cannot be a modern culture?  A modern culture happy to co-exist with change and techno-economic advance?  Culture as the quest for the new. This paper will first of all take a look at the family of terms deriving from the modern.  Secondly, ask the question of how to locate modernity – whether it is not just in time, but also in space. Then the question is posed: ‘Is modernity Western?’  Thirdly, the paper briefly focuses on the problem of Japanese modernity and Japanese exceptionalism.  Fourthly, it outlines the role of culture and experience in modernity.  Fifthly, asks if it is possible to think beyond the modern under conditions of the limits of global consumption and the accumulation of planetary risks? Sixthly and finally, ask whether there are potential trans-modern forms of life, which throw into question modern values and the ‘endless pursuit of meaning.’

Tomoko Tamari:  Consumer Culture, Modernization and the Department Store in Early 20th Century Japan
The paper focuses on the ways in which the department store has become a key site for the constitution of Japanese modernity though the introduction of ideas and goods from the West along with the emphasizes on aesthetic design and sophisticated taste. The department store not only provided new goods along with pragmatic ideas of how to use and how to evaluate them, but sought to promote images and advice on how to integrate the ‘new’ into existing lifestyles and value systems. As a new form of aestheticized consumer space along with its theatrical setting, the department store also provided performance spaces with ‘front and back stage’ areas where one can look and be looked at. For particularly women in the city, department stores in the burgeoning modern consumer culture, offered exciting experiences and opportunities. The theatrical nature of the store with its spectacular and luxurious setting encouraged the exploration of new female identities and escape from the routines of mundane everyday life. In this process, the department store provided a form of women’s public sphere where they could enjoy learning how to be modern. In addition, it should be emphasized that in the Japanese case, the department store also played an important role, not just as a new cultural institute to promote the new lifestyles, but also a key political device for the government who advocated ‘the reform of everyday life’. This involvement resulted in creating Japanese modern consumers. They had aesthetic sensibilities which were not just an ability to classify and value the new consumer goods, but also a capacity to appreciate ‘personal affection’ and ‘aesthetic enjoyment’ through new consumer experience. This can be understood as part of evidence of the process of aestheticization of everyday life. In this context, we can see that Mitsukoshi was a major cultural repository, a significant interpreter and promoter of aestheticization of everyday life, which was central to the development of Japanese consumer culture in Japan’s 20th century modernizing process.

Gakushuin Women’s College Symposium (Tokyo Japan), ‘Japanese Modernity Reconsidered’ on Sat 2nd December, 2017

CREATIVE CENTRAL ASIA – ASTANA FORUM, KAZAKHSTAN, 24TH AND 25TH NOVEMBER 2017

Martin Smith, Visiting Fellow, ICCE

The first Creative Central Asia forum was held in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, at the end of November with strong ICCE/Goldsmiths representation. This event, which was supported by HM Government and organised by the British Council, marked the start of a new long term dialogue series aimed at stimulating discussion and building relationships amongst cultural and creative economy leaders from the government, private sector and civil society in UK and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan).

20 UK entrepreneurs, artists, educationalists and creative leaders from Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales flew out to Astana to take part in a combination of plenary sessions and workshops on creative economy themes.  The UK representatives were selected by an advisory board chaired by Dr Martin Smith, Visiting Fellow in Creative Industries at Goldsmiths, and the British Council.  Central Asia was represented by 48 participants from Kazakhstan, 13 from Kyrgysztan and seven from Uzbekistan who, between them, covered more or less the entire spectrum of the cultural and creative industry universe from fashion and theatre through to museums and fine arts, classical music, creative tech as well as the head of a technology incubator in Kazakhstan’s biggest city, Almaty.

The opening session of the conference featured a Q and A on the origins and development of creative industries’ concepts with Martin Smith (ICCE) chairing and asking the questions and John Newbigin, (ICCE, Chair of Creative England and Cultural Ambassador for the Mayor of London) offering answers based on his long experience of advising film-maker David Puttnam, former UK Secretary of State Chris Smith, former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and other leaders.  Making up a very strong Goldsmiths contingent Gerald Lidstone, Director of ICCE, led a plenary session on People, Education and Entrepreneurship during the morning session on day two.

The Mayor of Astana, Mr Asset Issekeshev, visited the conference with his top advisers on day two and held a private meeting with John Newbigin and Martin Smith, plus British Council officials, speaking in fluent English.  The mayor invited the British Council to help his administration to turn Astana into a truly creative city by sharing expertise and advice.  He expressed his wish that the Forum should become an annual event.

The overall mood of the conference was positive and up-beat with many participants expressing a strong desire for continuing UK-Central Asian cultural collaboration and exchange and, not least, a desire to learn more about ICCE’s experience and track record.  By the end of the conference, on a Saturday afternoon, the venue was almost as full as during the opening session on day one.  This is very rare on the international conference circuit and reflected the enthusiasm and appetite for knowledge and exchange which was a distinctive feature of the proceedings.

The proceedings of the Forum, including footage of all the plenary sessions, can be found here:

https://www.britishcouncil.kz/creative-central-asia

Martin Smith

 

              
Dr Martin Smith                Gerald Lidstone                    John Newbigin OBE

Business Models and the Creative Indutries

Blog post by Dr. Nicola Searle

In the age of digital, the creative industries have been transformed as new technologies, formats and platforms introduce a dizzying array of possibilities. One of these possibilities is the concept of new business models – that is, new ways of structuring businesses in the creative industries to take advantage of the new opportunities.  However, business models in the creative industries have been remarkably stable.

As part of a research project funded by CREATe at the University of Glasgow, Dr. Nicola Searle (Goldsmiths) developed a meta-analysis of business models in the creative industries based on five years of research by the centre. Her findings are surprising – business models have largely not changed as a result of the digital era. Instead, firms in the creative industries have largely stuck to what they have always done – selling products and services to their clients.

A business model, “describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.” (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010) 1  A well-designed business model should help a business take advantage of their existing assets, and develop strategies for long-term survival. Business model innovation, the process by which new business models are developed, is something we would expect to see in the changing landscape in the creative industries. However, Dr. Searle’s research suggests that is not the case as the core value capture – selling goods and services – is stable.  While some of the bigger players in the creative industries, like platforms such as Spotify, are introducing new business models, the typical firm in the creative industry has not changed its core proposition.

You can read more about Dr. Searle’s findings in her CREATe working paper here. The report also includes a policy analysis, detailing the interaction between business models, Intellectual Property (IP) and UK government policy. This work is part of Dr. Searle’s on-going research and is currently being expanded to capture a wider sample size for the meta-analysis.

 

1 Osterwalder, Alexander and Yves Pigneur (2010) Business model generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers

 

Photo caption: Dr. Searle launching the report, “Business Models, Intellectual Property and the Creative Industries: A Meta-analysis” at the Digital Catapult Centre earlier this year.

Everyday Legend

Report on London Workshop 18th October 2017, Michael Hitchcock

The workshop opened at 14.00 with Chinese drumming and dancing provided by performers from the Confucius Institute for the Performing Arts. This was followed by welcome speeches from Annie Guo (Director of Confucius Institute and Co-Director for the Asia Centre) and Gerald Lidstone (Director of Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship).

The workshop was opened at 14.20 by Jiang Jiehong (Birmingham City University) with an introduction to the project. The first speaker was Oliver Moore (Groningen University) who provided an analysis of the artistry of craftwork in Shanxi Province. He also explored how the sage, Mozi, (ca. 468 – ca. 391 BC) had been interpreted over time in relation to craft production, though little was known of the details of his life. He also flagged up his research on the history of Chinese photography.

He was followed Ouyang Ningming who gave us a background of his work in sculpting and modeling and is views on the future prospects for Chinese crafts. He explained that Chinese today lived in a fast moving and disposable way of life in which crafts were not centrally placed and the need to enthuse younger generations and to find ways of conserving knowledge. Hui Man Chan provided a very precise translation.

After a refreshment break, Michael Hitchcock (Goldsmiths) talked about some of the theoretical debates in Sociology and Anthropology on authenticity within the context of tourism and related this discussion to the situation in Shanxi. He also considered issues relating to creativity and economic viability in relation to craft production.

The last speaker was Jiang Jiehong who provided an overview of his experience in curating contemporary Chinese art and what might be usefully applied in the context of crafts in Shanxi. His talk was followed by a long discussion which covered a variety of topics but coalesced around the link between contemporary art and traditional crafts. There were noteworthy interventions from Kelly Meng, Mike Featherstone and Tomoko Tamari from Goldsmiths, and Luise Guest from White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, as well as Nan Nan of the New Century Art Foundation.

After the closure of the workshop, the group was taken on a guided tour of Goldsmiths College visiting, in particular, heritage buildings such as Deptford Town Hall.

New documentary film released in Brazil by Cecilia Dinardi

New documentary film about artists, creative economy and urban regeneration released in Brazil by Cecilia Dinardi

 

 

 

 

 

How are culture and the arts transforming contemporary cities? What is the role of artists in urban regeneration and gentrification? How are the cultural and the creative economy fields related? Dr Cecilia Dinardi, Lecturer in Cultural Policy and Arts Management at ICCE, addresses these questions in her recently released film, ‘Bhering, the making of an arts factory’, her first experience in producing, directing and editing a film.

The film is a short research documentary about artists, creative economy and urban regeneration in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which draws on Cecilia’s previous postdoctoral fieldwork about creative cities in Latin America, looking at Bhering as a case study – a former chocolate factory that has become one of Rio’s main creative hubs and is currently entangled in urban redevelopment projects affecting the city’s central and port areas.

The documentary was presented at a public screening event organised last month at Conexão Rio in Bhering, the very place where it was shot. The film screening was part of the wider monthly event ‘Arts Circuit’, which artists and other creative workers organise, and attracted thousands of visitors in the August edition. There was a heated debate following the film; among the audience were members of the general public, artists, creative economy entrepreneurs, local residents, researchers and policymakers.

A video of the event is available here

As a local resident put it, ‘The memory of a place lies not only in its past, but also in what’s been going on in the present. [Cecilia] portrayed a living and active arts scenery, despite the difficult moment of Bhering and its surroundings nowadays’.

The film collects different visions, opinions and dreams about the future of the factory and the city, and is an invitation to think about the opportunities and challenges facing the development of creative economies.

 

 

EUNIC – Siena Cultural Relations Forum

Rod Fisher, Associate Lecturer in ICCE, participated in the first Siena Cultural Relations Forum, organised by EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) and the University of Siena in Pontignano, Italy, from 11-14 June. The Forum, supported by the EU’s Creative Europe programme, brought together more than 40 cultural relations policymakers and practitioners, academics and researchers from around the world to build bridges between the theory, policy and practice of cultural relations. There was a risk that such a mix of participants might not have yielded any consensus, but in fact there was general agreement on the steps that needed to be taken to ensure the impetus for action was maintained.

The context for the Forum was the moves by the European Union to develop a strategic approach to the employment of culture in its external relations, and its desire to generate a new spirit of dialogue, mutual listening and learning, capacity building, co-creation and global solidarity. This was very much in line with the recommendations of “Engaging the World: Towards Global Cultural Citizenship”, the 2014 report of the Preparatory Action on Culture in EU External Relations (http://cultureinexternalrelations.eu/) to which Rod and Dr Carla Figueira from ICCE made significant contributions. The event also took place in the context of a new co-operation agreement between EUNIC, the European Commission and its European External Action Service to develop joint cultural activities in countries where conditions are favourable.