Memo January 2004

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A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in January 2004

 

We are late. The small white box lying under one of our desks refused to telecommunicate incoming and outgoing information, broad band, deep thought, narrow mind, without selection, for two full days.

Counting, tabulating 631 projects
The scores of Culture 2000 between 2001-2003 were discussed in the last memo. The exercise has been extended to four years (2000-2003), covering 631 winning projects.
48 of the 631 cases had leaders from the ten eastern countries. Which is 7,6% of the total 631. For comparison, 20% of all winners were led by organisations from one country, Italy.
However, Drang nach Osten prevails: in 2003 16,1% projects were led by an eastern organisation: the ten countries still produced less than Italy (18,8%), yet already more than second France (13,9%).

Sorting, computing 5280 organisations
The lists of the four years, displayed at the Commission site, show 5283 cultural organisations. 676 of these are from east and central Europe.
This 680 stands for 12,7% of the total. At the outset, in 2000, 1,8% of the beneficiary organisations belonged to the east; this grew to 19,5% in 2003 (19,7 if one adds the non-candidates from the region).
These figures will be available soon here, showing the performance of each country. Find a few appetising facts here:
Poland, with its 126 units in four years, scored exactly as many as Portugal. Between 2000-2003, four eastern countries were represented with more organisations than Ireland and little Luxembourg: besides Poles - Czechs, Hungarians and Romanians.
A month ago BO disclosed that the greatest number of projects with eastern partners were submitted by Italian organisations. Since every fifth C2000 project was Italian-led (see above) this was no surprise. Counting proportions, BO can now announce the real champions of west-east co-operation: Finland - over 50% of all their projects - followed by Austria. Least enthusiastic about eastern co-operation were: France - less than 15% of their projects -, as well as Ireland and Portugal, both with one single case.

Figures only?
Besides enabling you to draw your own conclusions from these numbers, the updated version of C2000 with Eastern Eyes will carry BO thoughts, too, about the future of EU action in the field of culture. Not the least because EFAH has invited its members to do so, in addition to the viewpoints already available.

Promoting literary translation
Note! Translation projects that were granted in the frames of Culture 2000 have been excluded from the analysis above, since they do not imply the co-operation of multiple organisations. Not that BO is indifferent. On the contrary: in the next few weeks the issue of support for translation will be in the focus of our activities. BO has been creeping along its schedule within the frames of the relevant project co-ordinated by Literature Across Frontiers / Mercator.

Indexing books
During an earlier immersion into the book world, BO had a flirt with cultural indicators. Then, we concocted indexes like the following:
A few years ago an average Czech citizen worked 5 minutes to make money for a daily paper - in Azerbaijan that took 50 minutes.
Typically, buying an average book required 4.5 hour's wage of a person in east-central Europe. This was the exact BO figure for Poland and Slovenia, somewhat longer work needed in Bulgaria or Estonia, significantly less in the Czech Republic.

Indexing culture
Lately, BO enthusiastically joined the efforts of the Compendium team in the endeavour to devise European cultural indices. Once more, BO concentrated on the relationship between prices and income. It was shaking to learn how little Eurostat sites have on the income of the citizens of the Union. (For the future index go to the Compendium site and see the icon mid-bottom at the ‘comparisons' page.)

Compendium
Once you are there, go through the updated and new entries of this exceptional collection (that includes one country presented by BO).
There is much to find in this information pool. For example, BO was curious about the prevalence of the seemingly antiquated target of democratisation of culture. Browsing Compendium explicit pledges to this concept were found in the profiles of so varied countries as France, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden or the UK. (Should you want to ascertain, e-mail to us.)

Come to Budapest
Here are two ideas for those who need professional justification to see the chestnut trees of Buda in full blossom. The international book festival as well as the annual plenary meeting of IETM (Informal European Theatre Meeting) is both held between 22-25 April. BO is part of the preparatory team of the latter.
A long way ahead? Certainly, however, the 1st IETM announcement warns you that if you register and book your hotel before 27th February, you can save on your accommodation bill. Last time, in Birmingham, every 15th participant was from our region - no one from Poland, though! Exploit geographical closeness now.

Great expectations
In its latest newsletter, CEREC, the European organisation of cultural sponsorship agencies, informs about new undertakings in east and central Europe. In Bucharest, the organisation Add has tackled surveying and advocating cultural sponsorship; in Warsaw, Palac Prymasowski will host a major conference on the same issue on 17th February; and in Budapest, the fledgling Summa Artium is about to come, see and conquer.

Synergies
The flavour of the word is still fresh - albeit less trendy than a couple of years ago. BO is supportive of the concept of synergies and was glad that cultural officials from east and central Europe were brought together with those of the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the European Cultural Foundation and the Visegrad Fund at a Central European Initiative meeting.