Memo June 2002


A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of The Budapest Observatory (BO) in June 2002



Dear Colleagues,

This is the last memo before your summer vacation. The next one will be sent out at the end of August.

Culture 2000
Next deadlines: 15 October for annual projects and 30 October for multi-annual co-operation projects. For all other details go to or contact your own Culture Contact Point. Good luck!

BBB 2003
Bigger... Better...Beautiful...? Conference on the impact of the enforcement of the internal market acquis on cultural enterprise in the accession countries; Budapest, 20-23 February, 2003.

What would you say to that? But do not enter anything in your calendat yet! It is one option for a follow-up of BBB 2002, which is being consulted now with Phare. Every detail might change: the title, the date, even the city.

BBB 2002 report
The report has reached the point of no return: has been given to the printer who promises to do his job by next week.

No need to wait till then: from you can download the pdf files of the report on the sessions, the list of participants as well as the biographic notes on the speakers and presenters. A few days later you can have a second go: by then we shall complete the collection, and learn how to keep all those nice Slavic, Romanian etc. special letters in their original forms.

The book sectors in eastern Europe
We have nearly finished processing the information gathered about the state of book sectors in the new democracies in the year 2000, a job commissioned to BO by the Open Society Institue. The remaining chapters of the report will be put on our site during the next two weeks.

They will tell you that the huge geographical span covered by the survey contains large differences in size and development. Find some of the extremes: in 2000 in Russia more than 50 000 new titles were published - 200 times more than in Tajikistan. East-central Europe proper (the area to where BO has its basic mandate) is led by Poland with 14 000 kinds of new books, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina sitting at the bottom of the list with less than the 20th of this figure.

Counted differently, the same list is topped by Estonia, where a new title was published for roughly every 500 citizen, followed by Slovenia (550), but also a new title got to less than 1000 Czechs in 2000; the same index was 2750 and 2900 for Poland and Russia.

The order is slightly different if we take the number of copies. Czechs were 1st with 3.9 copies per head, Estonians only 3rd, and Poles had a respectable 2.1 copies as well (no data from Russia).

From all data, those on sales are the most difficult to get - not only in publishing. Our figures tell that Latvians spent the most on books in 2000: over 32 dollars each! Hungarians and Estonians follow with about 14 dollars and Czechs remain below $10.

Explanations? Unreliable information? Czechs produce but do not buy? Latvian books are so expensive?

One way ahead towards explanations is improving the instrument. This is what we are working on and hope to receive OSI`s backing for the next round, the survey on 2001.

Other tasks for summer
We shall prepare for the re-newed systematic gathering of information on established systems of providing grants to cultural projects and on the legal and administrative conditions for cultural sponsorship and donations. East-central Europe will be in focus, but just like earlier, for basis of reference, information will be sought from regions areas as well.

Madrid, once more
The web site of the April seminar on cultural sponsorship and donations is complete. With BO's record in the subject (which was reflected in Ms Reding's opening speech, we feel sorry to have missed the event. However, there are papers that will be used later on, like the comparison of the fiscal regulation in four countries; or the proposal for obligatory sponsorship. Colin Tweedy presented a few figures which deserve some more chewing: Germany 304.51 million €, Austria 35.84, Belgium 54.3, Spain 59.7, France 183, Ireland 12.2, Italy 205.7, UK 226.08, Sweden 24.04 (cultural sponsorship in 1998/99,

Use or abuse
Finally, an intriguing piece, received through the good services of IFACCA Bulletin. A seminar is held next week in Edinburgh on the use and abuse of comparative research in the cultural sectors. Which applies to us? - being a comparative agency ourselves, the title prompts us to do self-analysis. We shall watch out for the findings.