Memo March 2001


A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of The Budapest Observatory (BO) in March 2001


Dear Colleagues,

Here it is, the start of the combined cultural framework programme of the EU.

Culture 2000
The first closing date is the 4th of April for applications for approximately 7 grants of € 150-300 000, 119 grants of € 50-150 000 and 50 translation grants of € 50 000. Applications must be submitted by consortia of organisations from typically a minimum of three European countries from a list of 28. This sum includes ten east and central European countries. The document says that the representatives of these ten "candidate countries will participate in committee meetings as observers for the items that concern them. They will not be present when other items are discussed, nor will they have the right to vote." "The outcome of the selection process will be announced as soon as the official selection procedure has been completed." The second deadline is the 15th of May. 

The overall budget of Culture 2000 is €167 million, for 4 years. Need some basis for comparison? See our report to learn how much Greece receives for cultural (and related) purposes in the next 6 years.

Culture 2000 is often called the only cultural programme of the EU; we would not say so, since in adherence to the broad definition of culture which BO applies, the Media Plus programme is at least partly another cultural programme; alas, with one accession country being permitted to participate only (Bulgaria).

EU enlargement conference
The preliminary announcement for this event, the largest in the short history of BO, was promised by the end of March. The text has been completed, ready to be sent to print and to the four corners of the world by e-mail, except for a single item: whether the opening day is the 7th, 14th or 28th of February, 2002. (Our favourite, the 21st had been promised to some other event: anyhow, this is also the date of another interesting conference in Habana, Cuba on culture and the information society.) Negotiations are under way with the Budapest Congress Centre, which has been selected as a venue by the three organisers: next to BO these are Euclid UK and the EU Cultural Contact Point in Budapest. I am confident that this last detail is added soon and you will find the announcement on our web-site before Easter.

A "major international conference" is held on 26-28 April on Convergence, Creative Industries and Civil Society: the new cultural policy.
One speaker has been indicated from east and central Europe. Hopefully many more will attend.

Summer Courses
The summer courses coordinated by Amsterdam University traditionally contain seminars related to culture. (Unfortunately the Central European University has none this summer in Budapest.) Here  you can learn more about the next two: The Value of Culture, 6-15 August, Amsterdam (the boundaries and intersections of economics and culture, rhetoric, anthropology, art and literature will be explored); and Digital Cultural Heritage III: Finding Aids and Analysis Tools in Memory Institutions, 11 -14 July, Maastricht.

Circle Round Table
The subject of this year's Round Table is Culture, Civil Society and Volunteerism, to be held in Newcastle between 2nd - 4th November. East and central Europe has seen a lot of social sacrifices, also for culture, yet volunteerism, as conceived in the UK, is not a particular strength of ours. Visit official website for more information.

Performing Arts
Bulgaria has been leading the list in our comparison . Now a substantial addition was made by a paper on performing arts in that country, with potentials for being a point of departure for similar reviews.

Originally that paper was sent to us from Riga (thanks, Baiba); I wish we could have the long due report on the Latvian KulturalKapital, too.

Tax incentives
Continued search among the myriads of files produced by the machinery of the European Union produced refreshingly adamant declarations on cultural sponsorship on behalf of the most powerful instance of the EU: the Council of Ministers.

In  November 1986 (in spite of the date, it is a valid statement) they encouraged among others:

"(i) the promotion of greater business sponsorship of cultural activities within the Member States of the European Community, by calling attention to sponsorship as an activity which provides benefits to both parties, as well as helping to enhance cultural and economic activity;

(ii) consideration of the introduction within their own countries of measures to promote suitable sponsorship schemes."

In November 1992 the Council concluded: "Future programmes may specifically include ... encouraging business sponsorship of the arts."

In fact, neither the EU nor the accession countries can boast too many effective fiscal measures to this effect.

This search engine has repeatedly delighted us by offering BO files, too, when searching for some subject.

Looking forward, as usual, to communications on and from east and central Europe.