Memo April 2001

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

Dear Colleagues,

BO was two years old on 22 April. No champagne, though.

Houses of culture
An intensive and pleasant weekend in Warsaw helped us (Dorota, Robert and Peter) to set up the design of a comparative research programme on cultural centres in Europe, including drafts of questionnaires for the national surveys and the case studies. Naturally, financing will be a focus point.

After the final touches, it will be sent to prospective funders: I hope they are eagerly waiting for it now. This type of institution has received much less attention in policy research than it deserves.

Kosovo librarians
Preparation has begun for the training seminar for librarians from Kosovo, to be held next November in Budapest. The seminar was initiated by the culture ministry of Hungary, is part of the Mosaic project of the Council of Europe, fits into the work-plan of the Kosovo Library Consortium, which combines a number of authorities and international ngo-s. Organisation has been commissioned to BO.

Costs of academic publishing
From the "country by country" portal page of BO site one more chapter is accessable at the web site of the Open Society Institute (Centre for Publishing Development), based on the survey covering 20 countries between Poland and Kyrgyzstan. This part refers to the expenditure of producing academic books. Against expectations, the structure of these costs has not come closer to western standards in the last 3 years. On the average, almost 45% is still taken up by production, which is nearly twice as much as in the west.

Call for courses
The Central European University has been running summer courses for many years, including a few on topics of cultural policy and related areas. In the spirit of open society, the CEU recruits not only students, but lecturers and course designers, too, by way of open call for proposals.

If you feel prepared and qualified to propose such a course in Budapest in July 2002, your e-mail must reach the CEU before 28 May. For more, go here.

Call for fellows
Although at the time of writing the application form does not contain it, reliable sources have confirmed that cultural policy will again be an eligible subject for applicants to the one year fellowship of the Open Society Institute, Budapest. Try it again and show the call to your students or colleagues, too. The deadline of individual, practical and policy-oriented research proposals is 1st of July.

EU Observer

Culture 2000
For the record: the 4th of April was the deadline for applications for altogether 176 grants ranging from € 50 000 to 300 000.

Some of you may be busy preparing for the next deadline. The 15th of May is the submission date for complex programmes, in eurospeak: projects covered by structured, multiannual transnational cultural cooperation agreements, which involve participants from at least 5 countries. Funds are available for 2 or 3 years now. The cumulated financial support for such a consortium may come close to one million €.

The offer is rather tight: 14 areas are identified, with possibilities for one or two grants each. Just to name a few from the 14: sub-aquatic archaeology; protection and promotion of archives; philosophical and religious interactions before the 9th century. Half of the items cater for creative artistic projects, from contemporary dance to visual arts, with heavy accent on touring between countries.

Swedish presidency
From the official programme of these six months April offered nothing for culture; for 20 to 22 May an informal Culture Council is foreseen in Falun/Tällberg. What will it look like, besides male council members not wearing ties?

We hope to have the programme of the Belgian presidency (July - December), soon.

Structural funds
We keep watching if structural supports indicate possible use for culture, too. Among the dozen cases in April, the one for Bavaria contains the renovation of urban sites, which hopefully contains considerable cultural development. Altogether € 2200 are planned to be mobilised between now and 2006, which includes 536 million in financial support from the European Union.

European Prize for Contemporary Architecture
This year Spanyard Rafael Moneo received it on 23 April for his «Centre Kursaal»(nice name, could be Wellness Zentrum or Centro Leczebny...) in San Sebastian. The junior prize went to Florian Nagler, Germany for a commercial building in Bobingen.

EU enlargement conference
Find the preliminary announcement attached or see it on BO site. Preparations are being done at full steam.