Memo January 2000


Memo to members of the BO international steering team (31 January, 2000)

Dear Daniela, Dorota, Eva, Katrin, Oskar and Vesna,

January has been a fruitfully busy month for the Observatory.

Web Site
The BO staff has been trained to edit our own site. We learned hard and the experimental pages are ready. You can start checking the net any day in February. (If the final address is different from, we shall let you know.)

Arm's Length Financing in Culture
The report on financing techniques in 13 countries was accomplished and handed over to the Hungarian cultural ministry today. It will be re-converted into the original English and will be on display on the BO site.

The collection is interesting and probably useful, too. There are a couple of more countries in the pipeline and we hope it will become a never ending story, with updates and newcomers. The topic will not lose its actuality.

I only feel sad because our region is rather poorly represented in the first collection (apart from Hungary, the starting point for the examination). Out of the 13 cases only Estonia and Slovakia (thanks, Oskar!) are from East-Central Europe.

Tax Incentives in East-Central Europe
I was planning to call for potential contributors to this project already in January. You may remember: we calculated about €200 for each national case description. Later I decided to wait to find out if a young team is able to cover at least some of the countries from Budapest. The previous project (arm's length financing) showed that on the average a dozen e-mail, fax and telephone messages are needed for the first initial reaction. I believe we can proceed easier if some of the contributors can be reached locally.

February will not pass without actually launching collection.

Best Practices in Financing Culture
Finally! I have edited the text of the first case description, which is now being translated into English. The second is on my desk. The third is due to arrive any day.

February will not pass without putting these on the web and calling for further contributions.

Actual Issues in Financing Culture, 17 February, 2000
This seminar will take place in Bratislava. Upon Oskar Novotny's kind invitation Ivan Ronai and Attila Zongor will attend on behalf of BO. Mr Ronai is director at the cultural ministry and Mr Zongor is my partner in doing the Arm's length project.

European Union Support for the Arts, 18 March, 2000
As you remember, this one-day symposium has been initiated by the organisers of the 20th Budapest Spring Festival (17 March  - 1 April, 2000). Antonios Kosmopoulos, head of unit at the Bruxelles Commission, has accepted our invitation. Altogether there will be some 8-10 speakers.

I also informed you about BO being in a position to invite 3-4 people from the region. Let me know as soon as possible if any one of you is personally interested to attend.

Another young lady, Aniko Kis has joined the BO crew and she will look after this project.

Regional Development and Culture, 10-11 April, 2000
Just like last year, there will be some 7-8 Hungarian invited speakers. BO has secured the contribution of Ms Andrea Ellmeier from Vienna (in cooperation with the Austrian Science and Research Liaison Office in Budapest). We also received a promise from Charles Landry, London, to attend. From the Bruxelles Commission we hope to have Theodossios Mastrominas with us.

On Tuesday morning, 11th April, we shall have our separate round-table meeting where we can chew on the theme of the previous day. Also, we can talk about the experiences of the first year of BO - and about the many years to come. Again - let me know as soon as possible about interests to attend!

Circle Round Table on Culture and Diversity, 23-25 May, 2000
BO has been invited. Site: Edmonton, Alberta.

Innovative Cultural Policies..., 26 July-6 August, 2000
Just to remember... See more at

For The Arts! 30 November-3 December, 2000
BO has been invited to this first world summit on the arts and culture, to be held in Ottawa.

BO finances
As I wrote to you in the previous memo, the Arm's length project has earned us €4000 - we are entitled to it, but it will take some time before this money squeezes its way through Hungarian governmental bureaucracy.

Also, promising news have reached us about BO's prospects for continued Unesco support.

Indeed, before putting our first products on display, I felt reluctant to ask for more from too many places.