Memo April 2000


A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in April 2000

Dear Colleagues,

On the second day of the conference on Culture and regionalism a separate session was devoted to BO. Charles Landry was the chairman and kept the participants in good humour. Still the same day the board of the foundation also had a meeting. At both occasions a great deal of questions and tentative answers were raised about the goals and means of BO. They should find reflections in the activities in the future. Also on the web-site.

It was agreed that new structures are needed for the involvement of partners in and out of the region. In the agreement about the programme assistance of Unesco one finds the task of building out focal points in each country. Formal relationship with competent institutions was encouraged. Also, others reminded of the official mandate with which they began to co-operate with BO. For sake of international acceptance, too, there is a felt need of moving towards the establishment of an International Board.

On the other hand, the network of permanent, or even occasional correspondents needs to be increased. The monthly memos will be sent to this, wider audience. We shall try to open up the web-site for interactive forum activities also.


In different ways, both Budapest meetings this spring went around the European Union. On that basis we have decided to prepare and launch our next project. I hope to set up its draft early in May. The idea is to follow and present the processes which are taking place in the countries of East-Central-Europe for sake of knowing and understanding cultural policies and, of course, financing mechanisms in the Union. First of all we want to map the national contact agencies towards EU actions in the fields of arts, heritage and the audio-visual.

Tax incentives
All last week I have been struggling with unfolding this project, on the basis of material recieved from 4 countries (guess which), other than Hungary. This demands some patience from contributors. As usual, I invite everyone to check the developments on the web and comment.

Next Thursday I shall visit Strasbourg and hope to find out more about the way the Council of Europe can be involved in this project.

BO has been registered as an institutional member of CIRCLE, the network on European cultural policies. Canada, the most European part of the Americas, has offered to host this year's Round Table in Edmonton at the end of May. This year's theme is Social Cohesion and Cultural Policy. Although none of our projects has ventured into this field yet, the meeting will provide good opportunities to discuss the relationships between BO and such agencies as EricArts, Boekmanstichting (ReCap) etc.

Best Practices
Please, please: cases, people? (In English, for €500.)

Croatia is on the top with two contributions to our projects, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have produced one each.  The rest, zero. (Hungary is a special case.)

A year ago tomorrow, on the 22nd of April, 1999, a (for me) unknown judge registered the foundation of the Budapest Observatory. Other than Easter Saturday, we shall celebrate our first birthday. Cheers!