Memo December 1999


Memo to members of the BO international steering team (23 December, 1999)

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

There is no mistake about the date. This text was born on Thursday before Christmas but got into the mess of closing the year. I simply ran out of the time needed for the last polishing before the building was closed down for over 10 days

Web Site
The most burning issue. There have been inquiries from various places about reading it or contributing to it. Training of the use of the Dreamweaver programme combined with editing the BO home-page will take place early in January.

Arm's Length Financing in Culture
Surprisingly, one of our latest undertakings will probably be the first material to be put on the home-page. As we were urged by the Hungarian cultural ministry, we speeded up work and prepared the first version of the report in Hungarian. That one covers 6 countries only. The Foundation will get about €4000 if we manage to reach at least 10 countries.

Success depends on willingness of colleagues to reply the 7 questions, which takes a large number of e-mails in which we beg for contacts. The questions refer to technical details, for which the usual information materials and home-pages do not contain the answers.

The 7 questions:

A./ Questions relating to the financing mechanism of cultural grants in your country:
1. What percentage of your grants (% of cases and/or amount) is paid in advance, ie before starting or completing the project?
2. What is the case of projects lasting over one year?
3. Besides the successful application do you require any further documents from the winners prior to payment? (E.g. in case of the Hungarian Cultural Fund winners collect certificates from three authorities proving they have no debt.)
4. What percentage of your grantees fail to report properly or at all?
5. What is the percentage of grants (% of cases and/or amount) which you record as wasted or lost?
B./ Questions relating to the decision-making:
1. Please, describe the decision-making system: who decides, who selects the persons who decide, are there permanent boards, what is their lifetime etc.
2. What are the in-built instruments, if any, to articulate civilian, professional influence? E.g. do associations delegate or recommend members into the boards?

Tax Incentives in East-Central Europe
I attach the model describing the case in Hungary. The way of collecting information will be similar to the one before, except that we offer payment to contributors. You will receive a special message concerning this project.

European Union Support for the Arts, 18 March, 2000
This one-day symposium has been initiated by the organisers of the 20th Budapest Spring Festival (17 March - 1 April, 2000). This year's meeting, co-organised with BO, will be dedicated to the principles and modalities of support for the arts in the European Union.

During a visit in Strasbourg, Ms Zsófia Zimányi, the Director of the festival met a few knowledgeable persons in the subject and she has extended invitation to Mima Guastoni, Jean-Francois Michel and Valérie Martinet. We have good prospects of having at least two of them with us. I also sent an invitation to Antonios Kosmopoulos, head of unit at the Bruxelles Commission.

Regarding the audience, invitations will go to the artistic unions, agencies and companies in the country. In addition, BO is in a position to invite 3-4 people from the region. Our first offer will go to those who help us most in the arm's length project, which is about support for the arts anyway. Participants from abroad are welcome at the opening concert of the Budapest Spring Festival on 17 March and can attend another event of their choice on the 18th.

Regional Development and Culture, 11-12 April, 2000
The list of invited speakers is still not complete. The invitiation to Mr Kosmopoulos covers this event, too. The major part of the expenses, it seems now, will be covered by Hungarian governmental sources.

The conference follows proven patterns of previous occasions. The first day (Monday, 11th April) is a full day plenary with a socio-cultural event in the end. Tuesday, 12th April is divided into English and Hungarian language sessions. The former group elaborates the international aspects of the feature. Venue: the Kerepesi út building of the Central European University in Budapest.

BO hopes to be able to invite about 10-15 participants from abroad.

Innovative Cultural Policies..., 26 July-6 August, 2000
BO is involved in the organisation of this summer course at the Central European University through the person of Zita Lévai. More information available here

Best Practices in Financing Culture
Early in December I had to face facts: the descriptions of the three sample cases in Hungary will not be ready before January. And before they get the approval of the chief editor (that`s me) and get put on the BO home-page, we cannot call for foreign contributions.

BO finances
Due to the deplorable state of the Best Practices project and the slow development of the web site, we have not spent the amount planned for 1999. So we are better off than hoped. The full report to the Board will be ready by the end of January.

Best regards and a Happy New Year