Memo September 2010


A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in September 2010

Do not be misled by the few words here. There is plenty annexed.

Headstart into the conference season

High level officers of both the Council of Europe and the European Union addressed the CultureWatchEurope conference on Culture and the policies of change – which was happily combined with summer-school-like atmosphere in the working groups. The challenge was to re-formulate the goals and justifications of public cultural policies in the new global context. Having a professional visionary as the keynote speaker provided an excellent framework. The main moderator did a good job, too, although his greatest pride lies elsewhere. BO keeps good memories of the joint search, and feels no remorse for the lack of straight recommendations as an output.

Access to youth

The recommendations are by far the dullest part of the otherwise interesting, important and impressively huge study on youth access to culture in Europe. It is amazing how the same team was able to bring it out in practically the same timeframe with an equally demanding product. 

The 178 pages of the main report and the annexes on 248 pages offer a lot: state of the art of youth research, case descriptions, bibliography, legal sources, everything for the patient searcher.

Nevertheless the impatient reader will fail to find clearcut answers to questions like…

Which are the most acute issues that call for changes in policy – and what to change?

- On which areas do the young definitely need separate treatment (from other age groups)?

- Why the efforts? What if access remains as it is?

Monitors of culture

Few events receive so abundant web coverage as the project that took BO to Bilbao this September. A number of youtube spots document the proceedings and the conclusions are available, too. 

Behind the design

Cold fish look at a document with such fancy illustrations with suspicion. But the text is rewarding. A readable record about a conference (that BO did not attend), which – in addition to the glitz – apparently drew a proper balance of the 25 years of the capitals of culture.  

One then takes the visual loading of the other document easier, expecting further insight into the proven impacts of capitals of culture. At this stage, however, methodology is discussed, including how to convince the authorities to fund your evaluation.

One more deadline

Online consultation is open till 15 December about the future of EU funded cultural actions. Those readers from further to the east who are tired of so much European Union insiders’ stuff should note that the consultation is open to non-EU members as well. The share of non-member involvement in co-operation and other projects has been on the increase – here is an opportunity to influence the modalities.

Tribute to competitors

BO memos owe a lot to fellow newsletters, lately especially to the news digest that CultureActionEurope members receive – richness combined with simplicity.

There is also a new player that combines richness with fun.

Qualified festivals: 90

Suppose your organisation is asked to assess the respective values of a number of music festivals. Or, to use simpler language, to tell whether a given poetry reading event is better than a certain folklore fiesta. From now on you can consult the festival rating instrument, developed and applied with BO involvement as a response to similar challenges.

English around 70%

The diagram shows the percentage distribution of translated literature titles published annually in Poland between 1990-2005, as reported to the Index Translationum of Unesco, by the language of the original.

A specimen from the Making Literature Travel report series being prepared by Literature Across Frontiers with BO co-operation.

John Lennon 70

BO covers the last thirty years.