Memo January 2016


A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in January 2016

The postponed European Cultural Forum will be held on 19-20April

Artists on the climate

Among the 170 contributors to the 2015 Cultural Climate Barometer 61 identified themselves as artists, in the performing arts in major part.

The pattern of the artists’ perception about problematic factors and strong points of the cultural climate differs from the rest of the participants to the survey in a few points. Artists showed considerably greater concern than the average about a few external factors to culture: the indifference of the elite, the position of culture in the media and the exodus of talent.

Interesting is their relation to the issue of the exodus. Artists expressed anxiety about this problem in twice as great frequency as the total of the respondents (18% vs. 9%), yet at the same time attracting talent from abroad was named by them in the highest number of all positive aspects. One interpretation is that artists are very much in favour of mobility yet are also worried about losing the crème of culture in their environment for good.

Caring about local culture

The following composite diagram illustrates the position of single items on the rank lists of various professional groups. The graphs show where Diminishing resources for local (municipal) culture on was placed on the lists of problematic factors by various categories of respondents to the Barometer.

Curious are the variations inside the group of artists. For performing artists in established “western” democracies the financing of local culture is a major concern, being apparently little shared by visual artists – and by people in the administration for that matter.

In general, caring about local ecosystems is more typical to western stakeholders than to their colleagues in the east, which division is reflected also inside the group of academics that answered the survey.

For more conclusions exposed by the Barometer on the cultural climate in 2015 consult the Concise Report.

In Paris with the IETM

You can hear more about the Barometer in March in Paris. Needless to emphasise that there is much more in the programme.

Cities here and there

The case studies from seventy cities (and regions) that were mentioned in November have been edited into a vast catalogue (beware, 32MB). This showcase of urban pride about culture and creativity includes cases from fifteen cities in east and central Europe, exactly as many as French and British cities together.

Three of the fifteen eastern cases found their way into another compilation published by Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF).

  • In one Vilnius presents a new cultural community centre in the outer reach of the city, in the other a project that has since left for Kaunas.
  • About Košice a summary of the legacy of the European Capital of Culture year is presented in one, and two art incubator centres in the other.
  • Greater is the coincidence between the two cases from Łódź, presenting the transformation of old buildings into up-to-date cultural institutions. (Poles say [wuːdʒ] as if it was Woodge. If you ask BO you can say [lodz] like Лодзь without inhibition.)

BO was curious to find out whether the three cities have also found their way to the Council of Europe list of intercultural cities. For joining the list the candidate city must answer a questionnaire involving 66 questions which leads to rating scores. None of the three cities has passed the test so far, not so Pécs which is there and also in the Eurocities catalogue.

(P.S. Vilnius figures on a more exclusive list of eleven innovative cities.)

On observatories to partners

Suppose you want to take a look at the phenomenon of cultural observatories. What they observe and in general what they do and to what end. Furthermore you can read about seven representatives of the species, with a recent review on cultural statistics embedded into the text. Finally, there is an interview in the subject.

All this is available at the portal of Culture and Creativity, the Eastern Partnership programme of the European Union.

Browsing the site you will see a face that is familiar to many. Yes, Ragnar is there.

A benchmark

From January the official minimum wage of cultural professionals – mandatory in the public sector, recommended to private organisations – is €830 in Estonia. A nice leap ahead since a year ago.

Culture and the migrants

The media is filled with depressing stories about the migration crisis. Culture Action Europe wants to draw attention to the key role culture can play in practical problem-solving and successful integration. If you have a story to tell, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the template now.