Andreas Broeckmann on Mon, 1 Nov 1999 18:15:38 +0200

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Syndicate: Conference "Reconstruction Cultural Productivity in the Balkans"


Conference for Reinstating Cultural Co-operation and Culture Industries
Development in South-East Europe, held under the Auspices of the Finnish
Presidency of the European Union

Sarajevo, 2-4 December 1999

Re-establishing and re-vitalising transborder artistic and cultural ties
within the Balkans, between its nations and with the rest of Europe is not
only important for the return of mutual trust between different peoples and
cultures. It is, as well, a precondition for the moral and economic
reconstruction of this Region and for upholding cultural diversity in all
parts of Europe. It is therefore imperative to initiate concrete projects
to facilitate co-operation in the Region as well as within European
processes which can lead to mutual understanding, tolerance and pluralism.
Inter-regional co-operation among independent practioners in the arts and
media as well as through the culture industries are key to help to fullfil
these goals. For these we must identify the fields and the issues of
suitable projects, identify relevant actors, and, what is in the short run
most important, find sufficient financing.

Concrete projects should be initiated in two fields: The first is the
cultural exchange among artists and art institutions from in- and outside
of the Balkans and the second is the development of independent culture
industries. While the artistic and intellectual exchange has been dealt
with frequently at meetings during the last months, the development of
cultural industries and media leaves still a lot of open questions. They
provide two-way channels for the transmission of information, experiences
and images from the Balkans and from other parts of Europe. But culture
industries and the media are also inherently political. Diversifying
cultural and media contents and providing access to production and
distribution for all creative professionals and for motivated groups of the
public is a precondition for cultural productivity and for a sustainable
civil society.

As underlined by the Declaration at the EU-Conference, May 21, 1999, in
Essen, the culture industries (including, book publishing, film, music and
AV production, fine art trade etc.) can reinforce endogenous regional
potentials and improve the underlying conditions affecting general economic
development; in other words, they can contribute to a democratic cultural
environment in the Balkans.

Organised in this context, the three day conference Reconstructing Cultural
Productivity in the Balkans is to take place in Sarajevo
(Bosnia-Hercegovina), December 2 - 4, 1999. It will be opened by the
Finnish Minister of Education in connection with the Finnish Presidency of
the EU and is organised by FIN-EKVIT (Helsinki) and ERICArts (Bonn) with
grants from the Governments of Finland and Austria in co-operation with
material, organisational or intellectual support from other partners:

? Council of Europe (Strasbourg)
? European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam)
? Finnish National Commission for UNESCO
? KulturKontakt (Vienna)

 Organisers in the Region:
? "Blue Dragon", NGO (Sremski Karlovci)
? Culturelink (Zagreb)
? The Goethe Institute (Sarajevo)

Other partners and donors for the meeting are invited to join in the course
of further preparation.

Board of the Scientific Council (Vorstand des Wiss. Rates von ERICArts
e.V.): Dr. Ritva Mitchell, Arts Council of Finland/FIN-EKVIT, Helsinki
(President); Els Baeten, Vlaams Theater Instituut, Brussel and Prof.
Dominique Leroy, Université d'Amiens (Vicepresidents); Dr. Franz Hofecker,
IKM/Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Wien (Treasurer); Prof.
Dr. Andreas Wiesand, Zentrum für Kulturforschung, Bonn/Berlin (Secretary
General); Dr. Ugo Bacchella, Fitzcarraldo, Torino; Dr. Ralph Kellenberger,
St. Gallen; Vladimir Skok, Ottawa/Paris; Dr. Joost Smiers, Hogeschool voor
de Kunsten, Utrecht. Project Adviser: Danelle Cliche

The main aims of the conference are to support co-operation among culture
and media practioners or small and medium-sized firms in and outside of the
Balkans as well as to debate new cultural models or strategies for the 21st
Century.  The conference will do this by:
? bringing together media professionals, cultural policy makers and other
culture industry practionners from the Region together with experts from
other parts of Europe.  Strengthening transborder co-operation among these
actors is essential to the free flow of information, accessibility and
transparency and to ensure the production of reliable and pluralistic
? exploring conditions and instruments of support for the reconstruction of
firms/organisations working in the culture industries in the Region and
ensuring that principles such as artists rights or the right to communicate
are at the heart of such a process;
? determining and co-ordinating a division of labour among officials and
NGO organisations working in the area in order to avoid the problems
experienced following the Bosnian conflict.
Main themes of the Conference are:
? The economic, political and cultural consequences on society of the
xenophobic cultural climate and practices throughout South-Eastern Europe
in the past ten years;
? Methods and tools for changing the attitude towards "one's own" and
"other's" cultural identities and developing an atmosphere for cultural
? Developing instruments for the strengthning or establishment of
independent commerical or not-for-profit businesses in the cultural and
media fields as well as for self-employed artists, journalists, etc.;
? Exploring measures and funds to directly support cultural exchange and
other transborder projects.

There will be keynote lectures by international experts, case studies and
other contributions in the plenary. Debates in the workshop sessions
involve experts from the following sectors:
I. The social and economic importance of cultural industries for regional
and local development
II. Local development and transborder cooperation of performing arts
industries (e.g. theatre, film, music, festivals, etc.)
III. Local development and transborder cooperation in publishing
(publishers, press, bookshops. libraries, authors, etc.)
IV. Local and transborder development co-operation in the visual arts (fine
arts trade, artists, designers etc.)

The Conference will close with the discussion of a common framework of
action with demonstration projects and development incentives for cultural

The Programe Committee for the Conference includes: Dubravko Bibanovic
(Sarajevo), Ritva Mitchell (Helsinki), Dimitrije Vujadinovic (Sremski
Karlovci), Andreas J. Wiesand (Bonn).

To allow for thorough discussions, access to the Conference is limited.
50-60 experts and practioners from the region (Bosnia, Croatia, Greece,
Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Slovenia, etc.) and from other parts
of Europe, including officials from European or intergovenmental
organisations are invited to participate in the conference. For more
information or inscription documents, please contact the ERICArts

For further information, please, check:

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