The 4th World Summit on Arts and Culture, which concluded today, generated a range of international networking initiatives to support arts practice in Africa and internationally.
The Summit, co-hosted by the National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC) and the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA), was held at Museum Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 22-25 September and attracted 450 delegates from 70 countries. 250 delegates were from the African continent and represented 31 countries – the highest ever for a World Summit.
The theme of the Summit: Meeting of Cultures: Creating Meaning through the Arts was explored by over 50 speakers who provoked wide-ranging debate around the role of the arts in intercultural dialogue and related themes.
'The Summit has strongly reinforced the value of international networking between leaders in arts and cultural policy making, funding and networking,' said Sarah Gardner, Executive Director of IFACCA. 'It has also provided IFACCA with ideas for concrete proposals to support networking between artists, NGOs and arts funding agencies in Africa and the rest of the world over coming years'.
The key projects that IFACCA will facilitate will include:
• the creation of an African chapter of IFACCA lead by Annabell Lebethe, CEO of the NAC of SA and Quresh Ahmed, CEO Bomas of Kenya (both of whom serve on the international board of IFACCA). This will complement the regional groups of IFACCA members in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
• the appointment of a part-time coordinator to assist the follow up of IFACCA's networking activities in Africa over the next 12 months.
• an African version of ConnectCP, www.connectcp.org, the international 'who's who' of cultural policy
• the publication of an international report on Intercultural Dialogue through the Arts and Culture and the initiation of research in other key policy areas
• ongoing information sharing about national and international arts advocacy
• a briefing paper for arts funding agencies about the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
• collaboration with regional observatories on cultural policies to aid the development of policies at the national level and support comparative analysis of those policies.
• exploration of new mechanisms for the transnational support of international arts and cultural projects and collaborations.
The outgoing Chair of IFACCA, Risto Ruohonen, also announced today that the Australia Council for the Arts has won the bid to host the 5th World Summit on Arts and Culture in Melbourne, Australia on 3-6 October 2011.
The board of IFACCA, comprising the CEOs of arts councils and senior government representatives of arts agencies – elected at the IFACCA General Assembly this week – will monitor implementation of the initiatives over the coming two years.
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With the assistance of international arts councils and foundations, 22 bursaries were awarded to assist international delegates from developing countries to attend the World Summit. A further 30 bursaries were awarded to delegates from South Africa.
IFACCA’s World Summits are intended to provide national arts councils, ministries of culture and other agencies with an opportunity to discuss key issues affecting public support for the arts and creativity. They occur every two to three years with previous Summits being held in England, Singapore and Canada.
The 2009 World Summit was supported by the South African Department of Arts and Culture, the Gauteng Provincial Government: Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, and the City of Johannesburg: Directorate of Arts, Culture and Heritage and the Johannesburg Tourism Company.
The World Summit also received support from Business and Arts South Africa, Cradle of Humankind, Arts Council Norway, Danish Arts Agency, Arts Council Finland, the Commonwealth Foundation, artéma, Australia Council for the Arts, British Council, Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, African Arts Institute, Arterial Network, Art Moves Africa, Stichting Doen, Stromme Foundation and Pro Helvetia.
Delegates had the opportunity to see the one-off Opening Ceremony performance, Three Colours, produced by Brett Bailey and Geoffry Maqoma. Delegates also participated in a range of events in the Joburg's annual Arts Alive festival.