Raising the profile of culture across other sectors is our key concern for this issue of ACORNS. The call-to-action from our departing Executive Director, Sarah Gardner, at the UCLG Culture Forum, probably her final speech on behalf of IFACCA, was for the culture sector to ‘get out more’, be more vocal, and promote its relevance to the UN development agenda and society in general with evidence and case studies to demonstrate impact.
Saudi artist, Ahmed Mater, spoke at the UNESCO NGO Forum about using art to inspire cross cultural dialogue and social change; while the role of art along with faith, sport, education and other key factors in sustainable development, the fight against violent extremism, and in building trust and cooperation among cultures and civilizations was the focus of discussions at the Baku Forum; and culture and the SDGs was centrestage in Jeju.
There were echoes in Sir Nicholas Serota’s first speech as Chair of ACE: As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, I want to talk about the positive role the arts can play on the international stage, bringing people together in dialogue and debate; while South Korea's newly elected President Moon Jae-in proposed to create more jobs for artists in public art and urban revitalization projects, while also committing to strengthening independence in the cultural sector.
In France, the Ministry released a statement of the role of culture in sustainable development through their three tier approach of corporate, social and environmental responsibility; and leading publisher Françoise Nyssen, was appointed minister of Culture in President Macron’s new cabinet.
In the Pacific, Heads of Culture from seven Pacific Island countries met in Noumea, to map cultural development priorities for the region: ‘Culture is an important driving force for social and economic development …’; and Jamaica led the discussion on climate change and its effect on cultural heritage, at the Caribbean’s first ever symposium on Climate Change and World Heritage.
In times of severe budget cuts, we celebrated the announcement of a 33.3% in the Slovak Arts Council budget, the increases for arts funding in the congressional budget agreement in the USA and the Ministry of Culture of Estonia’s commitment to increase salaries for people working in the cultural field.
And it was great to see new legislation to support culture in Mexico - new Culture and Cultural Rights law; Australia - the Creative Victoria Act; and for creative economies in Colombia – Orange Economy Law; and Chile - National Plan for the Promotion of a Creative Economy.
New appointments include: Minister of Culture, Finland, Sampo Terho; and Minister of Culture, Bulgaria, Boil Banov; Director, Pro Helvetia, Philippe Bischof; CEO, Cultural Development Foundation, St Kitts of Nevis, Jeremy Rawlins; and Chairperson of National Arts Council of South Africa, Hartley Ngoato.
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