Acorns 364: Recognising the role of artists, young people and the revival of cultural identities

20 June 2017

With this edition of ACORNS we launch the theme of the next World Summit on Arts and Culture, MOBILE MINDS: Culture, Knowledge and Change, and reflect on the diverse ways in which the arts and culture are recognised for their role in bringing to light the soul of a community, be it through supporting artists, empowering young arts leaders, or reviving cultural identities.

As Canada Council’s Simon Brault said, in recognition of Canada's 150th anniversary, ‘Artistic creation is often an expression of the values of our country, including free expression, cultural democracy, and other issues that concern Canadians and our global society… It’s recognizing that the arts come from the people. They are the voice of the people. Their transformative power is key to our progress.’

With regard to supporting artists, the National Council for Arts and Culture in Nigeria has announced a plan to increase investment in artists; the Arts Council of Ireland is piloting a new social welfare scheme for artists that places special value on their work; in China, the Ministry of Culture has issued a five-year plan calling for targeted poverty alleviation in the cultural field; the National Endowment for the Arts, as the only funder in USA to support arts activities in all states and US jurisdictions, has announced a range of grants including artist-led and place-making projects; in Chile, the National Council for Culture and the Arts (CNCA) released a new funding round to support artists directly affected by the devastating fires in the south; and in the context of the digital era, UNESCO has adopted guidelines to protect artists and diversify cultural content on the internet.

We are also seeing an emphasis in support for young leaders in the arts. Botswana is targeting youth and the arts, in its investment in the development of Botswana’s human capital; Creative Scotland announced new funding to nurture the creative talents of young people; in Spain, the Aragon region has released the ‘Aragon is culture’ access cards for young people; and Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature will appoint its first Young Poet Laureate thanks to Arts Council England. 

There’s also been a focus on strengthening cultural identities and traditional knowledge as a means of tackling natural and man-made conflicts.  The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction has released a report stating that cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge are key resources of community and national disaster resilience across the world. In Jamaica, the Small Island Development States (SIDS) rallied for the protection of culture and heritage in SIDS under a sustainable 21st-century climate change agenda. In Angola, the Minister of Culture encouraged participation of communities in the development of their new strategy as the affirmation of cultural identity, traits and matrices of Angolanity. In Argentina, Ministries of Culture met for Mercosur to sign the cultural integration protocol.

And to conclude, the EU partner countries have called for a new strategy that places culture at the heart of the EU international relations.  As stated by the EU Report Correspondent: Culture is a valuable resource to tackle many of the challenges Europe and the world are currently facing – such as the integration of refugees and migrants, countering violent radicalization and the protection of cultural heritage.

Which brings us back to the future and the announcement of the theme for IFACCA’s 8th World Summit on Arts and Culture which we will stage in Kuala Lumpur on 11-14 March 2019 in partnership with the National Department for Culture and Arts of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia. A key role in ensuring the global relevance of the Summit is the Programme Director and we are currently calling for expressions of interest by the closing date of 6 July 2017.

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