ACORNS 365: Celebrating information and knowledge exchange

Co-hosted by IFACCA - International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies,
20 Julio 2017, International

With this edition of ACORNS, we pay tribute to Sarah Gardner, IFACCA’s founding Executive Director, networker extraordinaire and global advocate for arts and culture.  After sixteen years witnessing the world’s arts and cultural policy landscape while building IFACCA into a unique organisation with a highly respected international voice, Sarah will be handing over to Magdalena Moreno on 1 August and we have asked her to reflect on ACORNS during that time.

‘It is clearly time for a change when you realise that since the first edition of ACORNS in January 2002 you have published over 25,000 items of news and that coincidentally, you have edited one edition of ACORNS for every day of the year! Our first news item was about D’Art Report 1 on ‘Defining Artists for Tax and Benefit Purposes’ and I’m delighted that we can celebrate this issue of ACORNS with the Executive Summary of D’Art 50 Supporting Culture, one of our most complex and time-consuming research projects that even has links back to research the Canada Council did for the first World Summit in 2000. We thought it appropriate to devote this issue to information and knowledge exchange and specifically publications on arts and cultural policy (always a key feature of ACORNS, we have highlighted over 2,500 of them over the years). Our system of tagging news items to help locate them by theme and topic was based on the Compendium of Cultural Policies in Europe and in this issue we recall the arc of WorldCP, our global version of the Compendium. As well as publications, we read and select news from ministries and arts councils (members and non-members, positive and critical), events, job opportunities and from the international media and of course news of individuals. We have seen the passing of many great friends of IFACCA and contributors to our field such as Shirley Thomson, Eduard Delgado, Doreen Nteta, Colin Mercer, Mark Schuster and Andy Palacio and we were saddened to hear of the recent death of Pacific arts powerhouse, Seiuli Tuilagi Allan Alo Alapati Va’ai. A sobering reminder to make the most of every day and share what we can. It has been a great education and honour to produce ACORNS for so many years. I hope that you will continue to share your information and knowledge with your international colleagues and I wish IFACCA every success in the future. ‘Mighty oaks from little acorns grow’. I still have a few farewell messages to come but for now I bid you farewell and happy reading!’

A new report into the benefits of arts and culture on health and wellbeing was published today by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing and Arts Council England is helping to spread the word that art and culture makes us feel better; Connecting Australians, a recent national survey report of the Australia Council demonstrates how the perception of the arts and those that engage in them have shifted; while in Malta 91% of Malta’s adult population participated in a cultural activity according to new statistics on cultural participation in 2016 released recently by Arts Council Malta.

In Chile, the National Council for Culture and the Arts, released its first every land register of arts and cultural infrastructure, a study that has recorded a total of 2,298 spaces destined to cultural activity throughout the entire country. In Canada, Hill Strategies latest issue: Social benefits of the arts, profiles research report: Vital Signs: Arts and Belonging  ‘summarizing existing research studies and incorporating new analyses of existing statistical sources, the core argument of this report is that arts “participation builds belonging”, which can be defined as how people connect with others and engage with their communities.’

Creative Responses to Sustainability - Indonesia Guide has been launched by the Asia-Europe Foundation, the 3rd in the series after Singapore and Korea, and features a directory of the 25 most pioneering and significant cultural organisations in Indonesia contributing to social and environmental change through their artistic practice. In South Korea, breaking the arts market’s high barrier has been identified a major obstacle for young artists, so the Union Art Fair decided to focus its second edition to young artists over a 10 day event in central Seoul.

And less than a week ago, the European Commission released the first edition of the ‘Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor’, which compares how European cities perform across nine dimensions – covering culture and creativity. It highlighted Cork as one of just eight cities across the European Union as being an ideal for culture, and Cork came first for cultural infrastructure in cities with a population under 500,000. In contrast, an independent review of support for publishing and literature in Wales had the Arts Council of Wales deeply disappointed by the quality stating it undermines the authority of the review panel’s conclusions. 

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The sharing of publications, research, data collections, and information and knowledge exchange in general help us build evidence, narratives and arguments that demonstrate the importance of arts and culture in our lives and help shift perceptions on who we are. If you have news that you would like us to share, please contact us at; and if you know anyone that would appreciate having ACORNS shared with them, please let them know that they can easily subscribe here.