Preliminary Conclusions: 7th World Summit on Arts and Culture brings arts leaders together

21 October 2016, Malta

The 7th World Summit on Arts and Culture concluded today in Valletta, Malta. The Summit brought together over 380 delegates from nearly 90 countries to debate new approaches to cultural leadership. 

With the theme, At the crossroads? Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century, the World Summit focussed on the aspirations of artists, government leaders and cultural operators against a backdrop of new technologies, global security concerns, new patterns of migration and changing national contexts. 

As IFACCA gathers and analyses the reports from each of the sessions, which will be posted online, some recurring themes arose. In particular, the urgent call for action on global issues affecting our societies and how leadership from the culture sector can play a more critical role than ever. 

World Summit delegates agreed that by working together at regional and global levels, much could be achieved.  Delegates were particularly inspired by keynote Arn Chorn-Pond (Cambodia) on the role of arts and culture in transforming lives and by the final session, moderated by Robert Palmer, on where to next. 

The Summit's 12 Parallel sessions enabled delegates to drill down on the details of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.  

In an extraordinary set of circumstances, that illuminated the Summit theme, the Programme Director, Nina Obuljen, had to return to her home in Croatia during the Summit as she was called upon by the Prime Minister to take on the role of Minister of Culture. Ms Obuljen, able to return to the World Summit on the final day in her new role, was warmly congratulated by World Summit delegates and partners on such a prestigious recognition of her work.  

‘The World Summit has demonstrated global leaders’ roles in shaping and leading the cultural sector, as well as providing an understanding of the diversity of contexts in which we all work. The World Summit was an exciting opportunity to share inspiring new ideas, form international relationships and collaborations. It also reinforced that we are stronger when we have a collective voice’ said Stephen Wainwright, Chair of IFACCA and Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand.

The 7th World Summit was staged in the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, Malta. As IFACCA’s flagship networking event, it brought together key figures from the global arts and culture community. The World Summit provides a vital and unique space for international peers to connect, collaborate and collectively strengthen the sector and it is a direct response to needs expressed by IFACCA members and the wider arts and culture community. For European members, the Summit provided a unique opportunity to create meaningful connections with ministries of culture and arts councils attending from the Pacific, North America, Asia, Africa and Latin America. 

We congratulate Arts Council Malta for its enormously successful hosting of the 7th World Summit which has provided practical tools and information to empower members and cultural operators to advocate for the arts and culture. 

Issues identified by delegates at the 7th World Summit included: how culture can, or does, play a leadership role in driving positive societal change; models of governance and operations of public agencies that support the arts and culture at a national level and; the relationship between national and local governments in relation to cultural policy.

The final day of the Summit saw the official handover from Arts Council Malta to the National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN) of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in Malaysia, as the host of the 8th World Summit on Arts and Culture, to be held in 2019. Tan Sri Norliza Rofli, Director General of JKKN, who has been charged with the delivery of the next World Summit, expressed her enthusiasm for working with the IFACCA board and secretariat and invited all delegates to reconvene in Malaysia for early 2019. 

The World Summit also provided an opportunity for leaders from approximately 50 national and regional arts funding agencies to participate in the IFACCA CEO Leadership Seminar, the General Assembly and regional meetings. 

IFACCA’s work is dedicated to member organisations and their staff, from senior executives, to researchers, grant makers and administrators; it is also made possible by their engagement and support.  It provides the opportunity for members and the wider community to interact and share valuable tools, resources and knowledge with one another, to enhance their ability to advocate for the development of arts and culture where they are.


IFACCA announced at the World Summit the following reports:

1.         Discussion Paper on Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century
The Discussion Paper looks at the concept of cultural leadership from different perspectives and considers the broader question of how culture can, or does, play a leadership role in driving positive societal change. The Paper includes personal regional perspectives on cultural leadership from six experts, and the results of conducted three surveys: one of national arts agencies (arts councils and ministries of culture including IFACCA members); one involving the general public (particularly the cultural sector); and one of organisations and institutions that provide training for leadership for the cultural sector.

2.         Draft: D'Art 50
Supporting Culture: the governance and operations of public agencies
This report presents the results of a project to gather information regarding the models of governance and operations developed by government agencies that support the arts and culture at a national level. Given the nature of its contents and its potential value to national agencies, the report is only available to IFACCA members. 

3.         Draft: D'Art 51 
On Local Government
This report presents the findings of research conducted in partnership with the Committee on Culture of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) to explore the relationship between national and local governments in relation to cultural policy. It looks at various mechanisms, policies and forms of collaboration that exist between different tiers of government worldwide. The survey will be opened again soon to gather any additional input. 

IFACCA welcomes applications for new National and Affiliate Members and are interested to hear from potential new partners.

For further information, please contact us at: [email protected]