International conference wants to protect cultural diversity
Specialists from non-western countries will meet this month
in Amsterdam for a conference entitled Reclaiming Cultural Diversity.
Three public debates will be held simultaneously. The conference
is geared to policy makers in the fields of culture, international
economic collaboration and Development Collaboration. They
discuss the globalisation of the economy and artistic diversity
world-wide. The international experts who attend the conference
will make an important contribution to the debates. On 25,
26 and 27 September in the Balie.
The conference is a co-production of the Balie, Hivos and the
School for the Arts (Hogeschool voor de Kunsten) in Utrecht (HKU).
The immediate incentive for the conference is Joost Smiers’ book
Arts Under Pressure – Promoting Cultural Diversity in the
Age of Globalisation, which was published this spring. Smiers is
director of the Centre for Research at the HKU.
During the conference the experts will discuss the possibilities
for a world-wide convention to protect and stimulate local cultural
production and local cultural life. According to the organisations
this is needed because the World Trade Organisation (WTO) wants
to restrict national authorities’ instruments for protecting
One of the objectives of the conference is to draw attention to
the problem in the Netherlands because a trade treaty for culture
can also have significant consequences for the Dutch cultural sector.
Our system of art subsidies would then be subject to discussion,
which is why the conference is being organised.
The public debate on Thursday 25 September will deal with the
question of how we can prevent distribution channels for cultural
products from falling into the hands of a few multinational publishing
conglomerates. The instruments governments have for guaranteeing
the diversity of the cultural offering will also be discussed.
On Friday 26 September the debate will center around the types
of legislation for preventing cultural domination. During the closing
debate on Saturday the most important conclusions and discussion
points from the work conference will be presented. The discussion
will then deal with the question of how measures for promoting
cultural diversity can be translated into concrete policy.
The public debates will be in the Grote Zaal at the Balie and all
start at 8:00 p.m.
Jacinta de Moor