LOCAL CULTURAL POLICIES AND CULTURAL SPACES TO INCREASE CULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY
17-19 December 2018, Casablanca, Morocco
The relevance of local government in development processes has started to gain some recognition in the South Mediterranean region but this trend is still in its initial stages. Through the Med Culture experience, we have noted that culture is lagging behind in this process although many stakeholders, mostly from civil society organisations and independent cultural operators and artists, but also representatives of local governments, are ready to take up the many challenges that cultural development at local level faces.
This workshop addresses the issue of local cultural development through three crucial and intersecting themes: cultural policies, spaces and audience development, and advocacy as a practice and a tool to promote both, putting the responsibility on local community leaders and advocates to steer this local development process. It will train a number of cultural operators, civil society activists and representatives of municipalities and local authorities on how to address cultural policies at local level whilst identifying the specificities/impact of local cultural policies vs national cultural policies; case studies from the region will provide some clues as to how specificities and challenges of cultural policies in the region have been addressed. It will also present the case of cultural spaces and their positioning in cultural development planning at local level; the definition of context based strategies; and the challenges of audience development in contexts that relegate culture to the lower rungs of community development. Finally, it will address advocacy as a project unto itself whose value is to motor change with regards to cultural policies and local development.
The foci of these themes are the different roles that different civil society groups can take on for promoting a more viable cultural sector where citizen participation is key.
This regional workshop responds to an expressed need from Med Culture beneficiaries and builds on previous work accomplished through the programme.
The workshop will explore:
- Focusing on the local level, cultural policies and the challenges they represent in the region: an exploration of the different visions, ideas, notions that participants hold regarding this issue; discussions around the way cultural policies operate in the region; examples of case studies as an entry into possible orientations for the future.
- Cultural spaces as key resources of cultural life at the local level: in the context of the region, the skills this workshop will try to instill are vital for fostering links between public spaces and independent cultural actors, and between independent spaces and the authorities, promoting a ‘cultural discourse’ and combating radicalization and extremist ideologies.
- Advocacy as tool and methodology: share best practices for promoting cultural policies at local level in order to identify practicable solutions; and underline the role that communities can play in influencing decisions (including policies) for promoting culture at both local and national level.
Participants – activists, culture managers, authorities, elected officials, should become more aware of the specificities, the values and benefits of an active cultural life in their cities and their agency for making it happen.
The workshop is organized along the ‘academy’ approach model, combining the multiple topics discussed above in a customised format. The methodology of the workshop will focus on shaping participatory and effective learning experiences; and sharing the best practice, the better to support cultural policies, cultural spaces and advocacy, thereby underlining the role of cultural development as right of citizens to flourish within their communities in the Southern Mediterranean region.
- Through a hands-on and interactive programme, we will explore:
- The specificities/impact of local cultural policies vs national cultural policies and share best practices for promoting cultural policies at local level: Who, What, When and Why and identify practicable solutions.
- The role of cultural spaces: what makes a space successful? What are the conditions necessary to attract audiences? How can spaces become the foci of a rich cultural life?
- Particular processes and strategies to promote cultural spaces and easy access to them.
- Skills learning in advocating for culture development in cities and influencing decisions regarding cultural policies.
- Strategies to foster partnership and synergies between public cultural spaces and cultural players, and between private spaces and local authorities, and the challenges and stakes these imply.
- Skills learning in advocacy and public awareness-raising and mobilizing communities for participation in the development of the cultural sector in their locality.
- Transmitting the value of public participation as a necessary pre-requisite for building resilient communities and for engaging citizens’ engagement in the shaping of what they envision for their environment, which is the essence of what civil society is all about.
By the end of the workshop, participants should be more aware of the specificities, the values and benefits of an active cultural life in their cities. They will also acquire innovative methodologies/instruments on how to mobilise politicians and public opinion in favour of a richer cultural life and contribute to rally communities around culture to promote respect for diversity and build resilient cohesive societies.