Cultural Policy Conference for Dutch postings in Latin America

April 2005 -

Interest in cooperative cultural projects to be performed in Latin America is growing in the Netherlands. For this reason, a regional conference was organized in Sao Paolo, Brazil, during which the cultural staff of embassies and consulates of the Netherlands in the region met. The topic was the Netherlands International Culture policy and the parts these postings play in it. The conference, held on 17 and 18 March 2005, was organized by the Netherlands Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, Culture and Science in cooperation with SICA, the International Cultural Activities foundation.

Development cooperation forms the basis for cultural work in Latin America. The Netherlands' cultural postings in Bolivia and Surinam have budgets available for this work from the Culture and Development Program. Other postings devote part of the budget earmarked for development cooperation to cultural projects, which help to combat poverty, for example. Cooperation and exchange projects for a wide audience have the preference because these also establish relationships on a longer term.

The cultural postings play the part of intermediary: these staff are knowledgeable about the local and Dutch cultural fields and can bring supply and demand together. The conference participants primarily spoke about the practical sides of this mediation. How can the limited financial resources be used to implement as many cultural projects as possible?

The conference indicated that cooperation between the various postings is important. Performances or expositions could travel to the various countries in the region, for example. The staff in Argentina, however, does not always know what the Venezuelan staff is doing, and what is going on in Uruguay is not always known in Ecuador. This communication can be improved. It was decided during the conference to build a website for exchanging information.

The participants also promised to compile fact sheets about the local cultural situation in their country of posting. These can be used to help Dutch partners. And more contact with the SICA will give the posting staff more insight into the possibilities in the Netherlands.

Hester Swaving is working for SICA
For more information about the conference, please contact Hester Swaving,