World conference on cultural conflicts in Johannesburg

September 2009 -

Museum Afrika in Johannesburg is the venue where the IFACCA (International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies) is organising its fourth world conference on art and culture from 22 to 25 September 2009. Previous editions were held in Canada, Singapore and Great Britain.

With its theme Meeting of Cultures: Creating Meaning through the Arts the conference will highlight the role played by the arts in avoiding conflicts that are increasingly being fanned in this post-Cold War ideological era by cultural differences. Anti-Islamic sentiments are gaining strength in Europe as the demand for a 'national' identity continues to increase in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington DC, London and Madrid.

In Latin American and Africa, the intertwinement of the increasing exploitation of valuable natural assets and the neo-liberal logic of the global economy is fuelling feelings of uncertainty. As a dire result, cultural boundaries and differences are being reinforced there as well. 'Foreigners' are welcomed with diminishing enthusiasm, as demonstrated by the recent xenophobic violence against fellow Africans in South African townships. 

The bi-annual conference strives to stimulate discussions on new policy approaches. IFACCA is expecting 400 participants from 70 different countries. Important speakers will include the South African author and scholar Njabulo Ndebele and State Secretary for the ministry of Culture for Slovenia, Stojan Pelko.