Regional Development and Culture
The conference was held at the campus of the Central European University (CEU, Közép-európai Egyetem, Budapest, X. Kerepesi út 87) in the following structure:
The first day (Monday, 10th April) was a full-day plenary with a socio-cultural event in the end: Day of Poetry - Poems by F. Villon, followed by reception at the "Fészek" Club of Artists.
Tuesday, 11th April was divided into English and Hungarian language sessions. The former group elaborated the international aspects of the feature topic while the latter, more populous session concentrated more on internal, national issues. The conference was closed early in the afternoon.
The Association of Mediators of Culture traditionally holds its yearly conferences in April. The serial title of the gatherings is "The Money of Culture, the Culture of Money", featuring a different topic each time. In April 2000, the 7th Conference consecrated to the relationship between regional and cultural development. See also http://www.kulturakozvetitok.hu/content.htm.
The standard audience consisted of many classes of cultural workers, from cultural managers to municipal, regional or ministerial administrators, from animators to artists, from folklorists to librarians, from students to researchers etc. Lately participants from the neighbouring countries have joined in. In 2000 the aim was get acquainted with current issues in regional thinking, to generate a discussion between the cultural community and specialists of regional planning and studies.
Invited key speakers include leading experts - scholars and practitioners - in Hungary as well as a couple of guest speakers from abroad. The treatment of the subject was obviously geared to Hungary`s incumbent accession to the European Union. It is widely known - usually deplored, but hailed by some - that culture is a marginal factor in the accession process. On the other hand, most people have not yet fully realised the weight the regional (local, territorial) factor represents in the operation of the Union. We hope to receive a good picture of the instruments and resources of the EU for regional development and try to relate them to culture: how much is it present in the regional thinking, where are there insufficiencies and why and what to do in order to eliminate these?
Culture has a lesser than desirable role in the regional thinking in Hungary, irrespective of the accession process (we need not blame the EU for our weaknesses.) The cultural capital of a region is seldom taken into due account, either as an input asset, a leverage potential or as one of the major outcomes of develoment.
The Association of Mediators of Culture with its membership and country-wide representation is an important actor in the Hungarian civilian scene. The April conferences have always been supported by the cultural ministries and attended by high functioners (ministers or deputies).
The international dimension of the conference - which was under the charge of the Observatory - in 2000 attracted financial support from Unesco and the Hungarian Ministry of Cultural Heritage.
Monday, April 10
- László Baán (economist, State Secretary, Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Hungary): Principles of financing culture in Hungary
- János Simkó (journalist, Director of regional programmes at Hungarian Radio): Changes in the media map of Hungary
- Theodossios Mastrominas (European Commission): Relation between regional development and culture in the EU
- József Tóth (President, Janus Pannonius University, Pécs): Regional knowledge
- Charles Landry (London, Comedia): Creative urban development
- Sylvia Amann (Zentrum für Kultur- und Regionalentwicklung, Pregarten) Culture, Regional Development and EU-Structural Funds - Austrian Experiences since 1995
- Antal Böhm (sociologist, Institute of Political Sciences): The policy of regionalism
- Péter Markó (sociologist, President of Vas County Self-government): The reality of the Alps-Adria Subregion
- Iván Vitányi (sociologist):
Culture in the Euro-Atlantic Region
Tuesday, 11 April
- Cultural Policy of Small Regional Alliances (led by Pál Bánlaky and Péter Ernő Kiss)
- Financing Culture in Europe (led by Charles Landry)
Besides the 120 Hungarian participants the Budapest Observatory had the pleasure to co-finance the participation of 6 people from the East-Central European region with the help of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. BO also took charge of the 3 lecturers from abroad. The participants were supposed to be interested in the relationship of regional planning and culture (but not necessary specialising in them) and to commit themselves to co-operate with the Budapest Observatory in the future.