Memo August 2016

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A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in August 2016

We used to tackle the autumn season with greater confidence.

Target missed by three

BO set the target at 100 medals by the athletes from the region. Yet despite Croatian and Serbian advances we continued to slip down. Alright then: not fewer than one hundred in Tokyo!

 

Sydney
2000

Athens
2004

Beijing
2008

London
2012

Rio
2016

Belarus

17

15

18

12

9

Bulgaria

13

12

5

2

3

Croatia

2

5

5

6

10

Czech Republic

8

8

6

10

10

Estonia

3

3

2

2

1

Hungary

17

17

10

18

15

Kosovo

       

1

Latvia

3

4

3

2

0

Lithuania

5

3

5

5

4

Macedonia

1

0

0

0

0

Moldova

2

0

1

2

1

Montenegro

     

1

0

Poland

14

10

10

10

11

Romania

26

19

8

9

5

Serbia

     

4

8

Serbia & Montenegro

 

2

3

   

Slovakia

5

6

6

4

4

Slovenia

2

4

5

4

4

Ukraine

23

23

27

18

11

Yugoslavia

3

       

East-central Europe

144

131

114

109

97

 

Minor differences from earlier displays in 2012 and 2008 are due to some medals withdrawn after earlier games because of doping offence.

Moment of truth

“The conflation of culture with creative industries has harmed both cultural policy and creative industries policy”.

This statement from an authentic source rhymes with the mantra of this newsletter. An inflation of creative sector statistics often boils down to underpinning claims for increased arts subsidy, while the issue is sidetracked in the EU machinery including its major funds, leaving culture administrators without clear mandate, turning them into well-intentioned trespassers.

Needed: clear distinction in discourse and planning. Also: genuine integration into mainstream economic policies (the EU made efforts years ago and currently). But first of all, distinctive statistics about turnover, jobs and so on.

Summing up: there are fundamental problems with the concept.           

Geen geld meer naar kunst

Problem solved, no funding for culture – proclaims the party that is currently leading polls in the Netherlands. A country whose forward-looking cultural strategies are watched and treated as models across Europe, and whose cultural organisations demonstrate exceptional agility and openness in European cooperation.

                 

Malta is calling

Browse the full programme of the Ifacca culture summit in October to decide for a late bird registration (no little money). Cultural leadership is in focus.

Whether you go or don’t, you can brief yourself on leadership from this publication (at least from the downloadable introduction).

Municipal culture

Local culture has been gaining momentum at the expense of central policies and resources. The relationship between the two is little explored. This lends special importance to the relevant inquiry of Ifacca (yes, Ifacca again) and UCLG, best known in our circles by Agenda 21. Join the survey, there are only a couple of days left!

Films and cinemas

You can get involved into another kind of survey: voting for the people’s choice film award is open to everyone. It is linked to the awards of the European Film Academy.

The Lux Prize has a narrower scope and smaller impact yet BO follows it with sympathy. For the tenth time in November members of the European Parliament will vote which of the shortlisted three films will be subtitled and distributed in all member states.

  

Revisiting the data of the European Audiovisual Observatory on cinema attendance in Europe confirms that practically nothing changed between 2013 and 2015. Icelanders are mad about cinema, followed by the Irish; Estonia aloof, the rest in the east still barely above, or deep below the one-film-a-year level. By this benchmark Greece and Cyprus are on the political east not just geographically.   

The indicator of citizens’ paying for home-made films has changed to a greater extent in those two years, propelling the British near the Turks by doubling their score to 44%. Czechs fell below 20%, and a much smaller part of what Slovenes and Croats spent on cinema went to seeing national products than two years earlier.