Summit themes

The theme of the Summit is Meeting of Cultures: Making Meaning Through the Arts

The context for the theme is a world which is increasingly divided by ‘cultural’ rather than political ideology, where feelings of being threatened by ‘other’ are largely based on ignorance about ‘other’. Increased globalisation, through economic integration, is often criticised for ‘homogenising’ the views and interests of economic and militarily powerful nations, at the same time that diversity and the desire to build ‘multicultural’ societies has become increasingly important. The implementation of the UNESCO Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is just one example of this.

Notwithstanding the recent collapse of communism and apartheid, the world remains – and is in fact, increasingly – divided, with adverse implications for global relations, for nations and for communities within nations.  Such divisions – at least in how they are expressed or perceived – have taken on a more ‘cultural’ form.

The arts – music, theatre, dance, literature, film, visual arts and craft etc – are seen by some as a possible bridge between cultures, to provide safe, non-threatening points of entry into understanding ‘other’.

Research on intercultural dialogue: As part of the preparations for the 4th World Summit on Arts and Culture 2009 in Johannesburg in September 2009, IFACCA released a Discussion Paper exploring the claim that intercultural dialogue has become a new priority for arts and cultural policy makers around the world. Following discussion at the World Summit and feedback from IFACCA network members, Dr Wiesand of ERICarts has finalised the study which is released as IFACCA's D'art Report No. 39: Achieving Intercultural Dialogue through the Arts and Culture? Concepts, Policies, Programmes, Practices.