Cultural policies and immigration

  Cultural policies and immigration In 2006, the Interarts Foundation and the Department of Culture of the Government of Catalonia have set up a project regarding the relation between cultural policy and immigration. The activities carried out combine on the one hand the development of case studies - especially in European countries with a long experience in the area of international immigration - and on the other hand, the definition of approaches which could be applied or considered relevant for Catalonia.

The seminar “Cultural Policies and Immigration: Experiences and Reflections”, which is also supported by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, aims to create a meeting point for the two working areas. Through the account of various local and international initiatives, we will explore experiences which may be used to inspire new actions in Catalonia and in Spain as well as looking at the challenges that these models currently have to confront.

The topics which the seminar will deal with require a contextualisation within a broad framework of policies and agents. In agreement with a transversal policy, cultural policy should be situated within a complete set of programmes related to immigration and should be linked to goals such as integration, social cohesion, and freedom of expression. In terms of actors, the multiplicity of factors which affect the situation makes the role of the civil society, in addition to that of the public sector, fundamental in opening up interpretations available for “cultural policies”.
Cultural policies and immigration The principles of equality and diversity are the departure points for the questions which are put forward. Other important considerations include the guarantee for equal access to culture, opportunities for participation, free expression, and the development of new identities, whatever those may be.
To a large extent, the types of cultural initiatives which will be presented are valid for all kinds of public, regardless of the demographic changes which have been encountered in the last decades in Europe, and especially recently in Catalonia and in Spain. However, it is also certain that the arrival of immigrant populations places some specific accents on and brings new degrees of complexity to the already existing questions, for example the use of public space, the definition of the aesthetic canons, social responsibility in cultural management or audience development. Hence, through a successive series of sessions the seminar is designed to deal with reflections ranging from more strategic topics (i.e. goals of cultural policy, intersection with other policy areas, interpretation of diversity in the area of cultural policy) to the daily experience encountered in cultural management practices, for example in terms of programming, communication, and the need for professional training.

Although the debate is driven by numerous contributions from the rest of Europe, special attention is given to the Catalan experience regarding the integration of immigration and its own model in this area. Therefore, more than presenting closed models and initiatives which are perfectly transferable, the programme seeks to suggest questions and possible approaches, favouring recommendations for the adaptation of the current way of conducting affairs and ideas in support of the capacities of the local context.

With this in mind, cultural professionals from Catalonia will moderate the round table discussions, and during the last session an assessment of needs and emergent proposals will be debated, based on ideas gathered throughout the seminar. In this way, the results should lead to a first phase of consolidation of the work being done in this area - on the local, regional,
International Seminar “Cultural Policies and Immigration” 2 / 5 and European level - providing an orientation towards new policies, programmes, and initiatives as much in the public area as in the civil society.
Babelmed Editorial Team

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