Policies for Culture is a regional framework programme of the ECUMEST Association (Bucharest) and of the European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam), active since the year 2000, which aims to encourage a participative principle in the design, implementation and evaluation of new effective cultural policies throughout South East Europe.


Policies for Culture programme (PfC) has developed up to present a platform of more than 500 organisations in the region (NGOs, public authorities at national, regional and local level, universities and research institutes, cultural magazines and journals) and gave birth to the "PfC Plus" (addressing countries such as Slovakia or Turkey) and "CPEG - the Cultural Policy Education Group".


OBJECTIVES & APPROACH

The programme is structured around the triangular working relationship between civil society, the executive, and the legislature in the policy-making process affecting the cultural sector. It is based on the recognition that public policy in the field of culture can only have a sustainable impact if the civic stakeholders whom it is to affect participate in its formulation. Emphasis is placed on finding channels of communication between these levels (which are not used to interacting); and, by encouraging participative policy making in the field of culture, on empowering the independent sector to voice its opinions. To this end, Policies for Culture engages policy makers and the cultural sector of South East Europe in a serious reflection process on local and national cultural policies. It encourages all players involved to translate ongoing policy debates into concrete actions that will contribute to a sustainable bottom-up strengthening of the cultural sector in the region.


KEY AREAS OF ACTION

· Practical action
Since the year 2000, Policies for Culture has facilitated the development and supported the implementation of a variety of local initiatives aimed at turning theory into concrete action in the form of action projects. Visit the Action projects page of the programme's website for further information.

· Analysis and research
The need for cultural policy research has been a recurrent topic in the various programme activities in the last four years. There is at present in the region a communication gap between the research sector, on the one hand, and policy makers and public administration, on the other hand, which leads to an often arbitrary character of decision-making. Throughout the region there is an urgent need for independent research to evaluate policies and their actual impact, and to use research results as a basis for good quality decision-making.

Beginning with the year 2004, Policies for Culture will specifically address this area by the means of a Task Force for Cultural Policy Research. Visit the Task Force page of the programme's website for further information.

· Information and documentation
Policies for Culture aims to enhance the flow of cultural policy information and acquired expertise on a regional level (and beyond) by developing and making widely available a variety of reports, publications and other information (re)sources. Visit the Publications section of the programme's website for further information.


THE POLICIES FOR CULTURE NETWORK
The programme is based on a broad range of SEE and EU partnerships with cultural operators, professional artists, local and national cultural authorities and administration, parliamentarians, media, university institutions, cultural and policy research centres, cultural policy experts and European policy institutions. Visit Our Network's page of the programme's website for further information.


BEYOND SOUTH EAST EUROPE
Starting with the year 2004, Policies for Culture attempts to promote and facilitate participative policy making initiatives in the cultural sector in other countries outside South East Europe, among which Slovakia, Ukraine or Turkey. In South East Europe the programme is managed by the ECUMEST Association, whereas the initiatives of cooperation outside this region are coordinated by the European Cultural Foundation, which remains the key financial supporter of this framework programme. Visit Beyond SEE page of the programme's website for further information.


For further details and the current activities of the programme visit: www.policiesforculture.org.