September 22-25, 2009 sees some 400 delegates from 70 countries converging in the South African commercial capital, Johannesburg, for the 4th World Summit on Arts and Culture on the theme ‘Meeting of Cultures: Creating Meaning through the Arts’. OGOVA ONDEGO, a delegate to the conference, reports.
However ahead of the summit, a triennial event intended to provide national arts councils, ministries of culture and other agencies with an opportunity to discuss key issues affecting public support for the arts and creativity, is the ARTerial Network’s 2nd biannual conference (September 19-21, 2009) on the theme, ‘The African creative sector: Acting locally, impacting globally.’
The Arterial Network is an informal, dynamic network of individuals, organisations, donors, companies and institutions engaged in the African cultural sector. The Network was formed in 2007 on Goree Island, Senegal, to support the effectiveness and growth of the African arts and culture civil society and to enhance the sustainability of creative industries in Africa.
By playing host to both the ARTerial Network conference and the World Summit, this bustling and gutsy city variously known as Joburg, Jozi, and Egoli (City of Gold) appears to give legitimacy to the city’s claims that it is not only ‘Africa’s culture hub’ but is also ‘the place where the African Diaspora meets in an Afropolitan meeting of cultures.’
“Winning the bid to host the 4th World Summit,” says Annabell Lebethe, the CEO of the National Arts Council, ‘is a significant achievement for the National Arts Council of SA, and our partners, and is a major opportunity for the creative sectors across Africa.”
“Being the first time that the World Summit is being held in a “developing country”, says ARTerial Network head and Summit Programme director Mike van Graan, “the event will provide a platform for voices that are not often heard at mainstream international cultural events.”
Van Graan says, “The UNESCO Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions provides a backdrop to the Summit and its deliberations.”
The three-day Summit programme includes key note addresses, panel discussions and a range of roundtable sessions which will explore, challenge or affirm current dogmas and practices in the arts and culture policy arena by testing these with a variety of international experiences.
The first three World Summit on Arts and Culture were held in Ottawa, Canada, (December 2000), Singapore (November 2003) and Newcastle, Gateshead, England (June 2006).
The 4th World Summit on Arts and Culture is sponsored by the National Arts Council (NAC) of South Africa and the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA).
Additional information from gfo.co.za and artsummit.org