Cultural Policy Imperatives in Theatre for Development Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa and its Implication in the Field

by Ofonime Inyang (South Africa/Paper Session)

200x200pxOfonimeInyangThe application of the techniques of theatre for development (TfD) to tackle the development problems of rural communities is considered by researchers and development practitioners as timely and relevant in the global crusade against hunger, poverty and other development challenges (Desai, 1990; Dinesh, 2005; Conrad, 2004; Ebewo, 2004; Nwansa, 2009; Akashoro, Kayode and Husseini, 2010). The current realisation of the theatre for development or applied theatre praxis and practice in the universe of participatory communication and its current adoption by international development agencies and practitioners as the model of its project implementation in many parts of the world sends a clear message of function, relevance and practicality. The need for intervening policy mechanism that can build bridges of understanding, align methods of operations and mitigate this “identity crisis” (Govender, 2009) becomes imminent especially in Africa that currently witnesses constant testing of several dimensions of hybrid practices that claim the applied theatre label. Can cultural policy instruments and training be useful in this direction? What role can development practitioners and local artists play in this regard? Are there global best practices that can serve as models for such an initiative? This paper examines these issues using critical theory and constructivism (Reason, 1988; Mcctaggart, 1991; Chambers, 1994; Cornwall and Jewkes, 1995; Babbie and Mouton, 2001; Bradbury-Haung, 2001; Baum, Macdougall and Smith, 2006; Rifkin, 2010). In this regard, the paper will analyze existing cultural policy documents in Nigeria and South Africa. The local policy frameworks that guide the operations of council for arts and culture in the various states of Nigeria and the South African State Theatre policy on community theatre and arts practices will be reviewed. The study will also interview local artists, cultural practitioners and officials of ministries concerned with the creative enterprise in the aforementioned countries.


Beyond the Creative City: Cultural (Policy) Pathways towards Sustainable Urban Development

by Nancy Duxbury (Portugal/Thematic Session) 

Under a ‘creative city’ banner, culture has played a driving role in urban redevelopment, economic and branding strategies, and social inclusion initiatives in many cities. But an unevenness of impacts has become evident in the ‘socially regressive’ form of creative city, and there have been calls for more multi-dimensional strategies, more nuanced approaches that are sensitive to local cultures and difference, and greater attention to redistributive outcomes. There is also growing concern to go beyond ‘creative city’ intercity competition and invent strategies to involve artistic-cultural actors in fostering more sustainable cities. The session investigates local level initiatives that provide insights into emerging lines of local cultural policy interlinked with city development trajectories that lie beyond the heavily critiqued and unsustainable ‘creative city’ intercity competition that prevails among cities globally today. It also contributes to the underdeveloped and emerging interdisciplinary research field on culture and sustainable development. The question of co-constructing appropriate cultural policy for more sustainable living and local development embeds culture within issues of promoting participation, cooperation, and local democracy. The Thematic Session was developed in the framework of COST Action IS1007 Investigating Cultural Sustainability and the forthcoming book, Culture and Sustainability in European Cities: Imagining Europolis (eds. S. Hristova, M. Dragićević Šešić, N. Duxbury), Routledge.

Beside Nancy Duxbury this thematic session will be presented and discussed with Jenny Johannisson, David Stevenson, Anita Kangas, Sakarias Sokka, Elisabeth Auclair.

Civil society co-operation for Turkey-Armenia relations

by Serhan Ada (Turkey/Thematic Session)

This session addresses three connected clusters of questions, requiring deepened cultural policy research for the decade to come: Firstly, the notions of cultural diplomacy and cultural cooperation will be reassessed critically. While cultural diplomacy refers to the sovereign nation-state, a ‘multi-log’ of cultural cooperation processes across fields, disciplines, countries and regions is increasingly co-shaping cultural ecosystems.

Secondly, pertinent case studies from regions with polarized and polarizing experiences (Middle East, Balkans, Turkey) will be used as benchmark to ground and specify these research questions. Thirdly, in the interest to develop a longitudinal capacity for both comparative cultural policy research and cultural policy development, the cultural indicator suite on “least connected countries” will be re-visited.

Beside Serhan Ada this thematic session will be presented and discussed with Christine M. Merkel, Nadia von Maltzahn, Nina Obuljen Korzinek.

Participation: the new cultural policy and communication paradigm

by Anne Scott Sørensen (Denmark/Thematic Session)

In this panel, we aim to address the current shift in cultural policy in late modern welfare states towards “participation” (Bennett, 2013), taking the Nordic and in particular Danish national context as our example. On the ground of theories of government, democracy and cultural citizenship (Agamben et al., 2011; Ingram, 2002), on the one hand, and on conceptualizations of “participation” on the other (Carpentier, 2011; Delwiche & Henderson, 2013;), the panel will identify and discuss the participatory paradigm and its translation into various levels of cultural policy (national/local), in and across various types of institutions (media, museums, archives, libraries) and in non-institutional, civil and urban initiatives. The hypothesis, grounded on more-than-representational analysis (Lorimer, 2005; Thrift, 2007), is that the new paradigm is to be understood as a complex and also heterogeneous assemblage of agendas, practices and agents, striving to define and direct it. The hypothesis will be pursued through case studies on the so-called regional cultural contracts, recent curatorial and artistic co-productions and audience involvement in art museums, the digital and interactive national cultural heritage project/archive – and the European Melodi Grand Prix/Eurovision 2014 in Copenhagen.

Beside Anne Scott Sørensen this thematic session will be presented and discussed by Mette Thobo-Carlsen, Hjørdis Brandrup Kortbek, Bjarki Valtysson, and Louise Ejgod Hansen.


Photo: The artwork skyLINE by Jesper Konshaug, made for European Melodi Grand Prix 2014/ Eurovision 2014 in Copenhagen, photographer Ulrik Jantzen.