C Explanatory memorandum
by Lord Alexander Dundee, rapporteur
As stated in the motion for
and the richness of cultural heritage are important assets for European
economies and societies”. That is also supported by the Council
of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage
for Society (CETS No. 199, “Faro Convention”) of 2005. This emphasises
the importance of cultural heritage within national democracies
and its scope for enriching daily life in their localities and communities.
The Brundtland ReportNote
defines sustainable development
as development which meets the needs of the present without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet their own needs; thus,
how new and old cultures may be supported together to the advantage
of all, and not least young people, is the central focus of this
In her report, “Culture and democracy”,Note
Ms Vesna Marjanović looks at the
broad range of “culture” and what it really means; indicating how
it embraces the spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional
features which characterise every society. In this case, the term
includes not only cultural heritage, the arts and letters, but also
lifestyles, ways of thinking and behaving, value systems, traditions
and beliefs. Seen in this context, culture then becomes a powerful
tool to encourage constructive thought, to initiate public debate
and to strengthen democratic practice.
4 This report urges decision-makers to adopt the core principles
of the Faro Convention at grass roots level, in order to boost local
economies and assist the well-being of their communities.
5 It also identifies the issues and challenges which are to
be addressed if proper progress is to be made. For his useful work
and contribution to that assessment, I should like to thank Professor
Andrew Pratt, Head of the Department of Cultural Economy at London
City University. I have also taken account of the outcomes of two
hearings of the Sub-Committee on Culture, Diversity and Heritage,
in Aarhus on 4 April 2017 and in London on 26 March 2018.
2 Cultural heritage: the reinvigoration
of local economies and communities
6 Two successful examples of
this are taken from London: firstly, the Borough of Hackney where
private initiatives have been supported by the local administration;
secondly, the Borough of Waltham Forest which has become part of
a European project.
In Hackney, conditions have steadily declined since the 1970s.
The same may be true of a number of other London boroughs. For although
some new jobs have been introduced, many more have been lost through
deindustrialisation. As a result, the area has demonstrated extremes:
its population being divided between rich and poor, employed and
unemployed, skilled and unskilled.Note
the same time, the local authority has performed badly, lacking
competent leadership and nearly becoming bankrupt.
Fortunately, however, the position has now improved. This
is largely due to investment in the arts and heritage. Spaces for
creative endeavours have been made available. Consequently, this
part of London (a crescent starting in Islington then extending
through Hackney to east London) has become an epicentre of artistic
and cultural production. Many of the participants even operate on
an international level, although a number of them still survive
on low incomes and initially struggle to find studios.Note
9 However, Hackney’s recent success reflects constructive partnerships
between business enterprise and the local authority; it also reinforces
the conviction that imaginative deployments of cultural heritage
can stimulate employment in the open and cosmopolitan communities
of this London borough.
10 That development has also altered people’s expectation of
what culture can achieve. Previously it was often viewed as either
irrelevant or else only of marginal benefit. Yet now, from within
a borough such as Hackney, it is perceived instead to be a useful
economic force and hence of value locally, nationally and internationally.
11 Unlike Hackney, which is an inner London borough, Waltham
Forest is in the outer north-east of the city. Being further from
the centre it is much less well endowed. For example, within its
boundaries there are no publicly funded art bodies at all. By contrast,
Islington, which is close to Hackney, has 25 publicly funded institutions.
And while deindustrialisation may have undermined the economies
of many London boroughs, at least those nearer the centre such as
Hackney have had a better chance of recovery compared with others
out on a limb, like Waltham Forest.
In 2018, the Mayor of London launched a venture inspired by
the European Capital of Culture Programme: the London Borough of
Culture. Waltham Forest won the first award of this initiative.Note
Such competitions are often useful.
Waltham Forest had to form its cultural bid from very little. As
already indicated, this is because it is much worse off than other
boroughs. Yet such comparative adversity proved to be an advantage
instead: the borough was challenged to discover new networks, which
had not been previously connected, let alone allied to the local
authority; and moreover some of them had not previously even appeared to
be cultural networks at all.
13 In summary, both these examples from Hackney and Waltham Forest
show how cultural projects can reinvigorate local economies and
communities previously disconnected from their public authorities,
thus re- engaging those who have lost faith in top-down government.
They also illustrate the wide definition and relevant scope for
cultural heritage itself to assist daily life.
culture in governance
In the last decade or so, certain
areas of culture and the economy have been acknowledged as contributing
to local employment and income generation, as well as constituting
15 However, this new form of hybrid culture, which includes heritage
as well as creative industries, may present a difficulty both to
the not-for-profit, and for-profit spheres.
Whilst local authority culture departments are declining in
size, and resource base,Note
in many aspects culture is more vibrant,
sustained both by private resources and as part of programmes run
within other sectors such as health, transport, economic development,
and various other agencies. The aim is how to sustain a coherent
strategic vision for culture when its delivery is spread so widely
over other sectors.
The “European Capital of Culture”, launched by the European
Commission, is perhaps the best known venture engaging with urban
regeneration and culture. Yet it simply began as an eulogy to celebrate
the diversity of European cultures as represented by cities. Since
it was set up in 1985, the programme has inspired a significant
growth in culture,Note
as can be seen from the way localities
and communities are currently adapting and redefining their own
particular cultural identities.
18 At first, the meetings moved around so that local cultures
could be celebrated in different places. Thereby also the strength
and diversity of the European culture is revealed: by picking one
area at a time where endeavours are centred and financed. Recently
the scope has broadened, encouraging even more participants and
visitors. And it is now supplemented by community events as well.
So while the European initiatives still last for six months a year,
they are frequently taken up by cities to kick-start a separate
longer-term project. Increasingly, the focus is not just on historical
heritage, but instead on new cultural identities connected both to
the past and to the future. It has thus become quite usual for these
new programmes to express different types of cultural practice.
They also manage to link with “non-cultural” activities such as
health, transport, economic development and housing.
19 Critics of the European Capital of Culture programme have
highlighted a number of components which have contributed to its
success. First, is the challenge of the bidding process. This brings
with it more opportunities than it used to. That is good for the
community and for society. Many more stakeholders are involved.
Added to which, a deadline is set. Yet even unsuccessful bidders
benefit because they find that the process itself leads to further
projects. Connected to this, and secondly, there is good scope for
networking between all the sectors of traditional and modern culture.
Third, integrating art into the European Capital of Culture Programme
has boosted the confidence and reputation of many cities, due to
successful deployment of new collaborations, capacities and ambitions.
Finally, whilst of course some expertise has come from outside,
by and large those taking part consider that the source of energy
and inspiration is where they are: and that they themselves have
unlocked their own belonging, identity and skills, thus connecting
to the whole community.
Looking across the European Capital of Culture project evaluations,Note
may detect a positive yet refreshingly “light touch” approach from
central administrations, and an ability to switch the focus according
to local wishes. This broad attitude has assisted the programme’s
development. There are now proper records showing the diverse experiences
of each European Capital of Culture event and often this provides
an insight into how culture has become a means of social, cultural
and economic transformation. This “learning network” of cities is
the model now employed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in its Creative Cities Network,
which has 180 member cities.Note
The perspective of the European Capital
of Culture Programme has also already extended beyond historical
heritage, towards new cultural identities connected both to the
past and the future. What is also convincing is that they manage
to encompass “non-cultural” activities such as health, transport,
economic development and housing.
21 This shift of perspective is striking: it proves that “culture”
can be “rethought”. The process of listening and responding to the
voice of local communities enables local democracy to revive and
become effective – and its citizens once more re-engaged.
22 The lesson from the European Capital of Culture Programme
is that culture is valuable when it is not treated in an isolated
or traditional way – that is as an “add-on” to an economic or social
project – and that the European Capital of Culture Programme can
be both “a means and a method” for social engagement. It gives us
a new understanding of what “mainstreaming” means, beyond the common
usage of including a particular issue in all agendas; the lesson
here is that culture can lead the overall initiative (local development
strategy), and mobilise other sectors to provide support and participate.
changing scope of culture
23 The last 50 years has seen
a relaxation of the strict hierarchies between “high” and “low”
culture, also between for-profit, and not-for-profit activities.
Previous attitudes opposing culture and economy are beginning to
change. And a greater scope for “ordinary culture” has been recognised
as being of “value” to society. This has led to more people being
included, and their interests being upheld by society.
Various types of initiatives have emerged. Some use culture
as an expedient for social cohesion, health benefits and inter-cultural
understanding. Others use it for economic development and urban
regeneration. Others simply develop projects for their intrinsic
25 There are many tensions between the two spheres of activity,
and even variations within cultural activities. Yet, increasingly,
public bodies have been developing policies, regulations and institutions.
These enable culture and economy to bring benefits for society.
A certain theme ran through case studies which were presented
to the sub-committee in London. This was the way in which culture
and heritage had altered and been reinvented. Yet this was not an
academic exercise of redefinition, but instead one presented as
a challenge to policy makers by the communities concerned. Often
it has conflicted with what public bodies have previously considered
as culture, as well as that which has been formerly supported from
public funds. Culture, as a practice, has undergone a revolution in
the last 25 years, in particular in the United Kingdom.Note
However, that shift
of direction was heralded by a decade of initiatives in major cities:
these activities focused on youth unemployment and re-engagement,
and upon the ways in which cultural employment may contribute to
finding a solution.Note
important insights were that culture was both a commercial and a
State-funded activity creating social and economic impacts, and
that the economic impact had previously been underestimated in terms
of jobs and income, as well as in terms of the specific role of
culture for regeneration.
This change had also affected cultural institutions, notably
the attention to “new museology” which argued for a greater engagement
of visitors and exhibits, and outreach into communities not previously benefiting
from the museum experience.Note
More generally, it corresponded
to new ways of thinking about social policy, specifically the notion
of “social exclusion”.Note
Social exclusion debates have
stressed how inclusion in a wide range of activities underpins democracy
and citizenship. The United Kingdom wove the new creative industries,
cultural policy and social inclusion tightly together in its rethinking.
Some felt it went too far, in that culture seemed to be expected
to solve all society’s ills, neglecting “great culture”.Note
the overall legacy has been fresh thinking about what culture means:
a redefinition going beyond previous boundaries of “high” and “low”
culture; the “formal” and “informal”, as well as the “commercial”
and “State funded”.
It has not only been in the United Kingdom, and lately the
European Union where a wider concept of culture has been discussed,Note
has also been taken up vigorously within the United Nations where its
definition has also been broadened to address its ever changing
nature, its diversity, as well as its relationship to identity.Note
The United Kingdom, like
many States around the world, has renamed what was previously its
“Department of National Heritage”, as the “Department for Digital,
Culture, Media and Sport”. While this may be of interest symbolically,
it also reveals good common sense in the preparedness to bring together
diverse components of the “cultural ecosystem” under one roof. These
changes have been generally slower to occur at local authority level.
partnerships and funding
In the United Kingdom, as public
funding has been redirected toward other priorities, and the unit
of resource has fallen, cultural agencies have been facing the problem
of their survival. Recently, one local authority set a zero budget
for culture. The report will show examples of innovative approaches
to funding culture. Similar constraints on public funding are experienced
in most, if not all, European countries. The level of public funding
for all culture is falling globally, especially in those countries
with austerity policies.Note
wish to thrive and survive they will have to find new ways of funding
In the United Kingdom, local authorities, and individual institutions
have had to invent new methods in order to finance culture. Austerity
measures have meant that some institutions have had to close while
others have been staffed by volunteers. Most cultural institutions
have had to re-direct monies from different sources. One example
is the way in which culture can be used instrumentally as a means
of promoting and enabling another function (health, transport, social
inclusion, etc.). Some very positive outcomes have resulted from such
Other approaches are more controversial and potentially problematic,
such as sponsorship deals. Many national museums have such arrangements;
some provide a substantial proportion of all funding for certain institutions.
In a large one like the Tate, as much as 60% of annual funding comes
from this source. However, sponsorship does not always work: many
smaller institutions attract little if any of it all, especially
those outside London. Even for the lucky institutions receiving
sponsorship, managing the different stakeholder objectives and reputations
can often be difficult. The real challenge is how to resolve differing
objectives and to balance whatever rights the stakeholders may have
in influencing content. Moreover, as has also been illustrated in London,
there is a potential moral hazard to which institutions are exposed
and this may devalue them by association.Note
32 A recent example concerned those protesting against BP’s activities,
and their sponsorship of the Tate. Activists wanted the Tate to
disassociate itself from BP, and its money, which they claimed was
financing environmental damage.
This highlights the tension between art and money. The origin
of modern State cultural policy in the United Kingdom was the establishment
of the Arts Council in 1946, reflecting the principle of the “buffer” between
art and the State: called the “arm’s length principle”. Governance
rules may exist to create such a buffer with private interests;
however as in the case of BP, they did not insulate the Tate from
damage to its reputation.Note
Institutions are having to navigate
this complex hinterland between State and market, which leads to
the current challenges of cultural governance and representation
(of art forms, and communities). Institutions are often pushed to
the “front line” to make decisions which were previously taken by
central government or mandated by funding. Furthermore, these institutions
are no longer fully “public” and the balance between “accountable”
interests is often difficult to make. It will require new skills
and training for administrators beyond the traditional curatorial
skills or public management expertise; it may also potentially require
new terms of governance and accountability for institutions.
Employment in the cultural
sector is expanding at above the average rate for all other employment. Cultural
jobs are becoming a key part of Europe’s future,Note
yet the education and skills agenda has
still to catch up with this new trend. Most government agencies
promote science, technology and engineering at the expense of arts
and culture. More specifically we have seen the withdrawal of many
craft activities from the school curriculum. However, it is only
through a combination of arts and science that creativity or technologies are
manifest as products or experiences.Note
The question is not simply to provide adequate training or
education but to expand the range of skills. Crafts offer a huge
repository of skills that have been set aside in favour of a new
technique. Nevertheless, skills are multivalent: they can be used
and reused in different contexts. Preserving those which are required in
heritage projects, or just that are not often used, is to provide
necessary resources for the future. This has been part of the Council
of Europe Technical Co-operation and Consultancy Programme.Note
skills is part of community building, a way of passing knowledge
from one generation to another, and of conserving heritage itself.
36 Craft skills can also engender new jobs, especially for young
people. Witness the rise of the “maker movement” opening up new
spaces that use technologies and creativity to repair, revise and
refashion products, as well as to make uniquely special ones. Also,
maker spaces can be sites for learning, and continuous learning,
as well as a means to nurture and teach local craft skills and techniques.
Local authorities on the edge of great cities, like Thurrock
in the outer London area, have experienced de-industrialisation;
and they have not generally experienced the rapid economic re-growth
of inner London. The “economic ecosystem” that has previously linked
community, school, employment and home has been severed.Note
The High House scheme at Thurrock assessed the problem of
finding new work for young people in a “broken” economic ecosystem.
The solution was perhaps surprisingly to attract the Royal Opera
House stage set-building facility to Thurrock. This is an activity
that requires craft skills. In order to proceed, High House set up
a partnership between the Royal Opera House and the local schools
and training centres. This partnership, together with the skills
of “brokering” to achieve resilience, proved to be effective. In
order to bridge the gaps of aspiration, expertise and activity,
new words and job descriptions were invented. For the way that people and
their jobs are talked about can often help or hinder engagement
in the first place. High House was also prepared to accept a “DIY
mindset”. This enabled a flexible and unorthodox response to problems,
and as they said, to “create their own luck”.Note
The Borough of Islington, neighbouring Hackney, is quite similar;
it has publicly funded bodies, has been ill served by its local
administration and it is diverse ethnically as well as economically
(having some of London’s richest, as well as poorest citizens).
Central to Islington's cultural initiatives have been two aims: fairness
of opportunity and the delivery of employment. Instead of a traditional
agenda of “skills matching”, or “improved exam results”, the focus
has been on the entitlement of excluded communities. This notion
of entitlement reflects what has been lost: the previous aspiration
now diminished, the expectation of not getting jobs, or not “deserving”
certain types of jobs, especially in the cultural economy. Survey
data have shown that all sectors of culture are insufficiently represented
by working class people, ethnic minorities and women.Note
Young people within those categories
are thus held back: the growth of the creative industries, which
although successfully developing to some extent, is also curtailed
in London and could otherwise do so much better. As it is, Islington
has mobilised its 65 schools into a “community” to better enable
employment and job experience. There are also 25 publicly funded
art agencies. A partnership has been forged with the schools giving
pupils experiences of the cultural sector. Previously, this would
have taken them to the theatre, or to a museum; now it is to find
work. As a result, the problems of skills shortage and local employment
40 These examples illustrate the good effects of “real” partnerships
formed by common interest and which carry a long-term commitment
to the community. It is through such partnerships that “new pathways”
can be forged: bringing in young people and allowing the community
to re-engage with work and culture.
vitality and its impact on democracy
41 Cultures should reflect diversity
of skills, responsive ideas and be outward looking. They should
also include the willingness and aptitude for dealing with everyday
problems and challenges.
42 A culture on emergent shared values and ideas builds us a
unique resource from which all can benefit. Europe’s cultural history
is an accessible resource, but a new culture is necessary for the
future, one which includes sustainable development, and which can
be passed on to the next generation.
43 We have to examine ways and means of enabling culture and
economy to combine to support diversity. This affects society as
a whole. We therefore need to examine the tools that have been used
as part of cultural and heritage programmes: this is to enable the
population to appreciate and make choices in a diverse environment.
Tate Modern might well claim to bridge the gap between culture,
heritage and democracy. Now one of the most visited tourist attractions
in the United Kingdom, it is also close to many other cultural institutions
within the London Borough of Southwark. Developers are attracted
even though there is still much poor housing. Old warehouses, relics
of the disused docks, have already been converted into valuable
apartments. All the same, here is a slight inconsistency, as within
the area the gap between affluence and poverty has marginally widened.
Therefore, to some although limited extent, the Tate Modern may
have unintentionally exacerbated the very problem which it had otherwise
sought to minimise.Note
45 In handling the relationship between art, society and government,
the Tate adopts a radical approach. Tate Exchange is a programme
which enables 60 partners to work within and without the art world.
Traditional “outreach” organises school visits to galleries and
talks at schools. Yet the Tate has broadened this endeavour and
now the community is involved. Spaces are offered and staff are
available to assist. As a result, the scope has become greater for
art to benefit the locality. Issues recently addressed include improved
housing, work, citizenship and social democracy. Tate Liverpool
and Tate Modern are equally active, each looking at ways to help
their communities through art.
These examples show how cultural institutions are adapting.
The revised attitude is not assertive, instead it invites questions
and debate: for example how art can do more to help people wherever
they live, not least taking into account the importance of maintaining
a certain balance within society which is increasingly multicultural.
That is to engender appreciation and respect for the difference
between histories and cultural practices. That approach has already
proved effective in reducing conflict in war zones as it also has
in decreasing tensions in other contexts, such as in our cities,
where culture represents a means to negotiate a variety of challenges.Note
situation in rural and remote areas
47 Cultural heritage and cultural
activities mainly apply to cities, as also do the benefits of knowledge exchange.
48 Rural and remote communities should have proper access to
culture, including touring companies and, thanks to new technology,
the projection of live theatre. Nevertheless, clearly political
resolve is required in the first place to protect and encourage
the right of rural society to equality of access and opportunity.
49 Remote areas often lack sufficient investment in training,
skills and resources. As a result, young people are all the more
likely to leave to find work in the cities.
50 It has been alleged that too much funding goes to large conurbations
and the national capital city itself. If so this would disadvantage
regions, drawing people away from them. In any case and owing to
the greater opportunities there afforded, artists and cultural stakeholders
would always be expected to move and operate within cities. United
Kingdom cultural policy has tried to protect regions, where it has
set up national institutions. Another intervention has been “NT
Live”. This is a digital capture of live theatre that is re-broadcast
in local cinemas in the regions.
51 However, while such initiatives may offer a wider spread of
activities there, they have done little to reverse the “cultural
drain” from the regions. Their cultural practices are now under
threat due to both a lack of funding and absence of skilled people.
One response has been to develop outdoor museums. Up to a point this
keeps the display of activities “alive” and creates some jobs, but
it falls well short of supporting a vibrant cultural economy.
52 The challenge here is to sustain craft skills for which there
appears to be no current market. Keeping them going is not simply
about finding a market: it also requires learning, the training
of new workers and passing on skills. The crafts can provide jobs,
and they enhance cultural diversity. On the other hand, if unique skills
and practices are allowed to decline then they are likely to disappear
Closely connected to the consideration of skills and crafts
is that of livelihoods. Housing represents another threat to artists
and cultural workers. Frequently, it is far too expensive, especially
for young families, and consequently artists and other low paid
workers cannot afford to live in big cities. Affordable housing,
linked to cultural and heritage-based employment is therefore essential
in order to sustain rural communities and their cultures. An initiative
which has developed in the United Kingdom is artist-run, or artist-owned
housing and workshops.Note
The idea is to remove property from
the “market” via third sector ownership to protect cultural workers
from housing and workshop inflation.
54 This report has highlighted
seven challenges which underpin the present and future relationship between
the value of cultural heritage and democracy. The report acquired
expert input from senior policy makers from local authorities in
London which have been experiencing problems, confronting these
with innovative and effective responses. However, policy initiatives
still must take into account local legislative, social, cultural
and economic particulars and details. Any such solutions cannot
be simply copied, but they can be adopted as processes which can
then be used as templates for awkward problems experienced elsewhere.
55 The seven challenges that are identified engender a range
of insights into the cultural heritage–democracy relationship. It
is important to note that all three key terms – culture, democracy
and heritage – are dynamic and changing. Heritage is often thought
of as “the past”. By using the notion of sustainability, we can recognise
that tomorrow’s heritage must be created today. There is a link
between past, present and future which ought to be managed. This
has been emphasised both in connection with cultural employment
and with how we learn to understand culture in the first place.
56 Culture and our assessment of it are subject to change: not
just new forms of cultural expression or new tools and techniques
of communication. We re-evaluate the past in the context of the
present. The idea of social inclusion as part of democracy is central.
Previously the notion of “national culture” was upheld by nation States
and empires, but today we tend to construe it as a source and proof
of diversity within healthy democracies. Maintaining such diversity
in the present yet properly understanding the past as well is the
key challenge. Once this balance has been achieved then communities
will prosper. Genuine diversity has to encompass different viewpoints
and perspectives corresponding to a wide range of cultures
57 Entitlement to culture is a way of expressing the “ownership”
of culture. This is why cultural heritage is not simply about artefacts
in museums, or even skills and jobs. In an increasingly cosmopolitan
society heritage is both personal as well as community focused.
Heritage is about identity, not just a political label. It is the experience
of the family and community roots, and that of journeys from a previous
home to the current one. This flux and its ever extending “reach”
throughout the world presents fresh opportunities across housing,
work and leisure.
58 In the examples given we can see why local authorities must
heed current demands as well as respect those of past, and distant,
communities. Local authorities have started to strike this balance
within the conduct of civic administration. It has been indicated
how culture touches and mobilises people, and not least in times of
economic uncertainty or decline, how it can also reignite hope,
identity and belonging; for people to earn new respect and to be
fired with fresh ambition.
59 It also affords the opportunity to transform a problem into
a solution. But to do so, and in the first place, we need to introduce
culture and heritage into mainstream thinking about social and economic
change. For hitherto the perception of culture has often been rather
more a charming ingredient for adding “fun” or “respectability”
to projects otherwise devoid of too much appeal. On the contrary,
these examples show how culture should be front and centre, so that
other parts of the economy and of society may be used as a means for
promoting the right form of cultural heritage, a heritage which
we would wish to pass on to future generations.