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Els Baeten

Researcher, Vlaams Theater Instituut


In memoriam Els Baeten (1947-2007)

For more than twenty years Els was part of the Vlaams Theater Instituut, as a researcher on art and cultural policy. For nearly a decade, she had been a competent Board member of ECURES, the founding organisation of the European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (ERICarts). She was also a dear member of CIRCLE. Among the most challenging tasks of Els and a growing community of practice has been the successful launching and further development of the Council of Europe/ERICarts "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe". The crucial question of how to initiate and conduct a meaningful intercultural dialogue within Europe and with other parts of the world has been of particular interest to her, in this context. It was through her constant European involvement that, in many countries, the Vlaams Theater Instituut became a synonym for best practices in the study and promotion of the performing arts. 

Els Baeten was born in 1947 in Turnhout. In 1969 she graduated as a sociologist from KULeuven. There she started working for the Study Group for Cultural Promotion at the Sociologisch Onderzoeksinstituut (Sociological Research Institute). Together with Prof. Urbain Claeys she conducted research into cultural distribution, participation and other aspects of art and cultural policy. In the 1980's she already carried out assignments for de Warande in Turnhout and the Vlaams Theater Circuit (VTC), the precursor of the VTi. When the Vlaams Theater Instituut was founded in 1987, Els was asked by VTi to write a report on art policy at a European level, for the IETM-meeting in Amsterdam. Since then she stayed at VTi as a policy researcher. She published and edited numerous books, research reports and regularly wrote magazine contributions on art and cultural policy in Flanders, Brussels and Europe.