Statisticians and other experts have been working over the past three decades to establish a common framework to collect and compare data on public cultural expenditure in the context of UNESCO, the Council of Europe and OECD. In the 1990s the European Union Leadership Groups (LEG) of Eurostat were established to build upon these efforts. More recently, new Eurostat expert groups were formed (ESS-Net) on funding, participation, cultural industries, etc., to continue working on common indicators and data gathering procedures. Results were published in a technical Report, September 2012. The Compendium is proud to count on quite a number of experts involved in these UNESCO, EU and OECD exercises. This helps to ensure continuity and provides an opportunity to test and apply evolving definitions and frameworks.
For the most part, the tables and graphs presented here are based on official data published in Chapter 6 of the individual Compendium profiles on "Financing of Culture". As a consequence, fully up-to-date information on public arts funding - or on cuts executed in consequence of the world financial crisis - cannot be fully reflected in such data, due to methodological considerations (comparability of official statistics). However, corresponding evidence can be found in a number of surveys, first those of CultureWatchEurope 2009 (Council of Europe) and SICA (NL). At the 2010 CultureWatchEurope Conference in Brussels, Péter Inkei (The Budapest Observatory) provided a broader picture of the effects the economic crisis might have on the European cultural domain, including on the different branches of the arts and cultural industries. Additional material investigating or debating this issue is also published, on a regular basis, by Compendium partner LABforCulture. Compendium Editor Andreas Wiesand has tried, in his essay updated in July 2011, to integrate some of these findings and to provide an assessment of the consequences of the global financial crisis for cultural policy making in Europe. His more recent conclusions, based on results of the new Monitoring Table E.2 found below, are published in an interview with the Norwegian magazine Q (2013).
Why public funding of the arts - and particularly of the work of artists - should not become redundant, even in critical times, is being discussed everywhere, e.g. in the United Kingdom following the last elections - see Mark Ravenhill and Daniel Bye in the Guardian of July 2010 or in the 2010 brief "Why should Government Support the Arts?" of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (United States). Some activitsts, consultants or journalists fear a "final cut" in culture-related budgets of the EU - see the position of Philippe Kern (October 2010) or of the European Festivals Association (February 2013). Some also suggest a "political" bias as regards financial cuts in countries such as Hungary, the Netherlands or the UK, cf. an article of Larry Rohter in the New York Times (March 2012).