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What is the Compendium?

Initiated roughly 20 years ago, the "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe is a web-based and permanently updated information and monitoring system of national cultural policies and related developments in Europe. It aims to include all states co-operating within the context of the European Cultural Convention.

This transnational project was initiated by the Steering Committee for Culture of the Council of Europe; it has been managed and edited in the form of a joint venture of the CoE with the European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (ERICarts). During the development period from 1998 to 2017, Kathrin Merkle (CoE) and Andreas Joh. Wiesand (ERICarts) acted as responsible editors during that period, the latter together with Danielle Cliche during the first decade. This was, and still is, done in partnership with a "community of practice" comprised of independent cultural policy researchers, NGOs and national governments from accross Europe.

Since November 2015 (Compendium Assembly in Wroclaw), work has been under way to rethink the role and governance of the Compendium in order to sustain this tool both in terms of content and finances. In addition to the Council of Europe and ERICarts, Government specialists, NGOs (such as the European Association of Cultural Researchers), individual experts and dedicated users participated in the search for a new " business model". A "Road Map" was developed and on 20 October 2017, the Council of Europe and ERICarts, acting as "Founding Members", transferred their responsibilities to a multi-stakeholder association which has its seat in the Netherlands.

The Statute of the "Compendium Association" recognises the unique character of the Compendium system and the independence of its community of about 100 experts from all over Europe. As well, it opens the door for new actors (governments of Council of Europe member states, research bodies and universities, NGOs, foundations, etc.), either as Stakeholders or Standing Members.

The content of the Compendium cultural policy country profiles has always addressed priority issues of the Council of Europe including those set by the Conference of Ministers of Culture on "Governance of Culture – Access to Culture" (Moscow, April 2013) regarding the role of cultural freedom, diversity, access / participation and inclusive societies as important elements for safeguarding democracy as well as the priority issues defined at the Warsaw Summit of Heads of State (2005) and the Baku-Declaration (December 2008): cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and social cohesion.

The content of the Compendium and the annual Assemblies of Compendium Experts include also references to CultureWatchEuropethe Council of Europe's cultural governance observatory initiative – by generating and reviewing policy standards in areas of concern to governments and society by providing data, information, knowledge, comparative and trend analyses, expertise, advice, and case studies. The country profiles also provide information on the historical development, present structure, legal framework, financial aspects and ongoing debates in cultural policies and trends. New indicators are constantly introduced to regularly monitor policy developments in Europe.

Compendium cultural policy country profiles are mainly drawn up and updated by independent cultural policy experts (i.e. "the authors"), in consultation with respective ministries. The information presented in the updated country profiles is derived from a variety of sources including research studies, governmental documents and reports by ministers and other key representatives, reports or manifestos of lobby and advocacy groups, important statements from artists and cultural producers, from political campaigns, the media etc.

The Compendium is targeted to a broad audience of policy makers and administrators, arts institutions and networks, researchers and documentation professionals, journalists and students. The information and data presented online helps to inform decision-making processes, to conduct comparative policy research and analyses, to maintain data collections and to disseminate good practice examples (e.g. in the area of intercultural dialogue). Statistics regarding the average use of the Compendium show that it has become a working tool consulted on a daily basis by authorities, institutions and individuals involved in cultural policy making and research not only in Europe but world-wide.

All country profiles are available in English. Some original or local language versions are made available upon the initiative of individual authors and governments.

The Compendium has received additional support from national and regional/local governments responsible for culture affairs in Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Spain and Switzerland as well as from Causales, the European Cultural Foundation, the Goldsmiths College (University of London) and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Stockholm).
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