2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), a valuable moment to look back, take stock and plan forward. More than 2 years after the onset of the global pandemic, the world is finally transitioning towards signs of post Covid-19 recovery. To mark this important occasion, ASEF Culture is initiating a consultation process among its stakeholders, partners, and friends to look at the current scene in Asia-Europe cultural relations and discuss with like-minded organisations possible strategies for a post-pandemic recovery.
Titled “Recalibrating the Compass: What Future for Asia-Europe Cultural Relations?”, this series of 5 closed-door roundtables will facilitate conversations on pressing themes for the arts and culture communities in Asia and Europe with a view to designing a new, more resilient, and participatory approach for the future. The series will culminate in a public webinar in early 2023, where findings and recommendations from the roundtables will be shared and discussed in an open forum.
The global pandemic has deeply affected cultural communities, often intensifying issues such as gender inequalities and digital divide. The culture and creative industries have been hit particularly hard, with a total of 10 million jobs lost in these sectors worldwide in 2020, according to a new report from UNESCO. Weaknesses and challenges in areas such as funding models, cultural mobility, and the prevalent unstable employment conditions, have accelerated in the last 2 years in the arts and culture sectors.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also intensified the climate change crisis as well as a set of inequalities and exclusions within societies and across borders. Facing these conditions, the transversal role played by culture in shaping sustainable development policies and projects and in fostering new narratives through creative practices, should be increasingly acknowledged.
In this context, we will attempt to Recalibrate the Compass by assessing global trends for the arts and culture sectors and presenting the findings and recommendations from the cultural policy and civil society perspectives. Ultimately, this set of conversations would allow us to reconsider how we can best support cultural cooperation from ASEF’s unique position as a bridge-builder between Asia and Europe.
Throughout 2022, this series of conversations will allow us to collectively shape with our partners our future work and directions. Below is a brief outline of the roundtables, topics and questions we will address. More details will be shared for each roundtable closer to its date.
Roundtable #1: Recalibrating the Compass | Empowering the creative ecosystem
Date: 25 May 2022
How can cultural policies and other non-state stakeholders help to address the challenges and imbalances in the creative ecosystem (working conditions, mobility, gender inequalities, digital divide, etc.)? How do we establish priorities?
Roundtable #2: Recalibrating the Compass | Culture’s role in addressing the Climate Crisis
Date: June 2022
What is the place of culture in the Climate change discourse? What are the sectors contributions and responsibilities?
Roundtable #3: Recalibrating the Compass | Sustainable and ethical practices in the cultural sector
Date: 20 July 2022
What can we learn from local practices in the framework of global cooperation? What can we learn from indigenous and community practices and how can we address the risk of instrumentalising and commodifying them?
Roundtable #3 – Report
Roundtable #4: Recalibrating the Compass | Cultural Heritage and Tourism in Post-pandemic International Cooperation
Date: 31 August 2022
How has the pandemic affected heritage sites and heritage-related tourism? How can we enable new voices and narratives in the presentation of heritage?
Roundtable #4 – Report
Roundtable #5: Recalibrating the Compass |Rethinking cultural diplomacy in times of global crisis
Date: November 2022
Given the impact of the pandemic, is it time to rethink cultural diplomacy and international cultural relations?
Webinar: Recalibrating the Compass: What future for Asia-Europe Cultural Relations?
Date: February 2023
This webinar will gather key findings from the 5 roundtables and present them online through an open discussion format that will allow online audience engagement and participation.