2005 Convention unites policy makers across Asia to promote contemporary creativity

Cultural policy makers and UNESCO representatives across Asia gathered for a training on cultural policy monitoring from 30 July to 1 August 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The training provided an introduction to UNESCO’s 2005 Convention, presented the newly updated quadrennial periodic reporting form (QPR), and provided networking and co-learning opportunities amongst the participants representing cultural policy expertise across the region.

The workshop was characterized by its practicality; a large part of the three-day training was dedicated to group work and discussion, with a special attention on how to prepare the QPR. This report is obligatory for Parties to the UNESCO Convention to submit every four years, and is an important tool which captures the current state of cultural and creative industries in through a series of questions on cultural policies, initiatives and challenges. Some of the countries that have submitted the form in the past - Indonesia, Mongolia, Cambodia and Viet Nam - had the opportunity to share their know-how and lessons learned with Bangladesh and Timor Leste, preparing their first QPRs. The Philippines and Malaysia, yet to ratify the Convention, had the first-hand glimpse into the inner workings of the Parties to the 2005 Convention.

This Convention encourages you to focus on the creative industries and the contemporary art forms.

Hema Gurung, Culture Specialist at the UNESCO Beijing Office

 

“This Convention encourages you to focus on the creative industries and the contemporary art forms.” Hema Gurung, culture specialist at the UNESCO Beijing Office, set the scene by emphasizing what makes the 2005 Convention unique. “We have often engaged with traditional handicraft for work related to UNESCO’s 2003 Convention. The 2005 Convention allows you to focus more on innovative and contemporary artistic expressions.”

One of the sessions introduced participants to Policy Monitoring Platform (PMP), UNESCO’s own cultural-policy search engine which draws data from the QPRs and is constantly updated. This unique Platform features intuitive search filters such as geographic areas and artistic areas. It was noted that itis currently one of the only global platforms to monitor cultural policies.

Remember that policy doesn’t always have to come top down. We can initiate the conversation.

- Anupama Sekhar, UNESCO Expert Facility member

 

The meeting also examined gender-related issues in the region’s creative industries. Lisabona Rahman, a film critique, stated that the number of women in creative positions in the Indonesian film industry has grown since 1998. As a result, the portrayal of women in films has changed positively, Rahman continued. On the other hand, the increased number of working women in the film industry has resulted in more cases of sexual violence, threatening the positive development of women participation in the film industry. Attempts have been made to create an internal mechanism to address the unsafe working conditions, and a dialogue with the government has started with the aim to create a new code of conduct at a national level, not only for the film industry, but also for the cultural sector in general. “Look into the national legal system, and think about how we can improve the working condition for our artists and cultural professionals through cultural policy,” said Pham Thi Thanh Huong from UNESCO Ha Noi Office.

The training served as a hub for participants to share practices and challenges, learn from fellow cultural experts in neighboring countries, and imagine the future where policies nurture dynamic creative expressions in cities and countries across the region. “It’s inspiring to see how people turn challenges into opportunities,” said Anupama Sekhar, Director of the Culture Department at the Asia-Europe Foundation and a member of UNESCO’s Expert Facility. “Collect data, because data can provide evidence to influence policy measures. Remember that policy doesn’t always have to come top down. We can initiate the conversation,” concluded Sekhar.