SICSUR, the cultural information system informing policy-making in South-America
Find out more about this innovative practice
Launched in 2006, SICSUR is the integrated cultural information system of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela intended to reverse a historical weakness in the region: the lack of cultural data.
While promoting regional integration, SICSUR is intended to improve and inform the design of cultural policies in the region, reinforce cultural institutions and cultural management, provide information to researchers and students, and promote dialogue among state agencies, statistical institutes and social and cultural organizations.
The 11 South-American teams that make up SICSUR meet in annual seminars to address methodological issues, share experiences and jointly commission data collection and analysis.
The SICSUR is made up of different areas of survey, measurement and information processing focusing on: i) the generation of cultural indicators; ii) the production of regional cultural cartographies (museums, cinemas, theaters, libraries and bookstores); iii) monitoring of the cultural institutions of the member countries and, iv) disseminating studies and research.
Key publications have been developed synthesizing and analyzing data and cultural information collected from primary and secondary sources, including “Cultural Satellite Account. First steps towards its construction in the cultural MERCOSUR”; “Us and the others. Foreign trade of cultural goods in South America”; “The States of Culture, Study on the public cultural institutionality of the countries of the SICSUR”; and “A look from the south: indigenous peoples” (available in Spanish at : http://sicsur.mercosurcultural.org/publicaciones.html).
Thanks to the strong commitment of its members, SICSUR has already been able to generate a significant stream of information and to drive the establishment of new cultural information and statistics offices in the region.
A regional information system such as SICSUR makes a decisive contribution to the measurement of the contribution of culture to the achievement of social and economic development outcomes and directly contributes to the implementation of both Goal 1 of the Convention and SDG 16. Indeed, by actively collecting, analysing and sharing information, more informed and transparent policy-making is ensured (SDG Target 16.7) and a sustainable system of governance for culture is being progressively established (Goal 1).
The purpose of SICSUR is to promote regional integration and the strengthening of the cultural sector in the region through the development of cultural information systems that try to solve the lack of data about South American culture.
Since 2006, 10 yearly seminars have been held on cultural information systems within the framework of SICSUR. Through the different editions, methodological issues, shared experiences and the collection of cultural information have been addressed.
The forum was created in 2006 and has been coordinated since then by Argentina, from the Argentine Cultural Information System (SInCA), with the participation of 11 South American countries, including Colombia.
The SInCA assigns a professional to follow the project, who is in charge of linking those responsible in each country with Mercosur’s cultural information agenda.
During its trajectory, a solid regional working group has been constituted, involving 11 countries. This group carries out its work plan through constant communications, face-to-face and virtual forums, teleconferences and, once every year, a meeting of all the delegations. It is worth mentioning that at the time of the creation of SICSUR, only one country in the bloc performed an economic quantification of culture, and only three organized cultural information in a CIS. After more than 10 years of progress, all countries have their own project, with different complexities and developments, but still allowing for effective comparability among them.
The SICSUR has carried out and published four measurement exercises: Satellite Account of Culture: First Steps Towards its Construction in the Cultural MERCOSUR; We and the Others: Foreign Trade in Cultural Goods in South America; The States of Culture: A Study on the Public Cultural Institutions of the SICSUR Countries - available in Spanish and Portuguese. A Look from the South: Indigenous Peoples. Study on Cultural Policies and Indigenous Peoples.
To promote regional integration around the construction of quantitative and qualitative information about the cultural sector, in order to strengthen the cultural policies of the region through:
1. Definition of a set of cultural indicators common to all countries (economic and non-monetary, with emphasis on the publishing and audiovisual sectors, given the availability of data).
2. Regular drafting and updating of regional cultural cartographies (museums, cinemas, theaters, libraries and bookstores).
3. Sharing the definitions of festivity in each country, and the databases associated with the regional and national festivities.
4. Publication of the articles analyzing the audiovisual sector of each country (one per month).
5. To analyze a proposal from Colombia for a comparative study of the regulation of performing arts spectacles.
6. Opening of SICSUR to other Latin American integration forums and relevant external institutions, such as the OAS, CELAC, and the IDB, among others.
7. Relationship with MICSUR. Six months after that cultural market, SICSUR will carry out a survey to monitor market results, focusing on the associative and economic results of the initiative.
8. The new SICSUR web site is launched online.
9. Open call for video conference. First fortnight of December 2016.
The resources allocated by Colombia correspond to the human capital assigned to carry out the activities demanded by the system, composed of people in the area of International Relations of the Ministry and technicians and advisers who support the research, knowledge gathering and institutional linkage of the Cultural Entrepreneurship Group.