President of the International Bureau of Cultural Capitals
presentation: Networks of Americas and Coordination & Programs Of the Network of Networks
category: Network of Networks
The Network of Networks
In the last twenty-five years, and coinciding with the establishment of the European Capital of Culture, culture and cultural networks have become increasingly important. This trend has been observed mainly in Europe, but has also been apparent in other parts of the world.
It has been motivated by economic prosperity and the growing role of culture and the cultural industries in the economies of the developed countries.
Today, I would like to explain to you the brief history of our group which is called the International Bureau of Cultural Capitals, and is based in Barcelona. It reflects in a modest way the importance of the coordination between public institutions and civil society for the development of our societies through culture.
At present, the Bureau is working on the development of the cultural capital in 4 areas of the world. These are, in chronological order of their launch, the American Capital of Culture (since 1988); the Catalan Capital of Culture (since 2002); the Brazilian Capital of Culture (since 2004); and the US Capital of Culture (since 2007). We are also working on new projects to set up cultural capitals in other parts of the world.
The setting-up of all these capitals of culture shares the common feature that we have always sought joint efforts between public institutions and civil society which, in my opinion, is what enables any society to progress. Each of them works in its own area of responsibility, but in the knowledge of what the other party is doing, so that they do not duplicate efforts, but pool their endeavors.
I can tell you that before setting up the American Capital of Culture on the American continent, the proposal was presented to the OAS (Organization of American States), headquartered in Washington DC, in case they wanted to develop it or cooperate in it. The result was that over the years, we have established a very fruitful relationship for both parties and for the objectives of the American Capital of Culture.
Still in relation to the Capital of Culture for the Americas, I can inform you that at the Valparaíso Summit, the European and Latin American parliaments approved a resolution in favour of interchanges between the cultural capitals of Europe and America.
Also, in the case of the Catalan Capital of Culture, the Catalan government and Parliament gave their explicit support to this cultural capital and are participating actively in the work. I would also point out that the Catalan Capital of Culture is contributing to European integration, because it is aimed at 4 countries on our continent (Spain, France, Andorra and Italy), where Catalan is spoken in some of their regions. To date, of the five cities which have been designated Catalan Capital of Culture, four have been located in Spain, and one in France.
In the case of the Brazilian Capital of Culture, before starting this project, I met the Federal Minister for Culture, Gilberto Gil. The Minister, and famous performing artist, was enthusiastic about the idea and we are developing the Brazilian Capital of Culture in close cooperation with the Brazilian federal government. The practical experience has been highly positive.
Finally, this year we set up the US Capital of Culture in a single country, the United States of America, which has welcomed the capital of culture initiative very positively, although the idea comes from abroad.
I wanted to summarize very briefly our cultural journey, to explain my conviction that it is essential to coordinate the various existing cultural networks in the world, whether they are of public origin or have been established by civil society, to make our efforts more efficient for everyone’s benefit. Knowing each other better will help strengthen our activities, and enable our societies to improve their interaction.
That is why I am proposing that we should set up an International Network of Cultural Networks to incorporate all the initiatives that mean that if we know each other better, we can strengthen social and cultural inclusion for everyone.
Thank you very much.
Xavier Tudela, President of the International Bureau of Cultural Capitals, was born in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain, European Union). He holds a Bachelors Degree in Communications and in Political Science and Sociology, and a Masters in European Studies. In the last ten years, he has dedicated his work to the capitals of culture.
At present, the Bureau is working on the development of the cultural capital in 4 areas of the world. These are, in chronological order of their launch, the American Capital of Culture (since 1988); the Catalan Capital of Culture (since 2002); the Brazilian Capital of Culture (since 2004); and the US Capital of Culture (since 2007). He is also working on new projects to set up cultural capitals in other parts of the world.
He was appointed Honorary Citizen of the City of Austin in Texas, USA, of the city of Curitiba in Paraná, Brazil, and of Córdoba in Argentina, among many others. The city of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico, recognized his work as one of true American cultural integration.
- American Capital of Culture (www.cac-acc.org)
- Brazilian Capital of Culture (www.capitalbrasileiradacultura.org)
- US Capital of Culture (www.culturalcapital.us)
- Capital of Catalan Culture (www.ccc.cat)