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Experts' Report on the Approved or Implemented Projects and New Proposals


Presented at the 20th Meeting of the Ministers for Culture of the Visegrad Group


Budapest, 4 February 2010
 
Honourable Ministers,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
I have the honour of presenting to you the report of yesterday's meeting of the ministries' experts in which progress in project implementation and the results which have been achieved with the support of all four Ministries of Culture were reviewed. This report focuses on the period since the previous meeting of the V4 Cultural Ministers in Warsaw, in May 2009.
 
When reviewing the actions in progress and considering the possibilities of intensifying cooperation, the experts endeavoured to work out a common position. I will firstly inform you about the programmes which are currently in the implementation phase and will then present the new proposals to Ministers for their approval. The main financial tools for the joint projects are based on the Financial Memorandum signed by the four countries in 2004.
 
Programmes in the implementation phase
 
1. Visegrad Literary Anthology
The idea of publishing a one volume anthology of the contemporary literature of the V4 countries dedicated to intercultural dialogue, entitled Literary Anthology of the Visegrad 4 Countries, was proposed and managed by the Hungarian side in late 2006 and 2007. The project included setting up a joint working and editorial team to select literary works and to translate them into all four languages plus into English. Having been published, there were several presentations of the book in Visegrad countries, starting with the ministers' meeting in Bratislava in late 2007. In parallel, a special website was set up and a series of successful presentations was organised in all four countries from late 2007 until 2009.
 
As a continuation of the project, on the initiative of the Slovak party the Anthology was translated into Arabic and published in Cairo in January 2009 under the title of The Stories from the Heart of Europe. To accompany this, international presentations took place in Cairo and Alexandria with the participation of editors, authors and ministerial experts from all Visegrad countries. In 2009 more presentations were made on both editions in all four countries, out of which the Book Fair Bibliotéka in Bratislava last November was especially notable, and these events have been closely followed by the media. All information and presentations from the events can be followed on the regularly updated V4 websites: www.kulturpont.hu/v4anthology and www.litcentrum.sk, and partially on the IVF website. There is also an approved publishing project of the Anthology in Spanish which was initiated by the Czech Ministry of Culture. This project will be presented jointly by all the MERCOSUR countries to the MERCOSUR Cultural Committee Meeting in March 2010 in Argentina. It is expected the project to be fully implemented in 2011.
 
Recommendation for the Ministers:
The Ministers acknowledge the success of the Visegrad Anthology projects and fully support the follow-up project of an edition in Spanish.
 
2. Visegrad Library
The Visegrad Library project was presented by the Slovakian side at the meeting in Olomouc in November 2003. Publication is planned, in all of the V4 languages as well as in French and German, of four selected titles per year from the contemporary literature of the Visegrad countries. A pilot project was realised in 20052006. From 2009 the body of publishers consisted of the following publishing houses: Slovakian Kalligram, Czech Host, Polish Pogranicze and Hungarian Pesti Kalligram. At present the publishers' cooperation and the visibility of the programme are not satisfactory.
 
Recommendation for the Ministers:
The Ministers acknowledge the programme and support its continuation.
 
3. Digitisation Colloquium of library and scientific information experts
The idea was presented by the Slovakian side at the Meeting in Banska Bystrica in April 2005. The first symposium, entitled "Libraries in a Knowledge-Based Society", took place in Banska Bystrica in May 2006. Due to the success of this programme and its being in compliance with the EU priorities it was decided that the 2nd Colloquium on Digitisation—the Path to Protection and Access to Documents would be held in Brno in July 2008. To promote the idea of V4 cooperation in this field within EU member states the Polish side committed itself to organise the 3rd Colloquium in the form of a two-day workshop for specialists in 2011, during the Polish EU Presidency.
 
Recommendation for the Ministers:
The Ministers acknowledge the progress to date and support the implementation of the programme in Poland in 2011.
 
4. Working Group for Cultural Heritage in V4 countries
In 2006 the Polish side proposed the appointment of a working group to identify and analyse opportunities and threats for cultural heritage resulting from the social and economic changes taking place in the Visegrad countries and in the Central European Region. The hub of the project and the subprojects is the International Cultural Centre in Kraków, which was the winner of the Visegrad Prize 2006. The Group has been working from 2007 onwards on tackling the problems of historical cities and sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
 
A Summer Course on Management of UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Sites in Visegrad Countries was set up and accredited. The first course took place in Kraków and in the Małopolska Region in 2009. Numerous expert lectures, among others on the legal regulations of UNESCO, local solutions for cultural heritage management and its protection in the Visegrad countries, were held during the course which was intended for specialists and students from the V4 countries. In July 2010 the course will focus on the Moravia Region in the Czech Republic. Similar training sessions are planned to be held in Slovakia in 2011 and in Hungary in 2012.
 
An international conference on management of historic cities and sites on the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is to be organised in 2010 and will be held in 2011. This conference will be dedicated to issues of protection of cultural heritage and urban landscape of historic cities in the Visegrad countries. This will enable the establishment of a common strategy and the specification of criteria for legislation in the scope of heritage protection, compliant with UNESCO standards.
 
Recommendation for the Ministers:
The Ministers fully support the activities of the working group for cultural heritage in the Visegrad countries.
 
New Proposals
1. Conference on the role of theatre in the Visegrad countries after 1989
This proposal is a result of the discussions that took place during an international theatre conference in Budapest in 2008. The aim of the project is to work out the concept of a V4 conference on the role of theatre in the Visegrad countries after 1989. The project owner is the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw and the conference will be organised in cooperation with V4 partners in 2011.
 
Recommendation for the Ministers:
The Ministers appreciate the project idea and welcome further information about it.
 
2. Follow-up Seminar on Realisation of EU funds in the Field of Culture
A seminar on realisation of EU funds in the field of Culture in the Visegrád countries, initiated and organised by the Hungarian Ministry of Education and Culture, took place in Budapest in early December 2009. It was considered to be a unique opportunity for the V4 participants in this field to exchange experiences, analyse results and barriers to the use of EU funds, and to share ideas relating to the planning and implementation of programmes and projects. Five years after joining the EU the four countries are very much lacking in information about each others' achievements in this field and moreover the financial crisis underlined the importance of cultural programmes planned within the Development Plan supported by EU funds. Thirty participants from the Ministries of Culture and of Education took an extremely active and successful part in the meeting. The speakers underlined the common goals of national programmes related to the Lisbon Strategy as well as how synergy of education and culture is important for Life Long Learning. It was clear that the Czech and Polish colleagues are very successful in special programmes designed to revitalise historical buildings for the benefit of regional multifunctional purposes. Slovakia was the first who managed to succeed in allocating EU funds for digitisation of libraries while Poland received the highest financial support dedicated to the cultural sector from EU Funds, European Economic Area and Norway Grants. Hungary managed to allocate more funds for cultural capacity building via ERDF programmes. It was highly appreciated that there is a new forum for learning from each others' experiences in the processes of programming and implementation. As a result it was decided that an interactive website will be set up for continuous exchange of information and a follow up event will be organised in Slovakia as a regular meeting-circle for gaining direct experience in programming and project implementation.
 
Recommendation for the Ministers:
The Ministers appreciate the success of the meeting and would welcome a follow-up event.
 
3. Visegrad Days 2011
The Visegrad Days 2011 Project is a representative anthology of art from the areas of theatre, music and fine art from the home countries of the interpreters and authors of the Visegrad countries. It will be organised in the city of Košice which has become a multicultural centre due to its geographical location and historical development. The aim of this project is to contribute, through communication, to the reduction of barriers and the strengthening of the feeling of fellowship in the population of the V4 and Central European region. The project should take place from September to December 2011. As its programme has not yet been finalised it shall be presented in the next experts' meeting.
 
Recommendation for the Ministers:
The Ministers support the civil initiative and ask the experts to work on the manner and the form of ministries' participation.

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