When Democracy is at Risk

Reflections upon the Role of Arts Institutions and their Leaders in Brazil and Germany, by Beth Ponte


Cultural institutions are by nature resilient organizations. They have to be because times are always difficult for the cultural sector and its dependence on public support. Cultural institutions therefore are familiar with dealing with the negative impacts of global economic downturns. They are commonly seen as dispensable when it comes to public funding and fight year after year against cuts in private sponsorship.

Another type of crisis is now demanding the attention of arts institutions and they already feel some of its effects: the crisis of democracy – if not as a political system, certainly as a set of values. Indeed, social democracy is at risk with the rise of right-wing and populism in Europe. And in the United States. And now also in Brazil.

It is no wonder that Cambridge Dictionary’s word of the year for 2017 was ‚populism.’ Defined by the Australian political scientist John Keane in an interview to the Brazilian section of El País, the biggest daily newspaper in Spanish, as “an autoimmune disease of democracy, it destroys the organs of control and marginalizes important sectors of society.” The cultural sector is not immune to the spread of populism and its effects. Actually, it’s quite the opposite: the arts and its institutions, as
a sector, and its agents, as individuals, are often populism’s first target. Are arts institutions and arts managers prepared for facing this new type of crisis?

Full article here: When Democracy is at Risk


From Arts Management Quarterly, April 2019, No. 131, pp 11-17, focusing on Arts Management in Times of Crisis.



The Dissident Blog


The new issue of The Dissident Blog focus on the newly won freedom of expression in Ethiopia

#29 The Unsung Heroes of Ethiopia  http://www.dissidentblog.org

In less than a year Ethiopia has gone from being one of the world’s most repressive countries to being an open andmore democratic one. Since April 2018 when Abiy Ahmed became the new prime minister the country has rapidly moved in a democratic direction. It is no exaggeration to say that the changes within the country during this past year constitute a historical leap in favour of democracy and the freedom of expression in Ethiopia.

Here we have collected voices, thoughts, and narratives about what is happening in Ethiopia at present, texts by some of the writers, poets, and journalists who for years have been silenced by the regime. What do these overwhelming changes entail for the writers and journalists in the country? What does this newly won freedom of expression actually mean? What are the challenges now? How does one skirt the censorship that has informed the country for so long?

Elnaz Baghlanian, editor-in-chief for The Dissident Blog, writes in her editorial:
“In The Dissident Blog we usually publish texts that, due to censorship, threat, a risk of imprisonment, or at worst death cannot be published within a country. In this current issue we instead want to provide a space for writers whose professional life has been shaped by resistance and severe infringement on their rights of expression, but who now have been given this freedom again. To follow up, to take part in, to monitor the freedom of expression, and to never take it for granted is another role and function of The Dissident Blog.”

click on link below for full article

Pacific Music Awards 2019

The 15th Pacific Music Awards celebrated the Pacific music industry and its top talents at the Vodafone Event Centre in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday the 24th May. Click on the links below for more details:




CBN Launches Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee has developed a Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI) as part of efforts to boost job creation in Nigeria, particularly among the youth.
The initiative has four pillars: fashion, information technology, movies and music. The facility is specifically targeted at entrepreneurs with businesses in these industries within the creative sector.
For more information, please download this.

Photos Fighting Islamophobia, Shahidul Alam

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Internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi photographer, journalist and activist Shahidul Alam speaks with Kathryn Ryan about his current exhibit, a video of his photographs Embracing The Other: Photographic Exhibition inside a Mosque, designed to combat Islamophobia and extremism, which is featuring at next month’s Auckland Festival of Photography. Read more about it here.

Colloquium on the European Union and its cultural relationships with the Global South

The Directorate for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission will host a Colloquium on the topic “Culture for the Future – Creativity, Innovation and Dialogue for Inclusive Development” on 16 and 17 June in Brussels.

As stated in its letter of invitation, the colloquium will provide an opportunity to reflect on the EU’s support for the cultural sector as part of its international cooperation and development programme with professionals from Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Arab region and the Pacific, in short, the Global South.

Working groups include a. Culture and Cultural Industries: new opportunities for job creation and inclusiveness b. Challenge of Financing c. Access to markets and d. Impact and opportunities of the Digital Revolution.


UNESCO 2005 Convention meeting

UNESCO will host the seventh session of the Conference of Parties on the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions from 4-7 June 2019 in Paris.

The programme will include a Civil Society Forum on 4 June as well as a General Debate on the implementation of the Convention by its stakeholders on 5 June.

There will also be a series of talks focusing on the impact of creativity in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

For more information, follow the link.