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The White Paper on the cultural policies of local and regional authorities in Europe

Since the autumn of 2004, when we published our «Green Paper on the cultural policies of local and regional authorities in Europe», the European cultural sector has clearly been stimulated by an increasing involvement from local, intermediate and regional authorities in Europe. Furthermore, new perspectives which acknowledge the essential role of culture have arisen thanks to the works of the Commission -especially through the European Agenda for Culture-, those of the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions, as well as those from artistic or cultural networks and civil society organisations.

In this context, our association, bearing the aspirations and experiences of local and regional elected leaders and professionals in charge of culture, has decided to write out a White Paper which will present reflections and proposals on the field of cultural policies for the coming years. This is the reason why since 2007 a certain number of working meetings on the White Paper have been organised in the shape of our conferences (Sibiu, Paris, Luxembourg, Malmö, Liverpool, Mons and Rome)  during which the structure of the White Paper was approved, as well as the method for the writing phase.

The focus of the "Rencontre de Clichy-la-Garenne" was the finalisation of the writing stage.


Who could participate in the writing of the White Paper?
Members of les rencontres, independent professionals or persons from civil society.

How might they contribute to the writing of the White Paper?
The first phase of this work consisted in receiving contributions about specific themes previously defined at the preparatory working group meetings. This document will be largely conceptual. Through a set of short articles, it will demonstrate the opinion of the members of Les Rencontres on key European issues in the field of culture.
There will also be practical examples of « best practices » from local and regional authorities in Europe, in the appendix and on our website.
Two different working methods were used according to the section of the White Paper. For the conceptual section, a list of 14 themes was established. Contributors to this section were invited to reflect over the manner in which local and regional authorities should consider the various themes, how these authorities should orient their actions accordingly, with regards to central or national levels and how to promote a European vision. Moreover, they had to consider the stakeholders and their interactions:

  • elected leaders / politicians
  • audiences
  • artists, professionals in the field of culture and artistic practices

For example, if one participant was interested in « culture and education », which was one of the 14 themes at this stage, the participant was invited to ask himself : What must be the role of local and regional authorities in relation to culture and education? How are elected leaders, citizens, artists and other stakeholders suchs as teachers concerned with this matter?

We were seeking to establish new perspectives or to reinforce policies which have proven effective.

The articles of the first section were :

  • Cultural diversity
  • Intercultural dialogue
  • Decentralisation and governance
  • Access to culture (the right to culture)
  • Cultural exchanges and cross-border cooperation
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Culture in urban / rural policies
  • Culture and development
  • Culture and social inclusion
  • Culture and information and communication technologies
  • Culture and the European Union's external relations
  • Creative industries
  • Cultural heritage
  • Culture and education

The order of the presentations of these articles does not imply a hierarchy between them. Additionally, we proposed the section « other » in case a participant considered that his/her contribution did not exactly match the article themes listed above. In that event, he/she had to give a precise title to his/her contribution.

For this section of the White Paper, they could share their ideas :

Participants could express themselves in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese or German.
Every contribution was signed by its author before being posted on the forum. If they quoted a part of a text that they had previously published or from another writer, they indicated the source. In any case, original contributions were highly appreciated. The White Paper is conceived of as a collective work. Nevertheless, authors are stated in the forum and their participation is mentioned in the appendix of the White Paper.  Although the length of the contribution was not limited, we asked authors to be succinct.

For the practical section, contributors were invited to submit proposals of « best practices » carried out by local or regional authorities in one or several of the themes defined for the first section. For instance, how a Region conceived and executed an exemplary inclusive cultural programme, linking culture and education.

In order to facilitate the process of examining the proposals, a structural model for the description of experiences was  established :

Title describing the « best practice »

1. Starting situation / Context / Background information
2. Solution conceived :
a. Process (phase description) / actions / steps
b. Actors
c. Tools
3. Outcomes
4. Recommendations, comments on key elements for success, potential pitfalls...

Once the dead-line for submissions was reached, the editing team prepared a "collection of contributions" which was sent to all the participants registered to our meeting in Cologne.

At La Rencontre de Cologne,  which comprised two half-day sessions dedicated to this project (5-7 March 2009), Davor Buinjac, Advisor on cultural policies at the City of Ljubljana, presented a preliminary framework in order to facilitate the debates for each topic. Rafael Mandujano made a summary of the contributions received for each topic. The debates were rich and encouraging. Two participants presented their best practices to the audience and the other experiences were touched upon.

At La Rencontre de Clichy-la-Garenne, the proposal was discussed in depth. Click here for more information.


All of the elements gathered during the last months will be taken into account for the draft of the White Paper.

Professor Charles Ricq, University of Geneva, had joined the editing team and will be helping us with this important task.

The selected experiences will be developed afterwards in greater detail and presented in the practical section of the White Paper, while the others will be published at our website.

An email address has been specifically put into service for this project : This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

Do not hesitate to contact Rafael Mandujano, Project Manager, for further details.
T. +33 1 56 54 26 33
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