Cultural Profiles Project
Street address: Visiting Arts, Units 4.01 and 4.02, Enterprise House, 1-2 Hatfields, London SE1 9PG, United Kingdom
Telephone: 44 (0) 20 7960 9631
Fax: 44 (0) 20 7960 9643
Contact: Tim Doling Managing Editor, Cultural Profiles Project
The Cultural Profiles project is a new and highly acclaimed source of web intelligence on international culture.
Visiting Arts’ online Cultural Profiles originated in the 1990s as a series of printed country Arts Directories on countries of the Asia Pacific region, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Southern Africa and North America, created with the aim of facilitating and encouraging reciprocal international cultural exchange.
In 2003 Visiting Arts entered into a partnership with leading UK-based software company Librios to design and develop a new Content Management System (CMS), aimed at producing expanded web versions of the printed Arts Directories, which could be accessed free of charge and updated and maintained more easily online.
Since that time a range of eight online Cultural Profiles has been created:
At the time of writing these eight Cultural Profiles collectively attract over 220,000 visitors every month, a figure which continues to grow steadily.
Further online Cultural Profiles projects are in the pipeline.
Even in an age of trans-global communication, many opportunities for creative cultural exchange are still lost as a result of a simple yet frustrating lack of information. Instead of being able to enter immediately into informed dialogue with their counterparts overseas, many cultural practitioners still have to research the cultural context of a particular country themselves and then waste more valuable time trying to identify the leading exponents of particular art forms, or the infrastructure which supports them. For many this challenge is too great, and consequently cultural exchange continues to happen mainly with well-established partners.
Over the past decade Visiting Arts has consistently sought to redress this problem - initially in partnership with UNESCO (leading to the publication of the three-volume Asia Pacific Arts Directory, 1996), and subsequently in collaboration with various national governments (leading to the creation of printed Arts Directories and more recently of the online Cultural Profiles).
Today there is increasing worldwide recognition of the value of the Visiting Arts’ Cultural Profile concept, with its informative overviews of national cultural sectors, well-researched analyses of national cultural policies, funding and infrastructure, and helpful advice on the logistics of international exchange. Through its pioneering work in this area, Visiting Arts now leads the field in developing partnership with governments to create national cultural portals and at the same time train government officers in research methodology and database management with a view to reinforcing local ownership and ensuring longer term sustainability.
Each Cultural Profile aims
• to promote a country’s cultural heritage globally through the provision of attractive and authoritative illustrated overviews of the arts, media, heritage, libraries, archives and tourism sectors;
• to encourage and facilitate international networking and collaboration through the provision of essential contextual information on a country’s cultural policy and infrastructure, guidance on international exchange and a detailed database of contacts in every cultural sector;
• to assess the developmental strengths and weaknesses of specific cultural sectors, with a view to providing contextual background to those overseas wishing to collaborate with those sectors;
• to build strong working partnerships with national governments, engendering local ownership of each Cultural Profile and setting in place local administrative and financial arrangements for the longer term sustainability of the project.
Each Cultural Profile incorporates two main sections:
• Introduction to the country - which provides essential background information about the country, its history, economy, people, government, language, religion and education system.
• Culture in the country - which provides authoritative and specialist overviews of the country's main cultural sectors, together with extensive listings of KEY CONTACTS operating within each sector, paying particular focus on those organisations which focus on, present or promote international work.
To access individual Cultural Profiles just click on the lozenges on the homepage.