Putting culture first: Commonwealth perspectives on culture and development (2008)

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Putting Culture First is the product of extensive consultation with representatives from government, civil society, and the culture and development sectors across the Commonwealth, carried out between February and October 2008. The report recommends that government, civil society and donors should incorporate a cultural perspective into their approaches to development, and that this commitment should be backed up by resources.

Following an introduction to the debates surrounding culture and development, the report sets out an inclusive vision and conceptual framework through which the connections between culture and development can be highlighted. Particular aspects focused on include:

  • the connection between the creative industries and economic development - how the creative  conomy can potentially offer alternatives, not only to governments facing recurring economic  hallenges, but also to the countless marginalised citizens and creators of the Commonwealth;
  • the role of a new and important UNESCO Convention in providing a framework for countries,  articularly those with limited government capacity, to implement successful cultural policy designed to support creative production and enhance cultural diversity;
  • what using culture in development might mean for development organisations;
  • why development practitioners should do more than take culture into account - how can power over development processes be transferred to local people and communities, but a rejection of change, transformation and development be avoided?
  • the importance of cultural expression in resolving insecurities and conflicts associated with issues of identity;
  • how cultural expression is not only important in building the ‘good society’ in periods of relative stability and democracy, but also during situations of crisis and repression, when civil society can also draw on creative resources to act as agents of social change;
  • a human rights framework - using the language of rights is not only an interesting and fruitful  approach to follow, but also that such an approach addresses claims and aspirations to power, in a way that other analyses may not.
Language: English
Imprint: Commonwealth Foundation 2008. Eldis: http://www.commonwealthfoundation.com/uploads/documents/PuttingCultureFirst_web21.pdf 2008
Series: Report,
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