Cultural Rights

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Equality and Human Rights Act 2014 Two Traditions

Equality: activism: groups, national / EU law, a wide range of stakeholders, a political ambition

Human Rights: Watchdog, Individuals, International Instruments, duty bearers and duty holders, an international standard







-Requires commitment to act and promote actions to realise these values

-Requires commitment to express concern, voice criticism and foster change of values

The UN Committee on ESC rights, following deliberations on the scope and meaning of “cultural life” in Art 15, concluded : “Culture is no longer an expression of knowledge or demand for recreational activities as consumer goods, but reflects a way of being and feeling, in short, the community’s way of life and thought.

Categories of Cultural Rights Task: To broaden our focus on what we mean by cultural rights Category 1 – rights of creators and transmitters; Category 2 – rights to enjoy/consume cultural products; Category 3 – rights to participate in (content described in a narrow/consuming products of culture) and to contribute to cultural life and development.

Task: Defining what we mean by ‘cultural life’ Article 15 must also be read with reference to Article 1 of ICESCR which states that “all peoples have the right of self determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

That all citizens have equal access to the arts not just as consumers (audiences), but also as creators,producers, distributors, commentators and decision-makers. That is cultural inclusion (NESF 2008 )

Arts Council 1950-1990 1950s -Council having been a patron of community arts and local cultural initiatives. 1960s - Council began to concentrate and move away from support for popular and traditional art forms.

1970s - Stressed the need for the Government to provide funds for housing the arts. Priorities were: • to secure capital funding, •to demand a government policy on the arts in the education system, •to develop community arts •to increase support for the individual artist.

1985- A policy for community arts: Council’s opinion, it was a realistic aspiration that the arts would hold a similarly integrated position within the local authority structure by the end of the twentieth century. Much depended on the growth of community arts activity. 1984 - CAFE (Community Arts for Everyone) had been established, with Arts Council support, as a national umbrella organisation for community arts groups.

1985 – Arts Community Education (ACE) ‘to foster experience of art as part of everyday life’ The Council defined community arts as those having the objective of ‘community participation in the arts’. Community arts could be seen as ‘the process of creation in concert with one’s audience’.

Task: To articulate and bring life to areas that are largely not visible in public and involve invisible processes

UK Owen Kelly warned about a “‘strategy of vagueness’” that left the community arts movement to be increasingly “led by the funding agencies” (1984, p. 23). François Matarasso, signalled a move to participatory art “from the politicised and collectivist action of the seventies towards the depoliticised, individual-focused arts programmes supported by public funds in Britain today” (2013, pp. 1-2,)

IE From community to participatory to collaborative to socially engaged practice…

“Culture may now be said to be the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterise a society or social group… It is culture that gives us the ability to reflect upon ourself…” (Mexico 1982) ‘(Wo)man can pause and with a smile or a forced grin ask what the drama, what we are about. His/her culture is ones capacity to ask, to reflect, to reach an answer that at once satisfies our intelligence and speaks to our heart.’

“The challenge for cultural policy now is to offer greater enrichment and fulfilment to people in their lives so that passive consumption of cultural products and reception of ideas can be balanced by the encouragement of opportunities for dynamic participation in the creation of culture and personal engagement in the search for meaning and purpose in life�. (White Paper on Culture: Access and Opportunity, 1987 )

Levers for advancing cultural life -ICSECR and the State’s reporting to the UN

-Irish Equality and Human Rights Bill and the responsibility of a public sector duty i.e. ‘to have regard to ‘ the need to eliminate descrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect the human rights of employees and service users.

Question: Are we going to leave it to the power-holders to continue to be the arbiters of what constitutes ‘culture’, ‘cultural life’ and ‘cultural access and participation’

-A new Proposition -A new focus on the demand side in communities to address unrepresentative levels of diversity and participation. -A new all island Platform


( Re ) s e arc h an d m ap B u ild t h e l o cal ( s ) L e arn n ew ways o f co - o p e rat i on

Wo rk to ward s an all is lan d p lat fo rm

thank you

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