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International Arts Federation Created

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A December arts summit in Canada has resulted in national arts councils and arts

funding agencies from some 50 countries forming an international federation

aimed at benefiting artists, arts organizations and communities throughout the

world.

Delegates attending the World Summit on the Arts and Culture in Ottawa

approved the proposal opening the new federation to all national or international

agencies that support the development of the arts and culture, in the first instance,

through funding and/or advocacy, according to the Canada Council for the Arts

website. Globally, some 80 countries currently have arts council-type agencies;

many more have government departments and non-governmental organizations

that support the arts.

The federation's proposed activities will include the creation of an online databank

of information about arts support research and activities and assistance to arts

support agencies to achieve international best practice.

The federation will also provide an opportunity to assist newer arts councils and

developing countries by sharing information and expertise. It will also provide a

forum through which arts councils could develop collaborative projects, such as

training and mentoring programs, exchange residency programs for artists, and

staff exchanges between councils or governments.

The federation will be established as a not-for-profit corporation with a small,

independent secretariat located at the Australia Council in Sydney. A board

broadly representative of its members will make up the governing body. The

board will meet every six to 12 months, with summits likely held every two years.

Summit delegates supported the appointment of Canada Council Director Shirley

L. Thomson as interim chair of the federation board. The first formal election of a

federation board will probably take place at the next World Summit on the Arts

and Culture.

Dr. Thomson described both the Summit and the creation of the federation as

"important steps forward for arts support agencies, arts organizations and artists

around the world," according to the website. "The new federation will build upon

the summit's momentum," she said. "It will stimulate us to share our knowledge

and expertise with each other, and develop concrete and practical ways of

promoting and supporting the work of artists in all parts of the globe."

The summit, hosted by the Canada Council for the Arts, brought together some

300 delegates and observers to discuss issues ranging from promoting cultural

diversity to protecting artists' intellectual property rights in the age of new

technology.

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