Over Marcus Tebogo Desando
The Prince Claus Fund - An Overview
The Prince Claus Fund is an active Fund. It acts both as a sponsor, protector and observer, and as an initiator and executor.
The Prince Claus Fund’s mission is to:
· increase cultural awareness and promote exchange between culture and development
· initiate and support artistic and intellectual quality, especially in places where cultural activities find little support or are under threat
· provide a platform for intercultural exchange
· open up ‘zones of silence’, areas where artists and cultural activities are hidden and silenced through exclusion, war and/or repressive regimes.
The annual Prince Claus Awards have a high public profile. Less known to the public are the variety of targeted programmes through which the Fund carries out its mission: Network Partnerships, the Prince Claus Fund Library, the Cultural Emergency Response (CER) and the Activities, Exchanges and Publications Programmes. Alongside these programmes and together with partner organisations, the Fund also initiates and organises particular projects to promote artistic and intellectual quality.
The core of the Fund’s Network Partnerships Programme is an open, mutually beneficial exchange based on respect and trust. Each year the Fund invites two cultural organisations with their own established networks in Asia, Africa, Latin America or the Caribbean to become Network Partners for a three-year period. The partners and the Fund build a strong relationship, sharing the experience of their different networks, giving advice, inspiration and support, and working together on innovative cultural activities.
The Prince Claus Fund Library
The Prince Claus Fund Library is a series of visually rich publications that embody the aims of the Prince Claus Fund both in character and image. The Library stimulates, supports and produces publications from authors, artists and people with innovative ideas from the priority regions of the Fund. Through collaboration with internationally acclaimed publishers, the Library is able to produce high quality, visually attractive books on cultural topics that would otherwise have difficulty reaching a worldwide audience.
Cultural Emergency Response (CER)
The Prince Claus Fund’s guiding principle is that culture is a basic human need. It defines and reflects who we are. Maintaining the forms and symbols of culture is therefore essential for the psychological survival of people in emergency situations. Cultural heritage that has been damaged or destroyed by man-made or natural disasters can receive ‘first aid’ in the form of rapid financial assistance through the Cultural Emergency Response (CER). CER is founded on the belief that rescuing cultural heritage can bring hope and consolation to affected communities, and can help to restore their sense of self-respect and identity. The Fund believes cultural emergency relief should be an integral part of humanitarian emergency relief.
The Prince Claus Fund supports publications that bridge or combine various cultural disciplines and address the connection between culture and development. It also supports local publishing initiatives and a variety of cultural magazines. The Fund strongly believes that magazines act as a barometer of shifting attitudes and can play an important role in the international debate about culture and development. In addition the Fund collaborates with editors and publishers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to produce the Prince Claus Fund Journal, which adds depth and breadth to important discussions of culture and development by inviting artists and intellectuals to contribute articles focusing on the theme selected for a given year. Past issues have dealt with Cultural Conflicts in China, The Positive [Cultural] Aspects of Migration, and Humour and Satire, among others.
Innovative cultural activities and initiatives of individuals and organisations in the regions where the Fund is active are both supported and stimulated by the Prince Claus Fund. Such productions are in many cultural realms, including theatre, music, architecture, literature, philosophy, cultural heritage, dance, visual and audio-visual arts and design.
With the aim of encouraging worldwide cultural debate and facilitating intercultural exchange, the Prince Claus Fund supports events around the world including festivals, lectures and meetings. These exchange events provide a creative environment, allowing experimentation with new approaches and combinations, and offering new contributors the opportunity to engage in a larger debate. The results of these exchanges are, in turn, presented to a wider international audience through articles, books and web reports. The events also inform and guide the Fund in its endeavours, keeping it up to date in the field of culture and development.
To sharpen its own theoretical understanding of the interplay between culture and development, the Fund organises periodic conferences and participates in discussions organised by others with leading academics and practitioners whose ideas help shape the global discussion.