A major project to structure the region’s cultural sector got underway recently at a workshop attended by regional culture representatives. The workshop, held in March at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia, was the first step in a substantial regional culture project that aims to enhance human development efforts in the Pacific by structuring and strengthening the culture sector.
The 713,474 EUR project is funded by the European Union (EU) and will be implemented by SPC, with partner organisations and member countries over the next two and a half years. The workshop provided guidelines for the process of cultural mapping, planning and policy (CMPP) development.
Workshop co-facilitator Colin Mercer, an international expert in cultural mapping and planning for the cultural and creative sector, says cultural mapping is about discovering an area’s indigenous resource base for the purposes of social, economic and cultural development.
‘In Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia and Europe, cultural mapping and planning have enabled people to harness and develop their creative resources and content,’ he says. ‘This has enabled the creation of new jobs, new forms of expression, and new senses of self, place and identity.’
‘The creative economy is one of the fastest growing economic sectors globally, and it is important to understand its nature and momentum for the Pacific region to confidently join it with its own distinctive cultural and creative resources.’
Katerina Teaiwa, a regional specialist who co-facilitated the workshop, says that in order to make mapping, planning and policy work effective, it is necessary for an in-depth discussion to take place on what culture is and what the stakes are in promoting, safeguarding and harnessing culture for sustainable development.
Workshop participants were encouraged to support each other by drawing on common knowledge and resources. They took part in several exercises to help them imagine and develop the cultural mapping and planning process.
‘One activity involved imagining how you would go about creating a national conversation on culture, how you would create a rationale for this, and what strategies you would use to go about consulting with communities and then sharing your findings,’ says Dr Teaiwa.
The workshop was the initial step in the first of four distinct but related components targeted by the project. Although this first component will indirectly impact all SPC member countries and territories, it specifically targets six countries: Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The second component of the project focuses on promoting the region’s cultural industries. SPC will work in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat on this component.
Component three deals with the preservation of cultural heritage, and will focus on mapping threatened cultural heritage areas in six countries: Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea (Bougainville), Tuvalu and Vanuatu. This exercise will be coordinated by SPC and the Pacific Islands Museum Association (PIMA).
The last component relates to the establishment of inter-regional partnerships through cultural exchanges between Pacific and Caribbean heritage institutions. SPC will work closely with PIMA and the Museums Association of the Caribbean on this component.
The workshop was held in connection with the 23rd meeting of the Council of Pacific Arts. Member countries and territories represented were: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.
For further information please contact:
Human Development Advocacy and Communications Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
Noumea, New Caledonia
Human Development Adviser (Culture)
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
This press release has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this press release are the sole responsibility of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union