IJAM Volume 5 Number 2 (PRINT)

ISSN/ISBN : 1480-8986
Pages : 81

Product: Journal

$84.00 CA


The International Symposium on  Culture Statistics, held from the 21st to the 23rd of October, was organized by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec (Institut de la statistique du Québec), in partnership with INRS-Urbanisation, Culture et Société and HEC Montreal. Readers can access the papers presented at this symposium at the following address: http://www.colloque2002symposium. gouv.qc.ca.

The International Journal of Arts Management was involved in the organization of this symposium through the Carmelle and Rémi Marcoux Chair in Arts Management. Given that one of our key objectives is to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge on cultural management, there was no doubt as to the relevance of our association with this event, which focused on an area that is important to our discipline, its managers and its observers in the academic milieu. 

The symposium brought together representatives of statistics organizations from 25 countries around the world, who sought to address the challenges raised by both the gathering and analysis of data in the cultural sector. The discussions focused on five themes, with a common emphasis on definitions: When we talk about “culture,” do we mean culture in the “artistic” sense or in the anthropological sense? What cultural products should be taken into account and how are they viewed in different countries? What nomenclature should be used? How should the term “artist” be defined?

Participants also debated the issue of cultural consumption and its measurement and pertinence from the perspective of the users of these statistics – that is, from the perspective of the state, which uses statistical data to formulate cultural policy, as well as from the perspective of industry, which uses such data to evaluate markets and audiences.

Finally, the difficulty of cross-national comparisons was also raised, with respect to both nomenclature and cultural behaviour and practices, which vary widely from one continent to the next. Indeed, in many countries, art is an integral part of the daily social and spiritual life of communities and is not necessarily perceived as a product to be exchanged on the global market. These countries tend to define culture differently than industrialized countries have traditionally done.

In light of the findings of this symposium, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics plans to evaluate its role as an international body, as well as examining the type of partnerships it can forge with different countries. In view of the importance of cultural statistics, it intends to take them into account in its actions aimed at promoting cultural diversity.

François Colbert