Director, Business Department at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico
My participation in the January seminar for “Brokering Intercultural Exchange” in Künzelsau had positive outcomes for me for a number of reasons. First, the seminar made it clear that the research network as a whole is addressing a real need to establish more research groups in the field of arts and cultural management that advance common agendas, beyond the traditional annual conferences in the discipline. As long as there are no scenarios that recognize the challenges of cultural differences, the difficulties in power relations, and the difficult situation democracy finds itself in we will not see relevant advances across countries. This seminar alters the research agenda for many of us researching in the field. It expands a discourse that is often developed from local perspectives or centered on Europe or the United States depending on our location.
Also, the seminar established the importance of identifying and considering powerful aspects such as language, post-colonialism, international cooperation, north-south relations, college education, etc. Each of those topics requires individual conversations. It is important to recognize that cultural differences affect cultural policy and arts and cultural management. For example, the conversations during the seminar accentuated the differences with the Latin American approaches. Countries in this region have experienced a particular social, economic and political development that needs to be included in the discourse of arts and cultural management.
Finally, the new political scenario in the United States requires an immediate focus on tolerance, diversity and the role of arts and culture. Cultural agents need to be positioned as key mediators to address issues such as racism and xenophobia. For that reason, scholars, practitioners and policy makers need to explore a common language and agenda for the upcoming years. It is important for Latin America to be part of the conversation. I’m convinced that this research group is an important step in the right direction.