Trends and future of Cooperation on Culture and Arts in ASEAN

  • By Hnin Myat Thu (Culture)
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The cooperation of Culture and Arts in ASEAN region plays on the vital role for mutual understanding between Member States as well as the importance of ASEAN outside the region during this era. It also shows how the sector could enhance the delivery of the objectives of the Strategic Plan of Culture and Arts (2016-2025) so that this article will identify general status in the implementation of the projects and initiatives under culture and arts sector of ASEAN.
The projects and activities under Culture and arts sector are generally divided into 11 areas such as: tangible cultural heritage, architecture, creative industry, exhibition, intangible cultural heritage, library, literature, museum, performing arts, contemporary arts and policy. Although some projects and activities are concerned with one or more areas, this data is the generally divided for the clear sculpture.
Based on the list of the projects and activities under Culture and arts sector, provided by ASEAN Culture Fund (2008-2018), the percentage of the areas of activities falls under performing arts 29%, which is followed by tangible cultural heritage 22% and creative industries 11 %. The latest percentage share is under contemporary arts, architecture, exhibition and museum 1 % each.
The design of activities can be divided into 9 categories, namely: workshop, M&E (monitoring and evaluation), capacity building, competition, forum, exhibition, people-to-people exchange, publication and showcase. The biggest percentage of the design of the activities calls under showcase 30% which is followed by workshop 25%, people-to-people exchanges 14%, exhibition 1% and monitoring and evaluation 1%.
According to the findings above, arts organizations and local arts agencies are actively and closely working together to address today’s cultural issues including challenges to cultural pluralism, archaeological and historical issues, intolerance, social disharmony and distrust in the region. To generate a culturally aware society in ASEAN, everyone must create the most encouraging surroundings for people to be part of the culture itself, by implementing the culture activities that can be available to the society and present arts and culture in various ways.
ASEAN Strategic Plan on Culture and Arts 2016-2025 represent a basic concrete foundation for the commitments of the sector, which is aligned with the ASEAN vision 2025. The Strategies under the 2016-2025 Plan are as follow:

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Strategy 1: Encourage a multi-stakeholder approach in promoting an ASEA mindset and identity to increase the appreciation for the ASEAN Community’s histories, cultures, arts, traditions and values;
Strategy 2: Promote the cultural diversity of SEAN with emphasis on the long-lasting cultural threads that bind the region to advance intercultural understanding as a counter against violent extremism that may arise from a lack of understanding of each other’s culture;
Strategy 3: Acknowledge the cultural rights of all the people of ASEAN to leverage on culture for inclusive and sustainable development including the right to opportunities to access cultural properties;
Strategy 4: Harness the contribution of the creative industries towards innovations, generation livelihoods and supporting economic development in ASEAN Member States;
Strategy 5: Engage with, and facilitate discussion among policy-makers professionals, practitioners and institutions concerned with culture and the arts to raise capabilities in cultural and heritage management;
Strategy 6: Promote the role of culture for ASEAN to become a proactive member of the global community.
Culture festivals and activities organized over the years have been received positively by audiences and have helped bring ASEAN culture to more people. To promote ASEAN cultural awareness, the culture sector should consider harnessing popular media. Nowadays the younger generation widely uses social media so that the most possible way to promote awareness of the youth is through new social media platform. The promotion of the awareness of the ASEAN is also in line with the “Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration on Culture and the Arts to Promote ASEAN’s identity towards a Dynamic and Harmonious ASEAN Community”.
The future of ASEAN’s culture and arts sector rely on its capacity to formulate and implement the essential projects and activities under the 6 strategies of the Strategic Plan of Culture and Arts 2016-2025. Thus it is very much important duty for the professionals and concerned sector official of ASEAN Member counties to shape the development of arts and cultural cooperation within the ASEAN region.

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