A Happy Monday Meeting
It is six years since we created the idea, the seed, of Mimeta. ARTerial did not exist then, except as a name on our Monday meeting held at our offices. We started our work with a spring of assessments: What did the other European states do? Which networks existed? Which organizations were involved and how were they founded? What is culture and devel...opment, actually, and what are the needs?
We were already anchored in the Norwegian Strategy for sport and culture development, which had been launched some few months earlier. Human Rights were the basis! Cultural production and participation is a human right covered in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights... we figured out here in the snow white north.
In late summer we visited Morten Paulsen at the Danish Center for Culture and Development. He had just been in conversation with Paul van Paashen from Hivos. They had agreed to organize a conference related to the spread of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. We decided to make a joint venture, with Hivos in their planned initiative as a bookkeeper and programmer. Ideas evolved and a conference on Revitalising African Cultural Asserts was organised in March 2007 on Goree, not in February, not in Ouagadougou!
The original focus on the convention was left for an extensive, three days planning session on the development of an African cultural sector. A full, three year development document being driven by an elected Task Team was the first result, then a secretariat and a steering committee. In some months a number of project proposals were put on our desks. Please Let us do it Now!! - was an ultimatum that came from Cape Town to our first joint donor-meeting in Amsterdam.
The name of our dull Monday meeting has turned into something totally different - to ARTerial Network - and five intense and engaging years of discussions, strategic partnerships, sparring and collaboration, with the ARTerial representatives, but also with Hivos, Doen Foundation and Africalia. Through these dialogues our own mission has become clearer, and our perspectives on culture and development have emerged through these conversations. And our seed finally became our flower in 2009: Mimeta, a Norwegian center for culture and development.
So, thanks ARTerial Network, for the progress you made for the independent arts- and culture sector on the continent. And not to forget the many resources, individuals and organizations, that you have attracted through these five years. Without it our work would have seemed like a continuous Monday.
But sometimes in life you are struck by luck!