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The inclusion of non-Western artistic traditions in cultural policy: Contrasting social justice and public diplomacy approaches

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On both sides of the Atlantic, the dissemination of non-Western artistic traditions among the general public has been hampered by the prevalence of Eurocentric aesthetic standards in cultural institutions and organizations. In recent years, however, some states have taken steps in order to increase the exposure of immigrant-origin artists in a variety of disciplines, including theatre, music, dance, literature, cinema and visual arts. This article offers a systematic comparison of two such initiatives that have been developed at the national level: the Equity Office of the Canada Council for the Arts and Spain’s network of cultural ‘Houses’ (Red de Casas). While the former was assigned a social justice mandate, the latter was created to further foreign policy goals through public diplomacy. These diverging approaches have created distinct funding opportunities, policy instruments and structural outcomes, with important implications for processes of artistic segregation and mainstreaming.
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Keywords: Eurocentrism; foreign policy; intercultural dialogue; migration; minority artists; positive action; racism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Valencia

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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  • The course of cultures at both local and global levels is crucially affected by migratory movements. In turn, culture itself is turned migrant. This journal will advance the study of the plethora of cultural texts on migration produced by an increasing number of cultural practitioners across the globe who tackle questions of culture in the context of migration. They do this in a variety of ways and through a variety of media. To name but a few relevant aspects of this juncture of migration and culture, questions of dislocation, travel, borders, diasporic identities, transnational contacts and cultures, cultural memory, the transmission of identity across generations, questions of hybridity and cultural difference, the material and oral histories of migration and the role of new technologies in bridging cultures and fostering cultural cross-pollination will all be relevant. Methodologies of research will include both the study of 'texts' and fieldwork.
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