[Cultural Policy Bulletin Vol.3] Direction of GyeongGi Cultural Foundation’s International Exchange from 2017 to 2018

GyeongGi Cultural Foundation is Korea’s first public cultural foundation that was founded to promote the arts and culture in GyeongGi-do Province. The Foundation has grown into the country’s largest organization specializing in the arts and culture with its projects supporting art groups and artists, diverse special cultural projects reflecting the uniqueness of GyeongGi’s culture and six unique museums. Since its founding in 1997, the Foundation has carried out a variety of big and small international exchange projects. The year 2017 marks the Foundation’s 20th anniversary and the year 2018 marks the 1,000th anniversary of naming the province GyeongGi and the birth of GyeongGi’s culture. In this context, the Foundation came to set its two-year direction of international exchange as follows

“Glocalization of GyeongGi’s Culture – Global Inspiration of GyeongGi-do Province”

So far, a majority of GyeongGi Cultural Foundation’s international exchange projects have been conducted independently by the Foundation’s different institutions and divisions. In other words, the Foundation’s headquarters didn’t do enough to put together its international exchange projects. There are two reasons for this: internal and external reasons. The internal reason consists in its human resources’ frequent internal transfers that have caused changes in divisions and persons in charge of projects. The external reason is mainly about unstable budget allocation. Under these circumstances, the headquarters’ international exchange activities have started and stopped repeatedly and the budget has continued to be unstable.

This year, the Foundation’s reorganization led to adding the Policy Office to its structure and international exchange duties were transferred to the Office. In order to set the direction of the Foundation’s international exchange, the Office’s carried out its first task of analyzing the staff’s official overseas business trips that took place for the last three years. For the past three years (2014-2016), the Foundation hasn’t had any specific direction for its overall international exchange policy. Consequently, its institutions have carried out their international exchange projects on their own. Such independent and autonomous projects do have practical advantages but it is true that they haven’t generated synergy effects and expansion of international exchange projects. Furthermore, the Foundation hasn’t done enough to promote itself abroad. Thus, we haven’t been able to discuss the Foundation’s global awareness. It is true that such a lack of promotion has resulted in a lack of the comprehensive management and expansion of the Foundation’s global network.

As mentioned before, the Policy Office analyzed the staff’s official overseas business trips and it found out that most of the trips were characterized by one-way international exchange. To be more specific, the exchange was mostly outbound, not inbound. In most cases, the purpose of the overseas business trips was to learn from foreign cases in order to conduct certain projects. In other words, not many business trips were about interactive exchange between institutions. In 2015 and 2016, the Culture and Arts Promotion Team was in charge of the Foundation’s international exchange duties. Nevertheless, the office mostly carried out its own projects such as providing information on support for artists and helping GyeongGi’s troupes go global, rather than implementing the Foundation’s international exchange activities. Unfortunately, no internal budget was allocated to international exchange in 2016.

In addition to analyzing the staff’s official overseas business trips, the Policy Office came up with international exchange projects that could be conducted by the Foundation. To be more specific, we set the potential scope of the Foundation’s international exchange projects in acDirection cordance with Table 1: Categorization of Current International Cultural Exchange, which was provided by Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for the country’s arts and culture organizations in advance for the purpose of Basic Research on the Development of Indices for International Cultural Exchange.1) 

GyeongGi Cultural Foundation have a capacity to conduct the following activities: exchange of works including rental of relics, collaborative projects including performances, exhibitions and events, exchange of human resources for academic and policy projects including participation in international symposiums and residency programs, participation in international events such as exhibitions and presentations at international art markets and events celebrating diplomatic ties, activities forming a basis for international exchange including repair and conservation activities and ODA activities and cultural promotion including promotion of traditional Korean culture and Korean language education. In fact the Foundation has already carried out exchange projects in these fields.

Such an analysis has led to setting the direction of the Foundation’s international exchange for the period from 2017 to 2018. As mentioned before, the main direction is summarized as ‘Glocalization of GyeongGi’s Culture –Global Inspiration of GyeongGi-do Province-’ in an attempt to ensure globalization reflecting GyeongGi-do Province’s local characteristics and to march in step with the Province’s administrative direction. In accordance with this main direction, we also specified guidelines:

1) Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, 2017, Basic Research on the Development of Indices for International Cultural Exchange, Korea Culture & Tourism Institute, Kim Hye-in (senior researcher), pp. 57-58.

1. formation of a network with relevant international organizations and exchange activities.

2. planning of bilateral or multilateral exchange programs.

3. exchange activities reflecting the identity of the Foundation’s organizations and divisions.

4. establishment of a system of collaboration between the Foundation’s headquarters and organizations for international exchange projects.

A system of collaboration, which refers to the comprehensive management of the Foundation’s international exchange projects, is necessary in order to check if the Foundation’s international exchange could expand further and to actually expand it.

In this procedure, the Foundation designates persons in charge of international exchange for each of the Foundation’s organizations. When new issues arise, the Foundation’s headquarters makes the best use of its Culture and Arts Promotion Committee or Museum Operation Committee in order to see if cooperation among divisions and the Foundation’s projects could expand further. The Policy Office then reviews factors necessary for cooperation such as budget and human resources provides actual support and manages the Foundation’s network.

The Foundation has some major plans for its international exchange from 2017 to 2018. First, the Foundation will carry out projects linked to GyeongGi Millennium Project. Next year, the Foundation will allocate a budget in an attempt to actively plan relevant international exhibitions and exchange projects. Second, the year 2018 marks the 1,000th anniversary of the appearance of the name “GyeongGi” in historical records and the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of the Goryeo dynasty whose capitals were Gaeseong and Ganghwa. Under these circumstances, the Foundation is planning an inter-Korean cultural exchange project in order to celebrate this occasion. As part of this project, the Foundation signed MOUs with Incheon Foundation for Arts and Culture (where the Research Center for Ganghwa History and Culture is located) and the Inter-Korea Historian Association (academic organization composed of about 300 scholars interested in inter-Korean exchange). In addition, the Foundation is closely collaborating with GyeongGi-do Province’s Office in Charge of Forming a Basis for the Unification of Korea.

Third, the Foundation seeks cooperation with GyeongGi-do Province’s Diplomatic Policy Department in an attempt to facilitate its international exchange projects and to generate synergy effects. GyeongGi-do Province has sisterhood relationships with ten countries and 15 regions and has signed friendship agreements with 18 countries and 24 regions. These countries and regions will be the Province’s priorities for its international exchange projects. It was already almost ten years ago but I will take the case as an example. In 1999, GyeongGi-do Province set up a sisterhood relationship with Spain’s Catalonia and in celebrating the Year of Spain in 2003, the Province rented 32 art works from a national museum located in Catalonia, Spain in order to organize a special exhibition of Spain’s religious art at GyeongGi Provincial Museum. On the basis of such cooperative relationships, the Foundation has actively supported project proposals and promotion materials for GyeongGi’s arts and culture when the Province’s Diplomatic Policy Department’s delegations visit other countries this year.

Nam June Paik Art Center Radical Video LOOP Barcelona

The entire Foundation also needs to improve both online and offline promotional activities. The improvement of promotional activities is the Foundation’s specific priority for this year. The Foundation’s English website hasn’t been updated since 2013. Its new website has just provided English service through the Google translation system. However, with the launch of the GGC service on the onlinte content platform, the Foundation’s website will go through a large-scale update in terms of its English service. As for offline promotion, the Foundation will continue to provide relevant international institutions (embassies and cultural centers in Korea and overseas Korean cultural centers) with promotional brochures and periodicals. Moreover, the Foundation has joined international organizations including IFACCA, ICOM and ASEF in order to expand its network and carry out promotional activities.

Another priority of the Foundation is to establish a plan to exchange human resources and technologies with museums and organizations specializing in the arts, culture and cultural heritage. Such exchange activities include international exhibitions, education programs, conferences and seminars and long and short-term training programs. This year, the Foundation’s staff participated in and gave presentations on diverse academic occasions: InSEA, Yeongwol International Museums Forum, UNESCO World Heritage Committee, International Military Landscape Conference and Korea Arts Management Service’s project VIA. The Foundation is actively seeking MOUs with relevant Korean and international institutions in order to carry out exchange of human resources and secure the sustainability of its projects. This year, GyeongGi Museum of Modern Art signed MOUs with Korea Foundation and Germany’s Kunsthalle Münster as part of the Korea-Germany exhibition exchanging modern art works. Meanwhile, Nam June Paik Art Center signed an MOU with Spain’s Casa Asia for LOOP Barcelona and another MOU with Germany’s Kunsthalle Düsseldorf for exchange of published materials.

Looking into the Foundation’s detailed structure, its culture and arts headquarters include the Culture and Arts Promotion Team, Local Intermedia Team, Cultural Innovation Team, GyeongGi Northern Culture Initiatives, GyeongGi Creation Center and The Center for GyeongGi Studies. This headquarters pursues the following activities: invigoration of art residency programs, discovery and fostering of cultural ODA projects for public cooperation and exchange, increase of opportunities for foreign artists living and working in Korea to participate in the Foundation’s projects and support for GyeongGi-do Province’s artists and art groups going global. Under these circumstances, the Foundation’s art residency organization called GyeongGi Creation Center has signed MOUs with Japan’s AIAV and Austria’s KREAMS, thus engaging in active exchange of artists participating in residency. The Foundation is also cooperating with the Korean National Commission for UNESCO in order to discover and foster cultural ODA projects. In 2015, graduates of Dasari Culture Planning School (the Foundation’s program training cultural planners) and GyeongGi-do Province’s artists collaborated with China’s Hunan University visited ethnic minorities’ villages located in Hunan Province in China. On that occasion, they helped China’s ethnic minorities transform their culture and value into socioeconomic value. In 2016, the Foundation also proved its professional capacity by participating in the establishment of the Lao National Museum’s digital management system and website.

Founded to promote GyeongGi-do Province’s promotion of its arts and culture and to support professional artists, GyeongGi Cultural Foundation is currently supporting artists through its annual public contest support projects and projects discovering and supporting new plans. However, such support projects are confined to provincial events for GyeongGi’s artists (or art groups) so not much support is provided for their efforts to organize overseas events or to make inroads into foreign markets, except some special cases. In an attempt to help GyeongGi’s artists go global, the Foundation is planning to use its internal budget next year to run a pilot project of supporting artists and art groups organizing overseas events through public contests.

The Foundation’s six museums would like to plan and actively carry out exhibitions that involve exchange activities with foreign museums. This year, GyeongGi Museum of Modern Art organized such exchange exhibitions with institutions in Germany, Japan, France and the UAE. Next year, the museum will hold another exchange exhibition with Taiwan’s Kaohsiung and France’s Kerguéhennec(Morbihan). Nam June Paik Art Center is the Foundation’s most active institution in terms of planning international exchange projects. This year, the center participated in LOOP Barcelona in Spain and on the occaison of the 2017-2018 Korea-UK Year, the center will also carry out an exchange residency project with Britain’s Foundation Art & Creative Technology up to next year. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Museum of Silhak is preparing a special exhibition in collaboration with China’s Mukdan Palace Museum. Jeongok Prehistory Museum is discussing the organization of special exhibitions with Germany and Spain. Every year, GyeongGi Children’s Museum has participated in the conference hosted by ACM and Hands on! International Association of Children in Museums (mostly European association of children’s museums) in an attempt to build its staff’s capacity and to promote itself.

In 2014, GyeongGi Cultural Foundation inscribed Namhansanseong on the UNESCO World Heritage List, thus making Namhansanseong Korea’s 11th World Heritage site. This was a great achievement going beyond GyeongGi-do Province to reach the entire country. In the same vein, the Foundation’s direction regarding cultural heritage for the years 2017 and 2018 is to develop collaborative projects with institutions including UNESCO Intangible Heritage Centre for Asia Pacific. In addition, the Foundation is encouraging its staff to participate in international symposiums such as the one organized by the International Military Landscape Committee and international public contests run by organizations like World Monuments Fund in order to promote GyeongGi’s cultural heritage and to ensure its effective conservation and management. This year, the Foundation participated in the Dubai International Award for the conservation and management of Anyang’s Manangyo Bridge which was built in the itinerary of King Jeongjo’s visit to his father’s tomb, starting from the World Heritage Hwaseong Fortress.

As explained above, GyeongGi Cultural Foundation’s international exchange can be summarized as follows. First, the Foundation sets its overall direction for the globalization of GyeongGi’s culture. Second, in accordance with guidelines respecting that direction, the Foundation will run its specific. It is true that international cultural exchange is not something new to the Foundation. In fact, the Foundation has carried out a variety of big and small exchange projects. Nevertheless, the Foundation’s headquarters and institutions have conducted projects too independently, thus failing to generate synergy effects, to effectively manage the Foundation’s networks and to expand the networks. Now is the time for the Foundation to make itself known as an organization that succeed in managing its international exchange projects in a comprehensive manner.

#Bulletin #Bulletin Vol.3 #Cultural Policy #International Exchange

@Lee Gyungil

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    Writer/ GyeongGi Cultural Foundation

    About/ Everything about the GyeongGi arts and culture, GGCF

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