Democratic governance

CultureWatchEurope: Cultural governance observatory



The Council of Europe’s CultureWatchEurope Initiative (CWE) promotes culture as "the soul of democracy" by offering an innovative and evidence-based overview of culture, heritage and media developments in Europe. CultureWatchEurope adds value to the Organisation’s existing information tools, programmes and methods by linking them and by inviting civil society to contribute.


CultureWatchEurope is value based, responsive, and aware: devised to pinpoint developments, difficulties, and good practices so that cultural governance and policy making can be enhanced Europe-wide. Key words in this mission are: democracy, transparency, access and participation, respect for identity and diversity, intercultural dialogue and cultural rights.


Action includes:

generating and reviewing policy standards in areas of concern to governments and society by providing data, information, knowledge, comparative and trend analyses, expertise, advice, and case studies;


providing online information through joint access to the Council of Europe’s electronic information tools and making rapid consultation of European states in order to compare achievements:


European Audiovisual Observatory

  HEREIN: European Heritage Network


Compendium on cultural policies and trends in Europe


contributing to prospective analysis and forward thinking by addressing topical issues and emerging trends, developments and difficulties;


offering a platform for creative exchange and policy debate between governments, cultural practitioners and civil society on key issues through major conferences and the HOTopics site.


HOTopics explores developments such as the democratic potential of the 'digital age' and other current concerns. It offers an innovative and evidence-based overview of culture, heritage and media issues in Europe and provides a space for interactive policy debate.


HOTopics is developped in cooperation with ECURES (European Association of Cultural Researchers e.V.). and will be continuously perfected as a tool for watching cultural democracy in the 21st century.


Major events

2012 Event "Cultural Access and Participation - from Indicators to Policies for Democracy", Helsinki (Finland), 30 June 2012,

2011 Think tank "Cultural Governance: from challenges to changes", Bled (Slovenia), 11-12 November 2011

2010 Conference "Culture and the policies of change", Brussels (Belgium), 6-7 September 2010

2009 Conference "Culture and development 20 years after the fall of communism", Cracow (Poland), 4-6 June 2009


Think pieces

Digitisation and cultural democracy, an (as yet) unfulfilled promise (J. Smiers)

The Impact of the New Nationalism and Identity Politics on Cultural Policy-making in Europe and Beyond (P. Duelund)

Culture and Climate Change (O. Gerlach-Hansen)

New models of governance of culture (K. Pavić)






Conference of Ministers of Culture "Governance of Culture – Promoting Access to Culture", 15-16 April 2013, Moscow (Russian Federation)

Cultural Access and Participation - from Indicators to Policies for Democracy, 30 June 2012, Helsinki (Finland)



Culture Action Europe


ERICarts Institute


European Cultural Foundation (ECF)





European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC),


Budapest Observatory,





Culturelink Network


International Federation of Art Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA)


International Cultural Centre of Cracow



2012 Conference reader

Culture and the Policies of Change - Conference Reader (book order)

Culture and development 20 years after the fall of communism (book order)




Kathrin Merkle
+33 388 41 28 84

Siobhan Montgomery
+33 388 41 24 14