2011-03-28

Pacific Cultural Mapping, Planning and Policy Toolkit

Culture permeates political, economic and social life across Oceania. Because indigenous peoples and practices have predominated across this region for hundreds and, in some places, thousands of years, culture is lived and directly influences the values, decisions and hopes of Pacific Island peoples.


Culture in Oceania is primarily understood to reference the people or customs of the land but in the 21st century many other ideas, beliefs and practices have now taken root. In addition, Pacific populations are increasingly mobile and have settled beyond their indigenous homelands. Similarly, the Islands have welcomed new migrants from other countries. Culture therefore involves old, new and continuously developing modes of thinking, being and creating. Globally, this cultural process is of great economic and social importance: many countries in Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean prioritise culture for national investment, capacity building, human development, peace and security, economic growth and communal revitalisation. In the international context, culture is increasingly central to creativity and innovation two concepts that are at the heart of the cultural or creative industries. In the Pacific Island region, however, these industries are not clearly defined and programmes or policies on culture are still seen to be primarily about promoting or safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage including traditional knowledge.
Much work on traditional knowledge (TK) has been conducted in the Pacific context, from which the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other international organisations have already produced a range of useful TK resources. This Pacific Cultural Mapping, Planning and Policy (CMPP) Toolkit will thus focus on culture more broadly while recognising that traditional knowledge is included within this general framework. The emphasis here is on understanding culture in its broadest and most diverse forms as an asset or resource that can be valued and, when appropriate, mobilised to assist in achieving a variety of social, economic and political goals.
This process ideally involves an integrated course of cultural mapping, planning and policy work. The ultimate goal is for all stakeholders in culture including the government, communities, individuals, artists, academics, traditional knowledge holders and leaders to have ownership of, and thus ongoing investment in, a culture sector, properly defined. The toolkit builds on the Cultural Mapping, Planning and Policy Workshop conducted for members of the Council for Pacific Arts and Culture in March 2010 at the SPC headquarters in Nouma, New Caledonia. This workshop was the first activity of Structuring the Cultural Sector in the Pacific for Improved Human Development, a project administered by the Human Development Programme of SPC and funded by the European Commission. The project targets four specific but complementary and mutually supporting areas of the cultural sector: developing policy; promoting cultural industries; preserving cultural heritage; and building cultural relations within the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states (ACP).
This document is thus a resource for structuring the culture sector in Pacific Island countries and territories. It draws on approaches from a variety of international models while attending to several issues and concerns relevant to the Pacific Island region specifically. Rather than providing a comprehensive overview of the cultural policy field, it is an open-ended resource for cultural policy consultants and workers who will fashion their own processes as appropriate to their local and national contexts. It is designed to complement other SPC cultural resources including the Policy Map and Model Law on TK which are available online (see http://www.spc.int/hdp/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=37&Itemid=44).
Work on cultural policy should follow on from ongoing TK planning and related programmes, instead of existing separate from or in parallel to such work. While the toolkit recognises some of the basic procedural components of a CMPPP, it also suggests additional steps that might assist in the Pacific Island context. The SPC CMPP Workshop report is provided in Appendix A, and insights and outcomes arising from workshop activities have been integrated into the toolkit.

Secretariat of the Pacific Community Human Development Programme, Katerina Teaiwa and Colin Mercer