Wed, May 28, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Conference seeks cultural think tank to lead policy

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Officials, lawmakers, academics and artists yesterday said the establishment of a cultural think tank could help bridge the gap between politics and the private sector and serve as the government's cultural-policy maker.

"The think tank would act as a bridge, a networking platform, a research power house, a connecting point to the world and a cradle of talents," Chairwoman of the Council for Cultural Affairs Tchen Yu-chiou (陳郁秀) said yesterday.

"It may be first set up with government support, and then later be operated as a private organization," she said

Tchen yesterday headed a conference that brought together opinions about the think-tank proposal.

The idea stems from Tchen's administrative policies to promote a creative industry in Taiwan following her trip to Europe earlier this year.

Modeled on the UK's Demos think tank, an independent institution which connects researchers, thinkers and practitioners to generate cultural ideas that regularly influence government policies, the council aims strengthen cultural studies -- seen as weak compared to the nation's strong focus on its technology and finance sectors.

Wen Hui-wen (溫慧玟), chairperson of the Performing Arts Alliance (表演藝術聯盟), said at the conference that it is necessary to promote cultural studies in light of the lack of research and development integration by local cultural associations.

However, she said it doesn't matter whether the job can only be carried out by the establishment of a new think tank.

"It doesn't matter how this R&D work is done or by which institution," Wen said. "What we accomplish is more important."

Legislators yesterday suggested the council carry out the policy by strengthening the research ability of existing arts groups and associations instead of setting up a new think tank.

The suggestion was made in light of the government's poor financial situation.

DPP Legislator Lin Chou-shui (林濁水) said that given the government's current financial status, it is not feasible to set up new institutions.

"We could switch the function of a new cultural think tank to other existing associations with research abilities," Lin said. "For example, the National Culture and Arts Foundation could undertake such a task.

"The council has to re-examine how to make the best use of its resources at hand instead of coming up with new works that need extra money to support but are not exclusive in the service they provided," Lin said. "Why not let the existing think tanks to do the job instead of setting up new ones?"

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