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Intercultural Dialogue Europe



Major Challenges

Perceived threat of Islamic terrorism, and local Muslim involvement; Muslims' sense of belonging to British way of life affected - both phenomena producing some cultural and religious frictions in the capital and main cities. Uncertainty at mainstream level whether multiculturalism contributes to alienation or integration.

Main Interpretations

General recognition of the cultural diversity of British society in policies, while shift from Multiculturalism toward privileging both general (cohesion) and specific (diversity) measures of integration. Interculturalism being an emerging concept, expressed in term of "Britishness", belonging all to a shared British identity.

1. General authority

No explicit government policy to promote ICD, as it falls under the Cultural Diversity concept, currently a key objective in all national and local cultural policies. In this context, several ministries have incorporated the issue in their respective strategies (see below, point 6)

EYID-coordination body:

EUCLID, the Cultural Contact Point for the UK (http://www.culture2000.info/)

2. Culture

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCSM)

Seeks to ensure ‘cultural diversity' in all activities, looking to foster mutual understanding, nurture mutual respect and celebrate cultural diversity in the UK. This is also reflected in all four national arts councils' core ambitions.

EX: National Cultural Diversity Network for the museums, archives and libraries sector, delivering support, advice and training through regional Cultural Diversity Co-ordinators; ‘Diversify' - bursary scheme to support the training of museums professionals from diverse background.

Arts Council Northern Ireland

EX: InterCulturalism Programme, helping black and minority ethnic groups in engaging with the arts.

Arts Council England

EX: Race Equality Scheme - Respond; "decibel" - Major initiative to support and raise the profile of African, Asian and Caribbean artists (2003-2008);  New Audiences Programme (1998-2003);

BRIT-Black Regional Initiative in Theatre and Eclipse (started in 1992 and 2001 respectively) national initiatives to develop theatre work, practitioners and producers of diverse backgrounds, reinforced by ‘Whose Theatre?' report (2006 CHECK); ‘Roots' co-programme with BBC Local Broadcasting around placements, to develop coverage of diverse arts and audiences (2002-2007).

Arts Council of Wales

Scottish Arts Council

British Council

Visiting Arts

Independent charity (1977), funded by all UK Arts Councils, the British Council and the DCSM. Working with artists and cultural professionals expanding knowledge, horizons and opportunities for exchange, to open dialogue, further international arts practice and champion intercultural understanding. Visiting Arts' work links all parts of the UK with countries overseas prioritised by the Board.

3. Education

Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)

Responsible for improving the focus on all aspects of policy affecting children and young people.

Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills

The new, politically independent Ofsted covers the regulation and inspection of daycare and children's social care, and the inspection of children's services, schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning, adult education and more. The inspections also aim to promote community cohesion.

4. Youth

British Council

EX: Youth International Programme: gives advice, information and funding to help promote ICD.

5. Sports

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

Sport England

Advises, invests in and promotes community sport to create an active nation Encourages people to get involved with sport and physical activity, funding a range of sporting projects addressing, amongst other issues, social cohesion and following equality principles.

EX: Through Sport England, DCMS supports a number of initiatives that increase participation from black and ethnic minority groups , physically or mentally disabled people, lower socio-economic groups

6. Other domestic responsibilities of importance for ICD

Government Offices' site

Home office


  • Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society (2005) the Government's strategy to increase race equality and community cohesion;
  • National Action Plan on Social Inclusion 2003-2005;
  • Community Cohesion and Race Equality strategy: Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society (2005)

EX: an independent fixed-term advisory body Commission on Integration and Cohesion was set up to explore how different communities and places in England are getting along and what more might be done to bring people together - respecting differences, but developing a shared sense of belonging.  The final report Our Shared Future has been published in June 2007.

Department of Communities and Local Government (GCLG)

EX: Local Area Agreements (LAAs) - three year agreements, based on the local Sustainable Community Strategy that sets out the priorities for a local area agreed between central Government, represented by the Government Office (GO), and a local area, represented by the local authority and other key partners through the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP). http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1161635


Interfaith Network

Faith Communities Consultative Council (FCCC)

Commission for Racial Equality (CRE)

Works independently from the Government supporting a number of cultural projects to promote ICD (e.g. workshops on ‘exploring identity through art' in schools where race and hate crimes are prevalent). This body will cease in autumn 2007 with its work being subsumed within the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (see below).

Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR)


 "We are LondONErs, we are ONE"

Celebration of London as one of the world's most multicultural cities. The campaign is supported by British Gas and Capital Radio. The campaign follows on from the 'Seven million Londoners, one London' campaign launched after the events of 7 July 2005.

7. Trans-border / International ICD programmes

Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)

Acting in Partnership with British Council, DCMS and Scottish Executive


  • Engaging with the Islamic World Programme, FCO supports projects throughout the Islamic world, via NGOs and multilateral bodies operating overseas. Its aim is to counteract ideological radicalisation, increase understanding of, and engagement with, Muslim countries and communities to promote peaceful, political, economic and social reform.
  • China-UK: Connections through Culture: programme encouraging international networking, offers advice and provides small grants for project development to cultural organisations from the UK and China, see http://ctc.britishcouncil.org.cn/index.do
  • Storylines project - young filmmakers from Africa and the UK film personal stories about interconnectedness of cultures and identities. (http://www.britishcouncil.org/ghana-arts-and-culture-storylines.htm)
  • International residencies / fellowship programmes given by Visiting Arts (see 2.) for international artists, arts managers / practitioners.
  • Gasworks: well-established programme of visual arts residencies and exchanges, based at Triangle Arts and involving countries such as South Africa, Pakistan etc.
  • LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) 20-year old biennial programme, bringing in international cutting edge performance work to London, and establishing ICD projects with local groups around its central programme.