International conventions on cultural heritage and negotiations on the potential and limits of culture as property establish normative guidelines for cultural policy. Participants discuss normative key terms such as “safeguarding”, “misappropriation” or “justice” and reflect on the transformation of norms into policy.
Heritage conventions, be they on the level of UNESCO or the Council of Europe, suggest cultural policy which member states may choose to implement along the normative guidelines established in the convention. Negotiations over aspects of cultural property in international forums such as WIPO, the Convention of Biological Diversity or the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues similarly seek to establish norms for the treatment of particular communities and for the trade or protection of cultural resources. Participants bring to this round table experiences as active participants in negotiation and selection processes, as observers of international negotiations, as well as cultural researchers engaged in implementing international and national cultural policies. The focus of their discussion are the normative key concepts in these regulatory processes – e.g. safeguarding and protection (heritage), proliferation and sustainability (in relation to biodiversity), fostering innovation (in intellectual/cultural property), justice and equity, misappropriation, sanctions. How are these key concepts grounded, that is, how and by whom are they developed and legitimated, negotiated and mediated? What happens when such normative concepts get reformulated into policy? What kind of flexibility is there between long-range policy objectives and the actual on the ground conditions and requirements? And how do different sets of normative guidelines interact?