[NICE] Network Interface for Cultural Exchange
MEETING on cultural policy and new media development in the region of the Baltic Sea & North-East Europe
Riga, August 25, 2000

The [NICE] meeting brings together both policy makers and new media practitioners, primarily from countries around the Baltic Sea and North-East Europe, to exchange expertise and come up with practical proposals for the development of new media culture in the region.

* aims and focuses
The [NICE] meeting will focus on various cultural policy issues dealing with new media, micro-cultures and cultural exchange. The key aim of the meeting is to promote cultural exchange in Baltic/Nordic region, including Belarus and western Russia, and to stimulate local development of new media culture. In particular the meeting will attempt to highlight awareness of youth and micro (minority, regional, sub-) cultures and examine how to make them visible in cultural programmes.

As well as providing an opportunity for members of NICE to set out their priorities and future programme, the meeting facilitates an open dialogue between practitioners and policy makers. Whilst the emphasis will be on the Baltic region and North-East Europe, the issues covered by the meeting are common to countries outside the region. In this sense the meeting serves as a follow-up to events previously held in the Netherlands, the UK, Austria and Finland under the presidencies of the European Union. The meeting in Riga is the occasion to take stock of developments, exchange models of policy approaches to new media and make plans for future co-operation, both within this geographical region and across Europe.

* cultural exchange
This event is part of an effort to inform both governments and society at large of the potential for new media to aid in the development of an open society. Cultural exchange has a key role to play in this effort. A start has already been made to facilitate cultural exchange in the Baltic/Nordic region. The first meeting of new media culture initiatives from the Baltic Sea Region took place in November 1- 4, 1999, within the framework of TEMP - Temporary Media Lab project in Kiasma, Helsinki. The participants of TEMP established a network for new media culture [NICE] as a supporting structure for information exchange and collaboration as well as integrating into European media culture contexts. The network will support the development of the media centres and labs locally and in the region of the Baltic Sea / North-East European countries. The NICE meeting and conference is a follow-up to this event, and recognises the need for face-to-face meetings, and the need for dialogue between practitioners and policy-makers in the region.

* the Center for New Media Culture in Riga
This event is organised in part to develop the conceptual background, identify the local and regional partners, and create a material base to establish the New Media Centre in Riga. During the month of August Riga (and Latvia) host a range of media culture events, a number of which will be presented during the NICE meeting.