New indicators: Culture is essential for democracy

Hertie School develops new tool for assessing culture’s impact on democracy.

The Council of Europe in collaboration with the Hertie School and the European Cultural Foundation have launched the Indicator Framework on Culture and Democracy (IFCD). This new tool enables policy makers to examine their country’s position in terms of culture and democracy and thereby identify opportunities for policy intervention.

The IFCD assembles data on a number of cultural and democratic dimensions for Council of Europe member States to allow exploration of the relationship between a society’s cultural activity and democratic processes. The findings of this new evidence-based tool will be featured in the Secretary General of the Council of Europe’s annual reports on the State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Europe, among other future reports.

A beta version of the IFCD online tool, which allows users to explore the data, can be accessed here:

Key features include a Country Status tool, allowing users to compare a country’s performance to groups of countries or other single countries; the Component Relationships tool, allowing users to examine relationships between dimensions and indicators; and the Opportunity Table, which allows users to pinpoint the greatest opportunities for action or investment.

Hertie School president Helmut K. Anheier and research scientist Matthias Haber presented the IFCD index at the official launch event in Brussels on 14 October 2016, and Hertie School research associate Olga Kononykhina presented the interactive tool.

“Think about a society or country as a human body, and we have the circulatory system. Think about that [circulatory system] as culture, and think about the nervous system and brain functions as democracy. They are all in the same body/country, but they are also quite distinct in the functions they perform, yet they do relate,” said Anheier.

The full interview, which took place at the launch event, can be watched here.

Photos of the event can be viewed on the Council of Europe in Brussels’ Facebook page, and you can join the online conversation using #Culture4Democracy.

Later this year, IFCD data will be used to produce an anticipated thematic report.