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This report is an outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Australia Council and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNSECO) Bangkok to promote cultural diversity in the Asia-Pacific, signed in 2012. The report aims to contribute to understanding and debate of the implications of UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, to which Australia became a signatory in 2009.

The selection of projects featured in this report was conducted jointly by representatives of the Australia Council, UNESCO Bangkok and the researchers from the Institute for Culture and Society. Projects were selected on the basis of their suitability for a ‘best practice’ case study report on the interpretation and implementation of the UNESCO Convention with a national and international readership. In-depth interviews were conducted in order to gain an understanding of multiple stakeholder perspectives on the processes and practices in question. Ethnographic material has been supported by analysis of available project documentation, other public documentation and critical writing.

Since the research was conducted, many of these projects have evolved considerably. However, the detailed case studies still provide relevant material for discussion and insight on the wide range of practical possibilities to promote diversity of cultural expressions through the arts. The introduction of the report presents five key principles to advance critical discourse in this field.

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