Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco
Cultural Diplomat, Consultant and Researcher
I am Brazilian holding a master in International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy from the Furtwangen University-Berlin, cultural activist, independent consultant and researcher. Since 2010, I have worked in the areas of Cultural Diplomacy, Cultural Policymaking, Culture and Urbanization, and Cultural Agglomerations and Local Development. Throughout these years, I have assisted institutions, city councils, clusters/hubs as well as cultural and creative practitioners in Latin America, East/West Africa and Germany to convert their potential into tangible actions. My main interest is to be involved with initiatives which understand and explore the power of cultural activities as catalysts to generate socio-economic and educational changes.
In the area of Cultural Diplomacy, I am specialized in giving speeches and in organizing workshops aimed at raising awareness about Brazilian cultural expressions in Embassies, Universities, and Cultural Centers based in South America, North America, Europe and Africa. As a cultural activist I have developed capacity-building initiatives in cultural community based organizations responsible for safe-guarding the UNESCO´s Intangible Cultural Heritage traditions Frevo and Maracatu, traditions of my home state Pernambuco.
In addition, I am also a director of Cambinda Estrela Cultural Centre, an 80 years old institution based on the suburbs of Recife which works towards maintaining Afro-Brazilian cultural expression. Beyond the maintenance of cultural expression, the Centre has as its main objective the generation of socio-economic and educational impacts in my community using cultural expressions as tools to prevent the vulnerable young population to be involved with criminality. The center is also an institution that generates employment and income for local residents which can either work directly in the centre or take part in education and professionalization courses which have boosted innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.
In the area of cultural policy, I also consulted the Cultural Foundation of the state of Pernambuco, helping the government to develop legislations and mechanisms to implement recommendations from the UNESCO and Brazilian Cultural Ministry on the local level. As researcher, I could publish academic articles in Latin American journals such as Enclave, CEIRI as well as a book chapter through the University of Santiago Del Chile about the role of community-based cultural organizations in generating sustainable development.
In my bachelor thesis I analyzed the cultural policies and schemes implemented by the Iranian government to avoid the influx of US main stream cultural influences into the country´s culture. More recently, I developed a MA thesis about the role of Cultural and Creative Clusters on Local Development. In this work, I analyzed the impacts caused by The GoDown Arts Centre on economic, human, and sustainable development in the GoDown´s surrounding areas in Nairobi.
I am currently developing a study about the TRAFO - Models for Culture in Change program, an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation which aims to develop concepts for transforming existing community based rural cultural organizations in the German regions of Oderbruch, Southern Lower Saxony, Saarpfalz and Swabian Alb in model projects of modern and exciting cultural venues. This research will be presented in a conference about participatory governance in culture. The article is analyzing how the program conditions the stakeholders to power dynamics and to an environment which leads them to share power in the cycles of planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the projects with which they are engaged. The main goal is to present the program as an initiative based on the principles of co-governance and expose an innovative model of horizontal cultural management.