Mondiacult 2022 side-event | Q&A with Christine M Merkel

22 Sep 2022

Ahead of the ICA’s 2022 Mondiacult 2022 Side event – “Cooperatives are Key Stakeholders in advancing SDGs through Culture and the Creative Sector” – we spoke with some of those taking part to hear their views on cooperative enterprise, culture and sustainable development.

Christine M Merkel is an expert in international relations, strategy development and public policies in arts, media and culture. She is the head of the Division of Culture, Communication, Memory of the World at the German Commission for UNESCO.

How do you see the relationship between cooperative enterprise, culture and sustainable development? 

The strength of cooperative enterprises around the globe is their capacity to provide common public goods which are essential for human development and well-being, such as housing, food security, health and financial services and energy provision. 

Culture as a public good is essential to achieve the overdue turnaround towards sustainability. If swift action is taken, humanity may survive. This is not sure and time is running out. Hence, this enterprise experience could help accelerate transformation if well promoted.

Why do you think it is important to preserve the culture of cooperation as an intangible cultural heritage?  

Intangible cultural heritage consists of human action and transmission of knowledge across generations, while also adapting the cultural practice to new environments and realities in today’s globally connected world. The culture of cooperating in cooperatives has shown an extraordinary capacity for innovation, adaptability and resilience — all vital elements for the necessary turnaround towards more sustainable futures.

What activities have you been involved with in this area?

As initiated by the cooperative movement in Germany, I was part of the team who developed the files and ensured enlisting in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Heritage. In addition, as an international expert on cultural governance and creative economy, I am promoting the option of cooperatives as a viable alternative to state or public sector models in the creative sectors.

What do you hope to get out of the Mondiacult side-event? 

I hope it will make the widespread practice of cooperatives in the cultural and artistic activities much more visible to all stakeholders in the field, and strengthen both culture as a public good as well as the world-wide cooperative movement.

As part of this series, you can also read interviews with Stefania Marcone(Legacoop), Caroline Woolard ( and Fabíola da Silva Nader Motta (Organization of Brazilian Cooperatives (OCB)).

The ICA Mondiacult side-event takes place on: 26 September 13-17h (CEST)

The full programme for the side-event is available here.

Find the profile of speakers here.

Online participation is free - register here to join the webinar.

For additional information, visit the event website.