ICA:UK is part of a global network of private, non-profit, non-governmental organisations operating in 48 countries. Known as the Institute of Cultural Affairs International (ICAI), the network is held together by our shared values and a concern with the human factor in world development.  Since 1973 it has worked to develop, test and demonstrate effective approaches to personal, organisational and social transformation.

As a statutory member of ICAI, ICA:UK participates actively in the global network of ICAs – working in partnership with ICAs in Africa, supporting emerging ICAs in Europe, networking regularly with sister ICAs in Europe through the annual ICA European Interchange, and collaborating with other national ICAs on specific projects and issues.

Why “Cultural Affairs”?

In the 1960s research was carried out to better understand what makes society work; what processes and dynamics are at play, and how their relative strength and influence determine the extent to which society can be said to be in balance. The research found that this balance is determined by the relationship between three main dynamics- the Economic, the Political and the Cultural.

The findings at that time, and which we believe still holds today, showed that the Political and the Economic are more powerful than the Cultural and yet, it is precisely in the Cultural dynamic that we find our human values, beliefs and wisdom, essentially giving meaning to the other two dynamics. So the Institute of Cultural Affairs was established to strengthen the cultural dynamic in society.

Core to this is our understanding and usage of the word ‘culture’:

“For us, ‘culture’ is a practical reality – the images, patterns and shared understandings which allow us to do something together. At the heart of ICA’s work is the conviction that long-term, sustainable development happens only when people grasp the significance of their own lives in the larger scheme of things when they actively participate in the changes taking place around them instead of merely being targets of that change.

One principle prevails – the desire to release the creativity of the people involved and allow them to help to shape their own destiny”.

ICAI 1996