Rod Fisher is one of the second generation European “pioneers” in cultural policy research and information dissemination. He co-founded the CIRCLE (Cultural Information Research Centres Liaison in Europe) network, set up originally to respond to the cultural policy interests of the Council of Europe, and was its first Chairman (1985–94).
Since establishing and directing the International Arts Bureau in 1994 and its successor, International Intelligence on Culture, in 2000, Rod Fisher has conducted a broad range of cultural policy research and consultancy commissions from such institutions as: the European Commission; European Parliament; European Cultural Foundation; Arts Council England; Irish Arts Council; Asia-Europe Foundation; Hong Kong Arts Development Council; Ministry of Education, Finland; National Arts Council, Singapore; Tokyo Metropolitan Authority. He chaired the European Task Force set up by the Council of Europe in 1994 to examine the state of culture and development in Europe, which produced the landmark report In from the Margins.
After a brief time in law, the first nine years of Rod Fisher's more than 40 year career in the cultural sector were spent working for local government authorities in London, where he worked on arts and entertainment programmes, organised festivals and administered leisure services.
From 1976–94 Rod worked at the Arts Council of Great Britain, in a number of capacities, latterly as International Affairs Manager. At the Arts Council he was a strong advocate of the importance of raising international awareness amongst the UK cultural funding system and the organisations and artists in receipt of public subsidy. In addition, he championed arts and disability issues within the Council and was responsible for producing in 1984 the first Code of Practice on Arts and Disability, adopted by all four Arts Councils in the UK and by Arts Council Ireland.
Rod has lectured, conducted research and/or addressed or chaired conferences in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China (Hong Kong, Beijing & Shanghai), Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the USA and Vietnam, as well as the four UK nations. He has considerable knowledge of the cultural policy scene internationally, with particular expertise in Europe and Asia.
Rod is Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths (Institute for Creative & Cultural Entrepeneurship), University of London. He is a past Hon. Research Fellow at City University, London, where he lectured on cultural policies in Europe and internationally from 1984–2007. He served on the Orientation Board of the European Diploma in Cultural Project Management from 1989–2007 and has also lectured at universities and higher education establishments in Italy, Poland, Portugal, Thailand etc.
From 2002-2012 Rod was Director of the European Cultural Foundation UK Committee. He has served on a range of advisory committees, including the Japan Foundation UK (2005–2007) and the British Centre of the International Theatre Institute (2002-2012).
Rod has written extensively. He has researched and edited some 25 books, reports and directories and is the author of some 90 published journal articles.
Rod now chooses to work selectively so that he can pursue his other interests in culture. He remains interested in occasional project work (especially in the area of cultural relations), as well as delivering lectures at higher education establishments and addressing conferences.