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Culturelink review, no.21/April 1997 - contents - imprint - archive

Culture, Creativity and Young People

At its 13th meeting, held in Strasbourg on 25-27 November 1996, the Culture Committee of the Council of Europe's Council for Cultural Co-operation has adopted the proposals for the Culture, Creativity and Young People project, designed to address the question of creative resources of young people and the extent to which these are developed and supported both through formal education and through other forms of provision. Developed during a one-year exploratory programme commissioned by the Culture Committee at its 11th meeting held in November 1996, the project engaged in two main activities during this initial phase:

  • a survey of art education provision in Europe, conducted by Professor Ken Robinson, and
  • an international conference on the issue of Culture, Creativity and Young People, held in Varazdin, Croatia, 10-12 October 1996.

The project relates the creative and cultural development of young people to freedom of the individual, cultural diversity and social cohesion, corresponding with the conceptual and political framework of the European Cultural Convention, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights and the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities, which set out the guiding policies of the Council of Europe. Concerns for multi-culturalism in society and for the cultural implications of the new communications technologies are addressed at the point where they most urgently arise - at the level of developing attitudes and cultural practices of the new generations of young Europeans. The project gives equal weight to formal systems of education and the involvement of young people in creativity and cultural development outside the formal institutions, through youth service, through non-governmental organizations, and through their own spontaneous cultural activities. Consequently, it relates closely to other Council of Europe initiatives, such as the Culture and Neighbourhoods project and the Culture, Communication and New Technologies initiative. (See Dossier, pp. 127-154 in this issue.)

The project's second phase (1997-1999) will have three objectives: to facilitate the national, regional and international debate on ways to support artistic education of young people in and outside the institutional educational framework, to stimulate the creation of networks, development of partnerships and exchange of information between governmental and non-governmental organisations, and to identify and encourage good practices in this sector by the Member States.

The Survey Arts Education in Europe by Ken Robinson (133 pp.) derived from a two-stage questionnaire distributed through the national delegations to the Culture Committee to gather information on current provisions for the arts in formal education at primary and secondary levels. The dominant model of intellectual growth continues to be based on assumed polarities between the arts and sciences. Instead of these being seen as complementary, they are too often seen as oppositional. The survey confirms that existing patterns of provision for the arts in schools vary considerably from country to country. Looking at political, academic, technological and cultural challenges and reviewing social values and cultural identities, as well as the role and conditions of development of creativity, the survey defines art, elaborates policies, answers to special needs, and analyzes the role of artists in education. The second part of the survey looks at the particular situation in each of the nineteen participating European countries.

The conference Culture, Creativity and Young People brought together professionals from 25 member states to look at issues and provisions inside and outside of formal education. Focusing on culture and the arts in the formal educational system, as well as on culture, creativity and young people, the objectives of the conference were to present the comparative study on arts education provision in 20 European countries and its results, to broaden the range of information and facilitate the setting up of a network, to define potential partnerships, and to consider the aims and the design of the project.

For more information, please contact: Ms Mercedes Giovinazzo, Cultural Policy and Action Division, Council of Europe, 67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France, tel.: (33 3) 88 41 38 24; fax: (33 3) 88 41 37 52.

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Cultural Policy in Slovenia

National Report, European Programme of National Cultural Policy Reviews
Council of Europe Culture Committee, 1996, 234 pp.

Report of a European Panel of Examiners
Council for Cultural Cooperation, 116 pp.

Cultural Policy in Slovenia, National Report, examines cultural activities from the aspect of cultural policy. Three groups of cultural activities are taken into account in this report:

  • the protection of the nation's cultural history (natural and cultural heritage, museums and archives);
  • the nurturing of creativity (theatre, music and dance, fine arts, film, amateur activity, the culture of the minorities, and alternative and experimental activity); and
  • cultural transmission (publishing, libraries, media culture, international cultural cooperation, and cultural education).

The authors of the report argue that the cultural policy of Slovenia has changed four times in the period since the Second World War, each of them elaborated in the report: party-run cultural policy (1945-1953), state-run cultural policy (1953-1974), self-management cultural policy (1974-1989), and the period of cultural policy in the parliamentary democracy (since 1990). The last, being still in the process of development, is the subject of analysis presented in the report. It concludes by pointing out some of the basic problems of the current cultural policy and possible measures for improving the existing situation. Each of the four periods of cultural policy is observed from the aspect of the constitution, cultural policy orientations, normative arrangements, and administrative systems (including the system of public financing of culture).

The key issues of cultural policy in Slovenia are the following: cultural policy system, creation of suitable conditions for artistic creativity, decentralisation, increasing participation in culture, protection of cultural heritage, and the positioning of culture between national identity, cosmopolitanism and multi-culturalism.

The methodological questions of principle, as well as of objective reality and the limitations imposed by the information and resources available, are the problems that have been recognised even by the author of the Directives for the Preparation of the National Reports, Mr. Robert Wangerm‚e. In Slovenia, no one has ever systematically and continuously monitored and analysed the country's cultural policy or evaluated its results. Still, the Slovenian research team's efforts represent a qualitative step forward in the field of cultural policy and will certainly help to achieve positive long-term results for the cultural development of this post-socialist country during the transition period.

Report of a European Panel of Examiners
by Michael Wimmer

The Panel has reviewed the national cultural policy of Slovenia as the ninth in a series of country reviews being undertaken under the auspices of the Council of Europe, so far finished in France, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Estonia, and the Russian Federation.

The general conclusion was that the draft report mainly sketches the historical development, while the presentation of today's framework does not yet allow for an overall evaluation, owing to the lack of a systematic cultural policy planning approach, which is still in a preparatory stage. Like in many other European countries, cultural policy research has not played a very important role in Slovenia up to now, and the professional development of a quantitative, as well as qualitative, data base still remains to be undertaken.

The problems raised by the international expert group are the following: general lack of cultural policies, overinstitutionalization of Slovenian culture, unclear distinction between the competencies of the state and local communities (the problem of decentralization), the problem of the cultural market, and balance between a defence of the Slovenian cultural identity and opening to the international influence. The recommendations by the Panel are offered for some of the main issues - the relation between centralisation and decentralisation, overinstitutionalization, and problems related to financing, where the need for the implementation of new management methods is noted - all of it serving the main aim to assist the country in its own efforts to implement an effective concept of national cultural policy.

For more information, please contact: Council of Europe, Cultural Policy and Action Division, F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France, tel.: +33 3 88 41 26 32; fax: +33 3 88 41 27 53.