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Council of Europe

Culturelink review, no.32/November 2000 - contents - imprint - archive

Cultural Policy - A Short Guide

by Simon Mundy
Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, 2000, 92 pp.,
ISBN 92-871-4301-3

Under the title Cultural policy - A short guide, the Cultural Policy and Action Department and its Research and Development Unit has recently published Simon Mundy's personal analysis of the ingredients that should go into a good cultural policy, a view based on the valuable insights into the wealth of cultural policy documentation collected through the Council's major research programme dealing with the evaluation of national cultural policies.

Discussing such topics as the task of cultural ministries, cultural funding strategies, the relationship between the state and the cultural sector, the book reflects on the reasons why governments need to be concerned with culture, suggests some basic rules for building policy, and sets out the arguments likely to be encountered in the process.

The contemporary topics of sponsorship and private and commercial sectors' contributions are the burning issue in the field and are recognized by Mundy as a potential for culture.

Concerning the issues of levels of government, a balance between civic, regional and national authorities is required, which includes finding mechanisms for funding distribution.

Political objectives should preserve identity but celebrate differences. The individual and collective potential should be fulfilled, access and participation in culture assured, and minorities included.

The chapter dedicated to the delivery of policy examines seven sectors:

  • Heritage;
  • Tourism;
  • Museums, libraries and archives;
  • Visual and literary arts;
  • Performing arts;
  • Cultural industries; and
  • Media.

All of the sectors are analyzed offering sketches of potential strategy for the sector itself.

The last chapter deals with the much needed cultural education and training, explaining the need to prepare people for their culture, the place of culture in education, cultural education at school and after, and the use of the education infrastructure for community culture.

The attractive ending of the book offers an excellent summary: a checklist for policy makers divided in sectors. It is designed to provide a starting point for anybody coming to the subject afresh, and is a useful reminder of the issues for those grappling with policy on a day-to-day basis. For those working on cultural strategy - a must!

To obtain the booklet, please contact: Council of Europe Publishing, Council of Europe, 67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France, tel.: (33) 03 88 41 25 81; fax: (33) 03 88 41 39 10; e-mail: publishing@coe.int; http://book.coe.fr/gb/cat/liv/htm/l1589.htm

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The Romanian Forum of Culture

Cultural Policies in Europe Programme

Within the framework of the MOSAIC project, the Romanian Ministry of Culture organized the Romanian Forum of Culture as a conclusion of the Cultural Policies in Europe Programme of the Council of Europe, which was held in Bucharest, Romania, 1-2 September 2000.

About one hundred foreign and Romanian participants from the cultural and artistic domain, mass media, experts in cultural policies and management were invited to contribute to the debate. The following documents served as a basis for the debates:

  • The Compendium of the Cultural Policy National Report, prepared by the Ministry of Culture;
  • The Romanian Cultural Policy Evaluation, made by a group of European experts and written by Jacques Renard;
  • The Cultural Strategy, document of the 'Cultural Dimension of Democracy' Phare Programme, prepared by the Phare Technical Assistance Team;
  • The Targets of the European Union's 'Culture 2000' Programme.

The official opening was chaired by Romanian high officials and some of the European experts working on the Romanian national report as consultants. The Romanian cultural policy was presented according to sectors: written culture and libraries; financial resources and development; cultural institutions, centres and inspectorates; national minorities; museums and collections; cultural heritage; performing arts; international relations; management, legislation and relations to civil society; visual arts; human resources.

Each presentation of a cultural sector resulted in a debate mainly targeted at Romanian participants at the meeting, since they are familiar with the position of culture in Romania. Accordingly, they were able to contribute personally to the solution of problems in related sectors.

The second day of the meeting was devoted to additional debates, in which the foreign participants of the MOSAIC Programme were invited to give their opinions about the Romanian cultural policy, and exchange their own experiences. Thus, Slovenia, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia congratulated their Romanian colleagues on the great effort they put into this work and reported on the initiatives in their home countries.

Romania has achieved a great deal in particular sectors. Up to now, copyright, audio-visual and sponsorship laws have been adopted, and some others are in the process of adoption, which will enable the reform of cultural institutions and decentralization.

A lot has been done in the performing arts sector, with an emphasis on the contemporary arts, be it music or theatre. In the field of theatre, good results have been achieved in cooperation with France.

Still, the greatest problem of the Romanian cultural policy seems to be financing. The Romanian cultural budget is far below UNESCO's standards on the financing of culture. It now stands much below 1 per cent of the total budget.

Among the participants of the MOSAIC Programme, Croatia leads in terms of the number of initiatives undertaken in the field of culture. Many of the MOSAIC countries would envy the Croatian cultural budget, which exceeds 1 per cent. Bulgaria and Slovenia also presented a number of initiatives undertaken in their countries.

On the second day of the meeting, representatives of the countries participating in the MOSAIC Programme engaged in additional debates with representatives of the Romanian Ministry of Culture.

For more information, please contact: Romanian Ministry of Culture, Piata Presei Libere Nr. 1, 71341, Bucharest, Romania, tel.: +401 222 8478; fax: +401 222 6282; or
Council of Europe, Cultural Policy and Action Department, F-67075 Strasbourg, Cedex, France, tel.: +33 3 88 41 28 35; fax: +33 3 88 41 37 82; e-mail: zoey.grummitt@coe.int