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Austria/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

The agendas of international cultural cooperation are distributed over various ministries in Austria. The main actors are the cultural policy department in the Federal Ministry for  Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (see chapter 3.4.2) and Department II/10 "European and international cultural policy" of the Arts and Culture Division within the Federal Chancellery. The Federal Ministries of Science, Reseach and Economy, Education and Women'sAffairs, Familiy and Youth and the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection are also involved in this area (see chapter 3.1); also the Federal Ministry of Finance, which provides state guarantees for major international museum exhibitionsand the Ministry of Justice (copyright and other intellectual property rights issues).

The Cultural Policy Department of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (Section V) consists of four divisions. They are responsible for basic and legal issues, cultural agreements, coordination, the cultural budget and evaluation (Dep. V.1); the organisation of cultural and scientific events abroad (Dep. V.2), scientific-technical and dialogue between cultures and religions (Dep. V.3), and for multilateral cultural policies and sports affairs.

In the field of international cultural exchange, the department II/10 of the Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery is responsible for cultural affairs in the framework of the EU (Creative Europe Desk Austria, Europe for Citizens Point Austria etc.), the Council of Europe and UNESCO (in particular the Cultural Diversity Contact Point, see chapter 3.4.3) and for bilateral and multilateral cultural exchange, e.g. support for the activities of Austrian artists abroad, events and artist-in-residence programmes in the framework of cultural agreements.

Above and beyond this, the association KulturKontakt Austria, founded in 1989, is responsible for cultural cooperation with states in eastern and south Eastern Europe, which are of historical strategic importance for Austria, especially in order to carry out educational cooperation projects.

International cultural exchange also takes place at provincial (Bundesländer) and city level and, alongside the promotion of events and projects, includes support for the activities of Austrian artists abroad (scholarships, travel costs) and places for artists-in-residence. In addition, the City of Vienna also organises regular "cultural days" (Kulturtage) with guest cities.

The main cultural institutions, arts universities, but also smaller cultural initiatives, maintain their own cultural cooperation relations, including activities within European and international networks, such as Culture Action Europe, European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centers (ENCATC), International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM), etc.

In the immediate future, the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) is to focus on Austria's cooperation with the rest of the Danube region, the Black Sea region and the western Balkans. Further plans for cultural foreign policy in the coming years are work on issues of culture and religion, in particular the preparation of the annual forum of the "Alliance of Civilizations" 2013/14 in Vienna and issues on human rights, in connection with Austria's membership of the UN Human Rights Council 2011-2014. Austrian culture is recognised internationally particularly through music, fine art and literature. In the years ahead, Austrian international cultural policy will also emphasise the fields of dance and architecture in particular.

Chapter published: 02-02-2016

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