A Participation Decree creates a new policy framework and allocates additional resources to facilitate access to culture. It is aimed at people living in poverty, disabled persons, prisoners, families with children, individuals from different cultural backgrounds, etc.
4.2.8 Social cohesion and cultural policies
Developing "community spirit" is a major thread in the cultural policy document 2009-2014. An important link is made between this aspiration and the pursuit of an intercultural society (see chapter 4.2.7).
Another major link has been made to the field of "socio-artistic practice", which has become a specific point of attention in several Flemish decrees for the arts and heritage. In this context, "socio-artistic work" is conceptualised as process-like-activities which focus both on the artistic aspect and the involvement of the participants. Up until a couple of years ago, the contribution of the government was limited to the financing of projects through a special regulation. Since 2006, sector subsidies have been replaced by transversal support and financing, running through local government cultural policies, the Arts Decree and the Heritage sector.
Socio-artistic practice offers possibilities for the reinforcement of city and communal patterns of cohabitation. Through the support of the Flemish government, local authorities that are working with a cultural policy plan have provided additional subsidies for such activities.
There are several types of support within the framework of the Arts Decree (2004, amended 2008). Artistic organisations can either opt to take on socio-artistic activities as a major element in their overall activities, and calculate this in their subsidy request, or they can file for an additional project subsidy. Apart from this, organisations specifically targeted towards socio-artistic activities can receive structural subsidies as specified in the Arts Decree for a period of 2 or 4 years.
A Participation Decree entered into force in January 2008. It provides a policy framework for explicit participation initiatives to facilitate access to culture, aimed at:
This Decree offers:
The organisation DÄ“mos is a knowledge centre active in the Participation Decree. It was founded as "Kunst en Democratie" (Art and Democracy) in the beginning of the 1990s – is a knowledge centre paying attention to social topics such as the battle against extremism, racism and discrimination, the role of art in situations of exclusion and the responsibility of artists in our democracy. Their focus is on renewing and deepening the participation of disadvantaged groups in culture, youth and sport.
The Participation Decree is currently being evaluated.