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A study was published in 2010 on the Effectiveness of Public Expenditures for Culture in the period 1989-2009.


A number of debates were held in 2010 on the various facets of the cultural sector.

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Bulgaria/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

The National Cultural Policy Debate, held in November 1998, in cooperation with the Council of Europe provided a kind of analysis of cultural policy after 1989. In February 2009 a seminar was held on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the National Debate, with participation by the experts involved in the CoE external report and civil society. More information on

In 2010, a research study on "Inertia or Development: Analysis of the Effectiveness of Public Expenditures for Culture for the Period 1989-2009" (on the film industry, cultural heritage and performing arts) was presented by the Open Society Institute, The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate and the Observatory of Cultural Economics. Part of the analyses can be downloaded at in English and in Bulgarian.

The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate, and various partners, organises on a regular basis debates and discussions on different cultural policy issues (national strategy for culture, culture in Bulgarian foreign policy, public financing of culture, and Bulgarian culture in the EU etc.). In connection with the Europalia Bulgaria 2002 Festival in Brussels, the Red House held a round table on "Europalia - How the State Builds Its Images before the World".

In 2006 a project was launched with the support of the Trust for Civil society in SEE, focused on transparent and efficient cultural policy. Following debates took place:

  • what type of cultural strategy Bulgaria needs?
  • "exportation" of Bulgarian culture - opportunities and alternatives;
  • alternative instruments for financing of Bulgarian culture; and
  • how the principles of transparency and accountability apply to Bulgarian cultural policy?

Since January 2007 the project experts group compiles and issues a Cultural Policy electronic bulletin.

Family of NGO's for Art and Culture ( is an informal forum of Bulgarian art and cultural organisations, carrying out awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns. Its main goal is to promote the role of civil organisations as an active partner in the development of cultural policies at local and national level. In 2006, it initiated a civic advocacy campaign to encourage municipal funds for culture.

The Map of the Cultural Sector in Bulgaria ( is an online directory of cultural organisations in Bulgaria, presenting thematic activities and featuring multiple mapping visualisations and research-based case-studies; it aims to showcase innovative managerial practices. Its English section aims to promote cultural cooperation.

Information on debates organised in the period 2007-2010 in The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate can be found at These debates were held in cooperation with Bulgarian and foreign organisations and institutions:

Cultural Heritage - Preservation or Access? (2007) is a debate on the philosophy and principles of the future Law on Cultural Heritage that in 2010 is sill in preparation. Can harmony be achieved between the state and business interests in the field of cultural heritage preservation? (

Being Young Is Our Main Fault (2008): A debate about the need for innovative policies to stimulate film debuts arose from concerns that in the last 10 years the average age of directors of first full-length feature films is 48, and for the last 4 years in Bulgaria only 2 first-time directed feature films have been produced (in comparison, in Romania there were 14!). Is the funding allocated by the National Film Centre for debuts adequate? A debate is required to examine the possible policies for development of Bulgaria's film industry, in particular the conditions necessary to encourage new writers. Is the creation of a Cinema Fund for accumulation of additional resources to support the film industry a possible solution?

Bulgarian Cinema - Yesterday, Today, and What About Tomorrow? (2010): The focus of this debate was the socialisation of Bulgarian cinema - the role of distributors, Bulgarian National Television, identifying of all possible distribution channels for Bulgarian films, as well as the possibilities for encouraging attendance (see:

Theatre Reform in Action (2010): With the support of the Euro-Bulgarian Cultural Center. The focus of the discussion is the pending and long-awaited reform in the sphere of theatre. Attempts are being made to address some issues concerning the general parameters (legislative, financial and managerial) of the planned theatre reform. What are these parameters for the state funded theatre bodies and how will they be secured with financial sustainability and the realisation of private organisations in the theatre sphere's activities? What are the sore points in the theatre sector and what are the possibilities for change?  The discussions were held with the participation of the Bulgarian Association of Employers in the Cultural Sphere, The Union of Bulgarian Actors; ACT association; Association of Free Theatre Practices, Department of Arts and Creativity, MC, Association of Producers of Private Theatres (see:

Theatre Reform in Action - part 2: Тhe main focus of the debate is the forthcoming acceptance of the Performing Arts Legislation. Debates seek to answer whether the necessary transparency and intricacy is included in the building of the Legislation? Are the public debates and working groups of experts assured? What are the main priorities in the Performing Arts Legislation? This work is being carried out in conjunction with the  participation of the Observatory of Economics of Culture, Association for Free Theatre, Teater Workshop Sfumato, Drama Teater - Lovech, Puppet Theater - Plovdiv (see:

In 2009, the Observatory of Cultural Economics presented a series of three "Culture&Policy" pre-election debates (the election for the new Parliament of Bulgaria was at the end of June 2009). The debates aimed to discuss the governing parameters of Bulgarian culture today: financial possibilities (budget and market based), effectiveness of the previous budget expenditures; legislative limitations (realised and unrealised laws and legislative initiatives), and resources for management at the Ministry of Culture and NGOs. The actions of the parties of the 41st National Assembly, as well as the succeeding government, could have a certain impact only if they are secured by wide-spread public and expert support. Thus, what is needed is transparent and comprehensible policy-making concerning the financing of Bulgarian culture in the pre-election period. (see:

"Culture&Policy -1": Cultural Heritage (2010): The first in a"Culture&Policy" series of three pre-election debates. What are the pre-election platforms on culture of the leading political parties? What could be the next government's financial and juridical / law- making commitments of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the National Agency for Tourism concerning the sustainable development of cultural heritage? The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate arranges discussions on the potential partnership with business and the so called third sector, in particular - applying for projects to the European Structural Funds.

"Culture&Policy -2": Cultural Industries (Filmmaking): Second in a "Culture&Policy" series of three pre-election debates. The aim of this debate is to look at the pre-election policies of the leading political parties concerning the cultural industries. What are the successes of the Law on Film Industry five years later? And how efficient is public spending in the sector. What are the possibilities for European and private investment in Bulgarian cinema and the The Bulgarian Film Fund, particularly in light of the annual budget deficit of 20 million BGN?

"Culture&Policy-3": Bulgarian Culture: Priorities, Future Responsibilities - Financial and Legislative: Thethird in a series of three "Culture&Policy" pre-election debates presented by the Observatory of Cultural Economics. The debate's aim is to discuss the governing parameters of Bulgarian culture today: financial possibilities (budget and market based), effectiveness of the funds from public expenditure; legislative limitations (realised and unrealised laws and legislative initiatives), and resources for management at the Ministry of Culture and NGOs. Is there a liberal and social approach in governing and financing Bulgarian culture? What is the role of the state and the market - a choice or a permanent agent - predetermined from the particularity of the "cultural product"? Encroachment of the business and the third sector - how far and how much and how in the time of financial crises?

Chapter published: 02-07-2018

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