8.2.2 Policies and programmes
Initiatives supporting participation in cultural life do exist and they are supported by public administration bodies, including the Ministry of Culture. This support can be clearly demonstrated only for museums. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the programme "Open Museum Gates"; has developed; it aims to change the traditional perception of a museum as an institution of collections and education, where visitors are supposed to be quiet. The programme's results are modern interactive exhibitions, projects like Museum Night (unorthodox guided tours at night), historical tours (exhibitions with costumes and theatre-like performances where the visitor has a chance to experience something exceptional). Each museum has an educational worker who works mainly with younger visitors through creative games and activities. These jobs offer new possibilities for graduates from the creative / educational drama courses that have started in the pedagogical faculties of Czech universities.
Like Open Museum Gates, in the autumn of 2013, Theatre Night, coordinated by the Arts and Theatre Institute, was due to take place. Other events include, for instance, Dance Day, where dance is promoted to the public across the CR.
Cultural institutions offer family passes and discounted tickets for specific age groups (children) and social groups (seniors, unemployed people).
Ensuring that people with disabilities have access to cultural facilities and buildings has a long tradition. This is supported by projects for barrier-free buildings backed with public funding and by the creation of publicly available maps of accessible buildings. For instance, the League for the Rights of People in Wheelchairs is a civic association that for several years has been mapping this situation and at present it possible to obtain an innovative overview of cultural facilities and heritage buildings indicating their accessibility for disabled citizens.
The Ministry of Culture (MC) has also become involved and in 2009 it launched a new sub-programme Mobility for All, which conforms with the goals of the government plan for financing the National Development Programme of Mobility for All. The sub-programme provides funding for making cultural facilities and buildings accessible to people with disabilities.
After a break at the beginning of the 1990s, many cultural facilities in small and medium towns renewed the offer of popular educational programmes for schools such as concert and theatre performances. Many bodies and art groups consider this activity to be an integral part of their work. Smaller groups and soloists visit schools (especially kindergarten and primary schools). A specific genre of "co-playing" theatre has emerged, where children and artists create improvised performances. This gives children the opportunity to participate in theatre, and it is also an opportunity to talk about current topics like social exclusion in a relaxed form.
Public discussion about access to culture was recently held during the preparation of the National Cultural Policy 2009-2014, including the working study. The discussion shed light on numerous issues connected with the country's cultural policy and attempted to address these issues in the new cultural policy. The main topics of the discussion were:
There are several strategies which link participation in cultural life to issues of citizens' involvement and the development of civil society.
The National Cultural Policy of the Czech Republic (CR) 2009-2014 – this document works with the civic dimension of culture (the aim is to emphasise the role of culture in the professional and personal growth of individual citizens). The civic dimension is also behind the intention to allow citizens to participate in the programming and realisation of the activities of cultural facilities and requires cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The Strategic Framework of Sustainable Development of the CR – this document identifies culture as a crucial factor in society and its development as having a positive influence on lifestyle in a knowledge-based society. For this reason it is necessary to ensure the equality of communities and ensure universal accessibility to cultural services. The volume of resources from public finances for accessibility of public cultural services is one of the indicators.
The Strategy of Economic Growth of the CR 2005-2013 – cultural infrastructure is considered to be a prerequisite for the economic growth of towns and regions and an opportunity for quality use of leisure time, social gathering, the prevention of negative social phenomena and a suitable field for cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The topic is also discussed in the Strategy of Regional Development of the CR, where culture forms an independent priority, the Concept for More Effective Support of the Arts 2007-2013, which defines the importance of art in the life of society, its social function, and emphasises its importance as a factor of economic growth. The Concept of Effect Care of Traditional Folk Culture 2011-2015 also contains the objective of supporting the use of elements of traditional folk culture in the education process at schools and using this subject area as a means of educating people towards tolerance against racism and xenophobia (e.g. as part of multicultural education). Civil society involvement relates to the development of a network of volunteer documenters of traditional folk culture.