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Denmark/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and debates  

4.2.1 Conceptual issues of policies for the arts

A number of initiatives in Danish cultural policy in 2011 have given rise to a public debate on the role of art in public cultural policy, i.e. the values and the meaning that the operators of cultural policy ascribe to the artistic medium in society:

  • What is the role of arts policy in society? Which values should it be based on? Should art be supported by cultural policy as a medium for personal education, insight and dignity for the citizens and to promote democracy? Should art promote and support the national identity or promote cosmopolitan values?
  • Which art forms and institutions should be prioritised? Should public cultural policy support art that is provocative or art that, without contextual ambitions, wants to strengthen the contemplation, enlightenment and competences of the audience's senses? Should cultural policy prioritise mass self-communication of the creative audiences (see Castells 2009), interventional performances, interactive and digital art forms or focus on the traditional works of art in literature, visual art and theatre?
  • How should the support for art be organised? Has the arm's length principle lost its meaning? Should support to the arts be given as production, distribution or consumption support? Which division of tasks and which relations between the local, national and international levels should be the foundation for contemporary support of the arts? Which role should the Danish Arts Council, the Danish Arts Foundation and other state supporters of art play in Danish society in the future?
  • What does recent research say about all of these basic problems of art policy?

For a deeper debate on this conceptual issue, see chapter 4.1.

Chapter published: 10-04-2012

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