Denmark/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate
4.3 Other relevant issues and debates
To sum up, the Danish debate on cultural politics has focussed on the following general topics in 2010 and 2011:
- how can cultural politics contribute to secure the cohesion of a society challenged with a growing number of cultural minorities, internally, and multicultural global cultural influences from the outside? The question is about sovereignty of the people and thereby the relation between the constitutional state and democracy, identity and the nation. The transformation of public cultural policy to identity policy and to cultural policy as an instrument for social cohesion has been encouraged, for instance in the new cultural strategy Culture for all, launched on 8 December 2009 and the working programme Knowledge, Growth, Wealth and Welfare, launched by the former Danish VKO-government on 24 February 2010 (see chapter 4.1)
- One of the main priorities in the new governmental programme A Denmark That Stands Together, amended in October 2011, combined with the government’s initiative under the Danish Presidency of the EU, January – July 2012 (see chapter 3.4), is to improve a more open identity and integration policy and strengthen social cohesion for non-ethnic defined terms of citizenship (see chapter 4.1).
- How is it possible to instrumentalise arts for economic growth? What cultural and economic potential do the creative industries contain? Does the encouragement of the economic rationales in Danish cultural policy have impact on the production of art and the role of art in society? (see chapter 4.1)
- How can digital media and digital communication be used to enhance user-generated innovation and get more users to visit institutional spaces? (see chapter 4.1 and chapter 4.2.6)
- How can the state establish a balance between decentralised and centralised levels of Danish cultural politics, which can ensure both viable cultural institutions locally and central / regional state-funded cultural institutions that can contribute to the positioning of Danish culture abroad and to the strengthening of social cohesion internally – that is to say: strengthening the Danish identity in the new global reality (see chapter 4.1).
Other questions raised in the public debate are:
- is the arm's length principle, in spite of the formal maintenance of the system, being eroded by the new top-down programmes organised by the Ministry or its agencies? Today, under 10% of the total cultural funding is subordinated to arm's length evaluation;
- similar critique has been aimed at the systematic use of contract management in relation to cultural institutions, which, according to the critics, inevitably implies an asymmetric development, because the experiences and point of views of cultural life are being subordinated to the desires and needs of the political and economic system of power; and
- is the goal of cultural politics to strengthen the national identity through canons of culture and other new initiatives to promote Danish cultural heritage, including the ambition of connecting national heritage issues to the experience economy, being implemented at the cost of a cosmopolitan definition of culture with emphasis on multiplicity? In particular, artists' organisations have argued that the role of art in modern society is being eroded if the arts are subordinated to national and economic reductionism.
One of the main priorities in the new governmental programme A Denmark That Stands Together, amended in October 2011, combined with the government’s initiative under the Danish Presidency of the EU, January – July 2012 (see chapter 3.4), is to improve a more open identity policy and strengthen social cohesion for non-ethnic defined terms of citizenship (see chapter 4.1).
Chapter published: 10-04-2012