COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Georgia/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and debates  

4.2.1 Conceptual issues of policies for the arts

Cultural policy has been gradually formed and developed depending on the domestic and international situation.

Until August 2008, culture was not really a feature of foreign policy. In the common context of intensification of centralisation, culture was perceived as a tool of domestic policy aimed at demonstration of the adherence to traditional values, on the one side, (strengthening of priorities in cultural heritage), and as a globalisation instrument, on the other side. The corner stone of the globalisation policy is education, in particular creative education. The Ministry of Education and Science has carried out radical reform of the education policy in a very tough way, while the Ministry of Culture and Cultural Heritage - which lacks its own concept and vision - obeys the directives of the Ministry of Education and Science, which is more powerful both from political and financial aspects. As a result, in the sphere of creative education, problems are aggravated by clashes and conflicts of traditional methods with new ones.

At the same time, the political establishment thought that sports were the more effective instrument of PR on the international scene and inside the country, which resulted in the integration of these two spheres in one ministry in 2005. Such integration turned out to be ineffective institutionally and the financing of culture often suffered.

The shift in policy following the Russian-Georgian military conflict helped to focus on the promotion of culture as a facility for building a positive international image of Georgia. Consequently, this is reflected in the financing of culture (in spite of the war and world crisis, financing of culture has been growing year after year) and in 2010 – in changes of infrastructure when the Ministry was divided into two bodies – the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Sports.

Culture has benefited in the post-war situation which has stimulated the joint efforts of different ministries and authorities aimed at the achievement of their objectives.

In 2011-2014, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have joint strategic priorities and therefore attention will be paid to the effective involvement of UNESCO in the issues of cultural heritage protection and education in the Georgian territories occupied by Russia.

The coalition "Georgian Dream" which has won the parliamentary elections in October 2012 has formed the new cabinet of ministers. Respectively, the new leadership of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection has started to develop a new strategy and new concept of cultural policy.

During the period after the Parliamentary Elections of 1 October 2012, the parliamentary committee for science, education and culture of the new government initiated debates on a new draft theatre law. The new law was discussed at the round tables arranged by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia and the Georgian media.

The Law on Professional Theatres was adopted in 2013 and appeared to be a hasty response to the Law on State Theatres of 2006.

The new law considers strengthening the position of art directors as the 2006 Law on Public Theatres mainly belittled the competences of art directors and vested sole authority in the public theatre managers compared to the Law on Public Theatres from 1999.


Chapter published: 26-01-2016

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