COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Georgia/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation  

8.2.1 Trends and figures

For the past 15 years (1990-2005) systematic research and polls in the sphere of culture have not been held in Georgia due to the extremely dramatic and dynamic political life aggravated with the socio-economic crisis. The exception was the sociological research carried out on focus groups for the Conception of Development of Culture and Tourism in Tbilisi, held by the Fund for Culture Salvation under the order of the Service of Culture and Sports of Tbilisi Municipality in 2004.

As the research was targeted only at the detection of specific urban trends, nationwide data on participation of various social groups, distinctive by gender, age or educational level, in cultural activity, is not available.

Data on culture from the State Department for Statistics is not useful either as in the majority of cases cultural information was compiled with education or recreation, entertainment or even religion. The differential indicators in the sphere of culture cannot be separated.

Unfortunately, in 2004-2005 the amount of statistical data on culture has further decreased.

In November 2007, the newly designated Prime Minister of Georgia announced the need to separate the State Department of Statistics from the Ministry of Economic Development, and on granting sovereignty to this Department, because in the majority of cases the data submitted by the Department was embroidered to conform to the ministry's policy. As development of culture is not among the priorities of the policy implemented by the Ministry of Economic Development, the statistical data on culture for 2006-2007 "dissolved" in the data on education or the data on the social sphere.

However, the general trends of participation are as follows: the trends of cultural participation, which had been constantly growing since 1995, reached a peak in 2003. In 2004-2005 participation figures have stopped growing and have decreased in some spheres. In general, the trend of participation is much lower than in the 1980s.

There are many reasons for the low figures: living standards are lower; comparatively lower range of cultural services, in some cases obsolete (as in museums and libraries) and some have disappeared (e.g. cinemas which don't operate and there has been almost a total stoppage of film production). In 2007, state assistance in the cinema sphere is still insignificant – 1 477 073 GEL (1.9% of the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection); there is no real film production in Georgia.

During the past ten years the number of public libraries in Georgia reduced from 8 000 in 1990 to 2 160 in 2004. This decrease is most notable in the regions. However, for the last five years, the situation has stabilised to some extent.

Due to serious financial problems museums, archives and libraries are not able to maintain their infrastructure, to purchase new displays, publications, equipment etc. At the same time, for the past ten years the number of professional theatres has increased, although this increase took place at the expense of small theatres such as "Sardapi" or mobile troupes based on enterprise principles.

A decrease in visitor numbers was caused by the closing for repair of the largest academic theatres, on the one side, as well as the radically reduced average family income – only 1.8% of family incomes have been spent on culture, education and recreation jointly, with culture receiving 0.6%.

Table 19:  Data on cultural participation in Georgia, 2000, 2005-2011

Number

2000

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Public and universal libraries
(quantity in units)

2 208

2 056

1 726

672

824

---

---

---

Book lending
(in million copies)

31.1

28.3

20.7

---

17.3

---

---

---

Museums
(quantity in units)

101

111

137

139

126

112

118

183

Visitors of museums
(in thousand)

376.6

301.0

472.6

446.4

436.2

616.2

730.1

705.1

Theatres
(quantity in units)

37 

41

46 

46

45

42

44

45

Spectators of theatres
(in thousand)

508.2

256.0

343.6

437.8

394.3

468.6

359.9

404.2

Source:    State Department for Statistics of Georgia.

There are some research studies and opinions on the monitoring of the participation of representatives of national minorities in the cultural life of the community, carried out by the Public Movement "Multinational Georgia" (http://www.pmmg.info). One of the recent efforts is the Alternative Report on Implementation of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe on the Protection of National Minorities, but this report has not been published yet. No other information is currently available.


Chapter published: 26-01-2016

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