COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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New cultural policy White Paper proposes policy changes and administrative and funding resturcturing in Greece.

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Greece/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and debates  

4.2.1 Conceptual issues of policies for the arts

Concerns about the role of the state and the extent of intervention in cultural action, as well as the objectives of cultural policy and their integration with broader socioeconomic and policy agendas, led in late 2011 to a reorganisation and realignment initiative as regards the whole field of "contemporary culture" (broadly speaking, i.e. including all aspects of cultural policy with the exception of archaeological cultural heritage). A major underlying factor for current thinking is, of course, the impact of the current financial crisis on the sustainability of the cultural sector and the need to maximise the use of public funds for the benefit of the arts, the cultural sector and the public. For the first time in Greece, a White Paper on cultural policy, prepared by a commission of experts, was published under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and placed under public consultation in March 2012, while new legislation is under consideration to implement ensuing changes. The main changes proposed concern:

  • Establishment of a Contemporary Culture Council, a consultative body invested with the authority to conduct studies and surveys, to evaluate current and past activities, to establish and introduce policy agendas, and to advise the Minister of Culture on all aspects of contemporary culture and the arts, including the introduction of policy priorities, the allocation of public funds, the establishment of programmes and initiatives, the governance of culture, the supervision of state arts organisations, support for artists and creativity, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, the international promotion of contemporary Greek art and culture, state policies towards the cultural and creative industries, and regional development aspects of cultural policy;
  • Reorganisation of the General Directorate of Contemporary Culture of the Ministry in five process-based rather than sector-based Directorates (see above, chapter 3.1 and chapter 3.2), aligned with the broader scope and integrationist orientation manifested also in the role advanced for the Contemporary Culture Council. The proposed structure is aimed at better supporting evidence-based cultural policy development, as well as planning, management and control of operational programmes for the funding of contemporary culture and arts based on transparent selection criteria and performance indicators; and covering a broader field of cultural actors, institutions and activities including literature, the visual and performing arts, the cultural and creative industries, popular and folk culture, as well as new forms of artistic and cultural representation and creativity;
  • Introduction of a revised model for the funding, oversight and governance of state arts organisations seeking to balance the prerogative of advancing the synergies between them in the context of an integrative national policy with increased respect for their artistic and programming independence;
  • Mainstreaming of the role of arts and culture within regional development and internationalisation policies through the establishment of appropriate planning and management structures in local and regional government, the reorganisation and re-examination of policy priorities of foundations working in the field of international cultural relations (such as the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, and the European Cultural Centre of Delphi operating under the auspices of the Council of Europe), and the integrative intervention of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism adopting, where necessary, a principle of subsidiarity, and
  • Rationalisation of public expenditure on culture and the arts so as, firstly, to align funding with policy priorities (such as support for new artistic work, and international exploitation of Greek cultural creativity), and, secondly, to maximise the funds expended on productive activities and programming as against administrative overheads.

The underlying premises for these changes are the prioritisation of government policy. Apart from traditional objectives, the following objectives are being attributed special attention: support for artists (especially early career and new aspects of creativity); access to culture and the arts in all parts of the country; and, internationalisation (especially stronger promotion of Greek cultural productions abroad, and strengthening of Greek participation in international networks). An implicit priority in recent declarations and policy initiatives (such as the institution of a Register of Cultural Organisations) has resulted in rationalisation and transparency in funding, as well as a higher ratio of operational programmes funding to administrative and organisational overhead cost.

It is to be seen if these initiatives will have an impact on the traditional predominance of cultural heritage, especially archaeological, on priorities of funding and institutional support.


Chapter published: 14-08-2015

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