2.1 Main features of the current cultural policy model
Public cultural policy
The Latvian cultural policy model is centralised around the Ministry of Culture, (http://www.km.gov.lv/en/) which is the main institution formulating and co-ordinating state cultural policy. However, there have been some changes towards decentralisation and involvement of non-governmental organisations and the civil society in the cultural field. The Ministry of Culture has signed several agreements with non-governmental organisations (e.g. The New Theatre Institute of Latvia, Latvian Literature Centre), delegating a number of specific functions. There are advisory boards or councils in most areas of the cultural sector which include culture operators, experts and representatives of other ministries, municipalities and non-governmental organisations, who actively participate in the policy making process and allocation of financial support.
The economic crisis has provoked new developments concerning the governance of cultural institutions. On the one hand decentralisation processes have been speeded up. The Ministry of Culture is willing to hand over responsibility for amateur art, cultural education and some professional art institutions to municipalities. On the other hand, within the state administration there is a tendency towards centralisation e.g., several state agencies that were operating as arm's length bodies (National Film Centre, The State Authority on Museums) are going to be either integrated into the structure of the Ministry of Culture or transformed into budget institutions losing their autonomy (see chapter 7.3).
See chapter 3.2 on overall description of the system.
State Culture Capital Foundation (CCF)
The establishment of the State Culture Capital Foundation, which started operating as an arm's length body in 1998, was a major milestone in Latvian cultural policy and completely changed funding patterns in the cultural sector. The financing of cultural projects which had previously been the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture was delegated to the CCF.
The projects submitted for funding to the CCF are evaluated by expert bodies which report to the Council of the CCF. These bodies also monitor how the allocated grants are utilised. There are seven experts in eight cultural fields (see below), who are replaced every 2 years. The experts are nominated by governmental and non-governmental cultural organisations (5 experts) and the Minister of Culture (2 experts).
The Foundation Council is the main administrative body of the CCF and its members are affirmed by the Council of Ministers. The members are – the Minister of Culture, a representative of the Ministry of Finance, a representative of the National Board of Culture, a representative of the Creative Union Council, representatives of Latvian Municipality Union and the head of each expert body. The term of office of the Foundation Council is also 2 years. The Council decides the strategy for the CCF, defines the priorities for the cultural projects, announces project competitions, and allocates financial resources for implementation of cultural projects.
The goal of the CCF is to provide financial support and promote balanced development of creative work in all sectors of culture and art and encourage the preservation of cultural heritage. It also facilitates the development of international relations and promotes Latvian art and culture worldwide. Until 2003, the CCF was financed from the excise tax imposed on alcohol (3%) and tobacco products (3%), as well as gambling and lottery tax. In 2003, the government decided to change how the CCF is funded and since 2004, it is now funded directly by the Ministry of Culture.
The CCF announces project competitions several times a year in eight fields - literature; music and dance; theatre; cinematography; visual arts and photography; cultural heritage; traditional culture; and interdisciplinary projects.
There is also a Travel Grant Support Programme that enables individuals and groups to participate in short-term scientific, creative and study programmes abroad. The Lifelong Scholarship Programme of the CCF supports outstanding individuals in the cultural field.
In 2001, the CCF introduced a new initiative to implement cultural policy priorities set out in the National Programme Culture (2000 – 2010). Every year approximately 30 target programmes are announced, to guarantee the functioning of cultural institutions and ensure the development of national cultural products.
The budget of the CCF in 2006 was 6.9 million LVL (9.9 million EUR), in 2007- 7.2 million LVL (10.3 million EUR), and for 2008 - 7.6 million LVL (10.7 million EUR). 2009 saw a sharp reduction in the budget to 4.1 million LVL (5.8 million EUR) and in 2010 – to 2.1 million LVL (3 million EUR), which was by 72% less than in 2008.
See also chapter 3.2.