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Lithuania/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.8 Social cohesion and cultural policies

Equal access to culture and participation in cultural life are emphasised in the Government's Programme for the year 2012 – 2016.Social cohesion was defined as one of the aims of the state's policy – "to reduce social disparity" and gives priority to investment in the political, economic, social, science and cultural sectors. The Guidelines for Alteration of Lithuanian Cultural Policy (2010) and the Inter-ministerial Plan for their implementation promotes access to art and cultural values for all Lithuanian social layers, ensures the drafting of regional programmes in order to minimise disparities in provinces and aims to ensure a close link between the development of local culture and regional social policy.

However, the research study "Survey of Conditions of Regional Culture" (2009) revealed that the majority of respondents consider Lithuania's regional cultural policy insufficient. The possibilities to supply cultural demands for residents of regions are less than in big municipalities. Only 2% of residents of Lithuania's regions participate in amateur arts activity. In 2011 the Minister of Culture passed the Order on the Programme of Development of Regional Culture for the year 2012-2020. The Programme aims to improve access to culture and its dissemination in regions and local municipalities, to increase the role of culture in the integrated policy of local development, to stimulate links among service, tourism, business, science and education sectors, and to expand social cohesion and cross - regional cooperation.

In 2012, the pilot project under the Ministry of Culture "Art for Human Welfare" started as a social experimental project to ensure co-operation between culture, health care and the social sectors. The Project's aim is to pursue art activities, to complete the societal research study and to create an effective model of social partnership. Several hospitals and sheltered housing units were involved in the project as specific places for art education and social activities. The network of art health institutions was established and the results of the project were published in a special survey (see: "Menas žmogaus gerovei", 2012;

While the state is the main supporter of above mentioned social cohesion programmes and action plans, there are more and more initiatives originating from NGO's and the private sector. Open Air Museum of the Centre of Europe (Europos Park) is a private museum, located in the surroundings of Vilnius. The museum organises programmes for disabled people and participated in a Culture 2000 project, Artistic Parks in Nature: the Bridge for Teaching Contemporary Art in Schools, 2005, which involved young people and professional artists from different countries. The founder of the Europos parkas Gintaras Karosas established Liubavas Manor Watermill Museum as well, which was awarded the European Union Prize in 2012 for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra as an excellent example of a fine and sophisticated restoration (see chapter 4.2.2). The project, Užupio Respublika (Republic of Užupis) was started by a group of young artists in the 1990s and became an art incubator for art shows, festivals, performances, exhibitions, and artists' residences in the Old City of Vilnius.

Chapter published: 28-11-2014

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