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Slovenia/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.1 Main features of the current cultural policy model

According to the Act Regulating the Realisation of the Public Interest in the Field of Culture (2002), the main elements of the current cultural policy model are:

  • The central role of public authorities in the area of culture: the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia defines itself as a social state. The further development of cultural goods as public goods and related presumption of public interest for culture are also part of this paradigm;
  • Intensive regulation but weak monitoring: there areno regular activities to monitor the implementation of regulation. Existing administrative inspectorial supervision of the performance of statutory and regulative provisions in the area of culture and media by the Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia for Culture and Media, a body incorporated within the Ministry, cannot replace regulatory impact assessment as a regular governmental activity;
  • Complicated procedures but weak ex-post evaluation: the process and procedures to distribute public funds aimed at increasing transparency and competitiveness are in fact difficult and frustrating for both the cultural administration and for the receivers of public funds. Once the funds are distributed through the public tenders there is no evaluation of whether their objectives were achieved;
  • Expert advice on financial decisions: several expert committees for individual disciplines (17) composed of artists and other concerned professionals prepare the proposals for financing,
  • Heavy institutionalisation of Slovenian culture: public cultural institutions emerged out of the civic initiatives which began in the 19th century. They were nationalised as a consequence of regular financing received during the first decades of the last century. After the Second World War the communist ideology created a monopoly over professional cultural activities. Due to the neoliberal pressure, and in the sunset of welfare policy, de-etatisation has lost its appeal and institutional status remains the most appreciated format for cultural operation.
  • Public cultural institutions are not part of state or local administration: as a legacy of the previous ex Yugoslavian self-management system,all institutions are separate legal entities under public law with full legal and business capacity and their own management structure. Nevertheless, a central system of public servants and budgetary funding procedures define strict frameworks for their operation;
  • Multiannual programme financing: in 2004, besides annual project funding, three-year structural financing for NGOs was introduced. Due to the limited financing at both national and local levels the independent cultural sector still lacks recognition and support for its new models of production, innovative work practises and collaboration;
  • Decentralised cultural infrastructure: The main concept for cultural development applied after the Second World War was polycentric, and based on approximately 25 traditional cultural centres in Slovenia. Municipalities are in charge of museums, library activities, amateur cultural and art activities and other cultural programmes of local importance. In areas where national minorities live, the municipalities are also obliged to support their cultural activities. There is no intermediate level of government between the state and local authorities yet (see also  chapter 5.1.2);
  • Policy of extensions: no new construction or any developments in the national cultural infrastructure (even the new National Library project remains unfulfilled for more than a decade); there is only renovation of historical buildings (e.g. Slovenian Philharmonia, Opera House, Modern Gallery, Metelkova premises, Slovenian Kinoteka).

However, there is an explicit political announcement (in the last three national programmes for culture- 2004-2007, 2008-2011 and 2014-2017) regarding the modernisation of the public cultural sector or even the introduction of the new cultural model, but without any concrete results, as every substantial proposal was faced with strong resistance from the field.

The main elements of the allocation of state funds are:

  • State funding model: Due to the small cultural market, traditionally paternalistic relations between public authorities and the cultural sector and weak tax incentives for cultural activities highly depend on public funding;
  • High fixed part of the annual state budget for culture: Since the majority of state public funds goes to public institutions (ca 70%), new modes of production are financially marginalised (ca 6%);
  • Centralised funding of larger municipal institutions: The establishment of local governments, which would independently take decisions on their own priorities, presented a threat to the decentralised concept. Therefore, since the middle of the 1980s, all larger municipal cultural institutions (ca 40 - 12 theatres, the rest are museums) have been state financed. However, local governments independently manage these institutions and appoint directors to their respective councils.

Chapter published: 11-02-2015

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