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Slovenia/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives  

8.4.3 Associations of citizens, advocacy groups, NGOs and advisory panels

The NGO and advocacy sector has been going through significant changes in the past years. Several new organisations being primarily representative and advocacy oriented have been formed: Asociacija and Open Chamber for Contemporary Art being the best known of those. Asociacija was formed in 1992 and was a non-professional advocacy organisation serving mostly the so-called "independent producers of art" until 2009. Starting in 2009 it was given a European Cohesion Fund grant which stirred its professionalisation and large increase in its membership and activities. In communication with previous minister Majda Širca and her state secretary Stojan Pelko, a working group for dialogue with the NGO sector in culture was formed consisting of seven representatives from the NGO sector and a number of participating ministry employees. Soon a similar group for those self-employed in culture was also formed. The groups served to provide a platform for dialogue with the NGO sector and those self-employed in culture. Asociacija was also very active in advocacy on the local level, organising a group to communicate with the NGO sector in the City Municipality of Ljubljana.

In the dialogue groups, a number of legislative improvements for the NGO sector and those self-employed in culture have been discussed, mostly addressing the changes of the Act Regulating the Realisation of the Public Interest in the Field of Culture, particularly the stronger inclusion of the NGO sector in this legal act (which serves as an umbrella law in the field of art). Also, changes in financing, social security measures for those self-employed in culture, public tendering procedures and representation of the NGO sector have been discussed, although to date not leading to any significant and expected changes.

The dialogue groups have been formed again under the new minister Ĺ˝iga Turk in 2012. Several accusations from Asociacija (which again served as instigator of the groups) have been addressed to the Ministry for not following the proper procedures of appointment and work in groups as well as non-participation of key persons of the Ministry in groups. Many issues have been raised again under Minister Uroš Grilc in 2013 and the dialogue groups have been formed again, this time with some members being elected by civil society itself (a long desired wish by the sector). This achievement has, again, come under question under the new minister Julijana Bizjak Mlakar in 2014 and the issue is unresolved at the time of writing this text.

To date, therefore, the structured dialogue still persists (in both dialogue groups: for NGOs and self-employed in culture), revolving around key issues of financing of NGO organisations and the self-employed, changes to the Act Regulating the Realisation of the Public Interest in the Field of Culture, public tendering procedures and other strategic documents and measures addressing the NGO sector and self-employed in culture and cultural sector in general.

Chapter published: 11-02-2015

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