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Spain/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and debates  

4.2.1 Conceptual issues of policies for the arts

The promotion of culture by encouraging artistic creation has been one of the strategic aims of government throughout the democratic period. This relevance, referred in many policy discourses, has been translated, though not always at desirable levels, in budget allocations. The performing arts and music is the art sector to benefit most from central and regional administrations, and, after cultural heritage, is one of the main areas of cultural intervention (see chapter 6.2.3).

At state level, the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (INAEM) is responsible for supporting the music and performing arts and establishing the strategic areas of intervention. Its main priorities for the current term include: increasing demand, a particularly strategic aim at the present time; strengthening the collaboration and participation of cultural institutions and sectors; and the implementation of a new organisational and management model that takes into account the territorial organisation of the country.

The aim of increasing demand, a priority also for the previous government, has had unremarkable results so far. Among the objectives announced by the government at the beginning of the term, we can highlight: to increase its presence in the media, on the Internet and in social networks; to improve arts education in school curricula (see chapter 8.3.1 and chapter 8.3.2); to encourage collaboration between universities and large cultural centres; to establish plans for the promotion of performing arts and music among children and young people; and to enhance the use of new funding mechanisms (such as sponsorship or clubs for consumption) and, in general, the promotion of public-private collaboration.

The strengthening of institutional cooperation focuses primarily on the exchange of productions in the regions, as well as the improvement of dialogue with municipalities. To this end, the government promotes networks of circulation and marketing of theatre, circus, music and dance, with the intention that cultural companies can perform their productions beyond their regions of origin, correcting territorial imbalances and providing more quality to cultural programming at all levels of government. Thus, the current government continues with the projects Danza a Escena Circuit, GPS - Turn by Halls, aimed to give artists access to a tour beyond their Autonomous Communities, and with the Theatre and Dance Circuit by the Network of Alternative Theatres. In addition to the support to these and other specific networks of circulation of shows throughout the national territory, the INAEM, in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, has launched PLATEA, aimed at promoting the circulation of shows in local venues, favouring cultural communication among Autonomous Communities and stimulating the performing arts sector.

Regarding organisational issues, the creation of the State Council for Performing Arts and Music (497/2010 Royal Decree) has been one of the major changes in structures supporting the arts. This new body knows, in a formal and institutional manner, requests and proposals from different sectors of music, theatre, dance and circus, as well as from local and regional governments, and contributes to the setting of priorities for the cultural policy in this area (see chapter 5.3.2). The Council has been conceived as one of the fundamental instruments for achieving communication and cultural cooperation among the different actors.

During the last three years, the INAEM has also supported the development of comprehensive plans of action, such as the General Plan for Theatre, published in 2007 and revised in 2011, the General Plan for Dance 2010-2014, approved in November 2009, and the General Plan for Circus 2012-2015, approved in November 2011. All of the plans have been the result of reflection and participation of the performing arts sector in the analysis of the situation, the assessment of needs and the establishment of strategic lines for public policies.

Also in the field of artistic creation, the INAEM has promoted the approval of the new statutes of the National Dance Company (CUL/1993/2010 Order), the National Ballet (CUL/3065/2010 Order), the National Classical Theatre Company (CUL/3355/2010 Order), the Zarzuela Theatre (CUL/451/2011Order), the National Drama Centre (CUL/2039/2011Order) and the National Music Dissemination Centre (CUL/3359/2011 Order). All of them represent a profound change in the performing arts and music sectors. Among the objectives of the new institutions are the impetus for educational initiatives which facilitate the understanding of their artistic programming and the development of campaigns aimed at attracting new audiences.

In order to present and promote the creation of performing arts and facilitate communication between creators, the INAEM has launched the portals and, which are linked to the Centre of Theatre Documentation.

Recently, the INAEM has signed different agreements of collaboration: with the Association of Spanish Fashion Designers to promote innovation, creation and dissemination of the performing arts in relation to the creation of Spanish fashion; with the Spanish Radio & Television Corporation (RTVE) in order to approach, through the RTVE channels, performing arts production for society and, finally, with Paradores Nacionales for the promotion and dissemination of the cultural tourist offer in the field of performing arts.

Regarding the visual arts sector, at the end of 2011 a Strategy for the Visual Arts was launched by the Ministry of Culture, via its Directorate for Fine Arts and Cultural Assets, which involved the participation, contribution and consensus of the main professional associations in the field. Some of its main lines were included later on in the General Strategic Plan 2012-2015 of the State Secretariat for Culture.

See also chapter 7.3.

Chapter published: 24-06-2015

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