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In 2014, the Council of Cultural Associations was created for the monitoring and evaluation of policies in the field of cultural associations in Catalonia.

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Spain/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives  

8.4.1 Amateur arts and folk culture

The Survey of Cultural Habits and Practices in Spain, which is undertaken by the current Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, provides data on active cultural practices. As shown in Table 8, the most popular activities are photography (29.1% in 2010-2011), drawing or painting (13.2%), writing (7.1%) and activities associated with music (8% plays an instrument and 2.4% sings in a choir) and those related to the performing arts (2.1% perform theatre and ballet 3.9%).

As in passive cultural practices, there are significant differences in cultural behaviour by gender and age. By gender, women have a greater preference for writing, painting or drawing, as well as theatre or dance; while playing a musical instrument, taking photographs or making videos are the most popular hobbies for males. Regarding age, active participation is more prevalent amongst young people.

With respect to changes between 2006-2007 and 2010-2011, almost all activities experience a positive growth, this being especially noteworthy in the case of photography (with an increase of 12.5 percentage points), video (with 7 percentage points more) and painting or drawing (with 4 percentage points more).

The involvement of government occurs mainly at the local level and the vast majority of amateur activity is offered free of charge and is promoted by town councils or non-profit making associations or clubs. Thus, for example, the First Amateur Performing Arts Circuit was organised, at the end of 2010, in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country) by the artistic-cultural Association Korrontx and, in Catalonia, the regional government launched, in early 2012, the Espai A, Xarxa d'Arts Escèniques Amateurs de Catalunya / Space A, Net on Amateur Performing Arts of Catalonia. Promoted by representative associations and federations of the country, the project seeks to create new audiences for amateur performances and to increase the profitability of their productions through a stable programming of amateur performances.

As for cultural volunteering, the Volunteer State Strategy 2010-2014 was drawn up by the Minister of Health, Social Policy and Equality and approved by the government in early 2011. The strategy continues the work done in previous plans and responds to new challenges and future trends in volunteering. It includes several references to cultural activities. On the one hand, and with the aim of promoting volunteerism among the Spanish population, the Plan promotes the incorporation of immigrants to volunteering as a tool of integration and reflection of interculturalism in Spain. To this end, the Plan provides for the elimination of social or cultural barriers that could hinder the voluntary incorporation of immigrants. On the other hand, culture is one of the areas of volunteerism that the Plan seeks to promote and whose participation is especially important for the resolution of key social issues at national and international level. Specifically, the Plan aims to encourage cultural volunteering through the adoption of voluntary programmes in museums and other cultural centres. The mid-term evaluation of the Strategy, which was held in November of 2012, highlighted the limited impact of some of the initiatives undertaken so far.

Table 8:     People who have carried out artistic activities in Spain in the last 12 months by type of activity, 2006-2011







Painting or drawing



Other visual arts






Making videos



Designing web pages



Other audiovisual activities






Dance and ballet



Playing an instrument



Singing in a choir



Other musical activities






Source:     Ministry of Culture (several years) Survey of Cultural Habits and Practices in Spain.
Note:         na: not available.

With respect to popular culture, one of the major initiatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, under the responsibility of the Directorate-General for Fine Arts and Cultural Assets and for Archives and Libraries, is the "Photography Contest on Popular Culture". It is organised since 2001 with the aim of encouraging and promoting this discipline. Regarding the legal framework for the protection, promotion and dissemination of popular and traditional culture, the 1985 Historical Heritage Act (see chapter 5.3.3) covers the category of ethnographic heritage, which includes moveable and real cultural assets and the knowledge and activities that are or have been a relevant expression of the traditional culture of the Spanish people in their material, social or spiritual aspects. It also establishes special protection for those assets that are in danger of disappearing, indicating that the competent authority shall take measures aimed at the study and scientific documentation of these assets. At regional level, Catalonia has the Directorate General for Popular Culture, Associationism and Cultural Action (previously the Centre for the Promotion of Catalan Traditional and Popular Culture). In 2013, the Department of Culture of the Catalan government developed the Plan for Cultural Associations that, among other actions, proposed the creation of an advisory body for the monitoring and evaluation of policies in the field of cultural associations. Thus, in 2014, the Council of Cultural Associations was created (CLT / 336/2014 Order). Since 2002, the Balearic Islands has the Council of Traditional and Popular Culture (1/2002 Act), an advisory body of the Balearic administration. Both regions also passed, in 1993 and 2002 respectively, specific acts with the aims of protecting, fostering, disseminating and researching traditional and popular culture (Catalonia: 2/1993 Act on the Promotion and Protection of Traditional and Popular Culture and Cultural Voluntary Associations and the Balearic Islands: 1/2002 Act on Traditional and Popular Culture).

The protection of popular culture is strongly rooted in Spain and is carried out mainly at the local and regional levels. As a consequence, popular culture is characterised by its great level of diversity.

Chapter published: 24-06-2015

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