Austria’s cultural policy in the period 2007-2017 (social democratic government) was characterised by the commitment to a sustainable safeguard for art and culture, by emphasising the promotion of contemporary art and emerging artists, the strengthening of cultural education and mediation, efforts of internationalisation and the improvement of working conditions of artists, particularly of women. Moreover, the promotion of gender equality and cultural diversity, the improvement of cultural participation and of the general conditions of cultural institutions, and the protection and mediation of cultural heritage were other key issues of social democratic cultural policy.
The commitment to freedom of art and the governmental responsibility for the support of arts and culture has remained unchanged with the centre-right government since 2017. However, the points of emphasis regarding art and culture for this legislative period have shifted with stronger emphasis on traditional art and culture, efficiency and profit-orientation.
Under the current government, culture policy objectives are outlined in the government programme 2020-2024:
- Worldwide strengthening of contemporary art and culture from Austria.
- Create the best possible framework conditions for those active in art and culture as well as for the various cultural institutions, from the independent scene to the major cultural institutions.
- Enabling innovation, planning security and social support for artists.
- Promotion of musical-creative-artistic training and cultural education as a factor of positive personality development.
- Commemorative year 2020 as a starting point for a new, comprehensive culture of commemoration on a broad social basis.
To achieve these objectives, specific measures are outlined:
- Development of an art and culture strategy;
- Strengthening Austrian culture abroad;
- Support in planning and implementation of the European Capital of Culture 2024 Bad Ischl/Salzkammergut;
- Strengthening of the Federal Museum Directors’ Conference and creation of a federal museum holding company;
- Continuation and expansion of provenance research;
- Economic stimulus package for cultural and memorial sites;
- Establish Austria as an innovative international platform for the fusion of art, culture, technology and the digital world; close cooperation with research institutions;
- Strengthen contemporary art and culture;
- Promotion of private financial involvement in art and culture;
- Promoting cultural education for children and young people;
- Development of a joint strategy of federal, state and local authorities to implement the cultural strategy “Fairpay”;
- Promotion of women and equality (mentoring programmes);
- More transparency in the funding system and new funding priorities;
- Strengthening of inter- and transdisciplinary artistic and scientific projects;
- Strengthening of art and cultural projects in the area of recognized ethnic groups;
- Strengthening art and cultural projects in the field of integration;
- Development of a commemoration strategy.
Cultural policies of the Bundesländer focus mainly and with varying emphasis on:
- Commitment to freedom of art;
- Responsibility for the support of art and culture;
- Creation of appropriate framework conditions for creative work;
- Preservation and mediation of cultural heritage;
- Equal opportunities for access and participation;
- Strengthening arts education and cultural diversity.