The Law on Culture (2012) defines a creative person as an individual engaged in creating cultural resources, including pedagogical or research activities in the field of culture. Protection of the rights of creative persons operating in culture, state, private and municipal cultural institutions and ensuring the implementation of creative activities are among the main directions of state policy in culture. The organisation of incentives for cultural workers and creative people for services and contributions to the development of culture are among the duties of the state in the field of culture. Creative persons, legal entities, cultural institutions and non-governmental organisations may be involved in cultural activities. According to Article 24 of the law, “Anyone can engage in professional or amateur creative activities. The state supports creative activity in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The state takes economic measures to develop professional creativity”.
The rules of establishment, activity, reorganisation and liquidation of non-governmental organisations as legal entities, their relations with public authorities are determined by the Law On Non-Governmental Organisations (Public Associations and Foundations) (№ 894-IQ of June 13, 2000). The Rules for Preparation, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of State Programmes (№ 1294 of March 6, 2021) requires that public hearings and discussions must be provided during the preparation of the draft of any state programmes, strategies, national action plans, concepts and other similar documents, including in the field of culture. Furthermore, the Law On Public Participation (№ 816-IVQ of November 22, 2013) prescribes such public hearings and discussions.
According to the current regulatory legal acts, public councils under the central executive bodies, consisting of 5-15 members with experience or knowledge in the relevant field, must be elected by civil society institutions in connection with the involvement of citizens in the implementation of public administration. İn this regard, the Public Council under the Ministry for Culture consists of nine members who were elected recently (13-16 July, 2021), representing different cultural and social non-governmental organisations, such as:
- The Cultural Development Centre Public Union,
- Zirve Culture and Art Public Union,
- Khan Shushinsky Foundation,
- World Union of Young Turkish Writers,
- Social Assistance to Hearing and Speech Impaired Persons Public Union,
- Free Minds Youth Enlightenment Public Union,
- Looking to the Future European Integration Public Union,
- The Union of Disabled Organisations, and
- The Azerbaijan National Non-Governmental Organisations Forum.
A multi-branched system of creative unions continues to function and operate mainly as professional unions and play an essential role in cultural life as well as in strategies to stimulate employment, as well as promoting a better social situation for artists and cultural professionals:
- The Union of Azerbaijan Writers (established on June 13, 1934) is the largest public organisation of Azerbaijani writers, poets and translators. It currently has more than 1 510 members;
- The Union of Azerbaijan Composers (established on June 30, 1934) – unites in its ranks about 200 highly qualified professional composers and musicologists;
- The Union of Azerbaijan Architects (established in1934) – focuses on improving the effectiveness of all types of architectural work, developing architectural and urban planning activities, strengthening international cooperation and developing national culture;
- – The Union of Azerbaijan Artists (established in1940) – public creative organisation of professional artists and art critics;
- The Union of Azerbaijan Theatrical workers (established in1897) – founded in 1897 as the “Union of Actors” is now the most extensive public organisation uniting theatrical figures and stage lovers in Azerbaijan;
- The Union of Azerbaijan Journalists (established in1955) – unites about 3 000 journalists working in more than 1 000 newspapers and magazines, 25 TV and radio companies, 20 news agencies and about 40 publishing houses;
- Union of Azerbaijan Ashıqs (established in 1984) is an independent public organisation aimed at developing and promoting the art of Ashig; et cetera.