Sections 1.2.3 and 1.2.4 mention official advisory bodies that consist of independent professionals and that provide advice on cultural policy matters of the Flemish Community: the Strategic Advisory Council for Culture, Youth, Sport and Media (SARC), the commissions for peer-review of funding applications, and the advisory councils and panels of the Flemish Community Commission (VGC). These show how consultation of non-governmental actors is structurally embedded in the workings of the Flemish cultural policy system.
Beside the functioning of these advisory bodies, there are advocacy organisations and labour unions that aim to represent the voice and interest of the different players in the cultural field (see 7.2.4 for examples of associations and unions in the professional arts). These of course do not wholly exclude the possibility of cultural organisations or artists individually lobbying policy makers. Funds for subsistence security (see 7.2.2) sometimes also make their voice heard in (public) debates on cultural matters.
The independent centres of expertise (‘steunpunten’; see 7.2.1) can be called upon by the Flemish government to provide advice or expertise with regard to certain policy initiatives. Flanders Arts Institute, for example, provides a “Landscape Sketch of the Arts”, a (strategic) analysis of trends in the professional arts in Flanders and Brussels that serves as input for the Strategic Vision Statement of the Arts of the minister of Culture (this is codified into the Arts Decree, art. 7). Ministers of Culture have also gathered centres of expertise, advocacy organisations, and other professional cultural players in ad hoc working groups or consultation rounds on specific topics, such as fair practices (see 2.3), combatting harassment and abuse (see 2.5.5), ecological sustainability (see 2.8), or changes in the legal framework (see 2.9).
There have been several (usually small-scale) experiments in Belgium with deliberative democracy. A notable example from the field of Culture are the ‘citizen cabinets’ (Burgerkabinetten) that minister Sven Gatz (2014-2019) organized to gather input for his policies. The ideas that resulted from the citizen cabinet on culture were much in line with existing policies and initiatives from the field.