The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate – together with various partners – organises debates and discussions on different cultural policy issues on a regular basis (regarding for example the national strategy for culture, culture in Bulgarian foreign policy, public financing of culture and Bulgarian culture in the EU).
In 2019, within the context of the Festival of Ideas and just a month before the European Parliament elections, a debate was organised on the subject of freedom of expression and its potential regulation. The purpose of the initiative was to provoke in-depth and free discussion on topics that are key to the EU’s future, but also relate to Bulgaria’s cultural policy. Under the umbrella of the same event, a debate was organised on the Future of the Media in Europe, focusing on issues of misinformation, pressure on the media, social networks and their impact on civil society and democracy. The topic is extremely relevant given the 111th place of Bulgaria in the ranking of Reporters without Borders for Freedom of Speech.
Part of the problems of cultural policy in Bulgaria was also outlined within the framework of the Second Critical Forum on Cultural Policies in Bulgaria with the topic “Review of the legislation in the field of culture and media”. The highlights include the need to create a Performing Arts Act in the country, to preserve and to socialise cultural heritage, as well as the role of managers in cultural institutes.
In 2015-2016, there was an intense debate in Bulgaria about communist monuments and the removal of the Monument to 1300 Years of Bulgaria. Such debates are limited to particular cases and there is no single strategy or policy to preserve the monuments from this controversial historical period.
In 2016, was held a discussion on “Sculpture and the City”, which touches on the topic of the place and quality of monumental arts in the urban environment. The debate has been provoked in the background of conflicting regulatory rules that once again raise questions about who and how decisions are made in the public space.
In 2017, the debate “How should (not) cultural policy be made?” was held at the Red House Centre for Culture and Debate. The theme of cultural heritage has traditionally provoked controversy over emotional and historical burdens. The purpose of the debate was to discuss how cultural heritage policies are conducted and how we decide what we keep and what we eliminate.
In 2019, the “Professors’ Box: The European City” debate was organised by the Culture Portal. It raised questions about how the public space in the European city is conceived as a successor to the Roman city – in the context of the historical heritage and the future development of the urban environment.