The main objective of cultural policy (before 2004) was the maintenance and support of a centralized system. The creation of a decentralized model and the redistribution of powers were supported only on a declarative level.
In the post-revolutionary period (since 2004), experiments with entrepreneurism and total privatization of the cultural industries began. However, against the background of modified legislation and the institutional model of centralization, the cultural policy pursued did not provide a systematic capital inflow, but was focused on the “blind” application of market logic to the cultural sphere. This strategy failed, both in terms of investor interest and in terms of development of institutions and infrastructure. In practical terms, the institutional reform had led to changes in legislation which resulted in a strengthening of the centralized system, and unification, instead of diversification.
The coalition “Georgian Dream”, which won the parliamentary elections in October 2012, formed a new cabinet of ministers. Respectively, the new leadership of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection started to develop a new strategy of cultural policy.
In 2016 the strategic document Culture Strategy 2025 was adopted. The formulation of the Strategic Goals and the sub-goals therein is of an integrative nature, which is an obvious innovation in the practice of cultural policy in Georgia. 8 Strategic Goals are:
- Awareness Raising and Education
- Access to Culture and Cultural Diversity
- Culture and Other Key Areas
- Funding of Culture
- Cultural Infrastructure and New Technologies
- Creative Industries
- Internationalization of Culture
- Principles of the Governance of Culture
Specific tasks (Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks) are based on traditional forms of art and culture, such as:
- Cultural Heritage
- Cultural Tourism
- Libraries and Archives
- Traditional Crafts
- Audio-visual sector
- Literature and Publishing
- Performing arts
- Visual arts
- Media and Broadcasting
This section of the document was based only on those expert opinions that were collected by the Ministry in the process of developing the Strategy (no strategies and full-scale research on the forms of art were available). Accordingly, the need for scientific, statistical research for the development of sub-strategies for each form of culture was declared.
The development of sub-strategies began with the implementation of the 2017-2018 Action Plan for Implementation of the Culture Strategy.
Despite a promising start, no significant steps have been taken towards strategy development and implementation in 2018-2021.
No changes were made in the culture funding model and diversification of financial resources, or in the implementation of the principle of “good governance” and full integration of culture in other industries in the context of sustainable development.
The main goal of the government programme for 2021-2024 – “Towards Building a European State” (published in December 2020) is:
“To overcome the crisis created by the pandemic, thereby ensuring a rapid recovery and development of the economy to create a stable and secure environment for every citizen.”
The following was again declared in the field of culture: “State programmes and initiatives promoting the development of arts and culture will be continued and expanded in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the Culture Strategy through 2025. Legislation regulating the arts and culture will be improved, including legislation in the field of cultural heritage. A flexible arts and culture management model will be established, which will be approximated to European standards and an effective funding mechanism.”