In addition to the cultural policy and promotion of the public sector, there is extensive and diverse cultural work and promotion carried out by public and private radio and television stations, institutions of the economy and other social groups (churches, trade unions, associations), by civic organisations (initiatives, associations) and by private institutions.
This network in the intermediary sector between the state authorities and the cultural scene is indispensable as a complementary sector to the state sector for a lively culture in civil society. The diversity of cultural institutions (plurality of institutions) is a structural element of the German constitutional law on culture. Commercial cultural activities also play an essential role in the nation’s cultural life.
As a rule, there is no organised cooperation or coordination of funding activities between this diverse network of non-governmental activities and “the state”. However, there are more and more examples at the federal, state and municipal levels of public cultural administrations working with arms length bodies to implement their funding programmes or to ensure the sponsorship of cultural institutions.
In the cultural (political) field, there are numerous associations active nationwide as strong actors of civil society.
The Association for Cultural Policy (Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft) and the German Cultural Council (Deutscher Kulturrat) are to be mentioned as cross-sectoral associations. The Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft is a network of around 1 500 people and organisations interested in and committed to cultural policy, including from the fields of cultural policy and administration, cultural practice, science, art, cultural education and training, socio-culture and journalism. It advocates a publicly accountable, democratic cultural policy that is actively shaped at all political levels, ensures cultural diversity and artistic freedom and enables as many people as possible to have access to art and culture. The German Cultural Council is the umbrella organisation of the federal cultural associations. It is supported by eight sections (music, performing arts and dance, literature, visual arts, building culture and monument culture, design, media as well as socio-culture and cultural education), which in turn are made up of a total of 264 federal associations. Its aim is to introduce cross-sectoral issues into the cultural policy discussion at all levels throughout Germany and to stand up for freedom of art, publication and the media. /
In addition, there are a large number of sector-specific cultural associations, such as:
- the German Library Association (Deutscher Bibliotheksverband) with its 2 100 members representing 9 000 libraries in Germany;
- the Federal Association of Visual Artists (Bundesverband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler e. V.) as an umbrella organisation via the regional associations in which more than 10 000 artists are organised;
- the Federal Association for Cultural Education for Children and Young People (Bundesvereinigung Kulturelle Kinder- und Jugendbildung) as an umbrella association for cultural education in Germany, in which over 50 institutions, professional associations and state associations have joined forces;
- the Federal Association of Youth Art Schools and Cultural Education Institutions (Bundesverband der Jugendkunstschulen und kulturpädagogischen Einrichtungen) which represents over 400 youth art schools and cultural education institutions nationwide via its state associations;
- the Federal Association of the Performing Arts (Bundesverband Freie Darstellende Künste), which as an umbrella association, represents the interests of its 2 300 members via its state associations and associated associations;
- Bundesverband Soziokultur as an umbrella organisation in which more than 600 cultural centres and initiatives are members;
- Deutscher Bühnenverein as an association representing the interests and employers of theatres and orchestras, uniting 210 theatres (state and municipal theatres, state theatres and private theatres) and 31 independent symphony orchestras as well as other members;
- Deutsche Museumsbund as an association representing the interests of more than 1 000 museums and their employees.
In addition, there are other associations of actors from business, the churches, trade unions, etc. These include the Federal Network for Civic Engagement (Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement, BBE) as an association of actors from civil society, business and working life, from the state, politics, media and academia who have joined forces to promote civic engagement.
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