The Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, diplomatic services, and different public institutions carries out international cultural cooperation.
The cultural policy document Creative Latvia 2014-2020 sets the following priorities in the field of international cooperation:
- to secure international cooperation and competitiveness in the cultural and cultural heritage sectors; and
- to establish a positive image of Latvia with the help of cultural diplomacy.
Latvia takes active participation in international organisations and networks, such as UNESCO, the Council of Europe, ICOMOS, ICCROM, ICOM, NEMO etc. Artistic mobility is also mentioned in cultural policy documents as one of the important aspects of international collaboration and it is secured with mobility grants from the State Culture Capital Foundation and participation in the Nordic-Baltic Mobility programme.
The Ministry of Culture has signed intergovernmental and inter-ministerial agreements and programmes with approximately 30 countries to encourage cultural exchange and co-operation between professionals working in the field of culture.
The Ministry of Culture has signed agreements with several non-governmental organisations (The Music Information Centre, The New Theatre Institute of Latvia, The Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art etc.), delegating to these institutions the organisation of Latvia’s representation at big international events such as the Venice Biennial of Art, Venice Biennial of Architecture, San Paulo Biennial of Art, MIDEM, Frankfurt Book Fair etc.
The Ministry of Culture has also developed large bilateral
cooperation programmes – representative festivals: “L’éttonante
Lettonie” (Latvian Cultural Days in France, 2005), “En Printemps
(French Cultural Days in Latvia, 2007), German Cultural Month (2008), Latvian Cultural Season in Russia (2007-2008) and a Russian Cultural Season in Latvia (2008).
In 2014-2015, the priority of international cultural policy was Latvian culture as part of European cultural diversity. It was implemented through two major projects: Riga as European Cultural Capital in 2014 and cultural programme in the framework of Latvia as President of the European Union in 2015.
In 2018, Latvia celebrated its centenary, a wide range of celebration events and festivities are implemented through the years 2017-2021, including international events and public diplomacy activities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sets foreign policy priorities in its Annual Report (see the website of the Ministry). Culture is an integral part of foreign policy.
The Latvian Institute in accordance with the statutes carries out the following functions:
- participates in the creation of politics of Latvia’s identity and coordinates the implementation of it;
- creates network of partners (governmental and non-governmental institutions, private partners, experts and others) that cooperates with the Institute in Latvia promoting activities;
- organises Latvia promoting activities abroad and in Latvia.
Since the beginning of the 1990-ies, international cooperation is becoming stronger and more diverse and very fruitful contacts have been established with the Baltic and Nordic countries, as well as with several cultural representations of foreign countries (the British Council, the Danish Culture Institute, the Cultural Centre of France, the Goethe Institute, The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office, etc.). There are more than 30 embassies and several foreign cultural centres situated in Riga that are significantly enriching the cultural life of the country.
Municipalities have their own international culture cooperation activities mainly as part of cooperation agreements with partner cities or towns. International festivals play an increasing role in internationalisation of cultural life in cities.
Public financial support for international cooperation is available at the Ministry of Culture and the State Culture Capital Foundation. The Ministry of Culture finances some international cultural projects and supports the participation of Latvian cultural institutions and professionals in international organisations and programmes. Apart from these activities, the Ministry of Culture also secures co- financing for the projects supported by the EU programmes, thus supporting implementation of large projects in digitalisation of cultural resources, improvement of the cultural infrastructure, education, creative industries and cultural co-operation projects submitted by Latvian cultural operators to the EU programme “Creative Europe” etc.
Since 2009, the Baltic States are contributing partners to a Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture. The Baltic States co-finance the programme according to their GDP per capita.
In 2018, the ministries of three Baltic States decided to establish the Baltic Culture Fund.
Other international cooperation projects are covered by different support schemes from the State Culture Capital Foundation on a competition basis. The Foundation supports the organisation of international projects as well as running the Travel Grant Support Programme that enables individuals and groups to participate in short-term scientific, creative and study programmes abroad.