The objectives of Liechtenstein’s cultural policy correspond to themes found in the Council of Europe’s work programme (see 1.4.1): in particular human rights, social cohesion, education, culture, preservation of historical buildings and cross-border cooperation. In a multi-ethnic society, art, culture and cultural education gain importance in promoting integration and highlighting the positive elements of cultural diversity. Cultural equality, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue are moving into the public consciousness.
The positive impact of cultural work on social cohesion is increasingly being recognised. But what about the problem of equal access to education, art and culture, which has so far been addressed unsatisfactorily? Finding an answer to this question has been a priority for only a few so far. One example is ASSITEJ Liechtenstein (see 1.4.3), which implemented a film project based on the ASSITEJ Manifesto in June 2022, funded by the Liechtenstein Cultural Foundation, among others. In the documentary, children and young people – wandering through various cultural institutions – deal with their rights to art, culture and freedom of expression.
As summarised by a 2017 Council of Europe study, lack of financial resources, social inclusion, skills and education, minority rights and a lack of freedom of expression, as well as geographical and social isolation are potential barriers to broad public access to a diverse cultural life. Promoting access for ethnic minorities and migrant communities and their inclusion in mainstream culture, it is concluded, is expected to assist in their social and cultural integration.
Given that a lack of money often leads to limited participation in social and cultural life, Caritas Liechtenstein launched the Cultural Discount Card, or KulturLegi for short, in 2020, modelled on Caritas Switzerland’s KulturLegi. In Switzerland, around 3,100 institutions participate in this programme, including theatres, museums, a literature house, a circus, as well as music and photography festivals. The Liechtenstein Art Museum, the Liechtenstein National Library, the Liechtenstein Theatre plus Young Theatre and the Liechtensteiner Volksblatt are among those affiliated with the programme in Liechtenstein. Furthermore, through the Liechtenstein Adult Education Foundation, the country supports adults who wish to continue their education at the Music School and School of Fine Arts, among others.
The discussion is under way: culture and art – whether music, painting, literature, theatre, film or other art forms – are a form of reflection. They reflect social debates and provide points of interaction for confronting reality. Culture and art have an impact on what happens in society. However, the discussion about inclusion as well as integration is only just beginning (see 2.5.6 and 2.6).
Liechtenstein is a little further along in the debate on self-determination, participation and volunteering. Civic engagement is a supporting element of cultural life in Liechtenstein. Volunteering is an important pillar without which the state would not be able to function. This is true of the social sector as well as of voluntary cultural work. In Liechtenstein, there is widespread agreement on the enormous value of voluntary and honorary work. Only in this way was it possible for a vibrant, diverse and well-developed cultural landscape to emerge.
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