Basic cultural rights are included in the Swedish constitution. The Instrument of Government (1974:152), one of the Fundamental Laws that make up the constitution of Sweden, states that “The personal, economic and cultural welfare of the private person shall be a fundamental aim of public activity”, and that “Opportunities should be promoted for ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities to preserve and develop a cultural and social life of their own” (Article 2, Chapter 1). In addition to articles on fundamental democratic rights and freedom of expression, information, religion, and assembly, the Instrument of Government includes the provision that ”Authors, artists and photographers shall own the rights to their works in accordance with rules laid down in law“ (Article 19 in Chapter 1) (for further information on culture and Swedish constitutional law, see chapter 4.1.1).
The cultural rights mentioned in the Fundamental Laws are the framework for Swedish cultural policy. Below this level, much of cultural policy is not regulated by law (see chapter 4), but guided by cultural policy objectives decided by the parliament (see chapter 1.1). The objectives of cultural policy establish that “Culture should be a dynamic, challenging and independent force based on the freedom of expression. Everyone should be able to participate in cultural life. Creativity, diversity and artistic quality should mark society’s development”, thus emphasizing that cultural policy should work for the independence of art and culture, freedom of expression, and the objective that everyone in the country should be able to participate in arts and culture, as well as the need to uphold cultural diversity and artistic quality. This interpretation of the objectives formed the starting point when the Swedish Agency for Cultural Analysis evaluated the impact governance of the art and culture sector on the freedom of the arts in 2021 (see chapter 2.1).