6. Cultural participation and consumption
Last update: September, 2018
Before the "Culture Starategy 2025", established in 2016, there was no clear coordinated or strategically developed governmental programme for the promotion of participation in cultural life, no state policy for extended civil participation, civic belonging, or development / solidarity in the civic community.
However, there are some projects financed from the Presidential Fund and arranged by the Youth Department of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia. These projects are partially aimed at developing solidarity in the civic community, e.g. the annual project PATRIOT (which was introduced for the first time in 2005) involves the integration of youth from various regions in summer camps; it also facilitates intercultural dialogue between representatives of different nationalities residing in Georgia and with foreign student groups, namely from the Ukraine.
There are also some initiatives to promote the sale and distribution of season tickets by Zachariah Paliashvili State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet and project "Dmanisi" of the National Museum – which is a summer camp for children on archeology.
Some activities organised by the state could be considered as promoting participation in cultural life e.g.:
- the systematic organisation of public holidays and concerts tied to political events such as the visits by the President of the USA, President of Ukraine, President of Latvia etc;
- national holidays such as the Day of Independence on 26 May, Rose Revolution Anniversary, New Year etc.;
- municipal and local holidays established during the socialist period ("Tbilisoba"), and new ones organised on the Rustaveli Avenue initiated by the Service for Education and Culture of Tbilisi Municipality in 2005.
These events form part of the regular cultural policy framework as they are financed from the reserve funds of the President and the government.
For the purposes of facilitation of active involvement in society, particularly youth in the field of protection of national heritage, the National Agency of Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia carries out the following programmes:
- Archeology – The journey from finding artifacts to their restoration;
- Methods of one of the first branches of craftsmanship;
- How our ancestors lived – history of their garments, jewelry, things used in daily life and weaponry;
- From the Pagan Times to Christianity - touring through the ancient capital of Georgia-Mtskheta; and
- History of Art- general introductory course about worldwide recognised archaeological, ceramic and photographic masterpieces.
To involve the public, in particular youth, in cultural life, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia and the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia have launched a joint project "The Field Trip to Theatres" in January 2015. The large-scale project of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia is aimed at getting school students interested in theatre. In the frames of the Project, all school-age children throughout Georgia will be able to visit theatres to examine the stage and technical spaces. The school students will learn about the theatre’s history and archives; they will attend rehearsals, meet with theatre directors and actors and will even enjoy a 50% discount on tickets. In the first phase the project involves 11 theatres subordinated to the Ministry. Step by step, the intention is to involve all Georgian theatres
"The Culture Strategy 2025" has specified the areas “Raising awareness” and “Promoting public access to culture”.
In 2015-2016, the state budget spent on promotion of cultural life of regions: in 2015 -13,578,357 GEL, in 2016 (plan) - 13,258,800 GEL; 37 legal entities of public law carried out more than 6,000 activities and attracted the audience of more than 200,000 people.
Implemented in 2015-2016:
- Regional festivals
- Promotion of regional theaters
- “Live Books”
- “Movie in Regions"
- “Movie at School”
- Tours of state theaters and musical centers in the regions
- Exhibitions in regions
- Promoting cultural life in the villages near the separating line of the administrative border
In 2017, the following programs were implemented in the strategic area “Raising awareness”:
- “Befriend the Heritage” - 100 members
- European Heritage Days - 17 municipalities, up to 2000 participants
- 100th Anniversary of Tbilisi Conservatoire - 4 conferences, 1 festival and 300 concerts
- “Night in Museum” - 74 museums, 53,883 visitors
- The Film Forum “See for the First Time in Bakuriani” for film experts, journalists and students
- 17 anniversary events (parties, publications, concerts):
- Nicholas Baratashvili’s Anniversary Year with UNESCO’s support
- Events dedicated to Ilia Chavchavadze’s anniversary.
- “25 Years of Independence – Georgian Cinematography” – study of the 25 years history of film industry
- Over 60 publications, editions, albums
- 48 national and international festivals held
- Performances in regional theaters - 17
- Theater tours in regions - 44
- Concerts of folk ensembles - 59
- Music concerts - 70
In 2017 in the strategic area “Development of Cultural Infrastructure and Facilitating Public Access to Culture” the following was implemented:
Integration of persons with disabilities
- Project “Inclusive Education in Georgian Museums”, 370 participants
- 10 projects involving 209 persons with disabilities - exhibitions, performances, concerts and other cultural events
Promoting ethnic minorities
- 13 projects
- 15 events within the framework of the program “Diverse Georgia”.
Activities in the regions along the separating line of the administrative border (Rukhi, Anaklia, Orsantia, Nikozi, Ditsi)
- Meeting with 9 writers
- 2 performances
- 5 film screenings
Promoting the involvement of internally displaced persons in the cultural life
Promotion of operation of 12 art schools in the areas of compact settlements of IDPs is underway. In these schools, 69 teachers are employed and 700 pupils are studying; Various circles are functioning in schools: felting, ceramics, painting, knitting, folk instruments and more.
Last update: September, 2018
For the past 27 years (1990-2017) systematic research and polls in the sphere of culture have not been held in Georgia due to the extremely dramatic and dynamic political life aggravated with the socio-economic crisis. The exception was the sociological research carried out on focus groups for the Conception of Development of Culture and Tourism in Tbilisi, held by the Fund for Culture Salvation under the order of the Service of Culture and Sports of Tbilisi Municipality in 2004.
As the research was targeted only at the detection of specific urban trends, nationwide data on participation of various social groups, distinctive by gender, age or educational level, in cultural activity, is not available.
Data on culture from the State Department for Statistics is not useful either as in the majority of cases cultural information was compiled with education or recreation, entertainment or even religion. The differential indicators in the sphere of culture cannot be separated.
Unfortunately, in 2004-2005 the amount of statistical data on culture has further decreased.
In November 2007, the newly designated Prime Minister of Georgia announced the need to separate the State Department of Statistics from the Ministry of Economic Development, and on granting sovereignty to this Department, because in the majority of cases the data submitted by the Department was embroidered to conform to the ministry's policy. As development of culture is not among the priorities of the policy implemented by the Ministry of Economic Development, the statistical data on culture for 2006-2007 "dissolved" in the data on education or the data on the social sphere.
However, the general trends of participation are as follows: the trends of cultural participation, which had been constantly growing since 1995, reached a peak in 2003. In 2004-2005 participation figures have stopped growing and have decreased in some spheres. In general, the trend of participation is much lower than in the 1980s.
There are many reasons for the low figures: living standards are lower; comparatively lower range of cultural services, in some cases obsolete (as in museums and libraries) and some have disappeared (e.g. cinemas which don't operate and there has been almost a total stoppage of film production). In 2007, state assistance in the cinema sphere is still insignificant – 1 477 073 GEL (1.9% of the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection); there is no real film production in Georgia.
During the past ten years the number of public libraries in Georgia reduced from 8 000 in 1990 to 2 160 in 2004. This decrease is most notable in the regions. However, for the last five years, the situation has stabilised to some extent.
Due to serious financial problems museums, archives and libraries are not able to maintain their infrastructure, to purchase new displays, publications, equipment etc. At the same time, for the past ten years the number of professional theatres has increased, although this increase took place at the expense of small theatres such as "Sardapi" or mobile troupes based on enterprise principles.
A decrease in visitor numbers was caused by the closing for repair of the largest academic theatres, on the one side, as well as the radically reduced average family income – only 1.8% of family incomes have been spent on culture, education and recreation jointly, with culture receiving 0.6%.
According to the data of 2016, the share of culture in household expenditure is 1.1%.
Source: UNESCO “Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS) for Georgia”, 2017; EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Program; the Ministry of Couture and Monument Protection 2017 Report.
Table 19: Data on cultural participation in Georgia, 2000, 2005-2011
|Public and universal libraries(quantity in units)||2 208||2 056||1 726||672||824||---||---||---|
|Book lending (in million copies)||31.1||28.3||20.7||---||17.3||---||---||---|
|Museums (quantity in units)||101||111||137||139||126||112||118||183|
|Visitors of museums (in thousand)||376.6||301.0||472.6||446.4||436.2||616.2||730.1||705.1|
|Theatres (quantity in units)||37||41||46||46||45||42||44||45|
|Spectators of theatres (in thousand)||508.2||256.0||343.6||437.8||394.3||468.6||359.9||404.2|
Source: State Department for Statistics of Georgia.
Table 19 a: Data on cultural participation in Georgia, 2005-2017
Publishing of Books, Magazines and Newspapers 2005-2010
|Number of copies, mln.||0,3||2,4||2,8||1,9||2,1||2,2|
|Annual circulation of magazines and other periodicals, mln. copies||1,1||3,4||16,2||19,2||23,2||25,9|
|Number of newspapers, unit||88||209||181||221||199||225|
|Of which daily||...||13||15||15||12||14|
|2-3-times in a week¹)||...||17||15||17||6||6|
|Twice in month||...||34||25||32||19||29|
|Once in every 2-3 month||...||13||6||8||5||8|
|Single circulation, mln. copies||0,4||0,8||0,5||0,7||0,5||0,8|
|Annual circulation mln. copies||17,9||35,9||33,3||33,2||35,1||46,7|
1) in 2006-2008 years 2-4 times in a week. Source: Ilia Chavchavadze National Parliamentary Library of Georgia
Publishing of Books, Magazines and Newspapers 2011-2017
|Number of copies, mln.||2,8||2,8||3,1||3,1||3,1||3,1||...|
|Annual circulation of magazines and other periodicals, mln. copies||27,4||27,7||27,8||27,8||27,8||27,8||...|
|Number of newspapers, unit||284||301||311||313||314||317||...|
|Of which daily||12||14||14||14||14||14||16|
|2-3-times in a week²)||17||18||19||19||19||19||10|
|Twice in month||24||25||26||26||26||26||12|
|Once in every 2-3 month||35||38||39||39||39||39||12|
|Single circulation, mln. copies||0,1||0,1||0,1||0,1||0,1||0,1||...|
|Annual circulation, mln. copies||51,5||57,4||60,4||60,4||60,4||60,4||...|
Source: Ilia Chavchavadze National Parliamentary Library of Georgia
Table 19 b: Data on cultural participation in Georgia, 2005-2017
Museums (Museum Unions) and Museum Reserves (unit) - 2005-2010
|Total number of museums||111||137||139||126||112||118|
|Annual attendance, thsd.||301,1||472,6||446,4||436,2||616,2||730,1|
|Number of excursions||11837||15472||14875||20369||23022||27336|
|Number of exhibitions||366||429||556||549||608||617|
Notice: 2009 includes also data of National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia. Data from 2011 includes data on separate museums.
Museums (Museum Unions) and Museum Reserves (unit) - 2011-2017
|Total number of museums||183||188||191||193||207||219||241|
|Annual attendance, thsd.||705,1||993,7||1100,9||1065,8||1335,9||1674,9||1910,0|
|Number of excursions||26696||33018||35850||39595||47676||51339||58274|
|Number of exhibitions||686||664||710||851||919||1008||1076|
Table 19 c: Data on cultural participation in Georgia, 2006-2017
|Total number of theatres||46||46||45||42||44||45||44||48||49||49||49||49|
|opera and ballet||2||2||2||2||1||2||2||2||2||2||2||2|
|drama, musical comedy and miniatures||36||35||35||32||35||35||34||37||38||38||38||38|
|children and youth||2||2||2||2||2||2||2||2||2||2||2||2|
|Number of seat in the hall, thsd (Includes rented)||14,2||13,8||13,5||12,7||12,8||12,4||12,5||13,3||14,5||13,7||16,0||15,9|
|Number of performances||2919||3458||3134||3711||3216||3654||3514||3871||4433||4724||4679||4827|
|o.w. Number of performances outside main scene||169||171||115||135||154||150||150||183||181||203||252||302|
|Annual attendance, thsd.||343,6||437,8||394,3||468,6||359,9||404,2||353,7||433,9||486,9||554,5||601,8||576,8|
|Average attendance per one performance||118||127||126||126||112||111||101||112||110||117||129||119|
|Number of performances during tours abroad||78||84||28||41||43||54||90||116||142||135||160||203|
Table 19 d: Data on cultural participation in Georgia, 2006-2017
Data on Professional Theatres by Regions
Number of performances, unit
Annual attendance, thsd.
There are some research studies and opinions on the monitoring of the participation of representatives of national minorities in the cultural life of the community, carried out by the Public Movement "Multinational Georgia" (http://www.pmmg.info). One of the recent efforts is the Alternative Report on Implementation of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe on the Protection of National Minorities, but this report has not been published yet. No other information is currently available.
Please find the available information on this subject in 6.2.
Last update: September, 2018
Amateur arts and folk culture
The amateur arts in Georgia are divided into two groups: a) folklore and b) all other art-forms. There is a strong affection among the population for folk songs and dances in which Georgians hold great pride. Folk ensembles, in particular, of vocalists, are plentiful throughout Georgia. The culture of preservation, study and development of folklore in Georgia has been raised to the professional level. Moreover, the Georgian vocal polyphony of folksongs and chorals is regarded as important at the international level. Consequently, many villages and towns have their own folk ensembles, which reflects the diversity of Georgian music folklore and, on the other hand, supports continued interest in the training of young people in this field. Large ensembles often have groups for young people where the future generations of singers are encouraged. Folklore ensembles are also popular among the national minorities.
The crafts sector is not as widely developed. In comparison with the performing arts, the craft field requires special programmes of support for preservation and maintenance. This is especially important against the background of the critical socio-economic situation in the countryside where ceramics, carpet weaving, embroidery etc. are practiced.
All other types of amateur arts are less popular than folklore and are mainly urban based (e.g. people's theatre and fine arts). Recently groups for teenagers in large cities have become more involved in modern genres of amateur art related to new technologies and social development – multimedia, graffiti, e-music. This subculture has yet been developed does not receive state support, though some municipal initiatives related to mass culture are touching on this type of amateur art, although only in the performing arts sector.
After the Rose Revolution, the interest of the state in folklore has increased greatly, whereby many projects in this sphere are organised and funded. The most significant are: the International Folklore Festival "Chveneburi", ART GENE, and the Presidential Programme "National Voice".
Local cultures in a globalising world are facing certain risks. In Georgia, however, there are very strong traditions of ethnographic and folk culture, resulting in a high percentage of people who develop folklore, both on an amateur and professional level. The government support in this area is high and is being implemented through the National Folklore Centre.
In 2004, a State Folklore Centre was created as a legal entity of public law under the ministry of Culture and Cultural Heritage. The Centre is commissioned with and devoted to restoration and demonstration of the present vital ethno culture and life. The main mission of the Centre is to research, preserve, develop and popularise the non-material cultural heritage. The Centre implements the state folklore policy nationwide and promotes the restoration of broken ties between the villages, regions, districts and the central authorities.
The archive of the State Folklore Centre has been created (the notes of songs and chants, samples of oral folk arts, folk plays, manuscripts of famous scientists and ethnic music experts, biographies and photos of well-known conductors and singers, albums of photos of festivals and fests have been registered and stocked) a small part of which has been published and the greater part is being processed.
Since 2006, the presidential national programme for folklore promotion has been implemented with the following goals:
- to maintain folk art in Georgia, to restore its ancient roots;
- establishment, protection and popularisation of folk art authenticity;
- studying, collecting and recording of musical traditions in regions and scientific research of the musical repertoire. Creation of the archive material of the 21st century on the basis of the researched materials;
- display of the unknown samples of folk art, awakening interests in folk creativity in the youth and popularisation of folk verses;
- promotion of traditional crafts; and
- promotion of the national cultural treasury to foreign audiences and Georgian diaspora.
For systematisation and quality enhancement of the folklore activity in Georgia, a study of the creative level of active folk collectives and the creation of a database has been commenced in 2011 - "Certification of Folklore Ensembles".
Certification will promote the folklore ensembles to search for state support.
In the framework of the programme, the following activities have been implemented:
- study of folklore samples
In 2007, in the framework of the project "Mobile Voice Recording Studio and Video Studio" in the regions of Georgia, up to 500 unique samples of ancient folklore was recorded. The mobile voice recording studio, which is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, continues its research work of recording, restoration and popularisation of unknown samples of folklore;
In the framework of the electronic version of the self-teaching guide of Georgian folk song in 2007, the studio recording of Georgian folk songs was produced. It also involved the release of a self-teaching guide on DVD for teaching polyphonic singing.
In the framework of the project of releasing a DVD of unique choreographic materials, a DVD of authentic folk dances showing performances by song and dance ensembles and individual performers of the past century was recorded. The DVD is directed at choreographers, choreologists and dancers.
The project "Computerisation of Archive Records and Georgian Collection of Wax Cylinders" was implemented in 2007-2009 and provided the transfer of unique Georgian folk song stored in the record library of the National Central Archive of Georgia to digital format.
- Folklore expeditions
The project "Folklore Expeditions in Regions of Georgia and In Artvin Region of the Republic of Turkey" was implemented in 2007-2010 and aimed at the search, storage, study and popularisation of unknown folklore materials in the regions.
In the framework of the project, the folklore expeditions were conducted in Ajara, Zemo Svaneti, Kakheti, Guria and Artvin Region. The mobile voice recording studio operated in the regions of Georgia and the small group of Georgianaliving in Artvin (Turkey) have recorded the folk music samples, searched and restored the lost folk songs and introduced them to various folklore collectives.
- Evenings with…
In the framework of the project "Evenings with …" in 2006-2010, at Tbilisi Central Concert Hall, a jubilee concert was held, devoted to the 125th anniversary of the National Folk Song and Dance Ensemble of Georgia "Erisioni"; the city of Batumi hosted concerts of I. Sukhishvili and N. Ramishvili Georgian National Ballet company; and evenings devoted to the creative work of the oldest representatives of folk poetry and folklore Islam Pilpani, Polikarpe Khubulaba, Andro Simashvili and in memory of MAro Tarkhnishvili.
- Promotion and rewarding of folklore artists
Since 2008 a yearly ceremony is held to award the winners of the National Folklore Reward. The Commission for granting the national folklore reward was created at the National Folklore Centre of Georgia, which determines the fields and priorities. The winners receive money, awards and diplomas.
The festival – "Art-Gen" is held annually since 2003 and its main purpose is promoting samples of folklore and various old traditions, folk handicraft in the regions of our country and widening knowledge among the general public.
In the framework of the project for the study of the creative work of the folklore groups in the regions there have been expeditions, workshops and master-classes of applied art. The final event is held in Tbilisi.
- Educational projects:
Master classes for choreographers and Georgian folk song performers in 2007-2010 were led by famous choreographers and specialists of Georgian ethno music of Tbilisi State Conservatory. The educational booklet "Georgian Folk Song and Performance" was also produced.
Summer Schools of Folk Handicraft (2008-2010) aimed at popularisation of folk handicraft were also held.
In framework of a project in the Oni Region a two-month training programme was held on Georgian felt production.
In the six summer schools of folk handicraft, experienced masters taught young people the technologies related to folk handicraft: in Mestia region – woodcarving and Svan hat making, in Mtskheta and Sachkhere regions – Georgian felt preparation, in Akhaltsikhe region – Meskh carpet weaving, in Tserovani settlement the young refugees from Samachablo have learned woodcarving.
The state budget expenditures in the field of folklore amounted to:
In 2015 (fact) - 4,203,968 GEL; in 2016 (plan) - 3,970,000 GEL.
The staff employed in 5 legal entities of public law comprised 346 persons with the average salary of 797 GEL.
In 2016 the State Folklore Center carried out:
- The National Folklore Festival
- Representation in 15 municipalities and a choirmaster school
- 15 expeditions in Georgia, 1 expedition abroad
- Georgian Folk Song Festival “Nikozi 2015”
- “Svan Zari” - an element of intangible cultural heritage
- Folk poetry event “The Verse Not To Be Lost”
- Digitalization of 8000 traditional handwritten folk chorales
In 2016 four state folk ensembles (“Sukhishvilebi”, “Erisioni”, “Rustavi”, “Basiani”) conducted:
- 142 concerts
- 121 tours
- 345,150 viewers and listeners.
Cultural houses and community cultural clubs
Within the last 25 years the network of former cultural houses and clubs of the Soviet period has been trimmed down. In general, these centres of culture have been privatised and only a small number have preserved their main profile. Unfortunately no statistical data is available as these cultural houses and clubs were always under the control of the regional or municipal authorities, which provide no detailed reports on cultural data. Nevertheless, to some extent these cultural centres have been replaced with new associations and unions.