6. Cultural participation and consumption
Last update: February, 2022
Before the Culture Strategy 2025 was created in 2016, there was no clear coordinated or strategically developed governmental programme for the promotion of participation in cultural life, and no state policy for extended civil participation or development / solidarity in the civic community.
There are 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 archeology camp for children.
Some activities organized by the state could be considered as promoting participation in cultural life e.g.:
- National holidays such as the Day of Independence on 26 May, Rose Revolution Anniversary, New Year etc.;
- Municipal and local holidays
For the purposes of facilitation of active involvement of the public, particularly of the youth in the field of protection of national heritage, the National Agency of Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia carries out the following programs:
- 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 introduction
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 "Field Trip to Theatres" in January 2015. This 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 highlighted the areas of “Raising awareness” and “Promoting public access to culture”.
In 2017-2019 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”
- Projects involving persons with disabilities - exhibitions, performances, concerts and other cultural events
- Promoting ethnic minorities- events within the framework of the programme “Diverse Georgia”
- Activities in the regions along the administrative border separating line (Rukhi, Anaklia, Orsantia, Nikozi, Ditsi)
- Promoting the involvement of internally displaced persons in 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 attend. Various project groups run in schools: feltmaking, ceramics, painting, knitting, folk instruments and more.
Since 2020, Covid- 19 has contained and slowed down the process of cultural consumption and participation in cultural life.
In 2021, the Minister of the newly established Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth announced 12 priorities of the Culture Promotion Programme. The 8th priority is accessibility of culture. In 2021, the Ministry funded the following sub-programmes in the framework of this priority:
- Supporting children's access to books;
- Classical music, Georgian concerts and folklore in the regions - promotion of regional projects;
- Professional theatres of the capital in the regions - promotion with tour expenses;
- Facilitating the implementation of individual creative projects/initiatives in the regions, including at the occupation line;
- Concerts of classical music in open and alternative spaces (schools, museums, libraries);
- Cultural projects/events for Georgian Sunday schools operating abroad;
- One creator (actor, artist, writer, art critic, etc.) per village;
- Developing a concept for the sale of creative and publishing products.
Last update: February, 2022
For the past 30 years no systematic research and polls in the sphere of culture have been held in Georgia due to the extremely dramatic and dynamic political life aggravated by 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 Sport 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 LEPL The National Statistics Office of Georgia is not useful either as in the majority of cases cultural information was compiled with education or recreation, entertainment or even religion data. The differential indicators in the sphere of culture cannot be separated.
Unfortunately, in 2020-2021 the amount of statistical data on culture has further decreased.
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, obsolete in some cases (as in museums and libraries) and even disappeared.
Over a period of 18 years the number of public libraries in Georgia reduced from 8 000 in 1990 to 824 in 2008. This decrease is most notable in the regions. However, for the last five years, the situation has stabilized to some extent.
Due to serious financial problems, local museums, archives and libraries are not able to maintain their infrastructure, to purchase new displays, publications, equipment etc. At the same time, in 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 repertory companies based on enterprise principles.
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".
Table 4: People who participated in or attended a certain cultural activity during the last 12 months in Georgia (in % of the population, over 3 available years)
|Year 2018||Year 2019||Year 2020|
|Activities largely subsidized by the state|
|Theatre||582 681 (15.62%)||614 616 (16.50%)||125 644 (3.38%)|
|Concerts of classic music||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Museums||2 114 666 (56.69%)||2 253 225 (60.51%)||309 900 (8.33%)|
|Activities without large public subsidies - information not available|
Table 4 a: Data on cultural participation in Georgia, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2020
|Year 2000||Year 2005||Year 2010||Year 2015||Year 2020|
|Public and universal libraries|
(quantity in units)
|2 208||2 056||---||-||-|
|Book lending |
(in million copies)
(quantity in units)
|Visitors of museums |
(quantity in units)
There is no information available about people who participated in or attended certain cultural activities without large public subsidies in Georgia (over 3 years) There is no information available about people who have carried out artistic activities.
Last update: February, 2022
According to data from 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; http://observatory.culturepartnership.eu/en/article/cdis-georgia No information about household cultural expenditure by expenditure purpose is currently available; the studies of household cultural expenditure by expenditure purpose have never been undertaken in Georgia.
Last update: February, 2022
Within the last 30 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 privatized and only a small number have preserved their main profile; the institutions of culture (clubs, centres and houses of culture) that are accountable to the local bodies of administration and self-government have legal NGO-status although they receive state-municipal financing.
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.
Public art creation is a priority in Georgia. Accordingly, this is reflected in the strategy, programmes, etc.
The strategic areas of the Culture Strategy 2025, approved in 2016, include "Access to Culture and Cultural Diversity"
Goal: Culture is accessible to all members of the society and the freedom of cultural expression is safeguarded.
2.1.Objective: Culture is made accessible to all, including the communities in mountainous regions, municipalities adjacent to the state borders, occupied territories and across the dividing lines of occupied territories.
2.2.Objective: All members of the society, including vulnerable groups, youth and minorities are actively engaged in cultural life and have access to cultural infrastructure and resources.
The Ministry of Culture supports the amateur arts and people's creativity via programmes, for instance in relation to support for young artists and folklore.
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. 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 carols 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 government support in this area is high and is being implemented through the National Folklore Centre (created in 2004). The Centre is commissioned with and devoted to restoration and demonstration of the present vital ethnic culture and life. The main mission of the Centre is to research, preserve, develop and popularize 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.
For systematization 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 was commenced through Certification of Folklore Ensembles in 2011. The archive of the State Folklore Centre was created.
The State Folklore Centre carries out strategic projects:
- 2007-2009 -The project "Computerization of Archive Records and Georgian Collection of Wax Cylinders" provided the transfer of unique Georgian folk songs stored in the record library of the National Central Archive of Georgia to digital format.
- 2007-2010-The project "Folklore Expeditions in the Regions of Georgia and In Artvin Region of the Republic of Turkey”
- 2007-2010 -Master classes for choreographers and Georgian folk song performers.
- The educational booklet "Georgian Folk Song and Performance" was also produced.
The festival – "Art-Gen" has been held annually since 2003 and its main purpose is promoting samples of folklore and various old traditions, folk handicraft in the regions of Georgia and widening knowledge among the general public.
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 practised.
All other types of amateur arts are less popular than folklore and are mainly urban based. 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 is still developing and does not receive state support, though some municipal initiatives related to mass culture deal with this type of amateur art, although only in the performing arts.
There are 5 legal entities of public law in the field of folklore. The staff employed in these organizations totals 346 persons, with the average salary of 797 GEL.
The state budget expenditure in the field of folklore amounted to:
In 2015 – 4 203 968 GEL;
in 2016 – 3 970 000 GEL.
In 2021 – 378 000 GEL. (State programme "Support of Georgia Folk")
State support has decreased greatly since 2020.