1. Cultural policy system
Last update: March, 2020
The Ministry of Culture is charged with the task of conducting cultural policies, preserving culture and cultural heritage, and developing partnerships in the cultural field. According to the Law on the Protection and Development of Culture, the Council of Ministers, on a proposal from the Minister of Culture, adopts a National Strategy for the Development of Culture for a period of ten years. In March 2019, a Draft Strategy for the Development of the Bulgarian Culture by 2029 was published, whose strategic goals are the preservation of cultural memory and historical heritage, the search for an effective mechanism for financing from the state and municipal budgets, as well as attracting alternative financial sources and the digitalisation of cultural content. This project has not yet been officially approved or secured. In scope, culture is limited to only nine areas covered by the Ministry of Culture – cultural heritage, visual arts, performing arts, books, reading and libraries, amateur arts, audio vision and media, copyright and related arts, international cultural heritage, culture and education.
Since 2018, one of the objectives of the Ministry of Culture appears to be long-term policy to support culture as a national priority. However, this objective has not been met yet as of end 2019.
In recent years, joint financing – by the national and municipal budget – of theatres, opera houses and philharmonic orchestras has been a definite achievement. However, due to the permanent financial problems of the municipalities, it has been difficult to reach agreements with the Ministry of Culture on their contributions, and municipalities do not always keep their part of the deal. That is why developing local cultural policies and strategies still remains a good intention rather than a fact.
Cinema and literature have no state-subsidised structures; state subsidies are rather granted to individual projects on the basis of competitive bidding. It is hard to define an overall model of cultural policy applicable to the sector in Bulgaria. The observations registered after 1989 tend to reveal an eclectic approach and pragmatic decisions, according to the aims of each governmental programme, but not an overall vision characterised by a long term development strategy.
In the course of Bulgaria's transition to a democracy and market economy, a series of cultural reforms have been conducted in the past ten years, with the following objectives:
• decentralisation of the administration and financing of culture;
• freedom of action and formation of market-oriented attitudes of cultural institutions and artists;
• amendments to cultural legislation designed to meet the new socio-economic challenges;
• establishment of an administrative environment facilitating cultural development and European integration;
• guaranteeing the equality of state, municipal and private cultural institutions; and
• strengthening the role of the non-governmental sector. Decentralisation, regarded as the top priority at the start of transition, has remained a controversial issue both for cultural circles and the general public. At present, there are three sources of conflict: 1) central government and the legislature which, on the one hand, are decentralising the financing and administration of cultural institutions while, on the other, retaining partial control over the latter; 2) local government, which is eager for greater autonomy, but still prefers most of the responsibilities for and financing of culture to be borne by the central government; and 3) NGOs, which are the most active champions of decentralisation, but are still weak in terms of networking and their influence on the legislature and opinion-making.
The fiscal policy pursued by the national government was a centralised model of budget financing with subsidies equally shared among the existing networks and cultural institutions. In a context of economic crisis and budget restrictions, this meant less and less funds for their core activities and doomed some of the structures to de-professionalisation.
At the end of the 1990s, the Ministry of Culture has started financing the cultural activities of these institutions on a competitive basis, which makes it possible to provide differentiated support to the individual cultural institutions, depending on their contribution to culture and the artistic and economic results of their activities. This new way of financing is based on the transfer of part of the state subsidies for cultural institutions to concrete creative projects on the basis of equal treatment of applicants.
Late 19th and early 20th century: The climate for culture was constructed of values and goals towards self-affirmation, harmonisation with European culture, openness to foreign cultural influences, enlightenment and, to some extent, emulation. Cultural institutions were regarded as a means to boost the self-confidence of the nation and assert the values of European culture.
1948: This atmosphere changed when the Communist regime took over. During 45 years of communist rule, cultural policy was characterised by total centralisation of cultural processes within the state administration, ideological monopoly over the promotion of cultural values and the extensive development of totalitarian cultural institutions. The arts were regarded as a means of education and enlightenment rather than entertainment and therefore responsibility for the arts and culture was declared as the exclusive domain of the state. Totalitarian cultural institutions were created covering all spheres of cultural life.
1950-1970: By the early 1950s, the system of state cultural institutions was fully established and running smoothly. Each element of this system was hierarchically subordinated and subject to dual – State and Communist Party – control. The cultural policies pursued at the time were ideologically orthodox, and any form of dissent from the official line was penalised. It was only after 1956 that the echo of Khrushchev's reforms brought about a certain thaw in the ideological climate, trumpeted by the ruling Bulgarian Communist Party as its "April Policy", which was promptly abandoned after the Prague Spring in August 1968. The subsequent period of stagnation was extolled as a period of "flowering socialist art".
1970-1980: There was a move to introduce the so-called "public-cum-state principle" in the administration of culture, which presupposed the involvement of all governing bodies and a radically extended range of people, in decision-making processes. The Bureau and the Presidium of the Committee for Culture were elected bodies, but their heads and members could not take office without the approval of the National Assembly and the State Council. Public participation in cultural debates soon turned into a ritual designed to provide legitimacy to decisions already taken. The promotion of "the public-cum-state principle" as a democratic achievement of Bulgarian cultural policy proved to be a demagogic propaganda campaign: despite the proclaimed participation of governing bodies in culture, the real decision-making took place in the Communist Party. Under the influence of Soviet perestroika (Mikhail Gorbachev’s reform policy) in the mid-1980s, some of the creative unions turned into opposition associations of intellectuals and their 1989 congresses became forums for attacks against the communist system.
1989-2000: Bulgaria's new cultural policy model was created after 1989. Culture was one of the spheres worst affected by the economic and spiritual crisis during the course of transition. At the same time, the ongoing reforms in society have had a particularly positive impact on culture. During the transition period, cultural development in Bulgaria was in a searching phase and concepts frequently changed. Few activities of the different levels of government were followed up and there was little coordination between these levels. The main responsibilities for financing culture were decentralised and then recentralised. The private business sector had little interest in supporting cultural activities.
1993-2007: Bulgaria became a candidate for EU membership, which entailed substantial legal and administrative reforms towards decentralisation, democratisation, improvement of access, promotion of cultural diversity, protection of copyrights, internationalisation and facilitation of the artists' mobility, protection and development of cultural heritage and its sustainable use, etcetera; and Bulgaria started its pro-active participation in the work of the key intergovernmental institutions (Council of Europe, UNESCO, CEI etc.) and became an equal player at international scale.
2007: Bulgaria became a full member of the European Union. The synchronisation of the legislation in the field of culture has begun. New regulations are being implemented which clearly define the responsibilities of the different administrative levels of government. Considerable steps forward are being taken by civil society. The third sector is consolidating and the business sector is starting to show signs that they are willing to adopt a new attitude of partnership.
2007-2019: Due to urbanisation, cultural national policy and the related activities and strategies became more focused on the major cities and some municipalities. In 2013, the Sofia Strategy for Culture 2013-2023 was published, followed by the Cultural Strategy of Plovdiv Municipality 2014-2024. In 2014, Sofia was selected by UNESCO as the City of Film and became member of the Creative Cities Network by UNESCO. In 2015, Plovdiv was selected for European Capital of Culture 2019. In 2019, a Draft National Strategy for the Development of Culture 2019-2029 was published.
Last update: March, 2020
Last update: March, 2020
At the national level, responsibility for the formulation and implementation of cultural policies is shared between the legislature (the National Assembly) and the executive (the Council of Ministers).
The supreme central executive body with the right to initiate legislation in the sphere of culture and formulate the main principles of national cultural policy is the Ministry of Culture.
The Ministry of Culture is headed by a Minister who is advised mainly by a Collegium and several expert councils representing various arts fields. The Minister is entitled to appoint his/her own political cabinet, which supports him/her in reaching and promoting concrete decisions concerning governmental policy and its promotion in society. The Political Cabinet comprises deputy-ministers, the head of the Cabinet, the Parliamentary Secretary and the head of The Public Relations Unit. There are three specialised units within the structure of the Cabinet: Protocol Service, Inspectorate and Internal Audit Units.
The structure of the Ministry has been changed two times in the last decade. The new structure of the Ministry came into force in November 2009. (In June 2010, a third Deputy Minister was appointed to take charge of the new theatre reform.)
In 2014, a new Structural Regulation of the Ministry of Culture came into force. The deputy ministries were cut from three to two. There are four directorates in charge of the Secretary dealing with General Administration – “Administrative Services and Human Resources”, “Public Relations and Protocol”, “Budget, Financial and Accounting Activities” and “Property Management”. The specialised administration includes the general directorate “Inspectorate General for Cultural Heritage” and 6 other directorates of “Cultural Heritage, Museums and Fine Arts”, “Legal Services and Public Procurement”, “European Programs and Projects”, “International and Regional Activities”, “Performing Arts and Art Education” and “Copyright and Neighbouring Rights”.
The Executive Agency National Film Centre and the National Institute of Monuments of Culture, which is in charge of the protection of cultural landscapes, remain structures with an autonomous legal status and budget. The activities of the Executive Agency and the Institute are guided by a programme approved by the Minister of Culture, supervised by a deputy minister and implemented by their respective directors.
Last update: March, 2020
The lower levels of cultural competencies correspond to the constitutional division of territorial administrative units: districts (oblast) and municipalities (obshtina). According to the Law on Protection and Development of Culture, regional cultural institutes could be founded, transformed or closed by the Council of Ministers on a proposal by the Minister of Culture, in agreement with the regional governor, after a decision by the municipal council on whose territory their headquarters are located. Regional cultural institutes are funded by:
- The municipalities on whose territory their headquarters are located, there are additional funds provided from the state budget for their subsistence;
- From contributions made to their budgets from the state and the municipalities on whose territory regional cultural institutes operate, the amount of which are determined annually by decision of the relevant municipal councils.
In some regions (Smolyan, for example) there is a Regional Council of Culture, an consultative and coordinating body to the Regional Governor. It task is to assist the governor in the implementation of the state cultural policy. The creation of such councils is not explicitly required by law.
Last update: March, 2020
The main unit of territorial administration is the municipality (of which there are 262), which is legally autonomous, and has property rights and freedom of association. At the municipal level, cultural competence is exercised in the form of local self-government, including financial control which is distributed among the respective municipal Councils of Culture.
Each municipality has a Deputy Mayor of Culture. Municipalities formulate and implement their policies for the protection and development of culture, combining the principles of national cultural policy with local conditions and traditions.
The Municipal Council is the body that makes key decisions in the municipality, including the municipal funding of cultural institutes in its territory. The council also administrates competitions for cultural initiatives, creative projects and targeted programmes, which are funded by the municipal budget. Its main task is to provide creative scholarships to support young artists, to establish awards for contributions and achievements in culture, support the development of amateur art activities and to create programs for preserving folk art.
Public-expert committees and councils support the activities of the municipalities. These advisory bodies include representatives of creative unions, individual artists and experts. Committees and councils are committed to providing opinions and evaluations on the activities of municipal and regional cultural institutes, and in aligning national cultural policy principles with local conditions and traditions.
On the other hand, the Municipal Council has the obligation to create a municipal culture fund. The fund is financially supported by several sources – provided through the implementation of targeted programmes and projects in the culture, donations, legacy and sponsorships, interest on the accounts of the fund, and others. The fund’s resources are directed to the implementation of cultural projects, participation in co-productions with individuals and legal entities of Bulgarian and international cultural initiatives, supporting amateur art activities and providing scholarships for talented children.
Last update: March, 2020
The sessions of the Committee on Culture and Media at the National Assembly (Bulgaria’s legislative body) are allowed to be attended by citizens, as well as civil and trade union, professional and branch organisations. Their representatives may attend the sessions of the Committee on their own initiative, submit their written opinions and participate in the debates on the draft act by the National Assembly concerning their subject of activity. Each member of the leadership of the Committee on Culture and the Media may invite individuals or legal entities (NGOs) to attend the meeting to address the issues under discussion.
Civil organisations and NGOs also take their place in the Public Council of the Minister of Culture. This is an advisory body for decision-making and policy-making on public cultural policy issues. There are several quota for the amount of relevant professional and civic organisations, NGO’s and also citizens in the council.
The branch organisations (professional) in Bulgaria have the opportunity to lobby for concrete politics and law changes. Main actors among them are:
- Association of Film and Television Producers;
- Bulgarian Association of Music Producers;
- Union of Actors in Bulgaria;
- Union of Bulgarian Journalists;
- Union of Bulgarian Writers;
- Union of Bulgarian Composers;
- Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers;
- Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers.
The interest and desire of private businesses to support the development of culture and arts in Bulgaria is starting to grow. The most active are banks and financial institutions, service companies (communications, airlines, etc), distributors of foreign products, followed by industrial companies. Companies are most interested in providing sponsorship to:
• music – a considerable part of the support goes to popular forms;
• literature – supporting publications of particular books; and
• theatre – partnerships with mainly large, powerful companies.
Some banks are the main actors that support young talents, contemporary art and education in the cultural field in Bulgaria. For many years, Societe Generale has supported the National Academy of Arts and the International Ballet Competition in Varna. In January 2019, a majority stake of the company was acquired by OTP Bank, and cultural policies remain in place for the time being. In January 2012, UniCredit Bulbank opened its own contemporary art gallery, UniCredit Studio, which supports and represents Bulgarian and international authors.
The Centre for Culture and Debate “The Red House Andei Nikolov” (founded in 2004) is a platform to develop the independent arts scene and stimulate civic participation. The centre operates within three overarching programmes: "Society and Politics", "Arts and Culture", "Social Practices and Psychodrama".
Last update: March, 2020
Along with the administrative breakdown of cultural competence, there are interdepartmental commissions that co-ordinate the central government’s activities. Culture is just part of the general competence of these commissions, which have been set up for other fields such as education, foreign policy, youth, tourism, and ecology. There are standing and interim interdepartmental commissions that have consultative capacities and the right to initiate legislation. There is a consultative Council on Cultural Affairs which reports to the President of the Republic.
Since 1997, the National Council for Ethnic and Demographic Issues (NCEDI, now the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Demographic Issues), within the Council of Ministers, has operated as a state and public body. According to Article 1 of the NCEDI's regulations, the aim of NCEDI is "implementation of consultations and cooperation and coordination between the government structures and non-government organisations, aiming at the formation and realisation of a national policy regarding ethnic and demographic issues and migration". In 2004, the NCEDI was transformed into the National Council for Interethnic Interaction.
Ad-hoc inter-ministerial groups are established in relation to different projects, programmes and national initiatives – e.g. Project Implementation Units (PIU) for EU funded programmes, National Committees, National Councils and working groups.
The National Council on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage was established in 2006. The Council on Cultural Diversity was also established in 2006 and is mainly in charge of integration of minorities. The Inter-ministerial Advisory Group on the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue was established in April 2007.
An inter-ministerial/intergovernmental working group for digitalisation of cultural heritage (cultural content) was set up at the end of 2008. Its members are representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, The University Library, National Historical Museum, and the Archives National Agency. In 2009, an inter-ministerial/intergovernmental working group on cultural statistics was set up. Its members are representatives of the Ministry of Culture and the National Statistical Institute and some other agencies such as the Observatory of Cultural Economics.
Last update: March, 2020
As a result of the dominance of the state, public cultural institutions have retained their leading role and main responsibility for the development of culture in Bulgaria for years. At the same time, by steadily cutting annual public spending on culture, the state gradually relinquished its former absolute responsibility for culture, thus jeopardising the very survival of some cultural institutions. In the past few years, the state has given priority to the reallocation of public responsibilities to the local level, however, without changing the status of public cultural institutions.
There is no specific statutory framework and clear agenda of cultural reform. The private enterprise aimed at divestment and establishment of non-governmental for-profit (and partly non-profit) organisations has been haphazard. They operate in certain spheres of culture only, foremost the media and cultural industries, where a free market model of cultural products and services was partly established.
Regarding NGOs, support for culture came foremost from external sources or partners – mainly from the Open Society Foundation and various European Union programmes (like Creative Europe), as well as donations from numerous foreign funds and foundations (EEA Grants), and from expatriate Bulgarians.
Last update: March, 2020
Table 1: Cultural institutions, by sector and domain
|Domain||Cultural institutions (subdomains)||Public sector||Private sector|
|Number (year)||Trend last 5 years (In %)||Number (year)||Trend last 5 years (In %)|
|Cultural heritage||Cultural heritage sites (recognised)|
|Museums||Museum institutions||173 (2014) 145 (2018)||-16,1%|
|Visual arts||Public art galleries / exhibition halls||31 (2014) 29 (2018)||-6,4%|
|Performing arts||Scenic and stable spaces for theatre||60 (2014) 60 (2018)*||0%||12 (2014) 15 (2018)||+25%|
|Dance and ballet companies||59 (2014) 51(2018)||-13,5%|
|Symphonic orchestras||5 (2014) 5 (2018)||0%|
|Libraries||Libraries||48 (2014) 47 (2018)||-2,1%|
|Audiovisual||Cinemas||49 (2014) 69 (2018)||+40,8%|
|Broadcasting organisations||112 (2014) 116 (2018)||+3,57%|
|Interdisciplinary||Socio-cultural centres / cultural houses||3075 (2012) 3321 (2017)**||+8%|
Source: National Statistical Institute
*The data are for state and municipal theatres in total, because both of them are funded by the state.
** There are no data on the number of socio-cultural centres / cultural houses in 2013.
Last update: March, 2020
The national strategy towards decentralisation is vested in the Protection and Development of Culture Act, which has changed the status of cultural institutions in Bulgaria. The Act classifies cultural institutions as "state institutions of national importance" (financed wholly and with priority by the Ministry of Culture budget); "state institutions" (financed by the Ministry of Culture and municipalities); "departmental institutions" (financed wholly or partly by the respective department, when they are institutions of a government department); "municipal institutions" (financed by the municipal budget); "regional cultural institutions" (financed by the respective municipality on whose territory they are located, by municipal contributions and supplementary funds determined on an annual basis by the National Budget Act).
Cultural NGOs come in many varieties and may call themselves alliances, societies, associations, foundations, funds, unions, committees, centres, festivals, academies, Chitalishte, trustees, independent theatres, federations, institutes, etc. Depending on their function, they are classified mainly as operational and community NGOs. A Not for Profit Legal Entities Act, regulating their incorporation and activities, was adopted in 2000.
The Ministry of Culture promotes partnerships between the governmental and nongovernmental sectors. Joint financing, activities and projects between the Ministry and NGOs, as well as sponsorship by for-profit NGOs, have become a common practice in many spheres.
A trilateral agreement on partnership in the formulation, updating, and implementation of the national cultural policy was concluded in the beginning of 2002 between the National Assembly's Committee on Culture, the Ministry of Culture and the National Civic Forum of Culture (an association of cultural NGOs). The interest and desire of private businesses to support the development of culture and arts in Bulgaria is starting to gain speed.
A Draft Strategy for the Development of Bulgarian Culture 2019 - 2029 was presented in March 2019, which laid down a vertical structure for the cultural sector. Its objectives include the establishment of a long-term policy to support culture as a national priority; ensuring maximum publicity and transparency in the management of cultural processes at national and regional level; and better conditions for the provision of additional public and alternative funds of modernisation on the network of cultural institutes in the country.
The budget for culture in 2019 has been increased by BGN 19 million (EUR 9,71 million) on annual basis to BGN 188 million (EUR 96,12 million). This includes a 10% increase for salaries in cultural institutions and a 20% increase for arts schools funding. Nevertheless, the share of the projected financing in the field of culture in Bulgaria drops from 0.5% of the GDP in 2019 to 0.4% for the period 2020-2021, according to data from the National Strategy for the Development of Culture. This means that the government relies solely on the country's GDP growth.
Last update: March, 2020
The cultural agencies and institutes have elaborated a long-lasting and fruitful collaboration with both the public and private sector in culture. The cooperation projects vary from traditional forms of artistic exchange (e.g. exhibitions, workshops, performances, touring etc.) to research and cultural policy development.
In Bulgaria, the most important cultural agencies that cooperate internationally are: Institut culturel Français et de cooperation, Goethe Institut, British Council, Instituto Cervantes (opened in 2005), Polish Institute in Sofia, Czech Centre. They are active in the field of language education, promoting artists from the representing country, supporting the public and non-governmental sectors in the field of social development, education and the arts. Some of the cultural institutes develop projects in the field of science and cultural heritage, and support vulnerable groups and maintain the diversity in arts.
This active collaboration between the cultural agencies and the public at multiple levels brings the Bulgarian cultural sector closer to the European values and acts as both a bilateral and multilateral instrument of cultural diplomacy.
While performing its main tasks in cultural diplomacy, the Ministry of Culture works in close collaboration with, among others, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National UNESCO Commission and foreign representatives (e.g. embassies, consulates, cultural institutes).
Bulgaria has eleven cultural institutes abroad, which were established as a result of bilateral agreements. They are situated in European capital cities: Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, London, Prague, Moscow, Skopje, Warsaw, Vienna (the Haus Wittgenstein), Paris and Rome.
The State Institute for Culture with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was established in 2006 as an instrument of cultural diplomacy. Its main activity is related to the formulation of the Ministry's policy in the field of international scientific, cultural and education cooperation as priorities of Bulgaria’s foreign policy. Among the main goals of the institute are to take part in creating a positive image of contemporary Bulgaria with a rich, ancient and dynamic culture, that contributes to the processes of intercultural dialogue and international cultural cooperation.
In 2017, as a member of the Council of Europe, Bulgaria signed the Convention on Cinematographic Co-production. Its goal is to encourage and develop international cinematography production in specific terms.
The Law on Film Industry guarantees state funding in the field of film production for projects selected in competition by the National Art Commission. It also guarantees funding for films in co-production with country members of the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production and other countries. Bulgaria signed an agreement regarding film and the audiovisual field with France, Canada, Israel, Italy, Russia and Turkey. According to the Film Industry Act the state support for films with a foreign co-producer may not exceed 20 percent of the film production budget.
Bulgarian artists are actively participating in the programs of EU Erasmus+ and Creative Europe. The Mobility Programme of the National Culture Fund provides financial support for transnational exchange. Bulgarian cultural professionals participate in international co-working and networking forums thanks to those programs. The Mobility Programme, for example, finances the travel costs of Bulgarian artists and cultural representatives to participate in international cultural forums or foreign artists visits in the country.
Last update: March, 2020
Bulgaria became the 26th member of Council of Europe (CoE) in 1992. Bulgaria's membership fee is 0,28% of its budget. In the field of culture, Bulgaria participates in the two Steering Committees of the CoE - the Steering Committee on Culture and the Steering Committee on Cultural Heritage. In 2019, Bulgaria signed the Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production (revised). The contribution of Bulgaria to the Council of Europe's budget for 2019 is EUR 1 215 152.
In 2018, Bulgaria hosted the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and, within its framework, organised the Eighth ACEM Meeting of Ministers of Culture. The forum discussed issues of culture as a driving engine for sustainable social and economic development, promoting culture and international dialogue, and enhancing cultural heritage cooperation.
Bulgaria has joined UNESCO in 1956 and in 2007 became a member of its Executive Board. Bulgaria is a member of two intergovernmental committees: the MOST Program and the International Hydrological Program. The country has signed the Convention for the Conservation of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the Convention for the Conservation of Underwater Heritage, the Convention for the Conservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The main national body for cooperation with UNESCO is the National Commission for UNESCO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Council of Ministers of Culture in SEE was established in March 2005 in Copenhagen, with the aim of contributing to improving the external visibility of the region (inspired by the Nordic Council model). The Charter on the establishment of the Council has been signed by Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey. Bulgaria hosted the Presidency of the Council in 2019. In a forum in Sofia with representatives of the European Commission and UNESCO, Bulgaria proposed and other members agreed on establishing a permanent fund to support the work of artist from the Balkans and the cultural cooperation in the region. Further actions to establish the fund will be decided during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Bulgaria joined the MEDIA II Programme in 2000. Having worked with the MEDIA programme for many years, the Ministry of Culture continued this partnership after 2013, when the Media, Media Mundus and Culture programs were replaced by Creative Europe. The Creative Europe Program Bureau has two offices - Media and Culture. Under the Creative Europe and Media programs in 2018, projects from Bulgaria were supported with a total value of 645 555 euros. The Office Culture offers additional information on the application procedures.
The Ministry of Culture was engaged in carrying out the procedure for the selection of a Bulgarian city for the European Capital of Culture 2019, which was launched in 2012 (see chapter 1.1).
Being a full member of the Francophone Community since 1993, Bulgaria carries out a number of activities in this framework, which are an intrinsic part of multilateral cultural cooperation. As such, the country is regularly, and actively, involved in francophone initiatives on the international scene – in artistic, political and expert formats (including the debates on the drafting and the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions). Main activities are organised during the annual celebration of 20th March, the International Francophone Day.
Last update: March, 2020
Initiatives of the private sector in the arts are ongoing within the existing international networks. Although not a part of the official national policy instruments, these exchanges contribute in a great extent to the image of Bulgarian contemporary arts abroad. Festivals, workshops, international exchanges in performing arts, media, film, visual arts and more are run mainly by NGOs and are supported by international funding.
Sofia Meetings is an annual co-production market in the framework of the Sofia International Film Festival. The main focus are projects for first, second and third time features by European and other directors. More than 150 industry executives from all over the world visit Sofia to cooperate and search for new projects and films.
Derida Dance Centre hosts the Residency Program which is among the organisation’s main instruments to help realise its mission for providing opportunities for development of contemporary dance in Bulgaria. In the past few years Derida Dance Centre hosted many Bulgarian and foreign artists, who shared their creativity and experience with professionals and non-professionals in the field of contemporary dance in Bulgaria. As a result of this, Derida Dance Centre Residency Program was recognized in 2014 by experts of the European Commission in Brussels as a best practice for the exchange of artistic experience in Europe together with examples from Ireland and Finland.