1. Cultural policy system
Last update: December, 2014
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is situated at the far eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea and is at the crossroads of three continents (Europe, Asia and Africa). Cyprus' historical and cultural tradition is very rich and dates back to the 7th millennium B.C. The arrival of the first Mycenaean Greeks on the island in the 15th century B.C. set the foundations for the development of the Greek civilisation on the island. Due to its unrivalled strategic location, Cyprus was subject to a number of conquerors and came under the influence of many different cultures and civilisations like for example the Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Athenian Empire, Hellenistic Greek dynasties, Roman Empire, Byzantium, the French Lusignans, Venetians, Ottoman Turks from 1571 and finally the British from 1878 up until 1960 when Cyprus gained its independence with Greece, Turkey and Britain as guarantors of the country's independence (Treaty of Establishment).
According to the 1960 Constitution (Article 2, paragraph 1&2) all Cypriot citizens are declared as belonging to either the Greek Cypriot Community (if they are of Greek origin or are Greek Orthodox) or to the Turkish Cypriot Community (if they are of Turkish origin or Muslims). There are other religious groups (Armenians 0.3 %, Maronites 6 % and Latins 0.1 %) who, according to the 1960 Constitution, were given the option to become members of either the two Communities. The above mentioned religious groups opted to belong to the Greek Community. Thus the Greek Cypriot Community formed almost 80% of the population and the Turkish Cypriot Community 18% at that time.
Furthermore, the Constitution of 1960 provided that the Turkish Cypriot Community would be given a share of 30% in the government and all state institutions. As a result of this, the ten Ministries provided by the Constitution were divided amongst the two Communities on a 7:3 ratio. However, a Ministry of Education and Culture had not been established, since cultural and educational matters, according to the Constitution, were considered a realm of responsibility of the two Communal Assemblies, the Greek Communal Assembly and the Turkish Communal Assembly.
However, within less than three years – due to some proposals for constitutional amendments suggested by the President of the Republic – a tense situation developed and the Turkish Cypriot Community members of the executive, legislature, judiciary and the civil service withdrew from their posts in 1963; apart from this, they created military enclaves in Nicosia as well as in other parts of the island.
In addition to the above, on 15 July 1974 the then ruling military junta of Greece staged an unsuccessful coup d'état aiming to overthrow the democratically elected government of Cyprus. Turkey used the coup d'état attempt as an excuse to invade the island on 20 July 1974 with about forty thousand troops. As a result of the Turkish invasion, nearly 35% of the territory of the Republic was captured and remains occupied until today. Furthermore, it is estimated that, after the Turkish invasion, one third of the Greek Cypriots who resided in the occupied part became refugees while 115 000 Turkish settlers were illegally transferred from Turkey to the occupied northern part of Cyprus. These and other developments caused a dramatic change in the demographic character of the island. The United Nations have in several resolutions of the Security Council demanded respect for the independence, unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus.
In 1983, the occupying regime arbitrarily declared the independence of the northern part of Cyprus. The UN condemned this act and, until now, no country other than Turkey has recognised this entity. In April 2003, the pseudo-state, through a decision of its "Ministerial Council", allowed residents of both areas to cross over the green zone area, demanding until 2015, however, the presentation of a passport and the issuing of "entry visas" for Greek Cypriots and "exit visas" for Turkish Cypriots. As a result of the partial lifting of restrictions on freedom of movement, thousands of Greek and Turkish Cypriots do regularly cross the demarcation line.
The above described political situation had an impact both on socio-economic as well as on cultural aspects. One of the most tragic consequences of the 1974 Turkish invasion is the systematic destruction and looting of the cultural and religious heritage in the occupied areas. Moreover, this political situation has a tremendous impact on the way cultural matters are being dealt with. More specifically, after the withdrawal of the Turkish Cypriot ministers and the public servants, in 1963, the functioning of the Greek Communal Assembly was temporarily suspended and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Cyprus was formed under the Law 12 of 1965; in 1992, it has been renamed into the Ministry of Education and Culture. Nevertheless, due to the political situation any kind of further reform is avoided as this could be regarded as a breach of the Constitution. As a result, cultural governance structures remained to a great extent static since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. Since 2004, however, there have been continuous attempts to restructure the cultural governance structures in order to encounter socio-economic challenges in a more effective way.
In this context and despite the small size of its population (about 952 100 people), it is important to note that the demographic make-up of the island nowadays tends to develop rather multicultural features: According to the Demographic Report of the Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus (2011), the majority of the population are Greek – and Greek speaking – Cypriots (71.8%). Maronites, Armenians and Latins (Roman Catholics) account for about 1%. Turkish Cypriots make up about 9.5% of the population and the remaining 18.7% are foreign residents and foreign workers. With respect to cultural matters, through the various state subsidies, financial assistance is provided to all cultural, social and athletic clubs of the many different ethnic groups that reside in Cyprus. There are two official languages – Greek and Turkish, although English is widely spoken.
Main features of the current cultural policy model
Cultural policy in Cyprus operates in a rather centralised and compartmentalised model of approach. Despite the fact that cultural policy for contemporary culture is situated in the Ministry of Education and Culture, a number of other Ministries and semi-governmental bodies have a certain degree of responsibility for various cultural issues (cf. chapter 1.2).
On the whole, the Cyprus cultural policy model could be described as an idiomatic version of the "architect model" in which the state, through a Ministry of Culture, assumes the responsibility for cultural development. This includes the municipalities' level, where a great number of cultural activities are subsidised by the Ministry of Education and Culture through a special scheme fund.
The present model can also be attributed to certain historical facts that may well justify the delayed development of certain institutions at the local level or of civil society cultural initiatives: From 1571 until 1878, Cyprus was under Ottoman rule, and the right to freedom and cultural life was suppressed by the Ottoman Turks who ruled the island. The Enlightenment and other intellectual movements that were dominant in the rest of Central Europe, had not reached the population of Cyprus at that time (Persianis 2010). In this context, only certain individuals who could afford to study abroad came in contact with European cultural and intellectual movements. The social and cultural sphere in Cyprus was therefore affected by the political and ideological discourse prevailing in the rest of Europe only at a later stage.
Cultural policy objectives
According to the Budget Policy Statement (2011) the vision of cultural policy centres upon the preservation and enhancement of the cultural heritage of the island as well as on bolstering and promoting contemporary cultural creation. In particular, the specific policy objectives for 2011-2013 are as follows:
- formulation of a five-year action plan for cultural development;
- enhancing and promoting cultural activities in Cyprus and abroad in order to make known the Cyprus' political problem through artistic and intellectual creation;
- co-operation with the local government in order to develop joint programmes of cultural action;
- completion of the study for the Creation of a Unified Authority for Culture and implementation of the proposed structural reforms;
- establishment and operation of a School of Art;
- transformation of Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC) into a State Theatre;
- formulation of joined bi-communal programmes in the field of arts in order to promote the common and shared cultural heritage of the two Communities (Turkish and Greek Cypriot); and
- formulation of certain policy measures in order to bolster and promote cultural development.
 This was amongst the political priorities of the previous left-wing government. Its term of office terminated in the 2013 elections; nevertheless, no significant progress has been achieved in this respect by the previous government. The newly elected right-centre wing government which won the elections in February 2013 aims to formulate a new proposal regarding governance structures
Last update: December, 2014
Contemporary cultural policy of the Ministry of Education and Culture is located within the Cultural Services Department. Cultural Education is primarily being developed in the Departments in charge of Education. A number of other Ministries are also involved in cultural policy (see chapter 1.2.6).
Last update: December, 2014
As far as the political context is concerned, Cyprus has a presidential system of government. The President is elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is exercised through an 11-member Council of Ministers appointed by the President. The Legislative Power is carried out by the House of Representatives; Under the Constitution of Cyprus, the judiciary is established as a separate and autonomous power.
Due to the limitations adherent to the political problem and the consequent Constitutional constraints since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, there had not been any kind of significant administrative reforms in terms of the overall governmental system. Moreover, educational and cultural matters since 1965 have been transferred to the then newly established Ministry of Education which was created under the law of necessity. In 1968, the Cultural Services Unit was created and in 1992, it was upgraded to a department (but still with the same remit of responsibilities) and the Ministry was renamed into the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Despite the above renaming of the Ministry, the Cultural Services reflect the state's cultural policy mainly regarding contemporary culture. The Cultural Services Department has the main responsibility for both formulating and implementing contemporary cultural policy in such fields as Literature, Books, Music, Visual Arts, Theatre, Dance, Cinema, Folk Culture, Museums, and Cultural Centres abroad (there are three Cultural Centres, one in Athens, one in Berlin and one in London for promoting Cypriot culture abroad).
Moreover, Cultural Services have an active role in promoting Cyprus contemporary culture abroad. Due to the centralised administrative structures of cultural governance, the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture, apart from formulating the national cultural policy for contemporary culture, are also responsible through the grant-aid system to provide support to artists and cultural foundations that are actively involved in cultural activities in Cyprus (cf. chapter 7.2). Municipalities and local communities are also granted support for certain cultural projects on a project basis through a respective funding scheme. The budget of the Ministry of Culture for Contemporary Culture in 2010 was EUR 32 362 034 (34 876 522 EUR for 2011) (in this figure it is not included the budget of Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Communication and Public Works (EUR 18 520 070 for 2010) and the budget of the Ministry of Interior for Urban Cultural Heritage (EUR 13 885 120 for 2010). Moreover, European funds have also been a stream of money in support of the cultural sector (funds from the Culture Programme as well as the Structural Funds particularly for regeneration projects).
Additionally, the Cultural Services organise the annual International Festival "KYPRIA". In addition to the above, Regional / Rural Cultural Development is fostered through a number of subsidies which are granted by the Ministry to Municipalities and Communities on a project-basis application. Also within the framework of the Cultural Infrastructure Plan, subsidy is provided (upon approval of the relevant Ministerial Council) for undertaking works of Cultural Infrastructure at Municipalities and Communities (Annual Report 2009). The Infrastructure Plan has been in operation since 2000. The Local Authorities Support Scheme for the creation of Cultural Infrastructure Projects provides a clear cultural development policy measure for local government authorities.
The annual Budget is submitted to the House of Representatives for final approval. A budget policy statement briefly elaborates on the main cultural policy objectives (see chapter 1.1). Moreover, it is important to stress the fact that in order for the state budgets to be approved, the following authorities are involved: the Legislature (sometimes) and the Parliaments Assembly.
The responsibility for cultural heritage in Cyprus is divided amongst a number of Ministries and their respective departments and services. More specifically, the Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Communication and Public Works is responsible for the management of the archaeological heritage of Cyprus. The Department of Town Planning of the Ministry of Interior is responsible for regeneration projects with respect to urban cultural heritage. The Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture has as its main responsibility the development of contemporary culture and folk tradition in its contemporary manifestations.
Cyprus is divided into six administrative districts (Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and the towns of Ammochostos (Famagusta), Kyrenia and Morfou which since 1974 have been under Turkish occupation.
The capital of the island is Lefkosia (Nicosia) which is situated at the centre of the island and is the seat of government. Nicosia is the only remaining divided city in Europe. Since the Turkish invasion of 1974, its northern part is under Turkish occupation and is separated from the South by a United Nations patrolled buffer zone.
Local government is the responsibility of the Municipalities and the Communities (these are the two types of local authorities). Municipalities are concerned with the provision of local government in urban centres and tourist centres, while the Communities with the management of rural areas. In this context, it is important to clarify that in Cyprus there is not a three-tier system of government as there is no system of regional government located in between the national and the local authorities.
According to the Law (Municipalities' Law of 1985), the main responsibilities of municipalities refer to the construction and maintenance of municipal gardens and parks as well as to the protection of public health. The Municipal Council has the authority to promote, depending on its finances, a vast range of activities and events including the arts, education, sport and social services.
The main sources of revenue of municipalities are municipal taxes, fees and duties (professional tax, immovable property tax, hotel accommodation tax, fees for issuing permits and licences, fees for refuse collection, fines, etc.). Moreover, in the last 15 years, cultural departments and services have been created in a number of the municipalities of Cyprus, mainly in the urban ones (Nicosia, Limassol. Larnaca, Strovolos, etc.) but also in provincial ones (i.e. Ayia Napa. Dheryneia, etc.).
With respect to the Communities it can be argued that most of their functions are similar to those of Municipalities. The revenue of Communities consists of the state subsidies as well as taxes and fees collected from the residents of the area.
To sum up – as has been indicated before – the responsibility for cultural policy is devolved to a number of Ministries and semi-governmental organisations as well. More specifically, the Department of Antiquities which was founded in 1935, is under the Ministry of Communications and Public Works and is responsible for ancient, Byzantine and medieval culture. In addition to the above, it is also responsible for the culture that had been developed during the Turkish Ottoman rule, all over Cyprus territory. Furthermore, the Department of Antiquities is responsible for the management and running of the Archaeological Museum in Nicosia and of the District Museums, for the maintenance and preservation of the cultural heritage as well as for archaeological research and excavations. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for broadcasting and media through its Media Directorate. The Ministry of Interior is also responsible, through the Department of Town Planning and Housing, for the conservation and protection of the architectural heritage. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also involved in cultural matters through the embassies of Cyprus abroad as it has a shared responsibility with the Ministry of Education and Culture for certain projects.
A number of semi-state organisations are also involved in cultural policy making. More specifically:
- the Cyprus Theatre Organisation (TH.O.C.), which was founded in 1971, is under the realm of responsibilities of the Ministry of Education and Culture. TH.O.C's main objective is to promote theatre and theatrical education. TH.O.C. at present runs three stages (Main, New and Children's); moreover, it sponsors independent theatre groups. The Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC) is a legal entity that was established by the Cyprus Theatre Organisation Law of 1970 and comes under the Minister of Education and Culture. The Organisation is administered by a Board of Directors consisting of 9 members, appointed by the Council of Ministers.
- the Cyprus Tourist Organisation (C.T.O), is under the realm of responsibilities of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. The C.T.O. amongst its other activities is also responsible for the development and funding of activities which are related to cultural tourism.
- the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (Cy.B.C.), which was founded in 1953, is under the realm of responsibilities of the Ministry of Interior. Apart from its radio and television programmes, it also makes documentaries, films and recordings and organises competitions in the field of the arts.
From 1st January 2007 the Cyprus State Orchestra has been developed into an independent institution, which has assumed management and operation of both State Orchestras (Cyprus State Orchestra and the Cyprus Youth Orchestra). The Orchestra since its establishment in 1987 has operated in the structures of the Ministry of Education and Culture. The Ministry still remains as the Orchestra's principal sponsor covering almost the total sum of the Orchestra's budget. The Ministry of Education and Culture is also represented in the Board of Directors of the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra.
As far as the private sector is concerned, cultural activity is developed by a number of cultural societies which exist at the moment in Cyprus. Also, some of the Banks in Cyprus used to have a role in cultural activities by establishing cultural foundations. (i.e. the Cultural Foundation of the Bank of Cyprus, the Cultural Department of The Hellenic Bank). Nevertheless, in the current context of economic crisis it is expected that there might be a decline in the funding of cultural activities.
Moreover, a stream of funds is also derived from Lottery. More specifically, in 2010 the total sum of EUR 475 600 was provided by the Lottery Funds for good causes in arts, culture and society. This amount equalled to 26.13% of the total contribution in all areas (such as education, environment, sports, etc.). There was a reduction of the contributed amount in 2011 when this percentage dropped to 9.13%, while in 2012 it rose again to 18.43%.
Please find the available information on this subject in 1.2.2.
Please find the available information on this subject in 1.2.2.
Information is currently unavailable.
Last update: December, 2014
Despite the fact that a number of Ministries are involved in certain aspects of cultural policy, there is not really a structured and concerted approach in dealing with cultural policy in a co-ordinated and integrated way. Thus, co-operation and co-ordination between different ministries is encountered on an ad hoc basis and does not attain any institutional structure. In this context, for example, there is a certain degree of co-operation between the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in promoting Cypriot culture abroad and for developing certain cultural activities that relate to cultural diplomacy. Another example is the co-operation between the Departments of Education from the Ministry of Education and Culture with the Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Communication and Works in order to promote educational projects as far as cultural heritage is concerned.
Last update: December, 2014
Since the late 1990s, a considerable amount of debate has emerged with respect to the need for structural and administrational changes regarding the status of cultural institutions; this related with such institutions as the International festival "Kypria", the State Orchestra and the State Gallery for Contemporary Art. The fact that all the above institutions have been functioning in the structures of the Ministry of Education and Culture, gave rise to arguments in favour of a transformation of these institutions into independent legal entities, operating at arm's length from the central government while at the same time being provided with adequate safeguards regarding state's responsibility for retaining the institutions' economic viability and financial and cultural sustainability. In 2007, only the Cyprus State Orchestra was transformed into an independent not for profit organisation subject to private Law.
In 2007 – in the context of the development of the first strategic plan for culture – the debate centred on the division of responsibilities amongst the tiers of government as well as on the need to apply bottom-up approach to cultural governance. Although there has not been a re-allocation of public responsibilities apart from the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, there have been significant attempts to rationalise the funding system for providing state aid to cultural operators and cultural workers in order to manage more effectively the public funds for Culture and increase transparency and accountability. The current economic crisis has resulted in the indispensable need to re-establish priorities and reformulate policies.
Last update: December, 2014
Information is currently not available.
Last update: December, 2014
The government has been traditionally responsible for national cultural institutions (see chapter 1.1 and chapter 1.2.2). The Church is also an important key player in the cultural life of the island, not only because all major festivities relate to the Orthodox tradition (i.e. Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, etc.) but also because of the rich tradition in Byzantine art and music (see Byzantine Museum and Art Gallery).
In addition to the above, a number of private organisations in the sectors of music, dance, theatre etc. promote cultural events – frequently most of the times with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture, following an application for a state grant.
Last update: December, 2014
The main responsibility for the promotion of contemporary Cypriot culture is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Culture, through its Cultural Services. Nevertheless, a number of other public actors are involved in one way or another in cultural diplomacy, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Antiquities as well as a number of other bodies and cultural institutions (i.e. Theatre Cyprus Organisation, Cyprus Tourist Organisation, Cyprus Symphony Orchestra).
In particular, the Ministry of Education and Culture apart from its overall activity operates three Cultural Centres in Athens, London and Berlin respectively.
The House of Cyprus in Athens is a cultural and educational institution with a significant contribution in the field of cultural diplomacy since 1987. In implementing government's policy, the House co-operates with a number of other actors such as the Local and Regional Authorities in Greece, as well as cultural organisations in order to promote Cypriot culture. The Office of the Cultural Counsellor in the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus has both a cultural and educational role. The Office of the Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of the Cyprus Republic in Berlin has as its main responsibility the organisation of events with the aim of promoting the culture and contemporary artistic creation of Cyprus in Germany. The Office co-operates with German Institutions as well.
A number of other initiatives are in place for promoting initiatives related to cultural diplomacy. More specifically, bilateral cultural agreements promote the networking between artists, and public and private institutions in the fields of arts and culture. Co-operation is also promoted through European and international organisations, such as the European Union, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. Additionally through cultural co-operation with the embassies of Cyprus abroad cultural activities either of art from Cyprus or even co-productions from artists from Cyprus and artists from abroad are supported. Also, artists from Cyprus are provided with financial support (travel grants) for their participation in cultural events abroad.
In this context the Ministry supports the operation of institutions like the Music Information Centre of Cyprus which was founded in July 2008 following a decision of the Council of Ministers. The Centre aims at showcasing the diverse musical achievements of contemporary scene in Cyprus and promoting networking amongst musicians living in Cyprus to musicians from abroad. Moreover, for the promotion of Contemporary Cypriot Art abroad the Ministry participates in such events as is the Venice Biennale, the Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean. Additionally, the Cultural Services organise festivals such as is the European Dance Festival, the "Cinema Days of Cyprus" and the International Festival "KYPRIA".
Other important actors include some national organisations under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education and culture (i.e. Cyprus Symphony Orchestra, THOC, etc.) or non-governmental organisations, through which the majority of international cultural projects are implemented. These activities with the exception of THOC that operates its own budget usually receive funding either from the Ministry of Education and Culture or from European funds.
In addition to the above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes cultural activities abroad through its diplomatic missions and in close co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Culture.
In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started a series of informational lectures and events in order for foreign diplomats in Cyprus to get acquainted with the arts and culture of Cyprus. Furthermore, cultural diplomacy is part of the training programme of the newly appointed diplomats.
The Bilateral Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has (amongst other areas) the responsibility for promoting cultural relations through bilateral agreements or through the protocols of cultural co-operation. Specific programmes of bilateral agreements in the field of Education, Science and Culture have been developed (and carried out by the Ministry of Education and Culture) with a number of EU as well as non-EU countries.
The Agreements and the Programmes provide the necessary statutory framework in which Cyprus' cultural and educational exchanges are implemented with other countries. The Cultural Services are responsible for the shaping and implementation of the Programmes' provisions concerning the cultural collaboration and exchanges of Cyprus with the respective countries (with the exception of the provision regarding collaboration in the field of Cultural Heritage). Bilateral co-operation in the field of cultural heritage is promoted from the Department of Antiquities which operates in the structures of the Ministry of Communication and Public Works (see chapter 1.2.2).
Furthermore, the Cyprus Tourist Organisation (C.T.O http://www.visitcyprus.com/wps/portal) is also involved in promotional activities for Cypriot culture abroad. According to the strategic plan of the Organisation for the period 2011-2015, cultural tourism is amongst its strategic objectives. The C.T.O. operates offices in 15 cities worldwide (London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Athens, Milan, Zurich, Amsterdam, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Tel Aviv, Warsaw and Dubai).
Last update: December, 2014
Cyprus, as a member of the European Union since 2004, actively participates in a number of EU projects and programmes. During the years 2007-2013, Cyprus has received EU financial support for projects which fall under programmes with cultural dimensions (Culture Programme, Europe for Citizens Programme and the Media programme). In that context, state support is provided for the operation of contact points for the above mentioned programmes. The Ministry of Education and Culture maintains provisions for the support of Cypriot cultural agencies whose projects are selected for co-financing by the European Commission, while it continues to participate, through the Cultural Services, in the management committee (of national representatives) of the Creative Europe Programme.
Under certain conditions, culture in its broader sense can also receive funding from a number of other European programmes such as the European Structural and Investment Funds.
Cyprus since 2006 is a member of the International Organisation of La Francophonie. In this framework, certain initiatives regarding the promotion and transmission of the French language have been adopted.
Cyprus was amongst the first countries to ratify the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions on 19/12/2006. Certain provisions of the Cyprus Constitution promote the respect to Human Rights without making any distinction or differentiation between citizens and non-citizens of the Republic and without any distinctions or differentiation on grounds of community or religion or nationality, or on other grounds.
The Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO constitutes the vital link between the state, civil society and UNESCO, acting as the state's consultative body. The Commission is financed by the Education and Culture Ministry for its organisational needs and the promotion of its programmes.
Cyprus has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1961 and actively participates in the programmes and activities promoted through the coordinated interstate cooperation of the member states. In 1969, Cyprus ratified the European Cultural Convention.
The Cyprus Presidency of the EU
During the Cyprus Presidency of the EU in the area of culture, the Cyprus Presidency aimed at highlighting the public value of Culture and the important role of culture in the fulfilment of the objectives of the E.U. 2020 Strategy. As regards culture, the main objectives of the Cyprus Presidency were:
- to further promote the social dimension of culture;
- to promote the notion of cultural governance as a method and a tool for a more effective implementation of cultural policy; and
- to foster cultural research and evidence-based policy on culture.
During the Presidency, a Meeting of Senior Officials on Culture was held in Nicosia on the 28 and 29 of August 2012, under the title "The Governance of Culture in today's globalised world". The objective of the Conference related to the development of a strategic approach to cultural governance by developing specific recommendations regarding the promotion of proactive cultural research as a catalyst for the planning and development of cultural policies and for setting the framework of holistic and integrated approaches to Cultural Governance. The format of the meeting allowed the sharing of experience on evidence-based policy making. The outcome of the conference fed into the Council Conclusions on cultural governance.
In November 2012, the Cyprus Presidency managed to reach a partial agreement in the Council on provisions of the Creative Europe Programme regarding the Guarantee Facility; it aligned the overall text with the new Financial Regulation, thus only financial aspects of the Programme remained pending. The Guarantee Facility aims at improving access to financing for small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the cultural and creative sectors, contributing, thus, to economic growth, employment, innovation and social cohesion.
In response to the relevant European Commission Communication, published in May 2012, the Council adopted conclusions on a European Strategy for better internet for children.
Last update: December, 2014
Professional co-operation in the field of culture is manifested through a number of different ways; it may either take the form of inter-institutional exchanges which are promoted in the context of bilateral cultural co-operation or through state-aid support to not-for-profit organisations for their activities in each respective field (i.e. music, dance, theatre, etc.). The main objectives of direct professional co-operation can be summed up in the following:
- to strengthen co-operation in the fields of arts and culture and bolster artists' mobility and intercultural dialogue;
- to foster co-operation and build networks amongst European partners in the framework of culture and education;
- to facilitate artists' access to international or European cultural scene; and
- to promote the Cypriot culture abroad also in the context of co-productions.
In this context, innovative or experimental modes of cultural expression are promoted. In this framework, certain events have been supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture. In addition to the above, through the funding programmes, artists' mobility is fostered either in the form of travel grants to professional artists and other creative professionals or in the form of promoting co-productions and cultural co-operation. Additionally, the European Dance Festival showcases works from the international contemporary scene, aiming at the best possible and most complete briefing of the public regarding European contemporary dance. In 2012, the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Music Expo took place in Limassol. This was a four-day event which combined various modalities of high-level youth music productions embracing all musical styles. It brought together over 200 young musicians (young soloists, youth bands and orchestras from all musical backgrounds, classical, ethnic, jazz, rock, hip-hop, reggae etc.), music teachers, organisers and professionals in the context of a multilevel educational and artistic fair which included workshops, seminars, open-air public concerts, music labs etc.
The Cultural Services provide subsidies for literary events in Cyprus and abroad organised by various literary agencies and individuals, as well as for the participation of agencies and individuals in conferences and events abroad.
Other measures aim to promote the visual arts (e.g. participation in the Venice Biennale) and the performing arts. For example, the Cultural Services, in cooperation with the Cyprus Centre of the International Theatre Institute, organise the Ancient Greek Drama Festival (at the 16th Festival of Ancient Drama eight plays from Germany, Israel, England, Greece and Cyprus have been staged).
Through a fascinating parallel programme of events and cinema workshops, the Cyprus International Short Film Festival offered to the public the opportunity to make short film escapes, embark on creative quests and engage in dialogue with film directors and creators from Cyprus and abroad. The Summer Screenings Marathon, organised jointly by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Theatro Ena and the Cinema Friends Club, is held at the oldest surviving open air cinema of Nicosia, the "Constantia" and can be considered of prime importance, both in the sphere of the cinema as well as the social and cultural life of Cyprus. In addition to the classic repertoire and more recent distributions, the programme also features a number of films for the young cineastes.
Cyprus' cultural centres abroad and attachés of embassies contribute in many ways to direct cooperation activities (cf. chapter 1.4.1). For example, the House of Cyprus in Athens cooperated with the University of Athens Philology School in organising the 18th Seminar on Ancient Cypriot Literature and in Berlin the cooperation with German agencies and the participation of Cypriot artists in German activities ranks high on the agenda, with the main goal of creating multicultural programmes that focus on Cyprus.
In addition to the above, international co-operation is promoted through co-operation with leading international museums and institutions for the presentation of individual and group art exhibitions abroad, mobility of artworks is also supported and promoted.
In the field of cultural heritage, trans-national co-operation is also a prevalent issue as certain European projects, which are funded by Structural Funds as well as other European Funds, are aiming at fostering cultural interaction within Europe and beyond (for example Suspended Spaces, which explores island regions in Mediterranean Europe with a special interest in city-harbours, or HISTORY LOST, a multi-media exhibition tracing the looting of archaeological sites around the world). In addition, a number of foreign Archaeological missions have been in close co-operation with the Department of Antiquities as far as it regards excavations. The year 2015 marks the 50th Anniversary of Polish excavations in Paphos.
Certain semi-governmental organisations like, for example, THOC (Cyprus Theatre Organisation), as well as independent cultural organisations operating at national level like, for example, CySO (Cyprus Symphony Orchestra) are also active in professional informal networking.
Local authorities also promote international collaborations through a number of cultural activities they organise; most of these are funded by central government. In this context, town twinning projects are promoted.