Manifesto (of a sort)

Socio-culture needs to be discovered, identified, acknowledged, emancipated and taken seriously in international cultural policies. Read more about the problem and the solutions.

The beginning

Houses of culture operate in national isolation, with limited international communication; they appear among winners of grants (e.g. of the Culture Programme) only accidentally, although they represent a reasonable part of cultural infrastructure in most of the European countries, especially in the East. In 2003, BO initiated a research and produced a preliminary report on socio-cultural activities. However, the necessary funding has never been gained for an international comparative survey.

Getting into focus

National statistics prove that in our region community cultural centres (houses of culture) occupy a large part in public cultural budgets and in data on cultural habits, jobs, consumption etc. Ironically, however, these data are almost entirely absent from global (Unesco, Council of Europe, European Union) statistics as well of cultural policy discourse - despite of recent upgradings of frameworks of international cultural statistics both at Unesco and at Eurostat. The constituents of the issue: the institutions, the professionals and their activity, do not even have common names or statistical identification. At the same time houses of culture have serious conceptual and functional dilemmas, bordering crisis.

The organisers of the joint conference of the Compendium experts and the Amateo network for active participation in cultural activities in Ghent on 9-10 June, 2011, prepared a small collection of the chapters the Compendium of Cultural Polices and Trends in Europe dedicated to amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives from 43 country reports. The chapter includes a paragraph for cultural houses and community culture clubs.

Besides describing the case, the renewal of the content work at these intitutions is also in our focus. Nevertheless there are few examples only about such accomplishments.

The need for evidence based policy

Cultural policy issues such as access to culture, cultural habits, inclusion, creativity and innovation, creative and cultural industries etc. are incomplete without due regard to community cultural centres. There is a need for evidence based advocacy in this regard.