Swedish Cultural Policy

The Committee of Inquiry of Cultural Policy was formed in summer 2007 with the task of revising Swedish Cultural Policy and the Cultural Policy Objectives. On February 27 2009 they presented their results.

Cultural Policy in Sweden was formed in the 1970s, the Cultural Policy Objectives were written and decided by Parliament in 1974 (an English translation of these are found here). The objectives had wide political support from right to left on the political scale, since it was a study commissioned by the Parliament. The Policy was revised in 1996, but only on a very cosmetic level. One of the most discussed objective of the 1974 Policy is: ”To promote cultural diversity, artistic renewal and quality, thereby countering the negative effects of commercialism”. An interesting – and critisized – objective. What does it mean to ”counteract the negative effects of commercialism”? Some argue that it put cogs in the wheel of entrepreneurship and moneymaking, others that the objective only speaks of negative effects which is something to strive for; it’s not against commercialisation as a whole.

The result of the Committee’s work come in three books of a total of 900 pages. Book 1: ”Basic Analysis” (Grundanalys), Book 2: Programme of Renewal (Förnyelseprogram) and Book 3: Cultural Policy Architecture (Kulturpolitikens arkitektur).

A flow of articles has been written since the presentation, many of them questioning the work. Is the most important thing with Cultural Policy the administration and structure? Why would a few large authorities administrating culture be more effective than many smaller ones? Will more money triple down to the artist? Points are made that the work is a passing comment, too quickly put together at the cost of precision; it’s not a work commissioned by the Parliament, it will therefore lack a wide political support; and most important the suggestions lack support in the cultural field. It has not, though, as many feared, been a show in neo-liberal views of culture. Critics seem quite unite in their conclusions that this is not the case.

On May 19 closes the time for referrals. In the meanwhile, cultural organisations, institutions, artists, and artists’ organisations are reading the results with magnifying glass. Many are affected if the results of the Committee should become real. There is a need of renewal, but do the Committee’s results give the ultimate solutions to how this should be done?

Read articles by Sven Nilsson in the daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet and kulturbloggen, Magnus Eriksson in Svenska Dagbladet, Åsa Linderborg in Aftonbladet, Bengt Göransson in Dagens Nyheter, Gabriel Byström in Göteborgs-Posten, and David Karlsson in Dagens Nyheter and here. Several articles can be found in Aftonbladet here. And in Dagens Nyheter here. Unfortunately all articles are in Swedish.

Parallel with the Committee’s work, a ”shadow” study was done, organised by Orionteatern. Also have a look at this blogpost, written in August on this site.

Download the reports of the Committee of Inquiry on Cultural Policy in Swedish (an English summery is supposed to be published soon).

Book 1 Basic Analysis: e6ab6539.pdf.

Book 2 Programme of Renewal: 7a302f931.pdf.

Book 3 Cultural Policy Architecture: 39524981.pdf.

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Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

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