The importance of cultural policies at a local level is increasingly recognised as key in shaping sustainable change in our societies. However, there is still a long road ahead for a coherent and comprehensive European strategy to emerge in this domain.
In “Polis and the people: Looking into the future of urban cultural policies”, Culture Action Europe (CAE) explores the current status of cultural policy at local level and the challenges that lie ahead. Supporting this reflection, CAE has brought together a diverse coalition of players working in the field of culture and the arts at local level; including artists, scholars and urbanists, networks acting at a European and global level, cities, cultural centres and foundations. The texts included in this publication take stock of local cultural policy development, reflect on what we have learnt and where we are, before describing possible avenues forward when considering culture from a local perspective. Cultural, civic and political advancement will only come to be if a diverse coalition of citizens, organisations and institutions work together at different levels. Through mirroring this process, CAE aspires to drive necessary change. As such, we summarise below the main points of convergence across contributions, distilling key concepts and proposals with cross-cutting support that could accompany the development of better cultural policies in the future.