The Romanian example: Advocacy for Culture in the Structural Funds

July 2, 2013, 4:45 pm

Having been involved in advocacy actions for culture in the Structural Funds for more than two years, CubicMetre-resources for culture, one of our Romanian campaign supporters, is now eager to share their experience and exchange ideas with cultural operators from other EU Member States in order to build a stronger understanding around the topic and eventually better influence EU and national policy-making.

Raluca Pop, cultural policy professional and researcher at CubicMetre – resources for culture shared her story with us:

“I was personally engaged last year, from June to December, in the negotiations for the Structural Funds for culture in Romania for 2014-2020. I was the Coordinator of the working group ‘Culture with a social and educational impact’, organised under the umbrella of the Consultative Committee for Culture, Tourism and National Heritage (Secretariat: Ministry of Culture). All in all, the experience showed the risks that endanger the efforts for advocacy for culture. The most important one is the lack of data about the cultural sector and cultural activity – from the state of cultural heritage, to the number of cultural workers and the profile of cultural activities embedded in the school curricula. I also feel there is a lack of coordination and proper tuning of expectations of the presence of culture in the next frame of structural and cohesion funds, with the possibilities offered by the general, EU level policy objectives for 2014-2020. Many people ask for investments that simply cannot be targeted as such with EU structural funds. I am personally very worried also about the level of understanding of the economic, social, educational and cohesive potential of culture by other central and local public authorities. The latter has largely influenced the very low profile of culture in the draft version of the Partnership Agreement that Romania sent to the EU in late May 2013. In conclusion, the draft of the Partnership Agreement that was sent to the EC included only minor references to culture and no feedback or consultation with the cultural sector was organized since December 2012. We feel that we are being ignored, although we performed a lot of valuable work voluntarily for the working group and we were promised to be consulted during the whole process of negotiations. In the end, whatever culture might signify to the public administrations, it is the cultural organizations, artists, managers and cultural workers in general, who are the actors of culture in Romania, we deliver it and create it, and we have a right to be consulted and acknowledged as a partner for dialogue. This is something that public administration, be it local, regional, national or European, must always consider.”

Understanding the risks encountered while advocating for culture and taking into consideration the complexities arising from the limits on performing such work, Culture Action Europe invites its members and campaign supporters to contribute to a constructive discussion by sharing experiences and practices on advocacy for culture in the Structural Funds. In addition to this, as Culture Action Europe is widening its vision towards a civil society movement, it encourages such type of actions aiming at overcoming barriers and empowering dialogue.

Please share your own story on what it actually meant to advocate for culture in the Structural Funds and what you have succeeded in your countries in terms of communication with relevant ministries, availability of data for advocacy in your country, mobilization of cultural actors and relationships with other sectors (inclusion, regional/local development, environment, tourism). Post a comment below or get in touch with us via to share your story!

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