Inquiry proposes major culture policy overhaul

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Peter Vinthagen Simpson - [email protected]
Inquiry proposes major culture policy overhaul

The Committee of Inquiry on Cultural Policy has proposed a major overhaul of Swedish culture policy in a new report presented to the Minister of Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth on Thursday.


"We conclude that there is a need for change and renewal so that culture policy can better reflect the requirements of society today," the committee writes.

Instead of the current division according to genres and objectives the committee proposes that culture policy be divided into three key areas.

"We propose relatively comprehensive changes in the way culture policy is administered. The aim is to have fewer, but more powerful public authorities able to work more efficiently with other interests in society."

"Language, libraries and archives" will form one of the three cultural spheres. The National Archives (Riksarkivet) and provincial records offices (Landsarkiven) will be merged into a new archives authority.

The National Library of Sweden (Kungliga biblioteket) will be given a national role in the administration of Sweden's libraries.

By 2014 the committee proposes that a new integrated authority be established to encompass Sweden's archives and libraries.

The second cultural sphere is proposed to cover questions of "the current age, history and the living environment."

The committee proposes a new authority merging the Central Board of National Antiquities (Riksantikvarieämbetet), Swedish Travelling Exhibitions (Riksutställningar), the National Swedish Handicrafts Council (Nämnden för hemslöjdsfrågor), The National Public Art Council (Statens konstråd) and the Architecture Museum (Arkitekturmuseet).

The changes should be completed by 2010, the committee recommends.

The third sphere of cultural policy will collect the "art forms" - theatre, music, film, literature and the visual arts.

"We recommend a more integrated political perspective to the various art forms, where common themes and conditions are prioritized," the committee writes in its report.

A new public authority will be created merging "certain operations" within the Swedish Arts Council (Statens Kulturåd), including the Swedish Authors Fund (Sveriges Författarfond) and the Swedish Visual Artists' Fund (Bildkonstnärsfonden), with the Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Konstnärsnämnden) and the Swedish National Concert Institute (Rikskonserter).

These changes are recommended to have been completed by 2010.

The committee stressed that the purpose of the administrative reorganization is not to "find nor create any distinct divides" within cultural policy and the three spheres will be encouraged to interact.

"The changes to the administration structure are intended to strengthen the perspective of the citizen and to broaden access to the arts for all."

The Committee of Inquiry on Cultural Policy was appointed in June 2007 and given the task to "review cultural policy, its direction and work methods."

The inquiry is the first major review of cultural policy to be conducted in Sweden since 1996.

A parliament resolution in 1974 established eight guiding principles for cultural policy. These were replaced in 1996 by seven new ones, amended to reflect the changing social, cultural and ethnic demographics in Sweden in the interim period.

The third point in the 1996 changes included the goal of "counteracting the negative effects of commercialism."

This text has now been removed and is interpreted in some quarters to indicate a greater openness for market economics within Sweden's cultural policy.


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