Themes: Our Creativy Diversity
A new global ethics
A commitment to pluralism
Challenges of a media-rich world
recasting cultural policies

Michihiro Watanabe
Mobilizing Resources for Cultural Activities

I Public Resources

Most governments are now experiencing a stagnation in their cultural budgets. The situation is especially serious in the former socialist countries in Eastern Europe and the Central Asia, and in poorer countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where gross under-funding of the cultural sector remains chronic. As a result, cultural policy planners and practitioners are pessimistic about finding resources in the public sector.

Cultural policy everywhere seems to suffer from ambiguity and inconsistency. By examining and comparing internationally the validity of their cultural policies, governments may strengthen their position in mobilizing support for cultural spending. There is an urgent need to develop more coherent and co-ordinated ways of collecting and analysing data for cultural policy.

Existing administrative practices often encourage complacency and inefficiency. One way of improving administrative practice for culture is to give more independence to artists and art organizations that receive support so that they are free to operate their budgets in the most efficient ways.

II Pooling of Government Fund

There is a world-wide tendency to mix the funds of various ministries and agencies within government. Thus, inter-ministerial co-operation becomes increasingly important. Once such co-ordination is achieved, it is likely that government will find far more resources available for cultural development than previously envisaged. Regional and local governments have drastically increased their cultural spending in recent years. Unfortunately, this localization of funding cannot be a panacea for the financing of culture because most of the lower levels of government are also facing financial difficulties.

III Private Funds

Cultural expenditures by independent non-governmental funders appear to be increasing steadily everywhere. Nevertheless, increased private giving has given rise to false hopes in some cases where private funding has actually led to marked reduction in state spending. Foundations can also contribute, but in order for them to be able to do so carefully drafted legislation is needed at national and local level. Individual giving is important not only because it can be a very considerable source of funding, but also because it signifies the involvement and commitment of individuals to the creative cause. The delay in mobilizing individual support in many countries must be remedied as soon as possible.

Social clubs, professional groups, alumni groups, trade unions, and amateur groups, also may contribute to arts and culture. The role of higher education institutions in promoting creative activities is something that has been unduly neglected by policy makers. Traditional patrons of culture such as religious institutions, leading families, village communities, fraternities, professional guilds and associations may still play a significant and constructive role in support of cultural activities.

The privatization of facilities and institutions, and the transfer of their management to private hands may be the best way to attract private money for culture. It is unrealistic to believe that, in today's privatized economy, arts and culture alone can continue to be exclusively publicly planned and administered. Non-market initiatives such as maintenance of the minimum level of access to culture, the encouragement of experiment and preservation of cultural heritage, still require government support. What is needed is to identify the respective roles of both the public and private sectors in cultural development and to come to a clear understanding about how to divide responsibility among the sectors.

IV Alternative Resources

The introduction of a publicly endowed fund or foundations endowed with a permanent fund is another option that merits serious consideration. Yet few governments today will find themselves in a position to invest enough funds in the current budgetary conditions. Hard-pressed artists and arts may demand immediate support rather than future income from an endowment. One way to stretch funds is to increase entrance fees of cultural institutions and facilities. However, admission fees alone can not cover the costs of production unless the price is set at an astronomical amount, which would make many of performing arts inaccessible to the majority of people. Many cultural institutions are introducing measures to raise their own revenues by leasing part of institution premises to shops, offices, cafes, galleries and undertaking economic activity or creating foundations which conduct such activity on behalf of the institution. Levies on construction costs, films, newly introduced pay TV, sales of the works of arts and tickets in theatres, etc., are some example of special levies for cultural purposes. These earmarked revenues, however, may be opposed by legislators and financial officers as it puts cultural budgets beyond their control.

The use of money from lotteries and gambling raises a sensitive political question. It is largely the low income population that plays lotteries and gambles, whereas many of those who appreciate the arts come from more affluent strata of society. Thus, there is a real danger of using the poor man's money to support the pleasure of rich.

There has been a tendency in recent years to put copyright into special funds for the social benefits of members of collecting societies and for other cultural or social purposes. Another possible levy is the compensation that consumers pay to the copyright collecting societies for the use of blank tapes and videos.

Adequate loan systems for creative activities may help artists and arts organizations function better in the predominantly market economy system in today's world.

V Tourism as a Source of Funding

The arts, arts facilities and cultural heritage attract more tourists and make them stay longer. Arts and crafts and other local products make tourists spend more. It is in the interest of the tourist industry to make an investment in arts and culture. One way of using tourism money for culture is a levy on tourists, or alternatively on hotels and retails.

VI International Funds

In the developing countries whose economies are unable to sustain funding for culture, special efforts to mobilize foreign money such as international assistance and investment may be advisable to secure minimum level of cultural funding, although too much dependence on this source may have the danger of compromising the cultural integrity of the nation.

VII Diversification of Funding Sources

Cultural finding tody is mostly a dynamic mix of earned income and contributions from public and private sources. This mixed system of funding is the surest way to guarantee freedom of cultural creation as it leaves choice on the side of the creators rather than that of funders.

VIII From Support to Investment

It is investment and commercial funds that can supply enough capital to finance activities in arts and culture. The chance of attracting large investment in creative activities is far larger than we previously assumed because arts and culture are becoming one of the largest industries in many societies. The forms of arts that up to this day are the monopoly of non-profit efforts, may be open to for-profit organizations in the future. Non-profit organizations may learn from for-profit arts how to be successful commercially, and in turn, for-profit arts can learn from non-profit arts how to be more refined and profound.

IX Media Produces Money

The sheer amount of money that is required to produce media programmes today, will open up a new and opportunity for all forms of creative expressions. Creativity and the media industry are bound together for common interests.

X Better Management of Creative Industry

There is an urgent need to train arts managers who, like managers in other domains, are capable of defining their goals and objectives more precisely, marketing their products more effectively, and making their endeavours more accountable by introducing methods of performance measurement and efficiency evaluation.

XI Mobilizing the People

Cultural policy everywhere is mainly concerned with creation by professional artists while dismissing the creative contribution of people at large. Creation is in no way a monopoly of the professionals. Everybody has a striving for creativity that only waits to be awakened. Creation should be endeavour for all, of all and by all. Cultural policy often excludes elderly people, minorities, urban and rural population marginalized by poverty, handicapped, women and young people. Government and arts organization should introduce cultural democracy where creative opportunity is extended to all on an equal basis.

XII Arts Policy vs. Artists Policy

A policy for artists that emphasizes excellence should be augmented by an arts policy, which widens public access and outreach to social groups that have been excluded from the pursuit of excellence.

XIII Reunification of Divided Arts

In order to mobilize larger resources to achieve great creative rebirth, we must reinstate fully not only the high arts but entertainment, crafts, community arts and minority arts, and last but not least, commercial arts including architecture, design and production of all high quality merchandises, into the creative cause. Only the convergence of all forms of creation, will enable us to mobilize our resources in the march towards a creative society.

"Recasting cultural policies"
Jean Barthélemy
Bennett & Mercer
Néstor Canclini
Cliche, Mitchell & Wiesand
Jérôme Huet
Britt Isaksson
Lofti Maherzi
Sally Jane Norman
Michiro Watanabe
pijltje.gif (895 bytes) A new globlal ethics
pijltje.gif (895 bytes) A commitment to pluralism
pijltje.gif (895 bytes) Challenges of a media-rich world
pijltje.gif (895 bytes) Recasting cultural policies
General introduction
recasting cultural policies