Sweden: Inquiry proposes major culture policy overhaul

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Feb 13 15:42:23 UTC 2009

Inquiry proposes major culture policy overhaul
Published: 12 Feb 09 11:22 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.se/17530/20090212/

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

"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

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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