In Slovenia we have towns where cultural offer has almost disappeared. In lots of towns this is a consequence of lack of strategic planning. Although the law states that all municipalities should have a strategic plan including culture, we know based on an analysis that this is not the case. Moreover, in places where they have strategic cultural plans, they were not made through a democratic participatory process. Our project will address this problem. Towns without culture are not towns.
Selection of places is part of the project (see the description).
In Slovenia there are no big differences between regions (there are no administrative region, only statistical) but there is a difference between bigger cities on one side and rural places (smaller towns) on the other side. In bigger cities democracy is developed to some extent but in rural places, democracy and civic participation is stagnating and deteriorating. With the project we are addressing three interrelated challenges:
(1) there is poor democratic participation in rural settlements in Slovenia,
(2) trough culture we can observe that (1) is a problem – lack of public discussion on strategic development of culture,
(3) because of (1) and (2) we are lacking documents (or publicly discussed documents) concerning strategic development of local culture (obliged by law).
The prior analysis will tharget all municipalyties in Slovenia. After that we will select six most relevant example towns and conduct a democratic process of writing a cultural strategic plan. In this part everyone from these six towns will be welcomed to participate. One strong target group are all groups connected to arts and culture (culture minorities, amateur artist, cultural public, self-employed artists), but also the whole particular local community will be targeted as an individual broader target group. With the final source book we are targeting all local communities.
The project consists of three main phases in which there is emphasis on the second phase. In phase one (PH 1) that will take place in the first two months we will do a mapping of the existence of local strategic plans for culture (we know that lots of towns don’t have them although they are mandatory by law) and in what extent they were done in a participatory way. Based on this analysis, we will select six most relevant smaller towns where the second phase (PH 2) will take place. In every one of six towns, we will do three events: (1) Introductory event (2) Public discussion (discussion on current status and plans for culture in the local environment). (3) Final event (presentation of strategic directions for development of local culture and discussion on implementation). The second phase will take place from third to seventh month. We will finish with phase three (PH3) form eight to tenth month, where we will create a source book on the topic of democratic participatory strategic planning of the development of local culture. The six processes from PH2 will serve as the basis for the PH 3. The source books will be distributed to all municipalities in Slovenia. Because we are an advocacy network the source book will be also used after the end of the project in our advocacy activities.
Taking in to account the described challenges we expect the following results:
1. As a result of PH 2 we expect a thorough understanding of the importance of democratic processes in 6 smaller towns, and they will have a basis for the implementation of a participatory made cultural strategic plan.
2. As a result of PH 3 we will be able to ensure the continuation of the democratization processes after the end of the project.
3. PH 1 will result in better understanding of the situation of the inclusion of the public in the preparation of local strategic development.
Our idea is comprised of three phases and all are targeting strengthening of democracy and civil participation in smaller local communities. With a series of three events organised in six smaller towns in Slovenia we will encourage the participation of all groups in the local community to participate in the shaping of cultural policies of that community. On the basis of this we will create a source book on how to run similar processes, with added experience form the second phase of the project. The source book will further be distributed to all local communities (to decision makers and local authorities) and with this we will further encourage democracy and active citizenship in local communities.
As mentioned, we are a horizontal advocacy networks in the field of culture and the idea is strongly rooted to our core work. One of our main activities is the opening of public space for debates on culture and development of arts in its most core aspect of freedom. With the idea we are strengthening one of our main activities directly related to our field, but we are also addressing the underlaying principles in general. We have a professional employed teem that will work on the project with many years of experience in similar processes and projects. We are a national network and have a strong presence in local communities.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
18500 eur … staff costs of eleven months
2250 eur … travel costs
1900 eur … source book (design, proofreading, graphic elements, printing etc.)
700 eur … design and creation of project logo and web page
1800 eur … Overhead costs
We would appreciate feedback about what is the situation with the inclusion of public in strategic planning in the field of culture in other counties and local communities across Europe. Every other comment of the project is also welcomed.