Cultural policy objectives

New national cultural policy objectives were established in 2009. In a Riksdag decision from 1974, overall objectives for state cultural policy were established for the first time. Cultural policy objectives are national and govern state cultural policy. They should also inspire and provide guidance to local government policies.

The Culture is to be a dynamic, challenging and independent force based on the freedom of expression. Everyone is to have the opportunity to participate in cultural life. Creativity, diversity and artistic quality are to be integral parts of society’s development. 

To achieve the objectives, cultural policy is to:

  • promote opportunities for everyone to experience culture, participate in educational programmes and develop their creative abilities;
  • promote quality and artistic renewal;
  • promote a dynamic cultural heritage that is preserved, used and developed;
  • promote accessibility;
  • promote international and intercultural exchange and cooperation in the cultural sphere; and
  • pay particular attention the rights of children and young people to culture.

Societies need a strong cultural life. Through its potential to move and inspire, culture contributes both to strengthening the individual and developing society as a whole. Art must be allowed to develop on its own terms and there must be scope for new perspectives on cultural heritage. Safeguarding culture’s potential to be a dynamic, challenging and independent force is therefore the most fundamental task of cultural policy. Freedom of expression is a prerequisite for a living democracy and freedom of opinion. It is an essential and obvious task of cultural policy to protect this freedom.

Cultural policy should provide conditions to enable everyone to participate in cultural life regardless of whether the aim is education, to experience culture or to engage in creative activities. It must be possible to take part in cultural facilities that are characterised by diversity and high standards regardless of where in the country one lives or if you have a disability.

A prerequisite for a dynamic society is that the creativity and innovative thinking that are the driving force of cultural development are harnessed and given space to flourish. Material and economic considerations need to be weighed against deeper human, social and cultural values. Cultural policy therefore contributes to spreading and anchoring a humanistic view of the individual in society.

Society is to be characterised by a wealth of cultural expressions, irrespective of the area in which they appear. There is no obvious discrepancy between commercial viability and artistic quality or freedom.

Opportunities for everyone to experience culture, participate in educational programmes and develop their creative abilities

All citizens must feel invited to take part in cultural life and be given opportunities to participate and influence.

Cultural institutions are important bearers and vehicles of knowledge. Diverse cultural expressions also contribute to creating contexts and to providing new perspectives on occurrences and events in our lives and the world around us. Cultural policy therefore has an important role to play in society’s cultural aspirations.

Different types of creativity must be supported and encouraged. Amateur and professional cultural activities are conducted under different conditions and from different starting points but they often enrich each other and must therefore be given opportunities for collaboration.

Quality and artistic renewal

Artistic creativity is essentially  about doing things in different ways, exploring new areas, transgressing boundaries and making visible various aspects of our existence. It is the task of cultural policy to help ensure that the conditions exist for creative activities that would not be expressed in other ways – particularly with regard to the renewal and development of culture. Part of this is to actively promote good conditions for the artistic work of professional cultural creators.

What is considered to be quality varies in time and place. It varies from genre to genre and between groups and individuals. Cultural creators have a key role in the continuously ongoing discussion about what quality is in the cultural sphere. That quality is of central importance for cultural policy does not mean that its content should be subject to political assessment.

A dynamic cultural heritage that is preserved, used and developed

One of the core tasks of cultural policy is to promote a dynamic cultural heritage. The cultural heritage of today’s society has been characterised by history and diversity and is as multifaceted and historically diverse as society itself. Cultural heritage creates a perspective on society and its development and enriches people’s lives.  Our views on, and interpretation of cultural heritage are constantly changing. From the citizen’s perspective, it is important that an open dialogue is conducted on these interpretations and what they represent.

Cultural heritage belongs to everyone and should be seen as an asset in society that contributes to development and renewal. The involvement and participation of citizens is an important condition for ensuring that cultural heritage continues to live and develop.

International and intercultural exchange and cooperation

The internationalisation of society provides better opportunities for cultural life to develop. It is just as important that Swedish culture can reach across borders as it is for Sweden to be open to inspiration from other countries. It enlivens audiences and cultural practitioners and can provide new knowledge and perspectives. From the point of view of cultural policy, it is important to insist on the necessity of quality, artistic integrity, mutuality and sustainability in international exchanges.

Increased international contacts have contributed significantly to society becoming intercultural, with a mixture of expressions and experiences, both at the individual level and that of society. Intercultural exchange, like international exchange, is extremely important for the development of cultural life.

The right of children and young people to culture

Children and young people are in many respects dependent on adults and have limited opportunities to influence or take responsibility for the environment in which they grow up. Society and the adult world therefore bear special responsibility for giving children and young people good and equal opportunities to take part in cultural life. Cultural policy should provide the conditions that enable children and young people throughout the country to have access to cultural choices and cultural activities characterised by diversity and quality. By experiencing culture, and devoting themselves to creative activities of their own, children and young people can retain and develop their imagination and independent thinking.

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