1.3.2 Content of municipal policy

As a consequence of Austrian communities having a self-administrative character, there is a wide variety of cultural policy approaches. There is no data base of cultural policy approaches available, though, which would make comparison possible. Generally speaking, in larger communities the focus is more on professional arts production whereas in smaller ones aspects of participation [kulturelle partizipation] are more at the centre of attention.

Over 400 regional cultural initiatives [regionale Kulturinitiativen] have been set up to stimulate active participation in cultural activities by the local population. Active participation is also a goal of a number of cultural festivals and festival weeks which try to attract not only tourists but also new local target groups such as migrants. The regional cultural initiatives are also potential cooperation partners for schools.

Only a handful of communities are equipped with a cultural development plan as a prerequisite for medium long and long-term planning. It is mainly the cities of Salzburg, Dornbirn in Vorarlberg, Krems in Lower Austria and Steyr and Linz in Upper Austria that have enacted cultural development plans.

As early as 2000, Linz was the first Austrian city to present an outline of a long-term cultural policy plan to secure a cultural repositioning of the city which up to that time was only known as a steel-city (Provincial Capital Linz, 2000).

Selected examples

The cultural mission statement of the city of Linz

The cultural mission statement of the city of Linz can be seen as a break with the dominant political culture and is the result of a long-lasting process. All actors were actively involved in the formulation of this paper which now finds a broad acceptance in the cultural field.

Concerning the aspect of cultural education, the chapter 'Promotion of the Arts and Culture' is particularly relevant:

'A high priority is being given to the creation and extension of plans for target groups, and promotion through individual institutions. Great significance is attached to this in the museums in particular, and to contacts with schools and kindergartens. Specific measures should therefore be taken to intensify contacts with schools, kindergartens and the local promotion of culture. [...] The City of Linz proposes to set up an information and contact service jointly with the Province of Upper Austria for the use of creative and performing artists as well as 'disseminators' (acting as an interface between artists and public). This service is intended to provide information and the transfer of expertise for promotional programmes, cooperation opportunities, contact mediation and to work out measures for the increased integration of schools, kindergartens and adult education centres in cultural life (e.g. through the introduction of an 'Arts Portmanteau'). The city of Linz appeals to all centres of further education and to the federal government to find a permanent place for cultural education and artistic and cultural promotion in all education and further education programmes and teaching syllabuses (not forgetting training colleges and apprenticeship schemes). Contemporary arts and new media should have a high priority.

The city of Linz also welcomes all initiatives towards the establishment of a federal academy, college or similar federal institution for cultural and artistic education in Linz.' (Provincial Capital Linz, 2000, p. 10-11)

Up to 2009 there has been no systematic evaluation of the way in which these intentions have been realised. Many of the concepts mentioned in the mission statement of the city of Linz are realised within the framework of European Capital of Culture Linz09. This initiative provides a wide range of cultural education programmes. See 1.3.3.

The cultural mission statement of the city of Salzburg

The mission statement says that the city intends to foster the dialogue between arts, culture, education and science:

Apart from providing funds, the aim of cultural policy is to foster a dialogue about all that is needed to develop new projects, to take on new challenges and to explore new areas of interest. Cultural policy gives a new impulse to the development of networks and to increased cooperation between the arts, cultural education and science. (Stadt Salzburg, 2007, p. 12)

Salzburg's cultural mission statement, including a cultural development plan, was published in 2001 for a period of 10 years. In 2007 the plan was evaluated so as to assess its efficiency and the extent to which it was implemented. Judging from the results, most of the planned measures have been implemented (Luger & Hagelmüller, 2007).

The cultural development plan of the city of Krems

In its cultural development plan, the city of Krems states that unfortunately many wishes and needs of its population have not been met. To make up for this the city intends to mobilise all relevant forces and mentions explicitly:

'Youth work, basic musical education, space for culture, district festivals, mediation in schools, the creation of networks between cultural institutions, mediators and educational institutions.' (Magistrat der Stadt Krems, 2006, p. 24)

Cultural development plan of the city of Steyr 

'Special emphasis shall be placed on the motivation of children and young people for culture and the arts. Children and youth culture shall be promoted in a targeted way, especially in cooperation with existing educational institutions (schools, the university of applied sciences, out-of-school institutions, youth centres) and cultural associations with a focus on youth culture. A stronger inclusion of schools in the cultural and artistic offerings as well as the activation of culture and the arts in the context of the regular school day. [...]' (Magistrat der Stadt Steyr, 2008, p. 18)