1.1.2 Content of national policy

As an instrument for the national implementation of arts education, the written curricula issued by the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture sets the general framework.

The national government considers cultural participation [kulturelle partizipation] as an important precondition for the sustainment and promotion of cultural diversity. Therefore, it is the government's goal to enable as many citizens as possible to participate in culture and the arts.Following the government's programme in 2008, cultural education [Kulturvermittlung] is mainly an aspect of cultural policy. Where the chapter on education policy does not mention cultural education, the chapter dedicated to 'Arts and Culture' puts 'fostering cultural participation' on top of the government's priority list: 'Cultural education spurring on creativity in every area of life is an investment in the future of our country. Therefore the government will engage in arts and cultural education particularly in schools and will therefore foster innovative ways to attract new target groups (seniors, migrants). New methods of audience development should be used to implement sustainable cultural programmes for the entire population'. (Bundeskanzleramt, 2008, p. 229)The intentions of national policy can also be distilled from the discussion on the implementation of a new type of school combining the Hauptschule and the lower cycle of the academic middle school [Neue Mittelschule] in which various forms of aesthetic expression are at the heart of daily school life (Putz-Plecko & Wimmer, 2008).Additionally, the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture is actively involved in the discourse on the implementation of the UNESCO Road-Map for arts education.Generally speaking, attention for a national cultural education policy is not new. As early as in the 1970s research results made visible that there is a strong imbalance among Austrian citizens with respect to the access to culture. At the time the Ministry formulated a 'Cultural Policy Action Plan' [Kulturpolitischer Maßnahmenkatalog] to make all parts of the population acquainted with contemporary art forms. Until then cultural education was very much focused on cultural heritage. With this Action Plan the Federal Ministry intended to broaden the perspective and strengthen contemporary art, especially in schools. Therefore the Austrian Culture Service [Österreichischer Kultur-Service] was implemented to enable schools to get into contact with artists and arts institutions. These cultural policy intentions are still alive and try to take into account that, as regards access to culture, there is a social imbalance among learners and students from rural areas on the one hand and from urban areas on the other: When the Austrian Culture Service closed in 2003, KulturKontakt Austria [Kulturkontakt Austria]  took over the respective programmes.Target groupsFollowing the official documents the Austrian government will pursue the promotion of culture and the arts especially in schools. Furthermore, the development of innovative methods of cultural education for special groups - for example people with migrant backgrounds or senior citizens - should be promoted.To achieve these goals the Austrian government plans to adopt methods of audience development to prepare successful programmes of cultural education for different target groups. Additionally, in collaboration with the federal states the access to culture for deprived citizens shall be improved.