1.2.1 General aspects of provincial policy

Austria is a federal state consisting of nine provinces [Länder]. The largest province is Lower Austria with 1,6 million people, the smallest Burgenland with 270.000 people. The city of Vienna with 1,7 million inhabitants is considered both a province and a municipality. The city houses the most important cultural institutions of Austria. 

Cultural Policy

Cultural policy funding is shared between the federal state, provinces and municipalities. The federal structure implicates different responsibilities in the field of cultural policy. In accordance with the Austrian Constitution only a few cultural institutions, such as the Federal Museums and Federal Theatres, are in responsibility of the federal state. All other cultural institutions that are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution are in responsibility of the provinces. Also the municipalities have their own responsibilities. According to article 17 of the Austrian Federal Constitutional Law [Art.17 B-VG], within the framework of private-sector administration [Privatwirtschaftsverwaltung] the federal state intervenes in almost all areas of cultural policy.

To give cultural activities a formal foundation the Austrian Parliament enacted a Federal Law on Arts Funding [Bundeskunstförderungsgesetz] in 1989 which stipulates the funding of arts production and its mediation [Vermittlung].

Cultural Policy of the Länder seemed for a long time in the mainstream  directed towards folklore and traditional arts and crafts. Meanwhile - with the exception of Vienna - all Länder have enacted their own Law on Cultural Funding [Landeskulturförderungsgesetz] to govern their actions in the field of arts production and arts education. All these laws share a discretionary character in that the decision to implement cultural policy measures lies within the authority of the politicians in charge within the Länder.

In general, these regional laws provide for the maintenance and further development of the diversity of regional cultural life and for the cultural participation [kulturelle partizipation] of its inhabitants. The laws on cultural funding of Styria (Steiermärkischer Landtag 2005), Tyrol (Tiroler Landtag 2010) Lower Austria (Niederösterreichischer Landtag 1996), Carinthia (Kärntner Landtag 2001) and Upper Austria (Oberösterreichischer Landtag 1987) refer to mediation [Vermittlung].Education PolicyAs the development of the school curriculum is in responsibility of the federal state, the influence of the provinces on cultural education [kulturvermittlung] in schools is limited. Nevertheless, the representatives of the provincial education authorities carry out their own initiatives to support music education [musikerziehung] and arts education [kunsterziehung] in schools, to foster cooperation between schools and cultural institutions or to organise cultural school projects.CooperationCharacteristic for Austria is that, over the years, a wide variety of cultural policy approaches have been developed by the individual public bodies in the provinces (often even by different departments within one public body). Whereas some cultural activities are laid down in federal treaties between the federal state and the provinces (mainly in the field of theatre funding), in most other areas individual public bodies increasingly insist upon developing and executing their own cultural policies.The result is a rather complex variety of policy measures on all levels of public policy which are executed without mutual consultation or coordination and independent of each other.Those responsible for provincial cultural policy - both on an administrative and on a political level - meet at a conference twice a year with representatives in charge of state cultural policy [Landeskulturreferentenkonferenz]. The result of a inquiry into this conference is that up to 2009 cultural education has not been on the agenda at all.In general, both horizontal cooperation between the provinces and vertical cooperation between the state, the provinces and the municipalities is limited. This poses challenges for the development and coordination of common policies but also the collection of data to make comparison of policy measures possible. Up to 2010, a database of any kind does not exist.There is some cooperation when it comes to the funding of cultural institutions and programmes targeted at children and young audiences: one example is the Music Festival Jeunesse which organises school concerts and music education Austria-wide. Jeunesse is co-financed by the Federal  Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, as well as by all the provinces and 19 Austrian municipalities.Jeunesse