ondamarela

Culture: essential service

Next June 8th we will have the honor of being with Hugo Cruz (creator and cultural programmer), Madalena Victorino and Giacomo Scalisi (Artistic Directors of Lavrar o Mar), Márcio Laranjeira (Lovers & Lollypops) and Vera Mantero (dancer and choreographer, O Rumo do Fumo) in the debate “Culture: essential service” promoted by Access Culture.

 

The “Culture for All” portuguese program, which aims at social inclusion through culture, is no longer a priority. Funds that have not yet been committed (some simply because contracts have not yet been signed) will be allocated to measures to mitigate the direct effects of the pandemic – for example, the purchase and production of health equipment and protective goods. A new line of financing, “Cultural Network Programming”, favors cultural programming with the potential to leverage tourism and allows a different approach – more comprehensive in terms of audiences.

These clarifications on the part of several government agents provoked a heated debate for several reasons: for the view that one has of Culture and its role in society; the understanding of democratic culture; at least the contempt they seem to manifest in relation to working with people who are usually excluded from life in society in general, and cultural participation in particular; by the hierarchy of services considered essential for citizens, where, for example, Health is more essential than Culture.

And it is. That said, during the state of emergency, and now of calamity, most portuguese resort to Cultural services more than (fortunately) Health services. One thing is as essential as the other.

Because the themes associated with this subject are many, in this debate (which may be the first of many) we would like to focus on a specific aspect. Assuming that Culture is an essential asset, how is it perceived by professionals in the sector and guardianship? What language do they use to position themselves in relation to this fact? How do they feel framed by the country’s economic and social logics? Does an essential good need “support” or investment? Is an essential good served by professionals who receive fees or by aficionados who receive charity? Does the support / investment aim to support professionals in the sector or guarantee the right of access for all citizens to enjoyment and cultural creation?

Online debate: access link

 

2 June 2020