Shaping cultural policy in a time of crisis / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

Shaping cultural policy in a time of crisis

13 March 2013
Upper Stage
Free admission
The political management of contemporary culture is a relatively new phenomenon which emerged—depending on the country—in the first years or decades of the post-war era, when it played an integral role in the forging of a welfare state. During its short history, and notwithstanding major differences between nations, the strategies adopted have reflected the most significant shifts in the political, social and economic spheres.

The political, economic and social conditions of the present day are exceptionally unstable. The shifting political landscape has forced us to renegotiate the ways in which culture relates to economic development and the culture industry, to community and belonging, to the new collectivities, to citizenship and nationality, and to the mindsets, habits and behaviours of which society’s cultural aspect is composed.

In this context, the management of cultural resources assumes especial importance as an essential component of culture policy. We have an obligation to identify our human and symbolic cultural resources, to document and evaluate the established nexus of interrelationships and systems of hierarchies, the distinctions, inequalities and exclusions—in short, everything which augments or detracts from the shared capital of the community. The more widespread the acceptance of different groups in society and the more freedom these groups enjoy to exploit these resources, the greater the resultant participation and cohesion will be.

The broadening and enriching of our cultural dialogues is toppling the last remaining monopolies in a cultural confluence of new institutions, new views and new artistic expression. The crisis in Greece and in Europe has accelerated these processes of reformation and made them more imperative. The need to draw up a cultural development plan which addresses social as well as economic issues has become ever more pressing for culture and for culture professionals who need to understand the crisis and find a way out of it.

The discussion will explore the need to formulate a contemporary cultural policy informed by the dialogue between state bodies and their counterparts—the institutions, bodies and actors of civil society.


Emmanuel Wallon: Professor of Political Sociology, University of West Paris, Nanterre / Défense
Sarah Selwood: Visiting professor of Cultural Policy and Management at City University London and Honorary Professor, Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
Myrsini Zorba: Political scientist, Cultural Policy researcher
Georgia Mavragani: Theatre director, Member of the Embros collective

Christos Carras: Executive director of the Onassis Cultural Centre

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