FROM SAFEGUARDING OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Text topic: Culture and Democracy - 50 Years of the Review Kultura
Text author: Нина Михаљинац и Милан Ђорђевић
This article is exploring the influence of current priorities of European programmes for culture on decision making in Serbia – from participation and audience development, to introducing of the concept of creative industries (and everything encompassed by it: market development and market skills, new professions). Special attention is given to the question of varied attitudes that the current government, responsible ministry and the expert public take in relation to these ideas and priorities. The article starts from two standpoints: (1) that cultural projects must be of public interest and (2) that the sovereignty of the state, assuming the power and autonomy in decision making in accordance with the needs and interests of the citizens is key for its development and the development of its macro-environment. On the other hand, at the time of globalization and transnational changes, including various very intensive and turbulent processes of supranational connecting and development of transnational trends, countries are faced with a series of transitional dilemmas and confusions. In the process of European integrations, Serbia mostly abides by the recommendations promoted by the European Union, which also affect the domain of culture. The current strategic direction of Europe is leading to orientation of culture towards economic activities. However, all European countries have not equally adopted this direction: many stakeholders are resisting the commodification of culture, promotion of the concept and the development of cultural entrepreneurship. Proposition is to change the approach to defining current political decisions which can reflect on the entire system. Primarily, through pointing out the necessity of adopting a strategic approach to the development of creative industries, specifically through the method of cooperative planning. This is in accordance with the aims and results of a research conducted by the authors within their engagement at the Creative Europe Desk Serbia. The research included organizing seven expert working tables with the aim of offering development recommendations for European cultural cooperation through debating its directions. The initiative is listed as an important one, primarily due to the fact that it gathered various representatives of the cultural sector (prominent leaders and employees in public cultural institutions, civil society organizations and creative industries, and also independent experts, scientists and researchers). Either way, it can be said that results represent attitudes of the expert public in the domain of European cultural cooperation, also considering the situation in culture in general. To sum up, the entire situation in respect of the European cooperation development reflects deep problems of the transitional and financially underdeveloped Serbia facing the issue of the lack of explicitly formulated objectives and strategies of cultural policy, on all levels of cultural development management – starting from the national, followed by the city and municipality level and all the way down to the institutional level. In order for cultural institutions and local self-governments to be able to develop their own cultural policies in harmony with the national programme of cultural development, it is necessary to adopt a national programme and strategy of cultural development. Moreover, this programme would define general/public interests, and the strategy – short and long term priorities in the field of culture. The fact that these documents do not exist contributes to the creation of transitional confusion and significantly slows down the reform processes. Efforts should be invested in expanding the definition of culture and the activity scope of cultural projects (precisely in the way members of expert groups at the Creative Europe Forum 2016 have defined). For now, culture is only understood as a high standard of aesthetics, education, communication and living. The words cultured (meaning educated, having manners) and uncultured (meaning rough, not having manners, primitive) are still used in the wider public, which creates a significant divide in the society. Furthermore, it would be necessary to establish a strategy of developing creative industries within the existing strategy of cultural development and to define the measures and instruments managing the development of creative industries in Serbia. Most importantly, it would be necessary to secure support to non-profit activities, strengthening the sector of culture and inter-sectoral cooperation (culture, science, education) with the aim of meeting and strengthening of the public interest. Otherwise, the neoliberal trend can devastate the activity of cultural institutions and organizations in Serbia, as well as the entire sector. Cultural policy, especially when it comes to new directions and concepts, must be clearly based on the needs of the society. It is clear that the EU is influencing the development of cultural concepts by securing financial support. If the intention is to unburden the public budget of the financing cultural and artistic production by moving to self-sustainable models of creative industries (which is a trend recommended on the EU level), it is desirable to clarify all the questions about the current status and available resources. A desirable approach to creating a cultural policy, and thus also creative industries, would be collaborative planning which includes a dialogue between the state and various actors. If this approach is not present, tensions and confusions grow in the society, which prevents closing of the transitional cycle.