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Main actors in policy making
Cultural responsibilities in Belgium and Flanders
In Belgium, the Communities have exclusive competence for cultural policy and its implementation. The Government of Flanders can issue laws to that effect, called Flemish Parliament Acts. This implies that there is no Ministry of Culture at national level, but three Ministries of Culture at Community level, respectively for the Flemish, French and German speaking communities. Each community has developed its own policy with specific instruments and structures for implementation. In Flanders the Arts Division of the Department of Culture, Youth and Media has been entrusted with this task.
Cultural Heritage policy in Belgium is however a shared competence amongst communities and regions.
In Flanders the Flemish community, within its cultural competence, is responsible for movable tangible and intangible cultural heritage. It concerns policy regarding institutions and their collections, cultural heritage expert organisations, heritage objects such as paintings, sculptures, machines, furniture, … and also policy regarding transmission of habits and traditions, knowledge and competences, feasts and everyday life, …
The Flemish Region is responsible for immovable tangible heritage e.g. monuments, sites, landscapes, archaeology, …
The Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs does not have any cultural competences. The international aspects of cultural policy also fall within the responsibility of the Minister for Culture.
Certain large cultural institutions in Brussels remain the responsibility of the federal government of Belgium.
Ministries and policy areas
In Flanders, there are two policy areas with responsibilities regarding creativity and culture for young people:
The policy area of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media
The policy domain of Education and Training
The policy area of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media
The competent ministers regarding creativity and culture for young people within this policy are for the legislature 2019-2024 are
- Jan Jambon - Minister of Culture
- Benjamin Dalle - Minister of Youth
The Department of Culture, Youth and Media within the policy area of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media is the main governmental authority responsible for creativity and culture for young people.
The department's main policy areas include:
- Social-Cultural Work
- Cultural Heritage
- Media, Film and e-Culture
The policy domain Education and Training
The Policy domain Education and Training comprises:
- the Flemish Minister for Education for the legislature 2019-2024 is Ms. Ben Weyts. As Minister of Education he is responsible for the policy areas of education and training.
- 5 autonomous organisations who, together, form the Flemish education administration
More information on the constellation of this policy domain and the underlying structure can be found in 6.2.
Of specific importance towards arts education is CANON (CANON Cultuurcel). CANON Cultuurcel
- provides information, inspiration and financial support to teachers regarding cultural education
- conducts research and consultations on cultural education at Flemish and European level.
Main public actors involved
At the request of the Flemish government, Publiq facilitates participation in culture and leisure. Through targeted programs and data driven marketing, Publiq aims at connecting people with activities and removing barriers for participation. Publiq is specialized in cultural marketing and communication. Their ambition is to make (more) people (more) enthusiastic for (more) culture. Publiq informs about cultural and leisure activities in Flanders and Brussels. In order to do that Publiq has developed the UiT network of more than 250 regional partners in Flanders and Brussels. Websites, magazines and brochures of local governments feature a recognizable UiT label, which shows the way to activities in the neighbourhood. They also developed the UiT database (see also 8.4).
Public has also a wider activating mission. They offer local governments within the UiT network a useful set of tools with which they can develop policies to encourage public participation.
Publiq pays special attention to children and young people, e.g.:
- the label ‘Vlieg’ (‘Fly’) announces cultural activities for the very young (under 12). Cultural centers and leisure services are using this fly-label extensively in their communication.
- BILL informs young people (16 to 30) on cultural events and items via Instagram, the BILL site and the BILL app. Around 60 young volunteer reporters contribute to BILL content.
Sectoral plans, such as a cultural policy plan or a youth policy plan, do not exist separately and must be integrated into the strategic multiannual planning of municipalities. Cultural education falls under the decree on Local Culture Policy identified as one of the Flemish policy accents. For the local youth policy, 'youth culture' has been put forward as a Flemish priority, which includes:
- the way the municipality wants to respond to youth cultural expressions of children and youth and how they want to support, stimulate and facilitate;
- the way the municipality wants to stimulate, support and facilitate the artistic expressive experience of children and young people. This also includes aspects of cultural education.
Cultuurconnect supports cultural actors in integrating cultural education in an integral (with al partners from local cultural policy) and transversal (in collaboration with other partners, such as education, community development, youth, social services or other services) way. The Ambrassade and Bataljong fulfil a similar role regarding actors from local youth policy.
Other potentially relevant support points and centers of excellence in the field of cultural participation and education with regard to young people are:
Until 2018, the Forum voor Amateurkunsten (Forum for Amateur Arts) was the contact point for all amateur artists. Since the new Decree on decree on Supralocal Cultural Policy (decreet bovenlokale cultuurwerking) the tasks are divided over two institutions:
- OP/TIL is the Support center for supralocal culture.
- The Federation involves, informs and represents the Flemish socio-cultural adult work and the amateur arts.
Vitamine C is a learning network of field workers and policy-makers who want to connect children and young people with art and culture.
Cultuurkuur is a platform where culture and education meet. Organizers of cultural education activities can publish their activities on the Cultuurkuur site. This way schools get an overview of all cultural activities offered to schools. In addition, Cultuurkuur publishes practical examples and informs about subsidies for cultural projects in schools. Cultuurkuur is an initiative of CANON Cultuurcel and Publiq on behalf of the Flemish Government.
Between culture, youth and education
The Flemish government has recognized the importance of arts and cultural education for a long time. In a protocol agreement dd. 18/02/2002, the Flemish Ministers of Education and Culture at the time agreed to develop a policy on the different levels of culture and education: school time, leisure and professional time. Both ministers jointly and separately took various initiatives to implement this protocol.
In order to conduct a structural dialogue between the two policy areas, four advisory groups and one steering group were installed, including representatives of both departments in addition to a number of external experts. The Steering Group's objective was to set up a concrete timetable and action plan to achieve the objectives of the protocol while the advisory groups had the task of giving concrete recommendations and advice to the steering committee to achieve structural cooperation. These advisory groups focused on the different fields within which cooperation between Culture and Education can be formed, respectively, school time, leisure time, professional time and teacher education. The conclusions and recommendations issued partly led to the respective policy papers of both ministers, after which the steering and advisory groups were dissolved.
Yet the focus on this issue and - correspondingly - the need for close cooperation between the policy domains Culture, Youth and Education only gained momentum in later years.
Since then, regular consultations have been held between both administrations for information exchange and cooperation on the above topics. CANON Cultuurcel is the partner within the Policy Domain Education and Training. For example, various studies and publications have been prepared together ('Heritage Education in Flemish Education and XS-About Children, Culture & Communication', 2007).
In response to the Bamford report (see 8.1), the former Flemish Minister for Education and Training, Frank Vandenbroucke, founded a committee and a sound board. He also involved Flemish Minister for Culture and Youth, Bert Anciaux. The task of the committee was to submit a number of concrete proposals for better arts and cultural education in Flanders, based on a critical test of the recommendations of the Bamford report. A sound board group gave the various institutions and sectors concerned (e.g. part-time arts education, teacher training, cultural centers, …) the opportunity to express their views on the proposals formulated by the committee. This resulted in the report “Gedeeld/Verbeeld"(Shared/imagined) with recommendations of the Commission Culture and Education" that was presented on September 18, 2008.
Also in September 2008, Minister Anciaux presented the 'Policy and Action Bill on Cultural Education in Policy Fields Culture and Youth', entitled Smaakmaker (Taste Maker). With that note, he wanted to put the efforts made in the field of cultural education in the spotlight, while at the same time providing new perspectives. The focus on cultural education has increased intensely over the last decades and has spread and nested in several aspect of cultural and youth policy. From the perspective of cultural and youth policy, according to Anciaux, education plays an exceptional - but not exclusive - role in cultural education.
A first initiative that addressed the shared concerns formulated in “Gedeeld/Verbeeld” and “Smaakmaker” was the formalization of internal official consultation within the Department Culture, Youth, Sports and Media as an ‘anchor point’ for cultural education. This served as a focus on cultural education for actors in their own policy area, but also for players from other policy areas (including CANON Cultuurcel) and at other policy levels. The existing informal civil consultation group on cultural education, coordinated by the Department of Culture, Youth, Sport and Media and representing the various entities, was formalized and renamed ACCE: Ambtelijke Coördinatie CultuurEducatie (See below for more information)
Approximately at the same time as the Commission Culture and Education started, a working group started on a substantive renewal of part-time art education. The working group included various sub-workgroups with experts from the field of work and related sectors within and outside education. That process led to a separate report on part-time art education (DKO) with ‘Verdieping/Verbreding’ (Deepening/Widening). The report aimed to open up perspectives on a substantive renewal of part-time arts education and focuses on a dual mission: organizing artistic training for the active culture participant and promoting art and culture education in schools.
This intra-ministerial platform for the coordination of cultural education (Ambtelijke Coördinatie CultuurEducatie) within the ministry of Culture, Youth, Sports and Media, works on the harmonisation of cultural education and cooperation between parties involved.
ACCE operates both at an administrative level and across the relevant sectors. The platform serves as a direct contact point for stakeholders within and outside the policy fields of Culture and Youth, including CANON.
- follow-up and support of the policy cycle (policy preparation, implementation and evaluation) regarding the subject of cultural competence / cultural education
- focus is on cultural competency / cultural education for the actors involved within their own policy area, but also for the other policy areas, both at Flemish level and at other policy levels (European, regional, local)
The actual work of ACCE includes:
- the organization of structural consultations, both internally within the Department of Culture, Youth and Media, as well as with support points, stakeholders and other players at the intermediary level
- setting up short-term research on cultural education in the fields of culture and youth and the formulation of an Occupational Cluster Culture Educator and Competence Profile 'Conductor of Art Practitioners'
- the organization of an annual sector event