8.4 Promoting culture and cultural participation
On this page
On this page
In Flanders different policies, programs, projects and initiatives are introduced to facilitate access to cultural activities. Most of those initiatives are however not exclusively directed to young people, but often they have a large impact on young people. However, in several museums, concert halls and theatres there are reduced fees for people under 26 years old.
UiTPAS-Vlaanderen (UiTPAS Flanders)
The UiTPAS is a card developed by public (see 8.2). This card combines attractive benefits for all cardholders with financial discounts for people with low or fixed incomes. In this way people in poverty can participate in leisure activities with reduction rates but without stigmatization. The UiTPAS-card is not specific directed to young people, but a lot of young people make use of it. This is among others due to the fact that many schools use the UiTPAS system to apply it in a structurally way to let young people participate in (compulsory) school trips. Some schools also decided to provide all their pupils with an UiTPAS. In this way, they avoid the stigmatization of pupils in poverty. Besides, a toolkit for youth associations was launched in 2021. This toolkit shows how the UiTPAS can be used to make youth associations more diverse and inclusive. So, also youth associations are increasingly using the UiTPAS.
UiTPAS was launched in June 2012 as a pilot project in Aalst and surrounding municipalities. After a positive evaluation by the Flemish government, the program started in Brussels (under the name of Paspartoe) and in Ghent. In 2015, Ostend and the Southwest region also started implementing UiTPAS. Several other regions and cities followed in the next years. In 2019 the UiTPAS was already active in 47 cities and municipalities.
In 2019 there were approximately 227.322 cardholders. Of this total number of cardholders approximately 121.574 were people with low or fixed incomes who could use the UiTPAS with reduction rates.
Publiq who guides and follows up the UitPAS registers anonymous real-time data on the participation patterns and preferences of UiTPAS users. This way, governments can gain a better insight into the participatory behavior of their citizens in general and of people in poverty in particular.
Demos is a public research and advocacy organization that has been active since 2008. They focus on social and policy developments in culture, youth work and sports. Demos contributes to the development of policies and practices, especially with a focus on groups and practices that are underrepresented and underexposed in society. The emphasis is on research, knowledge building and dissemination in these sectors. One example regarding their work on cultural participation is their program line on participatory art practices which are an important lever for cultural participation of groups that are underexposed or underrepresented in our society.
At the request of the Flemish government, publiq facilitates participation in culture and leisure. Publiq is a non-profit organization with a management agreement with the Flemish government. Through targeted programs and data driven marketing, publiq aims at connecting people with activities and removing barriers for participation. 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.
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). UiT met vlieg is part of the UiT Database and is a leisure agenda focusing on children. On UiTmetVlieg.be one can find tailored information on trips and activities for and with children. The label Vlieg (Fly) makes the culture and leisure offer for families with young children (-12 years) visible and recognizable. In view of the frequently-addressed needs of parents regarding the timely finding of creative holiday camps, publiq also decided to adopt and integrate the website “Kampzoeker” (Camp finder). Cultural centers and leisure services are using this fly-label extensively in their communication.
- UiTX (previous called BILL) informs young people on cultural activities and events in Flanders and Brussels and Europe through collaboration with the European Youth Card Association. With UiTX, 16 to 26-year-olds in Flanders and Brussels can discover more culture: a tailor-made agenda, inspiring selections via email and social media, competitions, campaigns or actions in schools... UiTX communicaties to young people via Instagram, Facebook and website. UiTX is being developed in collaboration with young people and several volunteer youth reporters are involved in the content of UiTX. UiTX uses also low-threshold and original awareness-raising campaigns and actions in school campuses and cities to reach young people. Also, the youth information platform “WAT WAT” uses the UiTX youth agenda widget to inform a broader range of young people. In 2020 there were 284,637 consultations on BILL.be, a lot higher than the year before and this despite corona.
- Publiq focuses also on cultural education during leisure time. With the Network Vitamin C (Netwerk Vitamine C), publiq connects actors from the broad cultural-educational field. Vitamin C is a learning network of field workers and policy-makers who want to connect children and young people with art and culture.
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 (decreet Lokaal Cultuurbeleid) 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.
Cultuurkuur is a platform where culture and education meet and is an initiative of CANON Cultuurcel and publiq on behalf of the Flemish Government. On the platform cultural-educational organizations and artists introduce themselves and their activities (workshops, shows, lectures, etc.) to schools. This way schools get an overview of all cultural activities offered to schools.
Teachers can browse through the range of activities and make a choice that suits the age of their pupils, the learning objectives, the region or the fields of interest. Teachers and schools can contact the organizers directly to make further arrangements. In addition, Cultuurkuur publishes practical examples and informs about subsidies for cultural projects in schools.
The site also encourages interaction. Teachers can recommend or discuss activities and by doing so, inspire other teachers. They can also follow the pages of cultural providers to keep up with their new projects.
In 24 February 2017, the Flemish Government ratified the new Cultural Heritage Decree. This decree regulates the support of organizations in Flanders who occupy with cultural heritage activities. The Cultural Heritage Decree of 24 February 2017 draws the framework of support for the cultural heritage field in Flanders. The decree aims to promote care and dealing with moving and intangible heritage by developing the cultural heritage field, promoting qualitative and sustainable cultural heritage work and enhancing the social embedding of cultural heritage. However, there is no explicit focus on young people.
A focus on young people in awareness-programs was until recently rather rare in Flanders, but in recent years more attention goes out to making young people more aware of cultural heritage.
FARO, the Flemish support center for the cultural heritage sector, pays for instance special attention to cultural heritage and young people. In 2021, together with Canon Cultuurcel and the Department of Culture, Youth and Media of the Flemish government, they organized the Day of Cultural Education (more information – in Dutch- can be found on this padlet). Recently FARO contributed also the EDUbox Culture (EDUbox Cultuur). On the basis of this EDUbox, secondary education teachers can stimulate young people in their reflection on and experience of culture. In this EDUbox special attention is paid to cultural heritage.
Regarding the development of knowledge of cultural heritage amongst young people FARO developed (together with other partners) also:
- The publication “Heritage is” (Erfgoed is) with reflections on the significance of heritage for education and society
- The digital curriculum My past future for the second and third stage of secondary education (in cooperation with Canon Cultuurcel and de Veerman).
- The digital block calendar Heritage: stoneware! (Erfgoed Steengoed), a calendar developed for tablets and smartboards. Several heritage organisations worked on this calendar and in this way they bring a wide range of interesting images and stories into the classroom
- Heritage Wise (Erfgoedwijs), a site developed by FARO, Histories and Herita, in cooperation with Klascement. where everyone can share educational resources (teaching packages, excursions…) related to heritage to a community of more than 250,000 teachers.
- Heritage game (Erfgoedspel): FARO and Oetang Learning Designers created a heritage (night) game for youth organisations. The game is geared towards members of youth organisations between 13 and 16 years old and can be played in every municipality.
Another example is the project “Young saves Old” (Jong redt Oud), initiated by the Provincial Cultural Heritage Center (PCCE) and the Limburg municipal councils. The project Jong redt Oud is an educational and participatory project in which children and adolescents "adopt" a heritage site, monument or landscape with heritage value in their area.
Heritage Classes & Citizenship(Erfgoedklassen en Burgerschap) is an initiative of the Brussels-Capital Region. Since 2005, the Heritage and Citizenship project has been focusing on Brussels schools through activities such as walks and quests by roaming the school district. These activities, where the heritage is approached in an interactive manner, bring young people into contact with immovable heritage. Since 2012, the Heritage Classes provide a set of educational packages that allow teachers with a young audience to actively discover the Brussels heritage. These files are available for free on the website of Heritage Classes with the aim of reaching a much larger number of students.