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EACEA National Policies Platform
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

8. Creativity and Culture

8.1 General context

Last update: 20 December 2023

Main trends in young people's creativity and cultural participation

According to the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs, culture is one of the areas in which the priorities of young people in BiH are reflected. In relation to culture, "the main challenges when it comes to young people are legal disorder, lack of a strategy, i.e., a strategic framework for investments in the development of culture and sports, lack of a programmatic approach, absence of appropriate institutional capacities, weak coordination and cooperation between different levels/institutions of government in BiH and financial difficulties. According to the research presented in the Youth Study: BiH 2018/2019, 45.6% of young people claim that they do not participate in any kind of creative activities, such as art, 57.7% have never been to a youth center (it should be emphasized is that in many, especially smaller local communities, such centers do not even exist).

In addition, the culture sector in BiH, compared to other sectors, was significantly marginalized in the past period. Institutions of culture, science and art in BiH are in a difficult material, personnel and organizational situation and require significant support from government institutions. The participation of the non-governmental sector in the creation of cultural policy is significant, but it is insufficiently supported by systemic measures and cultural policy. Bearing in mind the real economic and social situation in BiH, it is not realistic to expect that the liberalization of the market and the complete surrender of culture to the free market will enable the intensification of its development without the presence of institutional support from all levels of government.

The complexity and decentralization of BiH's political system does not contribute to improving the position of young people when it comes to their cultural and creative development. At the state level, there are no enacted laws, nor developed strategies that encourage this segment while simultaneously focusing on young people. The fragmentation of jurisdiction in this matter leads to inconsistent policies and complicates the decision-making processes related to the development of cultural and creative content that specifically young people can access. Even the existing content is not sufficiently consumed by young people, since the increasing focus on modern technologies, the Internet, as well as the low-quality spending of free time affect the reduction of the degree of their cultural, artistic and creative socialization.

The biggest incentives for young people for their cultural and creative expression and participation in events that promote it come from outside, that is, through programs of the European Union (EU), international organizations, programs of non-governmental organizations, associations, and local public cultural institutions.

The authorities are responsible for providing young people with unimpeded development, and improvement through creative, artistic, sports and cultural activities. Therefore, the authorities are responsible, among other things, for the cultural and spiritual needs of young people. However, the work of cantonal administrations is very modest in relation to this issue, since not all cantons have developed youth policies.

Main concepts

BiH is a country that throughout its history has a wide cultural heritage, cultural institutions of significant names, and the wealth of multiculturalism contributes to all of this. However, the absence of a national strategy that promotes the issue of culture greatly hinders the possibility of understanding cultural heritage. BiH is on the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. However, everything is often politicized because of its specific and tragic past. In national policies, as well as those at lower levels of government, priority is given to other segments, and culture and the development of creativity, especially among young people, fall into the background.