8.9 Enhancing social inclusion through culture
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Culture as a space for social inclusion, sensibilisation and encouragement of social equality recognizes both the former National Youth Program and the Strategy for Education, Science and Technology - New Colours of Knowledge. As Ana Žuvela points out in her research Made to Measure? Cultural Policy and Cultural Education in Croatia: "Access and participation in culture are defined through measures whereby barriers of inequality would be overcome and ensured equal treatment and opportunity to participate in culture for all social groups. The concept of access focuses on facilitating intercourse between the new audience and existing cultural sector resources, "Open the Door" to non-traditional public whose access was blocked by a series of restrictions: "Access to culture is the fundamental right of all citizens, but becomes crucial to those facing economic and social challenges, such as youth, the elderly, people with special needs or members of minorities. Nationwide institutions such as the European Union and its member states have done a lot in terms of incorporating strong normative cultural practices and principles in creating their own public policies. However, there is a significant gap and a lack of political and public debate about and between the principles and everyday practices of fostering access to culture”.
Addressing the European Agenda for Culture, Žuvela single out following factors for the removal of barriers to cultural participation and the achievement of its inclusive role: "As a first step in removing barriers that separate individual groups, as stated, is overcoming physical obstacles (especially for handicapped persons); financial obstacles (ranging from the cost of transport to ticket price); geographic barriers (for people in rural areas) and immaterial barriers to culture (interests, lifestyles, language barriers) in the form of features (e.g. institutional environment) and perception (e.g. perceptions of exclusivity i.e. exclusivity of cultural institutions, dislike towards the certain forms artistic creation).