8.4 Promoting culture and cultural participation
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The Youth Board of Cyprus (YBC) runs the ''Youth Initiatives'' funding scheme which subsidizes young people and youth NGO’s, youth clubs and local youth councils to organise their own projects on different action fields. Three of those action fields are related to Cultural Interventions; Innovation and Creativity Projects; Youth and Books. According to the YBC’s 2021 infographics of the Scheme’s funded projects, cultural events seem to prevail in young people’s activities. Specifically, almost 32% of the actions funded in 2021 concerned cultural activities (111 funded projects out of 351 successful applications). Moreover, in an effort to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Youth Board announced a new funding scheme for young people and youth organisations entitled “ReCOVer20”. Around 30% of the funded projects concerned cultural activities (26 out of 86 approved projects). The above data is available on the YBC website (Στατιστικά Στοιχεία).
Also, one foundation promoting specifically the access of young people to culture is the Larnaca Cultural Foundation for Children and Youth (Ίδρυμα Πολιτιστικής Δημιουργίας για Παιδιά και Νέους) established by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth in 2010, and hosted by the Municipality of Larnaca. The key objectives of the Foundation are to provide equal opportunities to children and youth to participate in creativity through cultural and artistic experiences. Also, it aims to strengthen interculturalism, to promote our cultural identity and participate in cultural and artistic projects by focusing on children, teenagers and the youth. The Foundation organises on an annual basis a number of activities and programmes (e.g., creative workshops on theatre, music, personal development, creative writing, workshops with emphasis on architecture as well as script writing and film making) which enhance cultural participation of young people regardless of their nationality or financial background, in the broader region of Larnaca.
The Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC) during the year 2020/2021 organised two-day scenography and theatrical play workshops, named “Valitsa” (Εργαστήρια Βαλίτσα), in which minors who live in juvenile facilities can participate For young people under 25 years, THOC also offers reduced ticket price (for THOC’s productions), as well as organized visits to their buildings with an educational program for theatre evaluation..
Furthermore, the Department of Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth offers various funding opportunities to either professionals in the field, NGO’s, local authorities or general public, such as:
- TRANSIT SCHEME 2020: Enhancing mobility in the field of visual arts: Participation to Hospitality Programs of Artists Abroad
- CULTURE PROGRAMME ΙΙ 2021-2025, Sub-programmes:
- "Popular Culture", Scheme for supporting Activities for the conservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Traditional Tourism
- "Visual Arts" Scheme for supporting Visual Arts and Development
- "Cinema" Scheme for supporting Cinema Activities, Cinema Education and Training
- "Music" Scheme for supporting Activities for Music Development
- "Literature" Scheme for supporting Literary and writing Activities
- "Dance" Scheme for supporting Activities in the field of Dancing
- "Theatre" Scheme for supporting of the Theatre Creation and Development
- “Support for Cultural Activities of Religious Groups” Scheme
- Support of Cultural Bodies for the Coverage of the Promotion, Communication and International Networking Needs
- Annual Grants Program for Natural Persons for their participation in cultural events/programs/activities
- Enhancement of periodical Cultural Publications
- “Terpsichore” (Τερψιχόρη) - Programme for the enhancement of Creation and Research in the field of Modern Dance
- Cultural Decentralization Program (The program aims to promote cultural decentralization through a series of quality activities taking place in rural communities)
The programme guides of the above-mentioned funding schemes are available only in Greek and can be found in the Ministry’s official website (ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΤΙΚΕΣ ΥΠΗΡΕΣΙΕΣ - Προγράμματα και Σχέδια Επιχορηγήσεων "Πολιτισμός II" (2021-2025) - Τα Σχέδια του Προγράμματος για το 2022). Since the guides are updated every year, the respective links to each programme may also change.
The Department of Theatre Development of the Cyprus Theatre Organisation, has been engaged since its establishment in 1979 in ways and projects that broaden and promote theatre activity in Cyprus, in cooperation with other bodies and social groups.
The main activities of the Department of Theatre Development are the following:
- Subsidisation of performances by theatre companies which are active in Cyprus;
- School theatre – Organisation of the Pancyprian Theatre School Games and workshops for teachers;
- Amateur theatre – Organisation of the Pancyprian Festival of Amateur Theatre;
- Organisation of Masterclasses for various theatre disciplines;
- Collaboration with non-governmental organisations and groups for the promotion of activities for theatre;
- Financial support of organised groups that have among their objectives the development of theatre (Cyprus Centre of the International Theatre Institute, Actors Union of Cyprus, Cyprus Playwrights Society, etc.);
- Provision of information to prospective students, parents, professionals, organisations interested in the theatre in Cyprus, educational institutions, organised groups, etc.
It should be noted that due to the lockdown and the restrictive measures for the Covid-19 pandemic, several festivals and cultural activities had to be postponed or cancelled. In an effort to support art workers and the cultural sector in general, the Council of Ministers decided the following measures:
- Artists (including young ones) were supported by a lamp sum amounting to €1.500 (Καταβολή έκτακτης χορηγίας σε επαγγελματίες των Τεχνών και του Πολιτισμού).
- Cultural NGOs received a subsidy based on certain criteria of up to €20.000.
- Further support was allocated to the programme “Culture”.
The main information provider to young people in Cyprus are the Youth Information Centres (YIC) operated by the Youth Board of Cyprus. Therefore, information on cultural opportunities is disseminated through the Centres who are located in every city of the non-occupied part of the island. To reach out to all young persons, the Centres collaborate with the local schools, clubs and authorities who also run cultural services departments. Moreover, the YIC act as multipliers of the Eurodesk Cyprus (also run by the Youth Board of Cyprus) which is responsible for the European Youth Portal, thus disseminating youth targeted information on cultural opportunities and initiatives online.
The Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth have also initiated the Portal of Cultural Information programme which is incorporated in the creation of a national network of cultural information. The Portal presents artists’ profile, their creative works and covers the areas of Visual Arts, Cinematography, Music, Writing and Performing Arts.
There is also the Cyprus Music Information Centre (CyMIC) established in 2008 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth and the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra Foundation with the aim to become the primary provider of specialized information, publications and music scores about the whole range of Cyprus music
As mentioned in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth (MOECSY) 2020 Annual Report, the MOECSY either through the educational system or through the Cultural Services Department promotes awareness of the national and European cultural heritage. As of 1st January 2011, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth participates in the Cultural Routes programme of the Council of Europe. The Cultural Routes Programme considers that cultural routes are significant tools for the development of intercultural dialogue, cultural rapprochement, sustainable cultural development, and the promotion of cultural tourism.
In 2017, Cyprus and Denmark held the title of the European Capital of Culture. Aarhus was the city in Denmark that shared the title with Pafos. The Programme of Events of Pafos2017 was built around three basic theme lines: Myth and Religion, World Travellers and Stages of the Future. The Cultural Services promoted a large number of activities in the domain of Popular Culture.
Several actions for raising awareness on cultural heritage take place in the context of formal education as well. The UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) was established in Cyprus since the school year 1969/1970, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth. It aims at promoting UNESCO's goals for young people. The ASPnet includes public and private primary and secondary schools, which engage in a variety of ways, such as by organizing conferences and participating in events hosted by other schools abroad. For the school year 2018 /2019, the general theme around which the ASPnet schools in Cyprus were active was: "World Citizenship and Education for Cultural Heritage". In the context of its implementation, the 42th Pancyprian Symposium ASPnet took place between 4th and 5th of April, 2019 at Omodos, with the participation of about 300 students and teachers of Primary and Secondary Education from schools in Cyprus and Greece. The subject of the symposium was "Cultural Heritage: knowledge, development, evolution". During the workshops, students had the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of lesser-known aspects of cultural heritage, to develop skills for its preservation and to experience alternative methods of learning, personal development and active participation in the community.
The Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO operates under the supervision of the State as exercised by the Minister of Education and Culture through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth provides the Commission with funding for its organizational needs and the promotion of its programmes. The Commission actively promotes the implementation of the UNESCO Conventions and Programmes in Cyprus in conjunction with all Ministries and Government Services, as well as with Non-Governmental Organisations the activities of which are related to those of UNESCO, in other words, education, culture, social studies and humanities, natural studies and communication and information.
The Cyprus Research Centre (C.R.C.) was founded in 1964 with the aim of enabling Cypriot and overseas scholars to research the history and civilisation of Cyprus and to have the conclusions of the relevant research published on a systematic basis. Research programmes are connected with the most fundamental aspects of Cypriot studies, that is on the history, folklore, linguistics, literature, ethnography and sociology of Cyprus. The C.R.C. has a specialised library covering the history and civilisation not only of Cyprus but also that of Greece, Europe and the Middle East in general.
There is also a Creative Europe Desk in Cyprus aiming at providing assistance to cultural and creative agencies regarding the Creative Europe Programme. The Desks are designed to: - Provide information about and promote the Creative Europe programme in their country; - Assist the cultural and creative sectors in relation to the programme and provide basic information on other support opportunities; - Stimulate cross-border cooperation within the cultural and creative sectors; - Provide assistance regarding the cultural and creative sectors in participating countries; - Support the Commission in ensuring proper communication and dissemination of the results and impacts of the programme; - Ensure the communication and dissemination of information concerning funding awarded to and results in a participating country.