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Ministry of Culture
The Ministry of Culture (Kulturdepartementet) is responsible for issues relating to culture, media, democracy, human rights at national level, youth, sports, the national minorities and the language and culture of the Sami people. The ministry is also responsible for anti-discrimination work and issues concerning civil society.
The Swedish Arts Council
The Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet) is a public authority under the Swedish Ministry of Culture, with the task to promote cultural development and access to culture, based on the national cultural policy objectives. The Council achieves this by allocating and monitoring state funding, alongside with other promotional activities.
Under its mandate, the Swedish Arts Council focuses in particular on developing activities of artistic and cultural merit relating to:
- independent cultural activities in the performing arts and music
- literature, arts periodicals, reading promotion and public libraries
- graphic art and design, museums and exhibitions
- regional cultural activities
- the culture of the Sami people and other national minority groups
- other cultural areas.
The Swedish government has given the council the tasks of promoting the right of children and young people to culture, encouraging cultural diversity, and fostering equality. These issues must be addressed in all operational areas. The Swedish Arts Council is also responsible for disability policy in the field of culture.
The Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis
The Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis (Myndigheten för kulturanalys), under the Swedish Ministry of Culture, is assigned by the Government to evaluate, analyse and present the effects of proposals and measures taken in the cultural field. This is to be done based on the cultural policy objectives. The aim of the agency is to provide a substantial contribution to the development of cultural policy, to support the government and in this way create better prerequisites for those active in the cultural field.
The agency is responsible for main parts of the official statistics within the spheres of culture and leisure. The agency strives to monitor, illustrate and analyse trends and developments nationally and in other countries and in associated areas of policy. The agency also has a research task, which implies monitoring research in the cultural field and the area of evaluation both nationally and internationally. A part of the task is to carry out a cultural habit survey (kulturvaneundersökning), with a special focus on children's and young people's cultural habits. The results of the first survey among children and young people in compulsory and upper secondary school were published in 2017 (Kulturfakta 17:5).
The Swedish National Heritage Board
The Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet), under the Swedish Ministry of Culture, is Sweden’s central administrative agency in the area of cultural heritage, cultural and historic environment. Its assignment includes ensuring that the cultural value of buildings and landscapes is preserved, utilized and developed, as well as watching over the interests of the cultural heritage and cultural environment in community planning and construction.
Sweden has 290 municipalities with local governments. The local authorities have a considerable degree of autonomy and have independent powers of taxation. Many decisions that concern young people are taken at municipal level. The municipalities are responsible (partly in some policy areas) for youth policy issues such as schools, employment and training, health care, social care and services, youth work, culture and leisure.
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges kommuner och Regioner, SKR), represents and advocates for local government in Sweden. All of Sweden's municipalities and regions are members of SKR.
The Government finances regional cultural activities together with regions, county councils and municipalities.
There are certain national cultural institutions that receive funding directly from the government, such as the Royal Opera (Kungliga Operan), the Royal Dramatic Theatre (Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern, Swedish Travelling Exhibitions (Riksutställningar) and Music Development and Heritage Sweden (Statens Musikverk).
In every region there are theatres, music institutions, regional libraries and museums. These often function as regional centres in their respective cultural spheres, working together with schools, the business community and others. Regional and municipal heads of these organisations have financial responsibility for their own institutions, and thereby decisive influence over the scope and nature of their activities.
However, since 2011, the state has been promoting the establishment of a regional network of institutions, providing substantial funding each year. The collaborative cultural model (kultursamverkan) allocates state allowances to regional cultural activities. County councils and regions included in the model decide how to allocate the government grant to regional cultural activities. The purpose of the collaborative cultural model is to contribute to achieving national cultural policy goals, as well as providing opportunities to regional priorities and variations.
In Sweden's 290 municipalities there are cultural institutions that are funded by local income taxes, e.g. public libraries, art museums and municipal music and arts schools for children and young people specialising in music, theatre and arts. In certain cases, the state provides funding for projects and special commissions.
Cooperation between formal and non-formal cultural education
In smaller municipalities, civil society organisations, such as study associations (studieförbund) and non-formal liberal adult education (vuxenutbildning), are key actors in the local cultural sphere. The study associations are financed by both municipal and government grants, besides student fees. Study associations may have some form of cooperation with the cultural school.
Municipal culture schools/music and arts schools
The municipal culture school, also referred as music and art school, has a long tradition of close collaboration with compulsory and upper secondary schools. The most common form of cooperation is that arts school operates in schools, either during or after school hours.
Another common form of cooperation is combined services for teachers, that is teaching music or arts both in schools and in arts schools. Arts schools may also have more administrative functions, such as coordinating cultural events in schools - for example theatre and dance performances, museum visits, cinema, music events etc.
Municipal culture schools offer voluntary extracurricular activities for children and adolescents for a relativily low individual fee. The activities take commonly part once a week, either during or after the school day. Most of the schools offer music lessons on a wide range of instruments, solo singing and choirs. Moreover, lessons in dancing, drama/theatre, arts and media are frequent but there are also schools that have circus, rhythm and acrobatics.
According to the Swedish Arts Council's latest follow-up report from 2019, (Kulturskolan i siffror) the number of municipalities offering subjects other than music (especially dance, drama / theatre, arts and media) has increased between 2011 and 2017 and, above all, seems to have increased after 2015. It is still a big overweight of girls in culture schools, although the proportion of girls decreased from 65% in 2015 to 62% in 2018. Some more interesting facts som the report are:
- Althoug the total number of pupils in culture school has increased, the proportion of all children and young people between the ages of 6 and 19 who attend culture school has stood still or decreased slightly between 2015 and 2017.
- Attendance at the culture school in smaller towns and rural areas shows a negative trend but is still somewhat higher than in big cities, larger cities and metropolitan municipalities, which is believed to be due to the fact that the supply of other similar cultural activities is greater in, for example, big cities.
- According to the Art Council's compilation for 2018, 78% of children in the cultural school had at least one parent with post-secondary education, compared with 59% for the entire country. Similarly, children and young people who are newly immigrated, born abroad or have a foreign background are underrepresented in the cultural schools.
- The differences decreased with the time the children spent in the country. Almost 18% of children and young people aged 6-19 in the cultural school had a foreign background, compared with just over 26% for the population as a whole.
Financing of culture schools
The vast majority of Swedish municipal culture/music and arts schools are run by local municipalities. This means that each school is governed by local representatives using funds allocated from local budgets. Arts schools have been established in 285 of 290 municipalities. The local municipality, or in some cases, a local organisation runs the school. The activities are mainly financed by the local municipality, but there is an obligatory student fee. The fee per term is in average 656 SEK (69 euros). All information in this paragraph is based on Swedish government's official report from 2016, on municipal culture schools.
In 2016, for a first time an annual state grant of SEK 100 million was introduced to culture schools in order to enable them to broaden their operations and reach new groups. The government has decided to continue with the grant at least until 2022 (Budget Bill for 2020).
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions
The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges kommuner och regioner, SKR) decided in 2015 to during the period 2016 to 2019 ensure that local culture schools have real opportunities to contribute to the goal of every child's right to culture. In 2016, the municipalities invested about SEK 2.7 billion (253 million euros) on children’s and young people's opportunities to take part in the activities of municipal music and arts schools, according to SKR.