8.4 Promoting culture and cultural participation
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Lower student fees in municipal culture schools
High student fees may hinder equal opportunities for participating in culture school activities (kommunala kulturskolan). Therefore, the Government has in 2016 commissioned the Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet) to allocate project funds for municipal culture schools. Municipalities can, since autumn of 2016, apply for a government grant.
Since 2016, the Swedish Arts Council distributs grants totalling SEK 100 million (9.5 million euro) annually to municipal culture schools. By the end of 2018, the majority of municipalities with culture schools had applied for grants, and these were primarily used to broaden the offering and reach new groups according to an evaluation from 2021.
Free entrance to museums
Both young people and schools benefit from the free entrance to museums reform. The reform covers 18 state-financed museums located both in Stockholm and in other towns. The aim is to attract and facilitate for those who are not accustomed museum visitors.
The government increased the allocation to the state museums by SEK 80 million (8 million euros) in 2016, to cover the costs of introducing free entrance. The museums may continue to have entrance fee for adults who wish to visit temporary exhibitions. In 2020, the allocation was increased to SEK 90 million (9 million euros).
Cultural heritage and schools
Institutions for cultural heritage, such as museums, archives and libraries, can be described as alternative learning environments that serve as meeting places for open discussion on art, history and social issues. Many cultural institutions offer activities for schools. Many institutions even have various types of partnerships with schools. The policy documents for public museums emphasise the need to engage in educational activities.
The government proposed in 2017 that the Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet) to be commissioned to define how cultural heritage can contribute to the school system. The board was tasked to promote increased cooperation between cultural institutions and schools in all parts of the country. The assignment was reported to the Government in autumn 2020. Among the results, the following is of main interest:
- The survey shows that museums, archives and world heritage offer activities of great educational value for schools around the country. Collaboration is widespread, many children and young people come into contact with the country's cultural heritage institutions.
- At the same time, there is a potential to further develop the collaboration between the school system and the institutions. Among other things, there are significant differences in students' access to cultural heritage institutions.
- The cultural heritage institutions contribute to students, regardless of background, feeling that they can participate in and claim the cultural heritage that shaped Sweden. They give students knowledge and experiences of the past that make them better equipped to understand their present and to shape their future.
During the recent years, no nation wide information campaigns or policies have targeted young people in order to inform about opportunities to access cultural environments, besides the initiatives already described in this section.
Each year in September, Heritage Days are arranged all around Europe as a part of the Council of Europe's and the European Commission’s joint programme, European Heritage Days. In Sweden the event it is called Kulturarvsdagen (Cultural Heritage Day) and is organised by the Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet). On Cultural Heritage Day, cultural environments, cultural landscapes and historic places of interest are shown all over the country and the history around these is told. A‘Little Heritage Day’ (Lilla kulturarvsdagen), focusing on children and young people is a part of this event.
The Swedish National Heritage Board is the national coordinator, and arranges the event in Sweden in collaboration with Sweden’s Local Heritage Federation (Sveriges Hembygdsförbund) and the Working Life Museums Co-operation Council (Arbetslivsmuseernas Samarbetsråd).