The Declaration of the Plaça Catalunya AcampadaBCN Culture Commission is a document of principles which were discussed, voted on and written up in two months of assemblies in Plaça Catalunya, Barcelona, within the framework of the 15M Camp. We consider this document to be permanently open and in progress.
DECLARATION OF THE BARCELONA CAMP CULTURE COMMISSION, PLAÇA CATALUNYA BARCELONA.
Cultural policy is not culture.
Public institutions are not the makers of culture.
Public institutions manage public resources given to culture.
Culture is a common asset and a process in constant transformation which reflects social dynamics. It does not necessarily produce works or commercial products.
Culture should be free and plural, and cultural policies should reflect, encourage and guarantee this freedom and plurality.
Cultural policy should provide resources for cultural research, production, exhibition, distribution and education with sustainability and social value as basic principles.
Cultural policy cannot be oriented simply towards achieving economic gain.
Inclusive, participatory, sustainable, exploratory cultural models need to be developed for the long term.
1.0 – For a social redefinition of cultural policies.
1.1- The rethinking of the cultural policy model furthered by the Government of the Generalitat de Catalunya via the so-called Lleis Ònmibus, (Omnibus Laws) which penalise non-mercantile cultural processes and favours forms of cultural production aimed at the spectacularization of culture and the obtainment of economic gain through the commodification of collective imaginaries. The fundamental benefits of culture are social and collective; any economic profit is complementary to this.
1.2- The setting up of an independent organism for cultural management through horizontal, transparent, participatory discussion with all sectors involved. The failed history of existing entities (CoNCA, ICIC) cannot be used as a justification for a return to political interventionism in cultural policies, nor as a reason for structuring cultural resources and networks purely around the concept of Cultural Industries.
1.3- Reinforcing support for cultural practices involving research and for platforms which support “emerging” art, rather than those focused on cultural production for mass consumption. Cultural policies should also contemplate the times needed for cultural investigation and production.
1.4- Favouring an investment policy in which cultural Research, Development and Innovation (R+D+I) works as the driving force behind a socio-cultural model not necessarily based on the creation, exhibition and distribution of works. Forms of investment which take into account cultural realities, and the new grounds for working they allow, should be encouraged, leaving aside investment in new infrastructures and making use of latent or existing resources, universities, etc. so that existing resources can be optimised.
1.5- Empowering creators with the management of public resources for their work using flexible, transparent forms of protocol. Public organisms for cultural management do not own our resources; they manage them. Public administration should work to serve culture, not vice versa.
2.0 – For a new model of public resource management.
2.1 – Rescale current budgeting adjustments so that instead of being oriented towards cutting down cultural activity, they contribute to sustainable, long-term distribution of resources and prioritise the maintenance of basic cultural structures and networks.
2.2- Rescale salaries of directors of public institutions, aligning them with the current socio-economic reality.
2.3- Return public resources invested in culture to the public domain. Work carried out by cultural producers using public funding should return added social value to society. This return might take the form of the socialisation of processes and results by allowing free access to them, by ensuring free licenses are used, or by publicly sharing them.
2.4- Limiting the privatisation of any profits obtained through public funding, and stopping funding of projects, companies or cultural entities that can fund themselves. Funding of companies or cultural entities that generate a disproportionate amount of profit should be reconsidered, and the possibility of limiting aid, or part of the profits being returned to the public domain, should be taken into account.
2.5- Any private cultural institutions receiving public funding should be subject to the same types of protocol as public entities. We denounce those instances where entrance fees to private cultural institutions prevent a large segment of the population from using them, when the same peoples’ tax money is being used to finance the institutions.
2.6- Outsourcing of cultural services should not imply a veiled privatisation of these, or their being commodified, or precarious conditions for cultural workers.
2.7- The application contemplated in the Ley de Patrimonio Histórico (Law of Historical Heritage) of 1,1% for Culture – which states that 1.1% of funds for public works should be destined to the conservation and enrichment of historical heritage and support for artistic creativity – should be transparently realised and co-managed with local cultural structures and networks.
2.8- Publicly funded public and private cultural entities should program a significant portion of local, regional or national productions, basing their choices on contextual criteria.
2.9- Giving support to departments that organise activities with non-institutional collectives– as compared to exhibition departments – in public cultural centres, as a window on emerging social phenomena and stressing institutions’ vocation to serve the public.
2.10- Considering the possibility of a new patronage law to foster support of artistic creation from private entities.
3.0 –Towards a model for a free culture.
3.1- Immediate, complete abolition of the Disposición Final Segunda de la Ley de Economía Sostenible (Second Final Provision of the Law of Sustainable Economy), without this implying the loss of the right to make copies for private use or the imposition of a tax on Internet connections.
3.2- Prohibiting copyright collectives from charging royalties or taxes to non-members.
3.3- State, regional and local audiovisual archives belonging to public radio and television corporations should be made available to the public under free licenses.
3.4- State, regional and local public institutions should use and encourage free software and free operating systems.
3.5- Establishing legal mechanisms which guarantee compulsory return to the public domain, and support the use of free licenses, for publicly funded work. Stipulating programmes of public funding for projects legally covered by free licenses.
3.6- Fostering by public administrative bodies of the cultural paradigm of the “commons”, support for social projects inscribed within the commons. Carrying out institutional projects which aim for social sustainability and the sharing of resources: for example, by using disused infrastructures and spaces, or by setting up warehouses for reusable materials for the creative community and centres.
4.0- For transparency in cultural policies.
4.1- Total transparency in the management and distribution of resources in both public and private cultural institutions, and the criteria used in granting scholarships and funding. Transparency in budget allocation.
4.2- Holders of high positions in civil service cultural bodies should be competent in their knowledge of their local cultural context.
4.3- Directors of public and private institutions receiving public funding should be recruited through open, public selection processes.
4.4- Articulating legislation that would regulate movements of cultural managers between the public and private sectors in order to prevent conflicts of interests.
4.5- Compulsory application of the “Codi de Bones Pràctiques Professionals a les Arts Visuals” (Guide to Correct Professional Practice in the Visual Arts) in public and private cultural institutions. All cultural entities should draw up contracts with creators and producers, and their fundamental role in the production of their work should be reflected in the global budget.
5.0- For a redefinition of public space.
5.1- Abolishing municipal policies which privatise public space. Activities run by private or profit-making initiatives and taking place in public space should be given less support by public administration.
5.2- Abolition of the l’Ordenança Municipal de Civisme de Barcelona (Municipal Ordinance on Civil Conduct, Barcelona) and rewriting of the cultural uses of public space in order to foster plural, inclusive forms of cultural practise, particularly initiatives working outside the tutelage of municipal or administrative bodies.
5.3- Changing the legislation on the design of public space and street furnishings to regain social usage of public space.
5.4- Changing management and the property model of public radioelectronic space. Opening television and radio stations with free production and access.
6.0- Resources for encouraging sensitivity towards culture in education.
6.1- Fostering an experimental approach and plural recognition of sensibility in education rather than consumerism and spectacularisation.
6.2- Transforming and broadening primary and secondary school arts programmes and forms of cultural practise to encourage a spirit of criticism and freedom of expression, and a cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary approach. Fostering an exploratory, questioning approach towards cultural heritage.
6.3- Reviewing the application of the Bologna Plan in universities, and its categorising of students according to how successfully they will supposedly sustain the market, severely sanctioning any disciplines considered to be “unproductive”.
This document is continually being rewritten and is open to participation.
Plaça Catalunya, Barcelona, on the stairs behind the monument to Macià.
19 July, 2011