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Culture for All in the 21st Century

Culture for All remains this city’s cultural policymaking watchwords and thus the overarching principle to which all provisions of the new Cultural Development Plan are subsumed. This approach emerged in West Germany during the time of social ferment in the wake of the upheavals of 1968 and established itself as a maxim in Austria as well. Linz was Austria’s first city to actively stress Culture for All - which also necessarily means of all and by all - and to implement this philosophy in diverse ways. In addition to setting up new cultural infrastructure, concrete actions have included expanding subsidy programs in the spirit of a very inclusive concept of culture, and developing formats that offer the general public low-threshold access to art and culture.

Raising Cultural Awareness

At present, Culture for All in the context of Linz means establishing preconditions that make it possible to continue to lower existing barriers tending to prevent people from accessing art and culture. The way to do this is not by dumbing down the offerings but rather by developing new approaches to mediating audiences’ encounters with art and culture and using the latest means to advance active participation in artistic and cultural production. Making access to digital media and information as barrier-free as possible - for example, in conjunction with Open Commons Region Linz - delivers an essential contribution to this; so does cultural education. In this day and age, Culture for All means considering the diverse forms of art and culture as equally valid and valuable, fostering the empowerment of individuals and the activation of their own creative capabilities, integrating members of the general public in decision-making processes, and scrutinizing offerings of so-called high culture with respect to their social relevance.

The point of departure of all objectives and measures in the context of the KEP is always the city and the needs of its inhabitants. At the same time, the commitment to artistic freedom, to experimentation and diversity guarantees development and progress. Significant in this connection is, among other things, inculcating an aesthetic practice that enables people to differentiate and that recognizes differences in a pluralistically organized society as a precondition for enlightened, responsible behavior. In this sense, encountering art and culture and involvement in them play a key role in an open city.

I. Increase Equality of Opportunity

In line with Linz’s overall political orientation as a city in which social justice prevails, providing equal opportunity for all is also the basic principle governing cultural policymaking here. The City of Linz is thus committed to equality of opportunity in social and cultural affairs for all individuals and social groups, and to providing for fairness in enabling all people to partake of social and cultural life. The aim is to eliminate any remaining barriers hindering access and usage, to institute gender fairness on all levels, and to consider social diversity - both ethnic and religious - as a normal state of affairs. These aims constitute the indispensible preconditions for putting the concept of Culture for All into actual practice.

II. Nurture Potential

Cultural development & planning are the driving force behind cultural progress and the basis of fruitful encounters with socially relevant issues and artistic trends. To assure that this takes place, it is imperative to do everything possible to nurture the potential that is already present in a city - on one hand, in the form of acknowledging the municipality’s responsibility to support art and culture, including providing financial subsidies for both public sector institutions as well as those active in the indie scene; on the other hand, by providing adequate infrastructure, which is, after all, the sine qua non of any cultural and artistic production. Moreover, interdisciplinary activities and leading-edge forms of creative expression are formally acknowledged to constitute the core of Linz’s artistic and cultural potential.

III. Facilitate Access

Participation and facilitating encounters are the preconditions of Culture for All. Accordingly, cultural education is an essential part of genuine participation in cultural life on the part of as many segments of society as possible. One area of emphasis of cultural policymaking in Linz is thus to target kids, young people and young adults who, regardless of their ethnic origins or social background, have a right to art and culture. In this connection, the prime settings for providing access to art and culture are public spaces, which are defined as not only physical venues but also as media sites that enable people to intensively engage in discussions, encounters and criticism.

IV. Open This City Up

Inherent in urbanity is openness, complexity, networking and compression. As Upper Austria’s metropolitan area, Linz plays a special role with key responsibilities in this respect, not only as the province’s administrative center but also as the cultural center of gravity of a prospering regional economy. For Linz as a cultural center, this means continuing to expand the national and European networks in which it is integrated, to promote the internationalization of artistic and cultural creativity here, and to further optimize the breadth and depth of the city’s cultural offerings by cooperating with institutions, producers, etc. The process of analyzing the past and imagining the future in this city is meant to serve as a basis for responding to an increasingly complex world with solutions and projects that solidify Linz’s status as an innovative, cosmopolitan city with a bright future, one in which acknowledgment of responsibility for the past, and particularly the City of Linz’s National Socialist legacy, is precisely what establishes the preconditions for a humane, democratic present and future.

CONTACT

Linz Culture
Pfarrgasse 7
4041  Linz

phone: +43 732 7070 0
fax: +43 732 7070 1955
E-Mail: lk@mag.linz.at

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