In 2006 Sweden ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The foundation of Sweden’s cultural policy set out in the national cultural policy objectives approved by the Riksdag by and large corresponds with the objectives and purposes of the Convention. These thus act as a point of departure for Sweden’s work to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions within Sweden and in the international arena. No particular changes to legislation were considered necessary in conjunction with the ratification.
Swedish cultural policy is pursued through guidelines and specific mandates to agencies and institutions, and by means of legislation to a certain extent. The government agencies and the cultural institutions that have an official mandate are to integrate the perspectives of gender equality, diversity and children in their operations, as well as international and intercultural exchanges and collaboration.
The objectives of national cultural policy also guide regional and local cultural policy. Sweden has introduced a new model for allocating government funding to regional cultural activities, known as the collaborative cultural model. The goal of the model is to bring culture and the arts closer to Sweden’s citizens by facilitating regional prioritisation and variation.
International artist exchanges and cooperation are promoted through special initiatives from agencies such as the Swedish Arts Grants Committee and the Swedish Performing Arts Agency and The Swedish Arts Council, leading to new contacts and artistic development. Culture also plays a central role in Swedish aid for democracy and freedom of expression. Efforts to increase the number of places of refuge in Sweden for persecuted artists another example of this.
It is judged that Sweden’s cultural infrastructure has succeeded in creating a climate that encourages creative growth. Schools specialising in the arts, study associations and a well-developed infrastructure for digitalisation and , combined with an active cultural policy, have proved to be fertile soil for widespread engagement with the arts. Cultural and creative industries are becoming increasingly important for artistic and economic development.
A large proportion of Swedish cultural life builds on initiatives from civil society and cultural policy particularly emphasises the importance of civil society’s collaboration with arts institutions. The fact that since autumn 2014 the Government has brought both culture and media issues as well as discrimination and democracy issues, including civil society, under one ministry has had a positive impact on development.
Digital developments have a major impact on the development of the cultural sphere and its opportunity to reach more people. Results have been achieved in several areas. For instace in digitalising culture heritage to develope new ways to deseminate and preserve the collections. By developement of digital services and meeting places access to culture has been improved.
In sumary it can be said that after its first ten years, the Convention has created high awerness and understanding of the value of international and intercultural exchanges, and the role of culture in society. But at the same time it is important to continue the efforts to increase the general awereness by providing and dessiminating information about the Convention.