This report has been compiled by the Ministry of Culture. Its content has been
obtained from relevant parts of the Government Offices and from cultural government
agencies, primarily the Swedish Arts Council, which is also the official point of contact
for the Convention in Sweden. Dialogue on the content has been held with civil society organisations.
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 corresponds to a large extent with the objectives and purposes of the Convention
The objectives state that:
Culture is to be a dynamic, challenging and independent force based on freedom of expression. Everyone is to have the opportunity to participate in cultural life. Creativity, diversity and artistic quality are to be integral parts of society’s development.
To achieve the objectives, cultural policy is to:
• promote opportunities for everyone to experience culture, participate in educational programmes and develop their creative abilities;
• promote quality and artistic renewal;
• promote a dynamic cultural heritage that is preserved, used and developed;
• promote international and intercultural exchange and cooperation in the cultural sphere ;
• and pay particular attention to the rights of children and young people to culture.
These 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 governmental agencies and the cultural institutions that have an official mandate are to integrate the perspectives of gender equality, diversity and children and youth 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 a model for allocating government funding to regional cultural activities, known as the collaborative cultural model. The purpose of the model is to bring culture and the arts closer to Sweden’s residents by facilitating regional prioritisation and variation.
International artist exchanges and cooperation are promoted through special initiatives from governmental agencies such as the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, 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.
Sweden’s cultural infrastructure is considered to have succeeded in creating a climate that encourages creative growth. Schools specialising in the arts, study associations and a well-developed infrastructure for digitalisation, combined with an active cultural policy, have proved to be fertile soil for widespread engagement with the arts. Cultural and creative industries are increasingly important for artistic and economic development.
A large proportion of Swedish cultural life is built upon initiatives from the civil society and the cultural policy particularly emphasises the importance of civil society’s collaboration with arts institutions. The Government has brought both culture and media issues as well as issues concerning civil society under one ministry, which has had a positive impact on the 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. By development of digital services and meeting places, access to culture has been improved.
In summary, it can be said that the Convention has created a high awareness and understanding of the value of international and intercultural exchanges, and the role of culture in society. The Convention is and will also be of great importance for the role of culture in the frame of the 2030 Agenda and of course for the protection of artistic and media freedom,especially in the exceptional situation that the Corona pandemic has caused. Finally, it is important to continue the efforts to increase the general awareness by providing and disseminating information about the Convention worldwide as well as nationally.