The "National Youth Strategy 2017-2022" is the first policy document in Cyprus addressing youth in the fields of culture and creativity. Specifically, "Creativity and Culture" is one of the eight fields of action of the Strategy, which was adopted in May 2017 by the Council of Ministers.
According to the Strategy, culture is recognised as a major contributor to the advancement of creativity of young people, which is considered beneficial for the society on both economic and social aspects. The Strategy targets to the promotion of the following goals and objectives:
Goal 1: Creation of opportunities for easy access and equal participation in arts and culture;
Goal 2: Creation of opportunities for the development of artistic creativity.
The National Youth Strategy's priorities for achieving the above targets are the following:
1. Ensure equal access to cultural institutions (e.g. theatres, museums a.o.) and programmes for all young people;
2. Promote and support the professional development of young artists;
3. Encourage the development of new methods of cultural expression and artistic creation;
4. Create more places where young people can develop their talent and express themselves creatively (accessible to people with disabilities);
5. Enhance education and training for young professionals in culture;
6. Promote youth interaction on cultural issues with other countries;
7. Develop cooperation with youth, sports and culture institutions from other countries in order to exchange good practices in dealing with youth issues;
8. Provide young people with opportunities for participation in local, regional or national actions.
The Youth Board of Cyprus, as the national coordinator for the drafting, implementation and monitoring of the National Youth Strategy, has established a Cross-sectorial Working Group on Youth, which consists of representatives of Ministries and Agencies - including governmental actors in cultural sectors - to ensure constant coordination and sectoral cooperation among all governmental institutions that deal with youth issues.
The 1st Progress Report (2017-2019) for the Implementation of the 1st Action Plan of the National Youth Strategy has just been drafted and will be submitted to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth. Regarding the pillar "Creativity and Culture" and based on the contribution received by the governmental actors which run programmes for youth in the respective field, 21 measures/programmes were included. These measures include both national actions and European Programmes (such as Erasmus+ Youth). The majority of the programmes are run by the Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC) and the Youth Board of Cyprus.
Among the on-going measures of the Strategy is the National Funding Scheme "Youth Initiatives", which achieved a full absorption of the available budget. Moreover, the "Youth Festival", organised by the Youth Board on an annual basis, includes several creative and cultural activities run by young people, such as short films screening, exchange library, living library, workshops, music and art activities and has an increasing number of participating organisations (100 in 2019) and visitors (4000 in 2019) each year.
It should be also noted that in the frame of the Strategy, a public consultation with young people was organised by Youth Board and THOC in 2017. The consultation addressed questions concerning the "theatrical" habits of young people, their preferences, needs and suggestions.
The budget of each measure/programme that is documented in the Strategy concerns the overall budget of the programme (and its actions) and therefore cannot be representative of the financial resources allocated for the promotion of creative and cultural actions only.
There has been no evaluation of the Strategy yet. The evaluation will take place upon the Strategy's completion in 2022.