Promoting cultural participation of young people
In the beginning of 2010 free admission to the eight federal museums and the Austrian National Library for children and young people up to the age of 19 was introduced. The measure was an outcome of a broad discussion process – initiated in 2007 by the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture – on the reorganisation of the federal museums, involving experts, political parties, museum directors and media representatives. The objective of the initiative is to enable children to come into contact with culture at an early age and establish museums as a place for learning and leisure activities. The costs amount to USD 4.1 million (3.1 million euros), provided by the federal level within the framework of the annual basic remuneration to the institutions. A challenge in the preparation of the measure was the collection of data on visitor numbers and estimating their future development, as well as the necessary accompanying measures, such as art education and outreach programmes. The development of the visitor numbers is monitored monthly and shows a broad acceptance of the measure among the target group: an increase of 24% in 2010 and of 15,5% in 2011 in visitor numbers under 19, compared to the numbers before the measure was introduced. It is noteworthy to mention that the number of “paying visitors” also went up by 20% in 2010 and 2011.
In addition the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, in cooperation with KulturKontaktAustria (a competence centre for education, culture and the arts, operating on behalf of and supported by the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture), started an educational offensive for schools in the federal museums in 2010, with a budget of USD 800.000 (600.000 euros). The offensive explicitly focuses on the development of sustainable educational offers for children and young people,
who seldom use such cultural offers (e.g. due to their place of residence, their financial background, their language abilities or physical impairment). Even though the short
preparation time was initially a challenge, so far 50 new arts education formats have been developed and over 400.000 pupils have participated.
A further policy focus is the establishment of partnerships and cooperation between schools and cultural institutions. In 2009 KulturKontaktAustria initiated the p[ART] programme, which supports the development of sustainable cooperation projects between schools and cultural institutions over a period of three years. The participating schools and cultural institutions receive funding and are additionally supported through advice, networking and joint events. Additionally the programme culture connected was initiated for project-specific cooperation between schools and cultural institutions by the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture, in 2011. It provides financial support for the realisation of specific projects and its objective is to have each school cooperate with a cultural institution by 2013.
On province level several Laender initiated similar measures:
Since 2010 no entry fee is charged for visitors up to the age of 19 at the Wien Museum (Vienna Museum) and its 19 exhibition sites as well as the private Zoom- Kindermuseum (Zoom Museum for Children). Since 2010 the Upper Austrian State Museum (an association of 12 museums) also offers free entrance to school classes.
To encourage cultural creation by young people, the government of Lower Austria launched the initiative Come On in 2007, providing USD 667.000 (500.000 euros) annually for the initiative. The guiding principle of the initiative is that young people decide for themselves what they regard as artistically and culturally interesting and as part of contemporary youth culture. Consequently, the criteria for granting financial aid are defined by the youth and funding recommendations are made by a panel of experts active in the field. To allow for easy accessibility of the programme, hardly any formal criteria are applied: Projects can be submitted from all branches of cultural expressions and by all possible applicants – be it individuals, associations, organisations or institutions. No absolute or relative maximum of possible funding is defined. However, projects have to be developed and implemented by young people between the ages of 14 and 29 and must be on a non-profit basis. The measure is coordinated by Kulturvernetzung NÖ (Culture Networking Lower Austria), its regional offices throughout Lower Austria serving as service centre for applicants.
In 2008 the City of Vienna introduced the programme Cash for Culture with an annual budget of USD 80.000 (60.000 euros) to promote cultural creation and activities by the youth. Cash for Culture grants financial aid of up to USD 1.300 (1.000 euros) for artistic or cultural projects by young people between the ages of 13 to 23. Selected trainer assist and coach the young people in planning, realisation and presentation of their artistic or cultural projects. The initiative is characterized by flexible funding guidelines and unbureaucratic proceedings with short application processing times. These measures were designed to make the programme appealing to the target group, a challenge which was identified early on. The external evaluation of the pilot phase in 2009 attested the initiative to be successful in promoting individual creativity and artistic expression of young people and in strengthening their capacities to take initiatives and carry them out on their own. Since 2008 more than 150 projects were realized.