Strategy for Cultural Policy
The implementation of the UNESCO 2005 Convention forms a natural part of the Finnish cultural policy, as well as of the Finnish objectives for sustainable development. Finland implements the Convention as a Member State of the European Union.
The Programme of the Finnish Government (June 2011) states on culture, amongst other things, the following: “ The objective of Finnish education and cultural policy is to guarantee all people - irrespective of their ethnic origin, background or wealth – equal opportunities and rights to culture, free quality education, and prerequisites for full citizenship. In any educational, scientific, or cultural activity, sport, or youth work, the equality principle must be applied. All people must have equal access to services of consistent quality. (…) The Government’s basic premise is that in building a society, culture plays a central role. Arts and culture are essential basic elements of social life, and its creative effect extends into every sector of life. The Government will develop a cultural policy which recognises cultural diversity and ensures that culture is available to every citizen. Special steps will be taken to enhance participation in culture of those groups currently excluded. “
In 2009 the Ministry of Education and Culture prepared a Strategy for Cultural Policy http://www.minedu.fi/export/sites/default/OPM/Julkaisut/2009/liitteet/opm45.pdf?lang=fi , which extends to 2020. The premise in the report was that the importance of culture and therefore also the cultural policy sector will keep growing in society. This means that the cultural policy sector and the forms and methods of action will diversify. New priorities will emerge, such as the social impact of culture and demands for sustainable development.
As stated in the Strategy, Finland is a multicultural country with a strong cultural identity. The cultural diversity springs from a wealth of diverse regions, languages, indigenous cultures and cultural heritage – diverse cultural expressions and mores. This plurality finds its expression in a wealth of cultural products and services and gains strength from growing interaction and mobility among cultures.
Cultural diversity is also enhanced by various part-, sub-, local and lifestyle cultures, albeit at the same time being under global pressures towards uniform cultures and lifestyles. Immigration is predicted to grow in Finland. Immigrants are a new creativity and talent resource, and the positive effects of multiculturalism add to the vitality of Finnish culture. Cultural policy is a means to successful assimilation. However, immigrants are not equally distributed throughout Finland. The majority of immigrants settle in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and other major cities.
The library network will be reformed to guarantee citizens access to basic services and information. Measures will be taken to assure the quality of public libraries and the services they provide and to support the role of libraries as places for learning, experiences and activities that are open to all.
Cultural contents will be made accessible to users in information networks, and cultural services will be developed towards a more customer-driven provision across administrative boundaries. Digital materials produced by museums, archives and libraries will be compiled into a joint database in the National Digital Library project. Measures will be taken to promote the opportunities of regional cultural actors to participate in regional innovation and development processes and their possibility to apply for funding from various sources for projects promoting cultural development.
Pluralisation and multiculturalism also involve risks. Part-cultures may become differentiated and isolated from the rest of society. This development would add to polarisation in society. Immigrants are also at risk of being marginalised from the mainstream culture. Preventing such a trend will also require cultural policy measures.
Multiculturalism is taken into account in all activity relating to cultural policy. Local activity and everyday practices are especially important in multiculturalism, and development needs pertaining to them will be addressed together with other administrative branches. Measures will be taken to increase research on multiculturalism and its effects.