Strengthening access to culture for socially and/or economically disadvantaged persons
In 2003 the Schauspielhaus Wien (a theatre) created the initiative Hunger auf Kunst und Kultur (Hungry for Art and Culture) in co-operation with the Armutskonferenz (Austrian network against poverty and social exclusion). Building upon the right to cultural participation the initiative aims to promote the accessibility of culture by providing economically and socially disadvantaged persons with the possibility of free entrance to cultural institutions and cultural events via the use of a Kulturpass (culture pass). Every person who would like to participate in cultural activities, but cannot financially afford it – e.g. people who receive social welfare or a minimal retirement pensions, unemployed persons, refuges – may apply for a Kulturpass. The awarding criteria for the Kulturpass are re-assessed annually by the association Hunger auf Kunst und Kultur in close cooperation with social institutions. The Kulturpass is issued free of charge and valid for one year from the date of issue. The distribution is facilitated by the Armutskonferenz and by numerous charitable aid organizations and assistance services as well as by the Sozialzentren der Stadt Wien (Social Centres of the City of Vienna). Free entrance is granted to those cultural institutions that partner with the initiative. Each of these institutions funds the tickets for the Kulturpass holders through donations from individuals, organisations or sponsorship efforts and defines the quota of seats available for Kulturpass holders. Since 2006 several Laender have decided to participate in the civil society initiative and provide funding and implementation support. Since 2009 six of the nine Austrian Laender, namely Vienna, Salzburg, Styria, Upper Austria, Vorarlberg, Tyrol and the city of Tulln in Lower Austria, cooperate with the initiative. As of 2011, 290 cultural institutions are partners of the initiative and offer about 35.000 Kulturpass holders free entrance to their events. In 2010 about 60.000 tickets were issued to Kulturpass holders. Each federal province produces annual statistics on the number of Kulturpass holders and of tickets issued within their territory. A qualitative assessment of the initiative takes place at the annual meeting of the participating institutions and organisations active in the network, where information and experiences regarding the use of the Kulturpass and the needs of the target group are exchanged. This exchange has lead to the development of several targeted actions, such as the founding of the strategic platform Kultur-Transfer (culture transfer) in 2009, in cooperation with KulturKontaktAustria, the goal of which is to connect social with cultural institutions (financed by the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture), the annual programme booklet Wurlitzer, first published in 2011, which presents the offer available to Kulturpass holders in an easily accessible language (financed by private donations) or the Social Assistance Service, introduced as pilot project in 2011, offering free entrance to a person accompanying a Kulturpass holder needing assistance (financed by private donations).
The government of Carinthia introduced a similar initiative in 2007. The KulturPass Kärnten (culture pass Carinthia) offers persons with low-income a discount of at least 30 percent from the entrance fee of cooperating cultural institutions. Persons eligible for the KutlurPass Kärnten are people who receive a minimal retirement pension, recipients of the minimum income, long-time unemployed persons, students, apprentices and holders of the Behindertenpass (pass for person with disability). The KulturPass Kärnten is issued free of charge and valid for one year from the date of issue. The distribution is facilitated by the district administration authorities, the Sozialmärkte (social markets), universities and educational institutions for apprentices in Carinthia. Since 2007 3.800 KulturPässe Kärnten were issued and 75 cultural institutions currently cooperate with the initiative. Key to the implementation process is reaching the target group and overcoming existing reservations to increase the acceptance of the KulturPass among the target group.