Institutional challenges for new cultural policies, by Celia Mayer

Societies are on the move and this presents a challenge to public institutions everywhere. Because some of the main characteristics that make up the core of institutional structures are based on a necessary stability, continuity and solidity, it is difficult for institutions to adapt to the emergence of new and diverse communities and their needs.

In this desire to combine these social dynamics with institutional rationale, we have recognised the cultural field as a privileged space of interchange – a platform from which to create tools, formats, platforms and spaces that help to bridge the gap between moving communities and established procedures.

The involvement of the City of Madrid’s Culture and Sports Department in the 2017 Idea Camp is based on two main visions. First, the understanding that – by including commons ideas and projects from very different backgrounds and territories – we will be able to identify some of the needs and to propose ways of relating to the new communities. Second, we see the Idea Camp as complementary to the Imagina Madrid project developed by Madrid’s Culture Department: where the Idea Camp brings together projects that often require either physical or virtual spaces, Imagina Madrid identifies concrete locations in the periphery of the city where cultural and social actors are offered the opportunity to implement projects and initiatives.

It is a pleasure for us to participate in a project that recognises the interrelation between culture, knowledge and technology as a key feature of the contemporary culture that determines the possibilities of dissemination, production, access and formation, as well as the creation of new projects and networks. We also think it is essential to foster the capacity to develop the creative and artistic potential of old and new citizens and communities, and the role of cultural formation, education and mediation as a way to create links between different cultures, backgrounds and skills.

Because we understand culture as a social right and a collective resource, we think it is our responsibility to support the artistic knowledge and expressions in their different formats and to provide the possibility of being active cultural agents. To guarantee the access of local, temporary, moving and established communities to the cultural production and to be cultural producers themselves. Because there are so many cultures as subjects and communities that practice and share them: communities and subjects in complex and changing articulations that constitute a real resource to be treasured and preserved, with all their cultural autonomy and freedom of expression. We trust that – thanks to programmes like the Idea Camp – these essential elements will find the way to be expressed through cultural events, shared resources, digital platforms and social and cultural spaces.

Celia Mayer, Madrid City Counselor for Sports and Culture

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