A cultural sector can improve relationships inside communities, the well-being of people, or the feeling of belonging. For culture to move forward, it is essential to create strategic plans that consider the needs of the whole cultural community and the public. This article summarizes how this new cultural plan was developed together with its priorities and meaning for society.
How to create a cultural plan?
About 100 people participated in the creation of the new cultural plan. They were people from the cultural community, experts from universities, the city of Košice, the Ministry of culture, and Košice self-governing region or external specialists from various fields. “In the beginning, we used free data such as the city’s and region’s budget, particular organizations functioning in the city, information from the Slovak Arts Council, local grants scheme, and from the opinions or needs of the cultural community. An essential part of the creation was workshops and four focus groups dealing with the audience, the public image of the city, financing, and quality of life. During them we defined the vision, priorities, and goals following local strategies as Agenda 2030 and Cultural conception of Košice self-governing region, “says Zuzana Révészová, who covers the cultural plan in the organization CIKE. The final document was consequently offered to the professional community to collect feedback and comments. The management of the city of Košice, together with its politicians, approved this strategic document this year.
The main priorities
The new cultural plan gives more space for supporting communities and the environment, infrastructure, and networking. “It is essential to realize that not all the citizens currently have the same opportunity to culture. We can mention seniors, disabled people, or marginalized groups. A simple way to a theatre can mean so many barriers to some people that they will never make it there. We don’t talk only about physical barriers, but also about the language or finances, “states Zuzana. The city of Košice takes these groups into consideration and believes that the development of community life will contribute to a feeling of belonging, an increase of social trust, or the development of social capital. The city’s boroughs play a significant part in it.
High-quality physical infrastructure is the foundation for culture realization. Thanks to spaces, there are good conditions for valuable cultural events or leisure time in the city. The city’s priority should be to ensure the sustainability of that cultural infrastructure that has come into existence since 2013, e.g., Kasárne / Kulturpark, Kunsthalle, or Výmenníky SPOTs. “It is essential to map out the city’s properties, properties of the self-governing region, and the state as small and medium enterprises or NGOs could potentially use them. By this, we might support the development of entrepreneurship and innovations in the city.”
New partnerships and cooperation inside and between the sectors bring many opportunities on the local and international levels. That is the reason why networking is also one of the priorities.
The importance for society
Thanks to the new cultural plan, it will be possible to open up possibilities for a higher quality of cultural life. The general public can receive information about which cultural institutions exist in the city and can be visited. Cultural infrastructure is written down in one place for the first time. The cultural community can get to know the city’s direction and its visions with culture in the future. “Since we were preparing it in cooperation with the cultural community, we want to note down their actual needs and propose such solutions that would help develop people in the field of culture the most. “Operation of many cultural institutions was affected by the epidemy in the past years. Therefore, it is understandable that these needs are currently connected to financial outages and compensations, bound to preventive anti-epidemic measures.
At the beginning of October, CIKE organized an event called New cultural plan – next steps in Kasárne/Kulturpark. We wanted to present the approved cultural plan for Košice to the public and find out the most acute challenges in culture. “One of them is how to make information about culture accessible to all citizens, whether they use the internet or not, or whether they can speak the Slovak language, which is connected to the increase of foreign students to study in Košice. Cultural infrastructure can be used as a tool to create a home for them. “Another challenge is the creation of cultural and creative centers, which programs should be aligned to cover the needs of all the visitors. At the same time, there need to be maintained transparent procedures.
Currently, there are meetings organized where culture workers and experts from many fields can comment and give another perspective on the cultural plan. There is also a series of workshops focused on inclusion in culture, which should develop proposals for making culture more inclusive for excluded groups in society. “We work on the preparation of the actional plan and inclusion of the cultural plan’s principle into the Programme of economic and Social Development of the City of Kosice (2022-2027) for priorities to be fulfilled and applied into everyday cultural life. “Thanks to this document, the general public and cultural community will be able to track if the city fulfills the plans and goals and use it in case it does not.”
You can read the whole cultural plan here or in the pdf document down below.