Chile/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.1 Main features of the current cultural policy model

The current model of cultural policy in Chile rests on the democratisation process that the country underwent after the end of the autocratic regime.  From this perspective our cultural policy seeks to find basic institutional arrangements that allow for the expression of the interests of the various agents of Chilean society, establishing an institutional framework which guarantees an adequate participation in social and cultural life (Brunner, 1985). 

As was explored in chapter 1, the public organisations dealing with cultural policy in Chile developed under the auspices of the country’s republican institutionality since the 19th century. However, it is only during the first third of the 20th century, through the formation of the Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales (“Council for National Monuments”) in 1925 and the Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos (DIBAM - “Committee of Libraries, Archives and Museums”) in 1929 that the public cultural institutions began a process of autonomisation and specialisation. The high point of this on-going process was the 2003 formation of the Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes (“The National Council for Culture and the Arts”), the most important public institution in terms of the design, implementation and evaluation of cultural policies in the country.

The main instrument of the model of public policies in arts and culture for the Chilean state and other cultural agents, are the documents of cultural policies developed by the institution: Chile quiere más cultura. Definiciones de política cultural 2005-2010 (“Chile wants more culture: Definitions of cultural policy 2005-2010”) (CNCA, 2005c) and Políticas Culturales 2011-2016, (“Cultural Policy”) (CNCA, 2011a). The objective of these documents is to be a navigational map to guide the actions of the country’s cultural agents, and the documents are developed based on a diagnosis of national culture, representing the concerns and proposals of a wide variety of agents from the Chilean cultural sphere which are collected using techniques that favour public participation. The responsibility for the development and endorsement of these documents falls to the committee of the National Council for Culture and the Arts (CNCA).

The cultural policies formulated by the CNCA are designed within the context of relative autonomy from the Directorio Nacional (“National Committee”) concerning its executive power (without prejudicing the necessary coordination with the President of the Republic through the Minister who presides over the Committee). The duration of the posts within the Committee do not coincide with the length of presidential mandates, as the members are elected by one government and remain in their posts during the next period, facilitating continuity in cultural policy. This is also characteristic of the cultural policy documents that the Committee publish: Chile quiere más cultura spanned part of the government of Ricardo Lagos, the entire government under Michelle Bachelet, and the first year of Sebastián Piñera’s presidency. Meanwhile Políticas Culturales 2011-2016 covers the rest of the Piñera government and will continue into a significant part of the government of the winner of the presidential elections at the end of 2013. This is why it is often said that the cultural policies developed by the CNCA are not governmental policies, but rather state ones.

It is also for this reason that cultural policies extend their field of action to various public institutions, and their execution requires an active inter-institutional collaboration at a public level with organisations from civil society and with private initiative.

Documents of Cultural Policy: Chile quiere más cultura. Definiciones de política cultural 2005-2010 (“Chile wants more culture: Definitions of cultural policy 2005-2010”)

As the first chapter elaborates, the document Chile quiere más cultura is one of the landmarks in the development of public cultural institutionality. This document was published only two years after the formation of The National Council for Culture and the Arts and brings together discussions of national importance concerning the subject, such as those that emerged during the first National Convention on Culture organised in 2004 by the Committee, which has since become a permanent forum for discussion of the cultural policies of Chile. These discussions were complemented by a general diagnosis of the Chilean cultural sphere, concerning which nearly fifty cultural policy measures or proposals were made.

The definitions of cultural policy were developed according to the following principles (CNCA, 2005c):

-       Affirmation of the cultural identity and diversity of Chile.

-       Liberty of creation and expression.

-       Democratic participation and autonomy on the part of the public in the development of culture.

-       Irreplaceable nature and responsibilities of the state.

-       Education in the appreciation of culture and the formation of a reflective, critical spirit.

-       Preservation, conservation and dissemination of cultural heritage, as well as the preservation of collective memory.

-       Equal access to art, cultural wealth and technologies.

-       De-centralisation of cultural policies and balanced cultural development.

-       Deepening the insertion into the wider international context.

The cultural policy objectives proposed in this document are as follows:

1)       To support the artist in the creation of their work, providing opportunities for the development of excellence, facilitating those means of production and dissemination of their work and improving those conditions to enable an adequate insertion into society.

2)       To promote the development of a cultural industry that contributes to the increase in the offer of cultural goods and services in the country, assuring the dissemination of artistic creation and national heritage.

3)       To create and develop more and better audiences for the dissemination of cultural commodities, increasing the infrastructure, stimulating management, widening audience appreciation of the arts and lobbying for a higher quality in the media.

4)       To increase access for low-income groups and vulnerable sectors of society to the commodities of cultural consumption, generating the initial conditions for a permanent relationship between the members of these groups and cultural activity.

5)       To promote participation and decentralise public organisations with cultural aims.

6)       To preserve, enrich and disseminate the cultural heritage of the country, increasing investment in it and implementing modern and creative ways for the community to participate.

7)       To recognise and protect Chile’s cultural diversity, strengthening the cultural participation of the various groups that make up the nation, and encouraging the expression of their cultural practices.

8)       To promote the richness of language and encourage reading, generating habits and improving access to books.

9)       To consolidate the new cultural institutionality as far as concerns the responsibilities, the infrastructure, human, organisational and financial resources.

10)     To stimulate the contribution of the private sector to culture, perfecting tax mechanisms and promoting its participation in cultural management.

This policy is accompanied by the elaboration of local cultural policy documents for each of the 15 regions of the country, as well as distinct cultural policy documents aimed at the various areas of creation and creative industries. The following are the cultural policy documents published between 2005 and 2010, the point at which the new national cultural policy design was implemented:

-       Fifteen documents of Regional Cultural Policies (published between 2005 and 2009).

-       National Policy for Cinema and Audio-visual (2007c).

-       National Policy for Books and Reading (2006f).

-       Policy of Development of National Music (2007b).

-       Policy of Development of Dance 2010-2015 (2010). Developed during the period of validity of the Chile quiere más cultura document, but published as a precursor to Política Cultural 2011-2016.

-       Policy of Development of Photography 2010-2015 (2010). Written during the period of validity of the Chile quiere más cultura document, but published as a precursor to Política Cultural 2011-2016.

-       Policy of Development of Visual Arts 2010-2015 (2010). Written during the period of validity of the Chile quiere más cultura document, but published as a precursor to Política Cultural 2011-2016.

-       Policy of Development of Crafts 2010-2015 (2010). Written during the period of validity of the Chile quiere más cultura document, but published as a precursor to Política Cultural 2011-2016.

-       Policy of Development of Theatre 2010-2015 (2010). Written during the period of validity of the Chile quiere más cultura document, but published as a precursor to Política Cultural 2011-2016.

Documents of Cultural Policy: Política Cultural 2011-2016

The document Política Cultural 2011-2016 is the product of a process lasting more than a year, begun in the context of the ending of the period of validity of Chile quiere más cultura, during 2010. The National Committee, with the support of the Department of Studies of the institution, systematised diagnoses, problems, interests and proposals that originated from various agents of the cultural sphere and were articulated through the following streams of information:

-       The VII National Convention on Culture 2010.

-       2010 conventions by zone.

-       Workshop with cultural agents.

-       Consultations with the public via webcam.

-       Public account of the Minister President of the National Council for Culture and the Arts, 2010.

-       Analysis of the policies in terms of specialisation: Photography, Dance, Theatre and Visual Arts.

-       Development of the document Política Cultural 2011-2016: The Voice of the Artists by the National Union of Artists, an institution which represents the interests of various organisations of elements within the Chilean cultural sphere (National Union of Artists, 2011).

These proposals were complemented with a diagnosis of the state of culture in Chile according to available sources of  information, relevant conceptual discussions within the sphere of cultural policies, and a detailed register of the methodological process of the decision-making which guides the systemisation and design of the final document (National Council for Culture and the Arts, 2011b).

The proposals of the second document on cultural policies are based on the objectives of the National Council for Culture and the Arts that are defined in Law No. 19.891, 2003. That is:

1)       To support the development of the arts and dissemination of culture.

2)       To contribute to the preservation, the increase and the accessibility of cultural heritage to the nation.

3)       To promote the participation all peoples in the cultural life of the country.

Additionally, the Política Cultural 2011-2016 is based on the following values and principles:

-       The freedom of creation and expression with dignity and equality of conditions.

-       The free access to cultural heritage as a manifestation of the different cultures, as well as its preservation, conservation and dissemination.

-       The preservation of the collective historical memory and intercultural dialogue as a factor in the construction of identity.

-       Access to public information, free circulation of information and cultural dissemination.

-       Equality opportunities in terms of access to enjoyment and participation in artistic and cultural life.

-       Freedom of choice and exercising of cultural practices.

-       A de-concentrated and de-centralised participation in cultural and artistic activities within the regions.

-       The independence of the regions to manage their own cultural and artistic developments and their territorial diversity.

-       The defence of human rights and respect for minority groups.

-       Multi-culturality and the respect for diverse ethnic groups and the cultural expressions of indigenous peoples.

-       The right of every individual to choose their cultural identity in the diversity of its modes of expression.

-       Gender equality that guarantees respect, equal opportunities and non-discrimination in the co-existence within society.

-       Protection of copyright, image copyright and labour protection for creators, artists and actors.

-       A meaningful participation of the public in the decision-making processes, with far-reaching consultancy mechanisms.

-       An integral and harmonious education that respects the constitutional principles and encourages the appreciation of art and culture as a motor for the critical and reflective spirit.

-       Respect of the state as facilitator of the opportunities of access to culture and its subsidies for creative activities, considering it as an important contribution to the development of the country.

-       The promotion of cultural interchange with a globalised world, and the exposure of Chilean culture to the international community.

Based on the above, the document stipulates the following objectives:

1)         To strengthen artistic-cultural creation.

2)         To give greater visibility to and encourage cultural industries as the motors of development.

3)         To strengthen and bring up-to-date regulations relating to arts and culture.

4)         To contribute to the installation of the artistic-cultural goods and services at an international level.

5)         To strengthen the recognition of copyright.

6)         To promote cultural creation linked to digital platforms through new communication technology.

7)         To promote the access to and participation of the community in cultural-artistic initiatives.

8)         To generate access to the cultural-artistic commodities.

9)         To promote the formation of habits of cultural-artistic consumption within the community.

10)       To advance and promote the role of cultural agents in the creation and dissemination of arts and culture.

11)       To promote the exchange of cultural content through new communication technology.

12)       To ensure that material cultural heritage is valued and safeguarded.

13)       To ensure that intangible cultural heritage is valued and safeguarded.

14)       To encourage cultural tourism, respecting diversity and conserving the cultural heritage of the nation.

These objectives are then realised in 29 proposals and 120 strategies, giving form to recommendations that will then be implemented by various public and private bodies. In effect one of the main learning curves of the process is based on understanding that in order to develop the tools of evaluation of cultural policy it is necessary to develop a system of monitoring not only the activities of the National Council for Culture and the Arts, but also of other Chilean state organisms, civil society and the private sector. Like the earlier document on cultural policy, Política Cultural 2011-2016 is accompanied by regional cultural policies for the entire country. 

The National Council for Culture and the Arts

Currently the primary public body dedicated to the development of cultural policies is the National Council for Culture and the Arts (CNCA). Formed in 2003 as an independent body, operationally de-centralised and divided into regional bodies, the council was intended as a coordinating body existing for public cultural institutions such as the DIBAM, the Council for National Monuments, the National Television Council, the Department of Culture in the Ministry of Education, and other initiatives depending on organisations such as the Department of Social Institutions in the General Government Ministry.

In effect, even if the first versions of the bill that created the CNCA proposed the incorporation of these organisations into one entity directly dependent upon the Committee, parliamentary discussions and the opinions of the public servants involved made evident the need to maintain certain levels of autonomy that respect the spheres of action defined in legislation for each institution, recognising and taking advantage of their acquisition of knowledge in matters such as de-centralisation, guaranteeing the administrative frameworks and provision of public funding for its function (National Council of Chile, 2003). As a result of this DIBAM, the Council for National Monuments and the National Television Council maintain a relative independence within the model of national cultural policy. It is worth mentioning, however, that without denying the autonomy of these institutions, they do all (including the CNCA) depend administratively on the Ministry of Education.

Based on the above, the task of coordination is basically held by the functioning bodies of the National Council for Culture and the Arts and the characteristics of its management. Law No. 18.981 defines as one of the institution’s primary objectives the formulation of cultural policies for the country, which must be adopted by the diverse public bodies dedicated to the subject. The law also stipulates that the president of the National Committee - the presiding body within the CNCA – should have the status of a government minister, in this way promoting inter-ministerial interaction and interaction with the President of the Republic. Additionally, the document establishes that this organisation should count on the participation of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a way of facilitating the coordination between institutions. The representation of the Ministry of Education for all the practical necessities of the National Committee has traditionally fallen to the management of the DIBAM, while those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tend to be under the auspices of the management of cultural affairs of that ministry.

Without prejudice to the coordination tasks and the connections to the various public sectors at a central level, the National Council for Culture and the Arts takes into account in its functions an active participation in civil society as much at a level of political management as in the steering of objectives. In effect the National Committee described above counts among its members, as well as the Minister President and the representatives of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, five individuals coming from the sphere of culture who are proposed by the cultural bodies of the country and ratified by the President of the Republic and the senate. Additionally, the National Committee has two representatives from the public and private universities of the country, and a private individual who has received a National Prize – the highest honour given by the Ministry of Education to distinguished actors from the field of the arts and sciences. In parallel, the bill considers the formation of a National Consultative Committee that advises the National Committee and is made up of seven individuals from the field of artistic creation, two from heritage, two representing indigenous cultures, and four from the universities, cultural industries, cultural management and the private sector.

This diversity in the representatives present in the National Committee seeks to guarantee impartiality in the design of the documents of cultural policy that the are basis of the model of cultural policy in Chile, whose formulation depends on the National Council for Culture and the Arts, requiring approval of the National Committee that is responsible for the channelling of the diagnoses, needs and proposals put forward by the public and by agents within the cultural sphere. Additionally, the National Committee has the technical support of the Department of Studies for the design and implementation of the instruments of diagnosis and systematisation to be used in the development and implementation of cultural policies.

This structure that formally represents the public in the cultural sphere is replicated on a smaller scale at regional level, thereby de-centralising the process through the Regional Councils for Culture and the Arts. These bodies are made up of a regional manager (named by the Minister President of the Committee), the regional secretary for the Ministry of Education, an individual representing community cultural activities (proposed by the local government and designated by the governor) and four individuals from the region from the field of culture proposed by the local cultural organisations.

According to Law No. 19.891, the objectives of the National Council for Culture and the Arts are:

1)         To support the development of the arts and the dissemination of culture.

2)         To contribute to the conservation, increase and accessibility of all people to the nation’s cultural heritage. 

3)         To promote the participation of all individuals in the cultural life of the country.

These objectives are addressed through the following functions of the institution:

1)         To study, adopt and execute, evaluate and renew cultural policies, as well as plans and programmes of the same nature so as to comply with the objectives of supporting the development of culture, disseminating the cultural heritage of the nation and promoting the participation of individuals in the cultural life of the country.

2) To undertake and promote the execution of studies and investigation into the cultural and artistic activities of the country, as well as its cultural heritage.

3)         To support cultural participation and artistic creation and dissemination both at an individual level, in terms of the organisations made up of such individuals, and at a national group level, with the aim of creating space for expression within the neighbourhood, the community, the city, the region and the country according to the initiatives and preferences of those individuals living there.

4)         To facilitate access to cultural events and artistic commodities, to the cultural heritage of the country and the use of technologies that deal with production, reproduction and dissemination of cultural commodities.

5)         To establish a permanent link with the formal education system at all levels, coordinating with the Ministry of Education, with the aim of giving sufficient expression to the cultural and artistic components on the curriculum, in pedagogy, in teacher training, and educational establishments.

6)         To encourage the development of cultural management skills at international, national, regional and local levels.

7)         To drive the construction, expansion and adaptation of infrastructure and equipment for the development of cultural, artistic and heritage-associated activities in the country, and to promote the capacity of the associated management of that infrastructure.

8)         To propose measures for the development of cultural industries and the placement of its commodities both in the nation and in the international market place.

9)         To establish links of coordination and collaboration with other public bodies that, while maybe not part of the National Council nor directly related to it, are nevertheless involved in activities in the cultural sphere.

10)       The develop the cooperation and technical consultancy and dialogue with corporations, foundations and other private organisations whose objectives are related to those of the National Council, establishing relationships with them for the execution of projects of activities in the interests of both parties.

11)       To design cultural policies that are to be implemented at an international level, exploring, establishing and developing international links and relationships in the cultural sphere, all of which should be coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

12)       To develop and operate a public national and regional system of information sharing concerning culture.

13)       To administer the National Fund for the Development of Culture and the Arts.

14)       To administer the National Fund for Books and the Development of Reading.

15)       To ensure that the actions, agreements and obligations of the Qualifying Committee for Private Donations are adhered to.

16)       To bring to the attention of the Ministry of the Interior and the government tax system buildings of value for national heritage.

17)       To coordinate the management of the libraries, archives and museums, as well as the Council of National Monuments.

In order to achieve these objectives and implement these functions, the Council developed strategies and programmes focused on two programmatic departments: that is, units dedicated to the development of active public policy tools oriented towards generating an impact on the beneficiaries of the national cultural sphere:

The Department of Development of the Arts and Creative Industries

 The work of this department is oriented towards supporting “the creation, production, promotion and dissemination of creative goods and services through the improvement and execution of development funds administered by the National Council for Culture and the Arts, through the implementation of programmes, actions and activities that lead to the promotion of the arts and the creative industries” (CNCA, 2013b). Additionally, this department should act as interlocutor in matters of strategy, design and evaluation of impact of the programmes, promoting relationships of coordination with other departments within the Council and other public or private organisations at a national and international level.

The Department of Development of the Arts and Creative Industries is responsible for the administration of the public competition financing mechanisms such as the National Fund for the Development of Culture and the Arts (created in 1992 with Law No. 19.891 in 2003), the primary instrument for public support of artistic expression and cultural production in the country, as well as other similar initiatives such as the National Fund for Books and the Development of Reading (through the National Council for Books and the Development of Reading, decreed by Law No. 19.227) and the Fund for the Development of National Music,  (through the National Council of the Development of National Music, created by Law No. 19.928) and the Fund for the Development of Audio-visual (through the actions of the National Council of Art and Audio-visual Industry, established in Law No. 19.981).

As well as centrally administering the funds assigned to artistic creation and the promotion of creative industries, this department is responsible for public participation and agents of the cultural sphere, fundamentally through the establishment of teams of evaluators and judges who select the projects chosen to receive public financing from the funds previously mentioned.

In this way the National Council for Culture and the Arts assigns the task of attribution of funds to the same community of bodies from the cultural sphere that are benefitting from those funds, thereby avoiding potential for political bias that could be attributed to the government in terms of its support of culture and the arts. Public participation, as has been said above, is one of the primary elements to be considered when studying the model of cultural policies in Chile.

The Department of Development of the Arts and Creative Industries is made up of the following sub-sectors and programmatic units (as well as units of internal management that support the programmatic work, although their functions are not fully explored in this chapter):

a.         Executive Staff of the National Fund for the Development of Culture and the Arts, responsible for the coordination, support and administrative management of the application process and applications, as well as the general administration of the National Fund for the Development of Culture and the Arts, providing technical and administrative support to the relative authorities, judges and commissions. The Executive Staff of the National Fund for the Development of Culture and the Arts provides support in the following artistic and creative areas:

Architecture.

Crafts.

Visual Arts.

Circus Arts.

Dance.

Design.

Photography.

New Media.

Theatre.

b.         The Executive Staff of Books and Reading, responsible for the administration of the National Fund for Books and the Development of Reading has similar obligations to the Executive Staff alluded to in the previous point, providing support to the National Council for the Books and the Development of Reading.

c.         The Executive Staff of the Fund for the Development of National Music, responsible for the aforementioned fund, provides support for the National Council of the Development of National Music.

d.         The Executive Staff of the Fund for the Development of Audio-visual is responsible for the coordination of the aforementioned fund, providing technical and administrative support to the National Council of Art and Audio-visual Industry.

Department of Citizenship and Culture. This is an institution whose functions are “to generate, manage and execute the cultural programmes directed at the public with a particular emphasis on the affirmation of identity and the cultural diversity of the country; to investigate, preserve, conserve and disseminate the cultural heritage of the country and its collective historical memory; to educate in an appreciation of culture and the formation of a reflective and critical spirit; and to ensure equality in the access to art and cultural commodities, as well as ensuring a democratic and autonomous participation of the public in the cultural development of the country” (CNCA, 2013b).

This programmatic department develops initiatives oriented towards the promotion of the participation of the public in the culture field at a community, regional and local level. This stimulus to public participation in culture is achieved through the intervention, management and artistic education of the public. Additionally, its personnel are directly responsible for supporting the elements of material and intangible cultural heritage in the country.

The Department of Citizenship and Culture is made up of the following sub-sectors and programmatic units:

a.         The Department of Community and Territory, responsible for supporting access to cultural artistic expressions and promoting the participation of the public in the cultural sphere through education, interventions and stimulating development at a local level, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable or isolated communities, or communities which, linked to cultural infrastructures, could gain from local centres of cultural development.

b.         The Department of Cultural Heritage responsible for the strategic development at a national level of programmes for the protection of the cultural diversity of the country and its material and intangible cultural heritage.

c.         The Department for Artistic and Cultural Education which contributes to the development of artistic and cultural teaching in formal and informal education, promoting a wider coverage, teaching methods, and teacher training.

d.         The Unit of Cultural Management responsible for promoting  community and municipal cultural management and strengthening networks of entities within the cultural sphere; increasing the circulation of artistic content and the national cultural infrastructure; and contributing to the coordination with other departments and subsections of the National Council for Culture and the Arts.

In addition to these programmatic departments, the National Council for Culture and the Arts has a certain number of support and back-up departments and sub-sections for its functioning and evaluation, such as the Department of Studies, the Planning Department, the Legal Department, the International Affairs Section and the Regional Section, among others.

For more information about the programmes of the National Council for Culture and the Arts please see: www.cultura.gob.cl

Committee of Libraries, Archives and Museums

As well as the National Council for Culture and the Arts there are other public institutions making up the model of cultural policy in Chile, which shall be briefly explored here. Among these institutions the Committee of Libraries, Archives and Museums stands out.

Formed in 1929 through the decree of Law No. 5.200, DIBAM brings together a series of institutions that had until that moment been - autonomously and without administrative coordination - responsible for gathering, registering and exhibiting bibliographic collections, artistic and cultural artefacts of the country. 

The objective of DIBAM is to promote understanding, creation, recreation and appropriation of national cultural heritage and the national collective historical memory, thereby contributing to the construction of identities and the development of the national community and its insertion into the international community through rescue, conservation, investigation and diffusion of heritage. DIBAM identifies the following institutional objectives:

1.         To improve and increase the cultural and heritage services that DIBAM offers throughout the country.

2.         To improve and increase the availability of areas and spaces of cultural and heritage within the institution so that these can be put at the disposition of the public as areas of reflection, meeting places for the community and spaces for the dissemination of information and education.

3.         To increase the documentation, the studies and level of conservation and restoration of cultural heritage (buildings and collections) that belong to the institution, with the aim of protecting cultural heritage from deterioration, with the fundamental aim of opening the spaces up for appropriate public use.

4.         To contribute to the processes of transparency within the state, cataloguing and archiving documentation generated by the state so that this can be provided in an appropriate and complete manner to the public should it be requested.

5.         To modernise the management of the DIBAM in order to support the implementation of an adequate strategic plan, consolidating the institution.

In order to achieve these objectives, DIBAM develops strategies of elaboration and coordination of policies related to cultural heritage, advice to institutions dedicated to the promotion and conservation of heritage, formation and consolidation of collections relevant to the collective historical memory, and, finally, promotional activities related to equal access to the cultural commodities of DIBAM and other institutions appointed or connected to it.

For more information about DIBAM, please see: www.dibam.cl.

The Council for National Monuments

Another extremely important institution in what concerns cultural policy is the Council for National Monuments (CMN) whose vision and mission is the protection of and education about monumental-scale natural and cultural heritage, safeguarding its identity, official protection, supervisions, conservation, and valorisation, thereby strengthening its contribution to human identity and development.

The Council for National Monuments was formed in 1925 through the decree of Law No. 651. Its structure and responsibilities were revised and broadened in 1970 through Law No. 17.288. This institution underwent a significant process of institutional consolidation in 1990 through the formation in 1994 of its Executive Ministry and the inauguration of its institutional headquarters in 2003. Additionally, Law No. 17.288 has undergone minor modifications concerning the penalties for violations of the regulations safeguarding the national monuments (Law No. 20.021, Chilean National Congress, 2005), and the tax structures of those properties (Law No. 20.033), Chilean National Congress, 2005b). On the other hand, since 2006 there has been a significant increase in its budget and it receives funds for the development of work undertaken in the protection of the national monuments, in particular those that require significant interventions in order to guarantee their integrity.

The National Council for Monuments, like DIBAM, is an organisation that depends on the Ministry of Education, and is responsible for the administration of the cultural heritage declared as a national monument following the stipulations outlined in Law No. 17.288. The text of this law attributes the following responsibilities to the institution (Chilean National Congress, 1970):

1.         To designate or not places, ruins, constructions and objects as National Monuments, deliberating each case and requesting the dictation of the appropriate supreme decree from the relevant authorities.

2.         To make a register of National Monuments and Museums.

3.         To develop projects and norms of restoration, repair, conservation and warning systems for National Monuments.

4.         To manage the concession, assignment or sale to the state, or any acquisition on behalf of the state of National Monuments that are in private ownership.

5.         To control access to the National Monuments and apply, or in defect of necessary mechanisms, to propose to the government the administrative measures which allow for the most effective vigilance and conservation of the Monuments.

6.         To authorise or allow historical, archaeological, anthropological or paleontological excavations anywhere within the national territory.

7.         To propose to the government those regulations associated with the compliance with the law.

In order to comply with these responsibilities, the National Council for Monuments has developed programmatic initiatives in the areas of architectural, urban, archaeological, historical, and natural heritage, as well as education and diffusion of information.

For more information concerning the National Council for Monuments, please see: www.monumentos.cl.

The Department of Culture at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has had a significant history concerning its support and diffusion of the arts and national culture abroad. Already in 1963, within the framework of the re-structuring of the National Committee of Foreign Affairs the National Committee for Cultural Relations was established (Chilean National Congress, 1963). Subsequently, through the decree of Law No. 161 in 1978, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Information was established (Chilean National Congress, 1978), commonly known as DIRAC.

The legal text mentioned indicates that DIRAC is responsible for “collaborating in the formulation of a foreign policy for Chile in cultural matters, for coordinating and executing this policy and collaborating to ensure that the activities undertaken by other countries in Chile in these matters are appropriately used”. Additionally, DIRAC is responsible for informing diplomatic missions and consular representatives about events happening in the country and to support the diffusion abroad of the Chilean reality.

DIRAC disseminates Chilean culture through all the creative disciplines, through reflection, folklore, heritage and indigenous peoples, diffusing the work of artists, curators, critics and thinkers with the aim of creating ties to other nations, seeking to reflect an identifying factor in the image of the country. DIRAC has at its disposal a network of embassies, consulates and missions of Chile abroad, and it can develop activities in collaboration with other public and private institutions.

For more information concerning the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Information, please see: www.dirac.minrel.gov.cl.

Cultural Policies at a Local and Territorial Level

As well as giving weight to the public institutions at a national level, it is clear in the design of the documents of cultural policy at a regional level (with the support of the Department of Studies and the Regional Unit of the National Council for Culture and the Arts), that there is an important place in the design and implementation of cultural policies for those developed at a local and territorial level, particularly through local government authorities such as municipalities. In effect, during the military dictatorship the municipalities acquired increased relevance in the administrative structure of the state under the principles of de-centralisation, territorial de-concentration and subsidies (Chilean National Congress, 1974a, 1976, 1979).

During the formal democratisation process undertaken after the end of military rule, the municipalities were redefined in terms of an increase in democratic participation, allowing for the election of mayors through electoral mechanisms open to the public. Additionally, the decree in Force of Law No. 18.695 from 1988 about the Organic Constitution of Municipalities defines them as autonomous corporations of public law with a legal personality and unique heritage, whose purpose is to satisfy the needs of the local community and ensure public participation in the economic, social and cultural progress of the respective communities (Chilean National Congress, 2006). They are the last tier in the structure of public administration, and consequently are closest to the public (CNCA, 2006c). Among their various responsibilities, as well as those related to the planning, management and administration of the local government (such as through the Community Development Plan – PLADECO), they are responsible for the development of mechanisms related to education and culture, either enacted directly or in coordination with other government bodies. Additionally, the municipalities are empowered to establish not-for-profit private-law corporations or foundations aiming at the promotion and dissemination of art, culture and sport.

However, it is worth mentioning that the law does not oblige the municipalities to establish a department or sub-section specialising in the management of cultural policy. Consequently many Plans of Community Development do not include objectives or activities related to the cultural sphere.

Notwithstanding this, estimates from the Study of Municipal Cultural Management (CNCA, 2013a) point to the existence of up to 787 sub-sections dedicated to culture within the municipalities throughout the country, highlighting the case of municipalities that even have more than one sub-section dedicated to culture. The aforementioned study also shows a wide variety of institutional models for cultural management at a local governmental level. In effect, of the sub-sections that participated in the study, 42% corresponded to public libraries, 30.3% to sub-sections dedicated to culture; 19.7% to cultural centres, 16.5% to personnel working with culture, 10.4% to houses of culture, and only 5.9% to cultural corporations. Additionally, the study revealed an important heterogeneity among individuals responsible for culture, especially in terms of training and specialisation. Finally, among other relevant discoveries, the investigation indicates that only 59% declare that they incorporate the cultural dimension under the Plan of Community Development, and 40.7% of the cultural sub-sections participating have a specific development plan for cultural development.

Another instrument of support for cultural policies at a local and territorial level is the National Fund for Regional Development, administered by the Sub-secretary of Regional and Administrative Development (SUBDERE), which has as its objectives the strengthening of management capabilities of regional governments in terms of public investment, ensuring a monitoring of the financial execution of the regional investment, the elaborating and systematising of information relevant to the decision-making process, and proposing new mechanisms for the use of regional funds. Currently 2% of the money from that fund is being used to finance initiatives in the cultural or artistic field.

Some final considerations

In general terms, the model of cultural policies in Chile presents characteristics in common with other countries in South America, such as the importance given to the identity factor, the support of creation, the promotion of heritage, the exploration of relationships between economy and culture, and the importance of the internationalisation of the arts and the collaboration between nations (CNCA 2012a), among other relevant elements such as public participation.

According to the information presented in this chapter, it is possible to identify a permanent tension between the development of public cultural institutions at a centralised level and the processes of de-centralisation and public participation in the design of cultural policies. In effect an important part of the public institutions dedicated to culture are either based in ministries or their maximum status is that of minister of state, as is the case with the National Council for Culture and the Arts. In contrast, the CNCA itself implements important channels of public participation at both a national and regional level in terms of policy direction and assignation of public funds, which is complemented by the heterogeneous actions of the local governments in this field.

It is possible to suggest this tension as the conflict between a model of the welfare state made material in the manifest responsibility of the public sector in relation to the cultural field (CNCA, 2005c), compared to a subsidising state that privileges private initiatives and local application procedures, limiting the amount of decision making and intervention at a centralised level (CNCA, 2011a). Both models can coexist in the cultural policies of Chile. In terms of the discussion of the models of cultural policies such as those proposed by Chartrand and McCaughey (1989), one could state that national cultural policies are divided between the characteristics of a facilitating state which promotes private financing according to market criteria (identifiable in the stimulus of the creative industries), and the benefactor state which functions through collegiate governmental bodies under the model of the “arm’s length” influence (such as the National Committee of the CNCA and its mechanism of assignation of financing), and the state as architect, administered by ministries and bureaucratic bodies (such as the internal workings of the CNCA and the institutions dependent on the Ministry of education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).


Chapter published: 28-12-2013


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