South Korea/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation


Managing cultural statistics to assist with local cultural policy formation

     The primary objective of local cultural policies is to nurture and develop local culture that has unique characteristics reflecting local cultural identities. To advance this objective, the role of the central government has been identified to provide an effective communication channel for the balanced implementation of different local cultural policies and to compile and manage primary reference data of the national cultural universe to enable comparison among different regions and localities. Biannual publishing of「Catalog on cultural infrastructure」and 「Local cultural statistics handbook」, which contain the status of cultural facilities of localities and compilation of regional cultural budgets, represents an effort in this direction.

Supporting activities of local cultural branding

Regional imbalance has not just been apparent in the economic dimension but in the social and cultural dimensions. Rural areas have relatively poor cultural infrastructure compared to the metropolitan area and thus lack opportunities for experiencing art and culture. Rapid economic development and modernization had negative influence in terms of preserving peculiarities of each regional culture. Disproportionate concentration of population in the capital region was also responsible for an imbalanced cultural scene. Cultural branding based on local cultural legacy and its peculiarity was regarded to enhance local competency. A national project with an emphasis to regional cultural development was “Asian Hub City of Culture” in Gwangju, a prime example of providing support from the national budget to enhance the cultural profile of local city and its sustainability.

Financial co-responsibility in expanding local cultural infrastructure

The national government supports a proportion of the budget for establishing local cultural facilities although major responsibility falls on the local government. The devolution of certain policy decisions to the locals beginning in the mid 1990s has constraint the central government’s involvement in terms of cultural infrastructure expansion. For example, the Ministry of Culture of Culture) had somewhat passive role to match fixed amount from the construction cost of local cultural facilities when the local government directly asked for subsidy to the national budget office. Local cultural institutes run cultural programs that respond to the demands of the local community and execute projects that help to sustain the local cultural environment.

Program assistance for local government

The financial and administrative responsibility for supporting regional cultural activities rests with the local government. However, the central government develops various programs budget for implementation at the local level. Those budget are to subsidize strategic project in vein with government’s cultural policy direction but has to be undertaken in cooperation with locally based organizations. For example, projects of “Revitalizing traditional market with culture” have involved even Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion Agency. This project has been initiated to redirect the rapid decline of traditional markets throughout the localities, in a way to revive the fuction as a space of cultural communication and interaction thereby to supplement the function of pure commercial activity. To rejuvenate these traditional markets as a space for communication and as local cultural landmarks, the Ministry of Culture has provided consultation and program support. This project has been exemplary in overcoming barriers to inter-ministerial and inter-governmental cooperation.

Consultation assistance to enhance self-sustainability of local culture

Local artists and personnel face an inferior working environment and lack educational opportunities. Thus it is crucial to strengthen the environment so as to induct, nurture and retain quality human resources. The Ministry of Culture began to provide training for local cultural administrators in 2003 and since 2006 renewed training courses extensively. Consultation support for local cultural policy addressed the issues of culturally marginalized communities, collaboration with local universities in the same field, and spawning future leaders in arts and cultural field. Areas of consultation have included: establishing a vision for local arts and cultural policy responsive to individual conditions and local communities, the need for managerial improvement of local cultural facilities, and the need for developing and creating local cultural content. Upon the selection of the subjects for consulting, comprehensive consulting services and assessment tools are provided where needed.

Chapter published: 29-11-2013