News from de Spanish Cultural Sector: Budget Cuts and Protests

Agrupación Sr. Serrano
Creative Artists Have it Harder Now in Spain (Agrupación Sr. Serrano - Katastrophe)

I copy in my blog this text initially published in IETM website 

Spanish government budget cuts began in 2009, but the most important arts cuts have been in Autonomous Communities (regions)’s budgets, as they have the most responsibility and funding for culture. Autonomous communities share this with local governments, now mostly bankrupt or with huge debts. The total reductions for the arts are thus more than 25% in global figures, comprising regions and local authorities.

The reaction of artists and arts organisations is muted – everyone is in a state of shock (reinforced by governments and media). There is a universal reaction against cuts in public services, including education and health as well as culture, but culture is the last in the line. Other issues in the protests are corruption, lack of transparency …… There is widespread criticism of the European Council’s policy to control public debt by “austerity” budgets, when everybody in Spain knows that the problem is private, not public, debt : the banks.

In 2011 some movements and platforms started to protest against cuts in culture. Some are stronger than others but they are somewhat organised. Most of the cultural sector sympathises with the “indignados” movement. The most important culture movements are the platforms arguing for publicly supported culture and against culture cuts. These are made up by professional artists and cultural managers associations and, in some cases, other cultural organisations and individuals.

For example, Aragón is a small region but “+Cultura Aragón” is very well organised and very active. This collaborative website is a precious tool for Spanish cultural operator and activits in general engaged in advocating for “mas cultura” (more culture): it features interesting articles, videos, documentation, updates about the movement in Spain, and announces protests. Check out the website of “+Cultura Aragón” .


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