Denmark's International Cultural Exchange and Cooperation
Denmark's international cultural exchange activities cover all of the arts and the cultural heritage sector. Artistic quality, originality and relevance are the main criteria for all projects and applications for funding which Denmark chooses to support, whether nationally or internationally.
The organisation of Denmark's international exchange and cooperation activities are conducted on two separate fronts:
- Councils, Expert Committees & Art Professional Centres
- Administrative and political bodies and agencies
The work of the various bodies on these two fronts is coordinated by an International Cultural Panel presided by the Ministry of Culture.
The internationalisation of the cultural policy is an important strategic focus for the present government as well as it has been for the former government (2001-2011). In 2009 a comprehensive strategy was formulated with a view to strengthening the internationalisation of Danish cultural life and promoting international cultural exchange. The strategy is focused on five strategic priorities, such as "the artist in a globalised world", "professionalization and networking on a global market", and "foreign culture in Denmark".
The following main objectives of the international cultural exchange were introduced in 2009:
- Development and renewal of Danish art and culture
- Marketing of Denmark as a country
- Promotion of cultural expert
- Promotion of intercultural dialogue
The Government Platform from 2011 states, among other things, that "The Government will conduct a cultural policy that focuses particularly on the promotion of internationalisation, economic growth and democracy.
Internationalisation, because Danish art, culture and sports have important perspectives to offer, and because all our development takes place in interaction with the world around us."
With its own culture and cultural heritage as luggage, Denmark is to meet the world openly, leave its mark internationally, and be inspired by other countries.
Key actors in Danish international cultural exchange
Denmark's cultural exchange with other countries comprises a plenitude of actors at local and national level, including a number of state-run, state-funded organisations which encompass many forms, fields and branches and a diversity of forms, fields and branches.
In connection with the formulation of a comprehensive strategy for the cultural exchange in 2009 an out mapping of the actors was made. The key actors are covered by 3 ministries: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Business and Growth and are identified as:
The Danish Arts Council and the Danish Arts Agency (now a part of the Danish Agency for Culture) take care of all work relating to the visual arts, literature, music and theatre. The work includes residencies for foriegn artists, exchange and visiting programmes for arts and curators. For more http://www.kunst.dk/english/
The cultural heritage projects and expertise on cultural exchange regarding cultural heritage are handled by the Heritage Agency of Denmark (now a part of the Danish Agency for Culture). http://www.kulturav.dk/english/home/
The Danish Film Institute deals with everything related to cinema and film and has a focus on funding productions and marketing of films at festivals around the world (The film policy and measures are described further on page 16-17 in this report). http://www.dfi.dk/Service/English.aspx
The Danish Centre for Culture and Development (DCCD) is the key actor regarding cultural exchange with developing countries (the DCCD is described further in chapter 2.3). http://www.dccd.dk/en/
The Danish Cultural Institute promotes cultural exchanges and informs about Denmark and supports projects that aim at long-term cooperation between foreign and Danish cultural institutions, artists and other professionals. The Institute has branch offices in Benelux, Brazil, China, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and the United Kingdom. A central aim for the Institute is to create intercultural people to people dialogue. http://www.dankultur.dk/Default.aspx?ID=1066
The specialist centres - Danish Crafts, the Danish Architecture Centre and Danish Design Centre - represent the more commercially oriented branches of the arts within Danish international culture exchange. In addition, the Design Centre's subsidiary, INDEX: Design to Improve Life, has the task of strengthening the international marketing of Danish design through the presentation of the deisgn prize INDEX: Award.
In 2008 the state funding for international cultural exchange through the key actors mentioned above is approximately 260 million DKK, but as mentioned international corporation and exchange is carried out in a large number of cultural institutions and the overall figure of the resources spent on this is not known.
Every one of the key actors makes an important contribution to Danish foreign cultural exchanges. The various actors have an extensive and complex network of contacts and working partners in Denmark and a diversity of countries. In other words, the actors form a professional and practical knowledge forum for internaitonal cultural exhcnage, one which is also useful to many other artistic and cultural institutions, artistis and cultural exponents, as well as other operators, organisations and official bodies. Within their own particular fields, each actor has the skills necessary to carry out all the functions associated with their own foreign cultural exchange activities - that is they can form start to finish, deliver "pre-packed" exchange projects. The Danish Arts Council together with the arts centre in the Danish Agency for Culture can, for example, devise, organise and implement a cultural exchange programme in several very different countries and in so doing discharge both content-based and operational assignments. The same applies to the Danish Architecture Centre which arranges travelling exhibitions, for example, and the Danish Centre for Culture and Development, which has valuable concrete, practical experience of working with different developing countries.
The wide diversity and abundance of initiatives, subject areas, geographic focal points, and networks represented by a relatively small number of key actors, both abroas and in Denmark itself, is strength.
But Denmark's cultural exchange with foreign countries also faces some challenges. Danish art and culture's continued presence on the global scene will be dependent upon the ability to stay focused on the building of sustainable, professional working networks with foreign actors and the art and culture scenes of other countries. Globalisation necessitates that the individual artists and those institutions conducting cultural exchange projects with other countries are able to move fast, to switch focus and keep abreast of the latest development trands elsewhere in the world. From a development perspective it is just as important that in the future too Danish actors involved in cultural exchange will be capable of getting their message across to individual target groups and to the general public in different countries around the world. In working to strengthen the internationalisation of Danish art and culture particular focus should be placed both on creating conditions which will enable the individual artist to function in a globalised world and on strengthening the professionalism of those actors based in the institutions. The strengthening of art and culture entails both taking Danish art out into the world and bringing the art of other countries to Denmark.
Denmark is a small country and to face the challenges it is important to cooperate across ministries and key players working with cultural exchange aiming to combine experiences and achieve synergies without loosing the richness and diversity of international activities and relations with other countries.