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What are the main characteristics of the cultural life in a country? Which are the strengths and the weaknesses? (Yes, and the opportunities and threats…) What kind of cultural policy model prevails?
The search for answers takes various forms. Comparing statistics is one way, probably the simplest. The Compendium programme does so in an on-going manner. Eurostat publishes aggregations of national statistics every now and then. Eurobarometer has just released its latest survey on cultural access and participation. The American Arts Index inspires the quest for similar indicators in Europe.

All these are large projects, requiring considerable resources. The relatively simple instrument that the Budapest Observatory has been testing is modelled from a similarly huge exercise, the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum. In it, besides juggling with a myriad of statistics, a small survey with businesspeople is also included. That was the model for putting the question to “culture-people” in various countries: “What are the most problematic factors for culture in your country?”

Does a quiz like this lead to interesting, meaningful answers about the conditions of culture – about culture’s ecosystem – in various places? Our survey hopes to get the answer.

This survey was especially design to identify differences between the patterns of cultural ecosystem in Spain and France, Finland and Sweden or Serbia and Bulgaria, and is composed of various charts, the most interesting of which shows the 25 “problematic factors” in the culture policies of various countries placed in order of frequency according to 88 subscribers to the BO newsletter.

Amongst the causes of despair of people working in the cultural sector are lack of cultural policy vision, Inefficient cultural education, Outmoded structure of cultural institutions, Hegemonic influence of commercial media and events, Excessive political influence in cultural matters, Favouritism and biases in the distribution of public grants, Lack of transparency in decision making, Inefficient incentives for business sponsors, Unequal access to cultural infrastructure across the country, Insufficient subsidies from central (government) budgets and Precarious financial situation of the public administration.

To view the complete survey go to


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