Cultural Hot Spots Program

National Agency for Diversity and Community Culture under the Secretariat of Cultural Management of the Ministry of Culture of Argentina
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 

Cultural Hot Spots is a federal program created in 2011 within the framework of the current Ministry of Culture, with the aim of promoting and consolidating diversity of cultural expressions in communities throughout the territory, providing technical and financial support (subsidies) to social and collective cultural organizations (with or without a registered legal status), which develop artistic and cultural initiatives promoting social inclusion, local identity and citizen participation.

What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 

Throughout its almost 10 years of uninterrupted work and 6 rounds of calls, the Program has been able to establish a National Network of Cultural Hot Spots made up of more than 1,000 organizations throughout the country.

The selected organizations are diverse in types and profiles, from the artistic, social, gender, and economic viewpoints, and they represent indigenous communities, Afro-descendants, communities and/or cultural centers, popular libraries, neighborhood social and sports clubs, etc. By means of sociocultural projects, they reach hundreds of thousands of target persons, since the massive scope of the program can be measured both directly and indirectly if the audiences who enjoy the artistic productions of many of the organizations are added. For example, in most projects, the main activity is connected to workshops/training, and the number of direct target population ranges from 10 to 200; the most numerous groups are casts in artistic productions, such as community theaters, orchestras, "murgas and comparsas" (bands of street musicians, dancers and carnival floats), bringing together more than 70 people, in average, among different age groups, gender, etc.

The Cultural Hot Spots have been visited mostly by the respective regional responsible officials, who advise and oversee the implementation of the projects and stay in touch with the Program, as well as different initiatives they undertake.

There have been three National Meetings of the Cultural Hot Spots Program (2011, 2013 and 2016) and multiple provincial and regional meetings attended by hundreds of people, mainly representatives of community organizations.

For the period 2017-2020, regional meetings were held in Mendoza for the Central Andean region (Cuyo) (May 2017) and in Cordoba for the Central region (July 2017). Provincial meetings were held during 2018 in provinces such as Entre Rios, Cordoba and Santa Fe, and in 2019 the Cultural Hot Spots and Diversity Regional Meetings were held in Tucuman (March) and Corrientes (July). During these events, which can last between 3 and 4 days, there are conferences, workshops, shows and exhibitions by outstanding personalities linked to the community's cultural management, cross-cutting social interest topics, as well as artistic, environmental and communication content. Also, the different Cultural Hot Spots share their experiences.

Other training activities promoted by the Program include knowledge exchange between culture points, such as "Interlaced Experiences" or courses on Community Cultural Management held in different Bicentennial Houses throughout the country in 2017.

In addition, the Cultural Hot Spots Program is linked to the International Cooperation Program called "Ibercultura Viva" and the Latin American Movement of Community Living Culture, supporting the Cultural Hot Spots that wish to participate in the biannual congresses that are held.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that during 2020 the sixth round of calls was held, and 472 organizations from all over the country received financial support and joined the network.

Tristan Bauer, the Minister of Culture of Argentina, welcomed the new Cultural Hot Spots in 10 virtual meetings.

Features and quantitative data of the last 3 calls for projects of the Cultural Hot Spots Program

Rounds 4 and 5 Calls for the Cultural Hot Spots Program took place in 2016 and 2017 and were accompanied by training on how to submit projects throughout the country.

The 2016 call had 3 deadlines and the possibility of submitting projects for the next year's call, which had one deadline. Out of 1,217 projects submitted (866 in 2016 and 351 in 2017), a total of 260 projects were selected: 228 projects in 2016 and 32 projects in 2017 (5 of those 32 correspond to the Network Support for Organizations, thus adding about 20 more beneficiaries).
The regional distribution of the projects has been as follows: Province of Buenos Aires 56, City of Buenos Aires (CABA) 54, North West (NOA) region 43, Center 42, Central Andean region (Cuyo) 26, Patagonia 19 and North East (NEA) 15. Thus, 133 towns distributed throughout the 23 provinces and the capital, i.e., the City of Buenos Aires) were represented, although most of the projects originated in CABA and the province of Buenos Aires, which correlated with the number of organizations present in the abovementioned provinces.

The selected organizations have different backgrounds, 33.3% are between 2 and 5 years old and the rest are older. About 40% of the organizations are grassroots groups, that is, they are not registered associations with an official legal status and 60% are registered legal entities, whether as civil associations, foundations or mutual companies. Almost 50% are located in "villas" (informal settlements), 40% in urban areas and the rest in rural areas; almost all of them are neighborhood or municipal organizations, and 70% are located in vulnerable contexts, according to our 2017 survey.

The target population for the projects varies and there are combined targets, although projects are often targeted at the general public. These are some of the groups:

Children, teenagers, youths, families, senior citizens (42%)
Indigenous communities, women's movements and groups comprising gender identities, communities, peasant organizations, Afro-descendants, LGBTIQ organizations, migrants (9.13%)
Artists, craftspersons, cultural organizations and collective groups (10.69%)
Workers, informal wage earners, unemployed and cooperatives (3.72%)
There are also small percentages of people in contexts of imprisonment or confinement, people with disabilities, influencers, networks, etc.
In terms of the number of recipients, apart from those included in each project, the Program reached more than 242,511 people, thanks to the support provided by the 260 organizations.

In April 2020, Call number 4 of the Program was launched, which included 2 selection deadlines (May 8 and June 19). The results have already been informed: 472 organizations across the country joined the National Network of Cultural Hot Spots, which already contains a total of 1180.
The total number of submitted projects reached almost 3,000 (2989).

This initiative is carried out within the framework of the actions implemented by the Ministry of Culture, through the Secretariat of Cultural Management, to support cultural workers in the health emergency situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call has a budget of ARS 100 million (Argentine pesos), i.e. 50 million for each instance, which represents a historic expansion for both the Program and the community organizations category. In order to strengthen the Federal Network, the distribution of resources has taken into account the complexities and particularities of each region: the NOA will receive support for 58 projects, NEA 50, Patagonia 44, Center 88, Cuyo 46, CABA 81 and Province of Buenos Aires 104 projects.

As for the selected projects, 117 proposals belong to organizations with a registered legal status, 88 to non-registered organizations and 8 to networks that bring together a number of organizations.

For the evaluation, the following criteria were considered, among others: sociocultural impact, consistency and feasibility; value of the project as a tool for social inclusion; cultural demands in the territory comprised by the project; and promotion of local and regional identities. The adaptation of the proposals to the context of social distancing and lockdown conditions was also evaluated, as well as adequacy to the strategic objectives of the Program: Promotion of Popular Participation, Social Inclusion and Revalorization of Local Identities.
Up until two years ago, the National Registry of Cultural Hot Spots was in operation as a database that unifies community organizations throughout the country, regardless of their legal status, and it had 5,923 organizations in its registry. Work is currently under way to update it.

Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD: 

The budget available for the 2016 call was USD 1.733.000 of which USD 1.120.000 went to financial support and USD 613.000 to training and the organization of the National Meeting. In 2017, the budget was USD 483.870,97 of which USD 232.258,06 went to financial support and USD 251.612,90 to regional trainings and meetings.
During 2018 and 2019, there were no calls, but some funds were earmarked for training and regional meetings: USD 48.780,50 in 2018, and USD 50.000 in 2019.
The 2020 call had an allocated sum of USD 1,253,918.49 exclusively for direct transfer financial support.

Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Name of partnerType of entity
Civil associations, foundations, cooperatives, mutual companies, associations, territorial organizations, “comedores” and “merenderos” (soup kitchens).
Civil Society Organization (CSO)
Has the implementation of the policy/measure been evaluated?: 
If yes, what are the main conclusions/recommendations?: 

In addition to the general issues detailed in the previous answers, we want to highlight that, in terms of impact measurement, between mid-2018 and the end of 2019, the Cultural Hot Spots Program developed and promoted a training process aimed at training organizations that are part of the Network of Hot Spots in conceptual and methodological aspects associated with this topic.
IMPACT ASSESSMENT. We took the following question as our starting point: How can we measure the impact of our organizations?

The main objectives of the work were to:
* Raise awareness of the importance of evaluation in the development of community culture organizations.
* Create and disseminate an evaluation tool adapted to the institutional characteristics and needs of the Network of Cultural Hot Spots (Guide to Impact Assessment).
* Oversee a group of organizations in the process of recognition and implementation of this tool.
In order to achieve these objectives, the following activities were carried out:
* 6 regional meetings in which nearly 200 organizations participated (2 in the City of Buenos Aires/Greater Buenos Aires, 1 in Tucuman, 1 in Corrientes, 1 in Mendoza, 1 in Cordoba).
* Around 20 visits, interviews and face-to-face meetings with teams from 12 organizations with which we have worked.
The process was rich and elicited the interest of organizations that recognize the importance of reviewing their work and learning from their own experiences to improve their management, by identifying, measuring and transmitting with greater precision the personal, institutional and community transformations that occur as a result of their work. However, organizations assume that evaluation requires time and dedication, a sustained exercise of systematic recording that should enable them to analyze their actions.
There is full awareness that culture is an essential aspect in the construction of our everyday life and it is understood as the way of seeing and transforming the world in every neighborhood and territory. That commitment and those contributions are aimed at improving the quality of life at the communities and fostering social transformation, which is both (a) tangible (material resources and concrete productions, preservation of heritage) and (b) intangible, linked to social parameters.
i. Infrastructure and neighborhood meeting spaces (neighborhood centers, multipurpose rooms, theaters, cultural centers, significant recycled/repurposed buildings, popular libraries, radios, etc.).
ii. Materials and equipment made available to the community (musical instruments, computers, stage designs, costumes, various equipment, vehicles, etc.).
iii. Financial income (through private donations, sale of services/shows, national and international contributions for various projects, production and sale of various products at street markets and other venues, etc.).
iv. Popular economy (streamlining of production circuits, distribution and consumption in thousands of popular neighborhoods throughout the country).
i. Personal development (skill deployment, channels of participation and expression, development of skills and attitudes, shaping of reference values, construction of subjectivity and identity).
ii. Personal and group support (in situations of crisis, social vulnerability, neglect, homelessness, personal and community conflicts).
iii. Development of collective processes and projects in association (youth groups, family associations, "murgas" (bands of street musicians and dancers), orchestras, theatrical groups, work teams, various associative actions).
iv. Strengthening of local identities (territorial, gender, generational, indigenous peoples, etc.).

Finally, direct employment (formal and informal). Some specialists estimate that the employment created and deployed within social organizations throughout Argentina represents a significant percentage of the total number of jobs in the country.

What remains to be done is to sustain and expand the culture of evaluation among organizations, so that there is more systematization, dissemination and recognition of the positive impact they generate, thus increasing social visibility and support for organizations that build community culture day by day in Argentina.

Objetivo(s) de la Convención 2005 de la UNESCO
Dominios culturales
Medios de comunicación
Las artes escénicas
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