Measures fostering cultural diversity
In terms of civil society, there are several differences in the various cultural policies and measures adopted, in comparison with public entities, because social institutions are inspired by a wide array of different objectives. There is a great disparity of institutions, spanning from cultural associations, private museums, foundations, theatre or dance companies. This means that measures are implemented in distinct manners, due to the different objectives and social and geographical constraints.
In this context, we can identify several measures that have directly or indirectly fostered cultural diversity. First and foremost the pricing policy, that has enabled free access to specific audiences, such as teaching institutions, senior citizens and social-charity institutions and also, on a fairly regular basis, to members of the general public. Free entrance on Sundays is offered in non-stop cultural programmes, including «Serralves em Festa, 40 hours, non-stop», in cultural spaces that are open at night, fine arts workshops and concerts. For example, the BCP Foundation, supports the festival, “Todos – Caminhadas de Cultura” (Cultural Paths for Everyone), which offers free access and aims to disseminate various forms of cultural expression of local populations in Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhoods, via shows, dance, theatre, singing and gastronomy events (2009 – 12,000 visitors, 2010 – 16,000 visitors, 2011 – 20,000 visitors).
Programmes involving educational activities constitute another important measure, intended to develop creativity, including the organisation of creative workshops for children and family members in schools and granting study scholarships intended to support researchers, artists and students in the various cultural and artistic areas and in the various fields of knowledge, organised by entities such as the Calouste Gunbenkian Foundation and the Centro Cultural de Belém.
Support for specific social groups is achieved through support for activities in the areas of exhibitions, dance, theatre, music, fine arts and education, with special emphasis on young people, in articulation with the content of school academic programmes and museological/educational activities. The traditional skills workshops developed by the Douro Museum (Skills Workshop, Sounds Workshop, Stencil Workshop, Camouflage and Networks Workshop), constitute a good example of creativity stimuli based upon local realities. Several major projects are developed in underprivileged social neighbourhoods, such as the initiative organised by the Moinho da Juventude Cultural Association - the Finka Pé Batuque group (Cape-Verdian batuque music that is solely performed by women who create their own music and dance routines), the Kola San Jon group (intersection of the cultures of African slaves and the Portuguese), the young people of the African contemporary dance group “Wonderfull’s Kova M” and the young people of the Kova M music studio (who write their own lyrics and have commenced their own musical career) - demonstrate the importance of promotion of cultural diversity for social inclusion. The Gulbenkian Human Development - 2009 Programme, organised another major social intervention project in partnership with the Dialogue and Action Association , which uses various aspects of Hip Hop culture (song, dance, DJ-ing or graffiti), in order to provide a voice for women, foster sexual equality and reduce public and private violence. The programme aims to support and stimulate social integration for more vulnerable groups – urban communities, senior citizens, migrants, children and young people at risk.
There has been major development of programming for senior citizen audiences over recent years. For example the CCB/Fábrica das Artes (Arts Factory) opened in 2009 and since then its programming has been based upon inviting artists to develop specific proposals for this audience segment and to work directly with senior citizen homes, day centres and senior citizen universities. In 2010, the “Companhia Maior” (Greater Company) was formed in collaboration with the CCB, as an artistic/creative project to provide training for artists aged over 60, including several persons from various areas of the performance arts and others without any acting experience.
Emigrant communities in Portugal receive considerable support from civil society, specifically in organization of thematic activities in order to commemorate festivities and special dates related to their resident communities. For example, commemoration of the Lunar New Year, in the case of Asiatic communities, supported by the Oriente Foundation.
It is also worth noting, in relation to policies to foster artistic creation, the role of the Serralves Foundation, which organises design competitions, for creation of brands and logos and other initiatives intended to foster production of artistic works, together with the work of several foundations such as the CCB, which for several years has commissioned works by Portuguese composers, promoting national creativity and dissemination of these works.