Daily Archives: February 12, 2009

The culture investigation report (Sweden)

The culture investigation report is now published at Kulturdepartementets (The Ministry of Culture) webpage.

Kulturutredningens betänkande SOU 2009:16 (In Swedish)

It’s massive, ca 900 pages, though only portions of it are of direct interest to me. I’ll begin reading it or rather portions of it during the day. I guess I’ll have opinions on at least parts of it.

A first update;

One of the proposals is that a single authority with responsibility for issues concerning time, history and habitat is to be formed. This authority is to be formed by the current authorities; Riksantikvarieämbetet (the National Heritage Board), Riksutställningar (Swedish travelling exhibitions), Nämnden för hemslöjdsfrågor (The National Swedish Handicraft Council), Statens konstråd (The National Public Art Council) and Arkitekturmuseet (the Swedish Museum of Architecture).

I’m not sure if this is a good idea, I feel that it is a big risk that the issues regarding cultural heritage, archaeology and historic building etc. are being obscured by the issues regarding art and crafts or become an authority of mishmash with to many purposes and focuses.

I feel that most current issues in our field are better suited to be handled within either Boverket (The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning) or Naturvårdverket (the Environmental Protection Agency). Now this is my opinion and I do understand some of the reasons brought forth in the investigation, for example the connection between the Swedish travelling exhibitions the museums and the National Heritage Board. But in this case one must consider the differences between the museums and not bundle them together. I would rather propose the considered and rejected alternative; That two new authorities are to be formed: One authority on heritage issues formed by Riksantikvarieämbetet (the National Heritage Board), Riksutställningar (Swedish travelling exhibitions) and another authority on architecture, form and design formed by Nämnden för hemslöjdsfrågor (The National Swedish Handicraft Council), Statens konstråd (The National Public Art Council) and Arkitekturmuseet (the Swedish Museum of Architecture).

Kullenmannen (the hill man) also comments on the culture investigation report (in Swedish). It seems that our views on the matter of a new authority is more or less the same.

Update 2;

I note that the investigation proposes a big change; from “the cultural heritage are to be preserved, used and enrich people’s lives” to “the cultural heritage are to be preserved, used and interpreted.” Now that’s rethinking!

No, it is not rethinking but rather a form of recycling. It is a shift of focus; from the view that cultural heritage is something important for people in their immediate environment to the interpretation of cultural heritage. Does this mean that the government wants to go towards a narrative again, to return to knowledge rather than follow popular opinions? There is a part of this investigation that indicates just that, among other things it concerns the need for more resources to education and research. I will return to this as I’ve read this part more thoroughly!

Update 3;

Regarding the term interpret it is said in the investigation:

Vi har formulerat oss så att det skall vara tydligt att uppgiften att bevara, bruka och tolka kulturarvet är något som står öppen för envar och allra minst är något exklusivt ansvar för myndigheter och institutioner. Det tolkande inslaget i målet öppnar för en mångfald perspektiv på det kulturarv som tillhör alla. ” (Ch. 8.2.2. p.44-45)

We have formulated us so that it should be clear that the task to preserve, use and interpret the cultural heritage is something that is open to anyone and least of all is an exclusive responsibility of the authorities and institutions. The interpretive element of the case is open for a variety of perspectives on the cultural heritage that belongs to everyone.” (Translation of the quote by me)

If I hadn’t read the explanatory text, above, I would have interpreted it in another way, as I did. In this case interpret means it is open for interpretation by anyone, for a flicker of time I thought I saw a small glimpse of light; an opening for professionalism.

Update 4;

Reactions in Swedish newspapers 

Dagens Nyheter (all in Swedish);

Stora förändringar med Kulturutredningen  

Kultursverige kommenterar utredningen  

De nya kulturpolitiska målen

Kulturthriller mot sitt slut

“En del blir glada, andra inte”

Svenska Dagbladet (all in Swedish);

Rejäl ommöblering i kulturlivet

Visionen bakom ändrad organisation

Kultur viktigt som politiskt varumärke

Update 5;

That’s all for today, I’ve got a Darwin-post to write that will be up tonight or tomorrow and I’m flying to Stockholm for the weekend in a few hours. The Osteological association seminar is on Saturady so that’ll be a post as well. Lots to look foward to, I’ll get back to the investigation tomorrow or on Monday.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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