National fund of culture: new state body established for better governance of Georgia’s cultural field

  • The new cultural body has been established to oversee a more effective support and execution of cultural projects and platforms, among other tasks. Photo: Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia., 7 Aug 2019 - 16:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s culture ministry has announced it will establish a national fund of culture to support financing of cultural projects, develop creative industries and contribute to Georgian artists’ participation in international platforms, as part of a large-scale reform of the cultural field.


The new body will take over some of the existing functions of state agencies while also providing for new approaches in financing cultural activities and projects.


Announcing its creation starting next year, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia said the fund’s objectives would include:


  • Creating a “public, transparent and fair” system of financing the field of culture


  • Enabling equal access to culture for citizens in remote provinces and locations adjacent to the occupied regions of Georgia, people with disabilities, minority groups and more


  • Supporting development of creative industries, cultural tourism and events in the country


  • Supporting Georgian artists in their participation in international fairs, festivals, competitions and creative platforms


  • Ensuring awarding of grants and attraction of investment in the cultural field


For these and other objectives the fund, set to launch in January 2020, will command a budget of up to 50m lari (about $17m/€14).


Literary critic Irma Ratiani has been selected by Minister Mikheil Batiashvili to serve as the first manager of the newly created body, with a board involving public service professionals as well as local and foreign experts set to oversee “strategic directions” of the fund.


The establishment of the organisation is part of a “large-scale complex reform and systemic changes” in the field of culture, the ministry said.


Involving a reorganisation of cultural bodies for improved management, funding and execution of cultural projects and platforms, the reform takes into account recommendations by experts from European partner organisations.


The ministry has also announced a new body, created after a recent unification of the Georgian National Book Centre and the Writers House of Georgia, would take the name of the latter.


The issue of the dissolution of the Writers House as a separate organisation had caused controversy among many creatives of the literary field in Georgia, with a campaign involving writers, translators and publishers protesting the ministry’s decision over the recent months.


The campaigners and a part of the public had been concerned by a prospect of a permanent dissolution of the Writers House, a venue with long and significant history for Georgian writers and literature, spanning back to the early 20th century.