Heritage preservation, culture education revamp, creative industry support in culture ministry's 10-year action plan

Thea Tsulukiani revealed her ministry's initiatives for the next decade at the hillside-located Museum of Ethnography in Tbilisi on Wednesday. Screenshot from culture ministry presentation video.

Agenda.ge, 28 Jul 2021 - 18:03, Tbilisi,Georgia

Researching and preserving monuments of cultural heritage in Georgia and abroad, developing a structured cultural education, and supporting artists and institutions of creative industries with programmes were revealed as part of plans of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth for the next decade, presented by minister Thea Tsulukiani in Tbilisi on Wednesday.

Addressing an audience of culture professionals, government members and foreign dignitaries at the Giorgi Chitaia Museum of Ethnography on a hillside overlooking the city, Tsulukiani was presenting the 10-year plan as part of an initiative by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili to see each of his government ministries unveil their visions for the next decade over the recent weeks.

In her talk, Tsulukiani detailed plans for each of the cultural field sectors, stressing the ministry's priorities of completing research and rehabilitation work on many monuments of cultural heritage both in the country and abroad, ensuring popular accessibility of culture, strengthening sustainability of creative industries and developing educational and legislative base for the field.

In the monuments' department, the ministry will work to carry out complex and full "research and rehabilitation work on 50 monuments" over the next decade, Tsulukiani told the audience, and to have conditions of the 75 percent of monuments in Georgia - including those in occupied regions of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) and Abkhazia - "studied based on contemporary methods".

The ministry recently announced grants for regional theatre performances as a move to support cultural processes away from their usually Tbilisi-centric nature. Photo via Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth.

Restoration and update of the Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts - a major venue housing some of the most important historical exhibits in the country but needing urgent work for rehabilitation - is one of the primary elements of the segment, with UNESCO experts expected to work with their Georgian counterparts to develop the museum into a space displaying its riches after the long-awaited rehabilitation.

There are also plans to develop the open-air Museum of Ethnography into "one of the leading green museums" in Tbilisi, contributing to a drive of expanding and safeguarding recreational spaces in the capital, the minister added.

Developing a modern, unified standard of museum management - an issue Tsulukiani called "acute" - will be another part of addressing challenges faced by venues across the country.

The ministry also has plans to make at least one nomination of a cultural heritage monument for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and five nominations for inscription in the Immaterial World Heritage roster, over the next 10 years.

The Museum of Ethnography, bringing architecture and customs from Georgian countryside to a hillside area above Tbilisi, will develop into "one of the leading green museums" in the country, Tsulukiani told her audience. Screenshot from culture ministry presentation video.

As part of an intention to support creative industries, the ministry aims to increase their share in the national gross domestic product from 2.8 percent to 3.5 percent, along with raising their share in employment from 5.2 percent to 5.8 percent, and the percentage of cultural tourism in the visitor industry from 7.3 percent to 8 percent.

Supporting socially underprivileged, disabled and vulnerable groups involved in creative projects will be facilitated by a launch of eight cultural programmes worth 20 million GEL ($6.4 mln/€5.4 mln), in addition to creation of mechanisms of social protection for creatives, and formation of programmes for developing "new, contemporary forms of cultural self-expression".

Tsulukiani's address also reviewed plans for "recovering" the national system of cultural education, in order to rectify "destructive" effects of a 2006 reform in the field during the previous government. The minister said an established structure of formal education at the end of the decade would be seen as a successful outcome.

The move will also seek to restore up to 30 "disappeared" professions in the field, along with re-establishing the importance of scientific work in culture - a role "diminished" by the previous government, in the words of Tsulukiani.

The culture minister confirmed plans for rehabilitating and updating the Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts (highlighted) in Tbilisi, in a long-awaited move to save the neglected venue and its precious exhibits. Image from Georgian National Museum plan for rehabilitating the museum.

In the presentation, the minister also revealed efforts for supporting projects in specific branches of culture, with programmes for literature and publishing, mechanisms for modern dramaturgy and stage art, professional music development, visual and contemporary art, and development of folklore schools announced.

Supporting the cinema industry and its potential - "practically unused today" - for having a share in industry and economy will be one of the tasks of the ministry, along with continuing work for preservation of cinema heritage.

The "obsolete" legislative and regulatory base of the culture field will be replaced with a European-style body of code regulating relations between individuals, institutions and the state, while plans are also in place to increase Georgia's participation in cultural projects run by the EU and other international bodies by 150 percent.

Finally, around 200 million GEL ($64 mln/€54 mln) will be devoted to developing infrastructure for the field over the next decade.

Tsulukiani spoke at the presentation on the back of a number of initiatives launched by her ministry since her appointment to the position in March. The initiatives include establishing a registry of monument restoration professionals in the country, grants including those for theatres and regional performances, and long-awaited rehabilitation efforts of theatre and museum venues.