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Public policies and support schemes

Cultural policy is decentralised in Spain, and so the highest responsibility for public cultural policy in Catalonia is the Catalan government. However, Catalan companies and creators can also compete for grants offered by central government institutions through the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (INAEM).

The Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya works to promote Catalan culture in the fields of creation, production, distribution and exhibition in each of the cultural sectors (the performing arts, music, audiovisual arts, the visual arts, literature and digital culture). In order to do so, it is committed to substantially changing the ways it envisages public cultural policy by adopting an outlook that recognises the hybridisation of the performing arts in a changing reality where artistic disciplines and sectors tend to cooperate and mix more and more.

As the country’s fundamental creative motors, the street arts and circus are included in the public policies of support for the performing arts, in the short, medium and long terms, with a clear aim: to promote their growth and consolidation. Examples are the three Integral Plans for the performing arts (circus, dance and family theatre), and multi-year agreements with lines of support for artistic production and specific support for the centres of creation so that artists from circus and street arts, among others, can enjoy time and resources to experiment.

The second important aspect to highlight is the consolidation and organisation of a network of the fve strategic markets in Catalonia, with work focused on employment contracting and the professionalisation of the sector. These five markets are FiraTàrrega, Trapezi, Mostra d’Igualada, Fira Mediterrània and Sismògraf; all are related to circus and street arts, and all have become authentic platforms for exhibition and sales which guarantee professionals a stable place where they can present their projects. They are also now nationally and internationally recognised meeting places.

The development of the circus and street arts takes place in close cooperation with public administrations and a wide network of other entities and independent professionals. Regarding circus, since 2006 the institutions have worked jointly with the Association of Circus Professionals of Catalonia in order to consolidate the sector and enable it to grow and take its place on the international stage. For the street arts, the creation in 2015 of the Platform of Street Arts, which brings together the festivals, fairs and shows whose main line of programming is in street arts, has brought a new cohesion to the sector through dialogue with creators, artistic companies, promoters and associations.

The aim for the future is to continue these public policies to strengthen the street arts and circus in cultural, social and economic life.

Jordi Sellas i Ferrés

— General Director, Creation & Cultural Companies, Dept. of Culture Generalitat de Catalunya (2013-2016) —

What are the most important challenges for circus / street arts in your country, particularly when it comes to marketing and audience development?
"The creation of high quality employment and the participation of the general public are the two main driving forces behind the growth and consolidation of street arts and circus in the fields of marketing and audience development. Creating the necessary conditions for growth means promoting solid support mechanisms, generating more opportunities for participation in cultural life by increasing the number of shows programmed, consolidating stable venues, and increasing the number of contracts offered to professionals."

Photo: Martí E. Berenguer