“I Will Definitely Participate” or Vilnius’ Leadership in Shaping and Implementing Cultural Education Policy

Ingrida Veliutė (Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania)

Participation in culture, audience involvement, the engagement of artists or creators in solving various problems, increasing motivation and self-confidence among adults and students have been utilized for more than a decade. In the past five years, considerable attention has been given to encouraging students to be active participants in culture rather than mere consumers. Nevertheless, do the connections between the education and cultural sectors adequately support the establishment of an engaging cultural education policy that effectively addresses targeted needs?

In 2020, the third report of the “Participation of the Population in Culture and Satisfaction with Cultural Services” survey was published. It examined the trends of past, present, and future participation in culture among 1,200 respondents from all over Lithuania. The study was based on the methodology and principles used in surveys since 2014. Concurrently, the “Evaluation of the Impact of Cultural Education Activities” (2021) was conducted, and as part of the implementation of the national project “Modernization of the Cultural Education System,” a feasibility study on “The National Students Cultural Education System” was prepared in 2021.

The first report also included respondents aged 15-19; in other words, school students who, since 2018, had the opportunity to participate in the “Cultural Passport” program and were encouraged to actively engage in culture. However, the program did not catch the researchers’ attention and remained unassessed, even though by the projected year of 2030, the youngest generation of respondents will be 25-29 years old. The other two studies are directly related to the analysis of cultural education policy formation in Lithuania and abroad but have too few connections with the analysis of youth participation in culture.

Therefore, based on the conclusions of these three studies and the real-time monitoring of the results of the Cultural Passport system, the presentation analyzes the vision formed by the initiators and implementers of these fragile interinstitutional threads of culture and education policy at the initial stage. What influence did the implementation of the Cultural Education System Modernization project and the revised information system have on the cultural and education sectors? What impact do the prevailing trends in Vilnius cultural institutions have on the regions? Do “trendy” topics attract young cultural participants to the capital, or perhaps, vice versa, it becomes an exported culture? Does the culture of other major Lithuanian cities or regions have a chance to break through to the capital? These and other questions help partially reflect the sensitive aspect of cooperation between the cultural and education sectors, in which the capital inevitably plays a crucial role.