Cultural policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the part of a general state policy. Fundamental reforms held in the state-building, economics and social spheres have directly influenced the contents and dynamics of the cultural processes. Such as, after restoration of the independence Azerbaijan faced with the numerous internal and external problems - social and economical crisis in the result of incompetent governing, 20 percent of its territory was occupied by Armenia. Only with Heydar Aliyev's return to the power, internal political policy in the country was reconstructed and its further development strategy and main directions were determined. From then on, fundamental reforms were held in all activity spheres, as well as in the cultural sphere and the crucial changes were attained.
As a logical continuation of this wise policy, with the decree and orders signed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev such as "On approval of State Program (2006-2010 years) on development of creative potential of children (the youth) with special talent" (17.04.2006), "On restoration and preservation of historical-architectural monuments in the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in Baku" (18.08.2006), "On State Program on Azerbaijani students' education in foreign countries" (19.10.2006), "On establishment of Independence Museum and rearing independence monuments in the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in Baku" (18.12.2006), "On establishment of Modern Fine Art Museum" (19.12.2006), "On declaration of 2007 as a "Year of Youth" (09.02.2007), "On development of Azerbaijan theatre art" (19.02.2007), "On development of film art in Azerbaijan" (23.02.2007), "On improvement of museum work in Azerbaijan" (06.03.2007), "On monumental-architectural monuments, recollection-memorial and architectural complexes in the Republic of Azerbaijan" (02.04.2007), "About improvement of activites of libraries in Azerbaijan" (20.04.2007), "On special stipend fund for providing creative activities of old and young generation of writers, artists and composers" (06.08.2007), "On publication of works of eminent writers of world litrature in Azerbaijani language" (24.08.2007), "On establishment of Azerbaijan Ethnography Museum" (11.07.2008), concrete activity directions and perspectives are determined, and special measures are taken in the directions of strengthening of social protection of people, working in the cultural sphere.
Azerbaijan's social-economical achievements and increasing ascendency of the country in the international arena create new possibilities for fulfilment of the cultural rights declared in the Constitution by the citizens of the country. As the main principles of state policy in the sphere of culture, the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On Culture" determines equal rights for everyone in the creation, utilization and spreading of cultural resources not depending on their social and material status, national, racial, religous and sexual belongings; providing discovery of talents, intellectual potentials and freedom of creative work of everyone, development of national culture as a part of humanity.
Nagorniy Karabakh and sorrounding territories were occupied in the result of agressor policy of Armenia, more than one million people became refugees and internally displaced. The residences, agricultural and industrial objects, as well as hundreds of cultural institutions, such as 927 libraries, 808 cultural places, clubs and cultural houses, 85 music and art schools, 22 museums and museum branches, 4 picture galleries, 13 internationally significant, 232 internally significant and 434 locally significant historical and cultural monuments were left in the occupied territories. There are Khudafarin bridges with 11 and 15 spans (VII-IX cent.) in Jabrail region, Ganjasar and Xudavend temples (XIII cent) in Kalbajar, tomb in Turbatli village of Xachin region (XIV cent) and Azikh cave-one of the old dwellings of the world in Fuzuli region, as well as old Shusha State historical-architectural reserve in Shusha. To bring Azerbaijan's justice voice to the world community in the international level and to gain a victory in the information war held in culture sphere are one of the important duties.
"Conception on Culture of the Republic of the Azerbaijan" (hereinafter Conception) is a strategy defining main directions of protection, development, popularization of the Azerbaijan culture and its successful integration into the world culture, forms of providing rights to own national-cultural values declared in the national legislation and international legal documents.
1. Main objectives and principles
General objectives of the Conception are to improve providing mechanisms of the cultural policy according to requirements of modern times, to protect cultural heritage, to support creativity and to revive cultural industry.
Main duties of the Conception are to pay a special attention to the supplement mechanisms of the cultural policy such as management, law, finance, information, human recourses, material and technical infrastructure and international cooperation which cover all spheres of the culture, as well as to raise proper indications in the cultural sphere, to provide implementation of reforms required for the security of the cultural heritage.
1.1. Application of modern methods in culture management
As observed in the progressive practice of the world countries with which Azerbaijan actively cooperates, the most successful methods in culture management, are attracting of state bodies to this activity, as well as civil society; mutual cooperation of central and local government bodies and organization of efficient use of cultural centers. Followings are determined as main duties of the reforms that are going to be held in the sphere of culture management:
to continue the improvement processes in the spheres of culture and fine art management by means of development of cooperation among central and local state bodies and municipalities;
to form art-management and producer systems and to promote modern administration in culture and art spheres;
to form a civil society in the country, to preserve national-cultural peculiarity, to carry on continuous democratization in the culture sphere in order to discover individual initiatives and to fulfill the proper projects.
1.2 Development of legal provision
The way chosen by the Republic of Azerbaijan to establish democratic, secular and legal state, giving priority the universal and national values, leads to the principle of supremacy of law and its observance, that is the main provision of integration to world community and normal existence of all essential fields. Therefore the legal regulation of cultural life-one of the main methods in realization of cultural policy, and its stages - creation of cultural values, their protection, popularization and appropriation are very important. Taking into consideration the necessity of continuation of positive actions in this direction following goals are determined:
improvement of legislative basis of cultural policy in Azerbaijan;
extension of cooperation within the framework of bilateral and multilateral treaties;
improvement of existing experience in the field of protection of mutual cultural exchange and copyrights, increasing juridical knowledge of cultural workers.
1.3 Diversification of financial sources
Financing of cultural sphere in the Republic of Azerbaijan has similar tendencies with the countries experiencing transitional economic period. Being the primary financial source of culture, budget resources create possibilities to improve the cultural workers' financial situation. There are alternative ways of culture financing in most of the countries of the world. Taking into consideration of all these factors, following key duties are determined for diversification of culture's financial sources:
determination of optimal financial level in the result of inventory, analysis, estimation, increase of effectiveness of resources allocated from state budget to cultural sphere. Wide application of state orders for targeted use of expenditures, establishment of state grant systems and strengthening of the control on allocated budget resources;
attraction of alternative financial sources for extension of financial possibilities of culture (municipalities, physical and juridical persons, grants and other resources of Maecenas, sponsors, investors);
improvement and extension of paid cultural services provided in cultural institutions through management and marketing development.
1.4 Reorganization of information provision
Cultural policy formation in Azerbaijan should be based on comprehensive cultural-political researches and related innovations as in other fields of state forming. At the same time the role of scientifically proved information in global information community shouldn't be denied. For this purpose, following fundamental goals are determined for improvement of information provision:
holding scientific-methodical researches, collecting of statistical information, hold of public-opinion-polls, application of modern documentation, creation of information basis, organization of national and international conferences, seminars and other events;
working out program projects on internal and external cultural policy, different fields of culture, art and on different regions;
thorough organization of information and advertisement, worthy representation of Azerbaijan's culture and art in national and international mass media and global internet network;
formation of cultural-informational space through culture, information, advertisement and broadcasting programs.
1.5 Development of education and human resources
It is very important to evaluate the experience obtained by older generations, playing a key role in provision of systematic development of culture, to provide its transfer to younger generations, to complexly modernize existing multi-stage cultural and artistic educational system and network. Taking into consideration all these factors, the following prior duties are determined to provide development of educational and human resources:
cultural workers' and art masters' provision with material, moral requirements within economic possibilities and improvement of necessary conditions for their activities;
improvement of educational and qualification raising system, organization of practice training visits and invitation of well-known foreign specialists to Azerbaijan;
continuation of discovery of young talents through organization of specialized contests, exhibitions, festivals, and etc. for children and adults.
1.6 Modernization of material and technical infrastructure
Despite of their ideal and moral character, creation, protection and public use of cultural values occur in material, technical and infrastructure technology conditions. Progress of society and culture in globalizing world is impossible without provision of rapid development of information and communication technologies. In this regard, the following prior duties are determined to modernize material and technical infrastructure of culture:
construction of special model buildings on original projects prepared for cultural institutions on the base of state orders;
carrying out appropriate shifting works in cultural objects, being in state of need to repairs;
provision of cultural facilities with new engineering equipments and technological systems and application of modern information-communication technologies on them.
1.7 International cooperation
Taking into consideraion the importance of conforming to the international cooperation principles and the role of tourism as one of the main tools in the realization of intercultural dialogue and promotion of cultural resources, the following duties have to be implemented for promotion and introduction of Azerbaijan culture abroad and for creation of conditions for dissemination of the best cultural objects of foreign nations in Azerbaijan:
Development of multilateral cooperation in the frames of UNO, OIC, UNESCO, WTO, CoE, European Union, TURKSOY, ISESCO, CIS, GUAM, BSEC and other international organizations;
Strengthening and enlargement of bilateral international relations with Europea, Asia, America, Africa and with turkic and other nations in tculture and tourism spheres;
enlargement of Azerbaijani culture and tourism centres' networks through supporting azerbajanians living abroad with information, consultative, methodical, organizational-technical, financial and other methods;
Raising awareness on armenian agression and terror against Azerbaijan, resolution process of this dispute, historical roots and present situation, its political-legal aspects and about the situation of historical and cultural objects in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
2. Protection of cultural heritage
Cultural heritage of every nation is a method of introduction in a world scale and reflecting in itself the national-spiritual values. Tangible and intangible cultural heritage of various nations are the heritage of the whole humanity as well. Therefore, the protection, restoration and use of immovable historical and cultural objects, modernization of museum and library systems, support of intangible cultural heritage and folk art, development of the networks of culture palaces and houses, folklore and art clubs, culture and leisure parks are the priority directions of the cultural policy. The Republic of Azerbaijan provides the protection of its historical and cultural objects giving priority to state cultural policy and international responsibilities.
2.1 Protection, restoration and use of immovable historical and cultural monuments
Historical Azerbaijan is rich with material and spiritual cultural monuments. World famous Azikh and Taglar caves, cave camps in Gazakh, Gobustan with more than 10 thousand rock art paintings, being discovered in Gamigaya, Absheron, Kalbajar and Ordubad are from this kind. 6308 historical and cultural monuments (21 of them are world importance and 44 are world importance archeological monuments), garden-parks, monumental and memorial, decorative-applied art monuments (national sculpture monuments) on the ratified list according to the historical and cultural importance of the monuments protected by state. The following duties are of main importance in the field of protection, restoration and use of immovable historical and cultural monuments:
improvement of social awareness system and existing governance in order to protect and transfer the monuments to future generation;
inventarization of the monuments, establishment of information base in electonic information junctions, preparation of normative documents, creation of protection zones, granting of documents, proving the property right and borders of culture reserves, preparation of development and management plans;
application of modern technologies in preparation of projects for monuments' restoration and in certain issues to be carried out over the monuments;
development of cultural tourism infrastructure through use and protection of monuments, definition of the routes and preparation of the maps;
enlargement of the activities of historical and cultural preserves, preparation of their management and development plans;
Systematization of the information on the situation of historical and cultural monuments of Azerbaijan, remained in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and abroad.
2.2. Modernization of museum work
There is a large museum network in Azerbaijan containing historical, historical-regional ethnographer, scientific, political, art and literature, military-patriotic museums and house-museums of culture and art workers in itself. The main leading museums are Azerbaijan State Art Musem, Azerbaijan Carpet and Folk Applied Art Museum, Azerbaijan State Theatre Museum named after J.Jabbarli, Azerbaijan State Museum of Musical Culture, Azerbaijan State History Museum and Azerbaijan Independence Museum. The following duties have to be implemented for modernization of museum work:
improvement of preservation, pasportization, restoration, conservation of museum objects, museum funds, and valuable art works and recruitment of museum collections, transfer of museum fund information to digital carriers, organization of national integral museum information system through electronic catalogue;
improvement of artistic design quality of museum expocisions, organization of conceptual expocisions and exhibitions in various themes, to bring in corresponde with international level;
inclusion of museums into the tourist routes for development of tourism in Azerbaijan, preparation of education and interactive programmes, personal excurcions, family programmes for children, youth, students and teenages for improvement of work with population;
development of museum marketing, preparation of special catalogues, calendars, brochures, souvenirs and etc. For tourist atraction, permament publication of inquiry-information booklets on organized exhibitions.
2.3. Modernization of library-information network
The mass library network of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan consists of the National Library of Azerbaijan, republic, mass and childrens' libraries and centralised library systems. There are about 40 million books, magazines, papers, notes, booklets, CDs, audiocassets and etc. in the library funds of this network. 10 centralised library systems are in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The following duties are defined for the modernization of country libraies:
acquisition, mutual application and exchange of interlibrary connection system of State Library Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan, preparation of coordination plan for enrichment of their fuds with foreign literature according to the library profiles and preparation of republic-wide foreign literature bank and purposely electronic collections;
automatization of library-bibliographic processes, preparation of the republic-wide library-information network programme-AzLIBNET and national communicative format-AzMARK for the establishement of electronic catalogue and libraries, publication of national catalogue collection;
restoration of bibliographic materials, printing and literature chrocinle publications and preparation of retrospective publication programmes, protection, restoration, conservation of library fund examples and rare copies, transfer to digital carriers, retroconversion of library catalogues, improvement of the service level according to the international standards.
2.4 Protection of the intangible cultural heritage
The old and varigated intangible cultural heritage of the Republic of Azerbaijan-being created through centuries and being the development nucleus of national spirit and culture, is the pride of every azerbaijani citizen. The following duties have to be implemented in order to promote the Azerbaijani folklore, craftsmanship and regional ethnography in the existing network of cultural palaces, houses, clubs and parks:
protection of historical-cultural living practice of Azerbaijani people and reconstruction of national ceremony, tradition and games for the development of ethnography; exploration of cultural history, geneology and mythes; development of regional tourism;
support of national mastery and promotion of national music and dance genres for protection of folk-lore; development of folk theatre; protection of oral literature genres;
revival of national cultural industry and development of folk applied art; protection of traditional decorative art; revival of national fine art.
3. Development of professional art
The art traditions of Azerbaijan-accepted as a key part of country's pecualiarity and its future development, are accepted as an important part of azerbaijani society and as a format, proving the national-spiritual existence of people's existence. Professional art's support intends the development of theatre, music and fine art.
Azerbaijan national theatre's ancient and rich history has layed a foundation for establishment and development of professional national theatre. Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, Azerbaijan State Theatre of Musical Comedy, Young Spectators Theatre, Poetry Theatre, Azerbaijan State Pantomime Theatre, Drama, Musical drama, Puppet theatres are among them. The following main duties are determined in the field of theatre art:
wide and effective use of state orders for providing the creation of new works with high artistic value on different genres of theatre art and their stage incarnation, and realization of special related programmes;
stimulation of play staging in all theatres of the republic, organization of theatre festivals, contests, etc. on international and state level, stimulation of participation in international theatre festivals, contests and other events;
protection of rare theatres, provision of material and creative aid to displaced theatres.
There is a big infrastructure in the republic for the development of Azerbaijan classical music which has ancient historical traditions and for holding concerts in this field; there are numerous acting music-schools and concert salons. The following duties are determined for support of Azerbaijan musical art, development of different forms of creative and performance searches, integration to world cultural processes and creation of varied and variegated musical atmosphere:
regular implementation of complex measures related with the promotion of composers' activities in order to create new music works with high artistic quality;
organization of festivalles, contests, concerts on different musical genres and provision of Azerbaijani art collectives and soloists' participation in international events;
offering all necessary facilities for extended participation of Azerbaijan's regions in local and international musical-cultural projects;
digitalization of Azerbaijan classical music gems.
4.3 Modern fine and decorative-applied art
Fine and decorative-applied art of Azerbaijan has an ancient history and rooted traditions. The development of modern fine and decorative-applied art is related with the support of free artistic creative searchs, integration to the international world and popularization of achievments of national culture.
Following duties are determined for this purpose:
publication of books, discs, booklets, catalougues, etc. dedicating to modern fine and decorative-applied art of Azerbaijan, and working out internet sites;
support of interesting perspective projects on different kinds of fine and decorative-applied art;
holding national and international symposiums, festivalls, contests, and provision of professionals' and masters' participation in international projects and contests;
support and stimulation of the activity of talented youth;
offering all necesssary facilities for transforming picture galleries into modern art centres;
formation of respective art collections, preparation of programmes on exhibitional and educational activity of galleries;
enriching the collections of local galleries with modern art works, application of new information technologies.
5. Revival of cultural industries
Special attention payed by society and noticeable capital investing to cultural industries that played an important role in formation of global and national cultural life and gained serious achievements in several leading countries of the world, can lead to obtaining of economic and social dividends. Therefore the development of cultural industries like cinematography and publishing with historical traditions and future potential are more perspective directions of modern cultural policy.
5.1 Revival of cinematography
Azerbaijan is one of those few countries in which the history of national cinematography began at XIX century. This rich history has several stages and it reflects the processes happening in world cinematography as well as national ones.
At present the main financing source of film production in Azerbaijan is the state budget. Financial support is realized through giving orders to different studios and independent producer centres. The following duties are determined for the revival of the national cinematography:
creation of modern production basis for revival of the national film production industry;
support of attractive film projects for creative and cinemotagraphy purposes;
restoration of film distribution and exhibition system, privatization of other cinemas by keeping the profile and of preserving state cinema network that meets modern requirements;
extention of relations with foreign distributor companies, restoration of film dubbing into Azeri language, establishment an order in use of audiovisual products, intesification of anti-piracy activity;
restoration, conservation and digital transformation of national films, newly recevied ones and their primary materials kept in State Film Fond;
study and promotion of film heritage.
5.3 Revival of book publishing
The book publishing is carried out by state and private publishing houses in the republic. These publishing houses are acting under the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "on Publishing" and other respective legislative acts. The state publishing network includes the publishing houses under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan ( "Azerneshr", "Genjlik", "Maarif"), The Ministry of Education ("Tehsil"), Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences ("Memorial Book" State Editorial Office, "Azerbaijan National Encyclopedia" Scientific Centre) and some other ministries, state institutions and organizations. There are more than 100 private publishing houses in the country. Following duties are determined for improvement of national publishing work:
provision of book publishing on scientific, social-political, artistic, publicist themes (encyclopedia, dictionary, multivolume, collective, anthology, musical publications, etc.) in high poligraphic level;
promotion of the translation of Azerbaijan literature samples into foreign languages and world literature samples into Azeri language and also creation of new works;
establishment of state distributor companies for improvement of book distribution system, partial restoration of state book shop network, improvement of enrichment of library funds through Republic Library Collector system;
provision of the access of books published in Azerbaijan to international arena, participation in international book exhibitions-fairs, holding international book exhibitions in the country.
6. Final Clauses
The legislative basis of the Conception, being prepared according to international organizations' and developed countries' experience in cultural policy, is the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Culture and other respective national cultural legislative acts, principles and norms of international law, international obligations of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Other relative ministries and state commitees, local executive authorities, cultural and artistic organizations and institutions, scientific - methodic centres, creative unities, non-governmental organizations acting in the culture and art spheres along with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will participae in the realization of the Conception. The executive co-ordinator of the Conception is the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The proposals on state budget of the Republic of Azerbaijan and financing of cultural sphere from state budget is realizing according to the structure of Conception. The attraction of foreign and local investors and use of alternative financing methods are also intended along with budget provision.
The information about the monitoring of the Conception is embodied in annual reports of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and accordingly presented to the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan.