Regional Art and Culture Program

Phase I: September 2007 – December 2010
Phase II: May 2011 – February 2012
Phase III: March 2012 – December 2012
Phase IV  January 2016 -December 2016 
Budget for current phase for three countries: CHF 2.7 mln
Location: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Implementing Agency: Swiss Cooperation Offices of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
Donor: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Background

Since independence, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan have been highly protective of their sovereignty by embarking on the process of reconstruction of their identities and re-interpretation of their histories. In this regard the three Central Asian countries consider Art and Culture as a powerful vehicle for conveying these values.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) considers Art and Culture as an important component and tool of good governance. Moreover, for SDC supporting cultural activities is an integral and indispensable part of development as “Culture is not one of life’s luxuries – it is life itself”. The Regional Art and Culture Program, which covers both regional and national projects is implemented by the Swiss Cooperation Offices in Dushanbe, Bishkek and Tashkent.

Although SDC has been successfully supporting cultural projects in Central Asia since 1998, the Regional Art and Culture Programme (RACP) was developed and launched in 2007 by the Cooperation offices in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan building on the vision of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. Ever since it has been an innovative, effective and context-adapted vehicle to promote universal values such as democratic principles, openness and diversity as well as strengthening social and cultural dynamism and connections in the communities it involved.

The RACP approach reflects the principles of the SDC's Cultural Strategic Orientation (2010-2015) stating that the cultural support to a partner country is an essential and integral element for developing capacities and for sustainable development.

Being an integral part of the Swiss cooperation strategy for Central Asia for the years 2012-2015 the RACP is supporting the overall objectives and approaches of the strategy, in particular by contributing to reducing the fragility and conflict potential in the region.

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Goal 

Art and culture help individuals to expand their life choices and adapt to changes. More generally, values and beliefs are determinant for societies’ vitality and diversity, also in terms of identity, and in relation to ethics and governance. Theatre directors, cinematographers, poets and their likes are often actors instilling new ideas. They tend to be curious, creative, and interested in exchanging with others.

Central Asia offers a case in point in all this regard: there, supporting art and culture actors means strengthening those among the most dynamic, open, and collaborative elements in the society.

Objectives of the Programme

  • more active and connected arts and culture people;
  • improved access to arts and culture in culturally peripheral communities.
  • increased readiness in the arts and culture scene to cooperate across divides, showcasing shared values and commonalities.

Geographical focus

Beyond its work in the capitals the RACP is present in the secondary towns of Nukus, Fergana and Bukhara in Uzbekistan; in Talas, Naryn and Osh in Kyrgyzstan; and in Khudjand and Khorog in Tajikistan.

Activities

Within the Programme various events, such as concerts, performances, exhibitions, festivals, courses, sessions, art-mediation activities, presentations, publications, films, master-classess, etc. are being organized within the framework of the project.

More specifically the RACP is famous for having initiated and implemented various regional art and culture projects. In 2012 these are the “Theatre Dialogue” (performances staged jointly by directors, actors, and stage designers from the three CA countries); regional seminar of documentary filmmakers “Renewed Dialogues”, “Didor” international film festival, Ethno-Jazz Festival, “Signs of Arts” contemporary art exhibition, In Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan the RACP continues to support individual artists and the main  beneficiaries of the program, i.e. theatres, museums, musical groups, art schools, art associations and producer centres – in both urban and rural areas. The RACP activities also cover individual art and culture people, who are usually socially active and open for dynamic changes.

It is worth to mention, that all three countries provide favourable and positive conditions for the realisation of above mentioned planned activities and ideas.

Outlook

The RACP plans to expand its activities to remote areas of Central Asia, as well as to disclose, involve and promote young art and culture actors, and build a functional and strong network for regular cultural exchanges within the region and beyond.

To know more about activities of the RACP and the most important cultural events in Central Asia please visit www.imhoart.net