• Published: 09 Jul 2016 10:42
  • Author: Intercultura Consult

In 2016 for the first time since democratic rule in Bulgaria, the municipal authorities of the capital (1, 5 million inhabitants) partnered non-state actors in Dance, Literature, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts. This is a precedent marking the prominent rise of self-initiated cultural activities. The ambition to boost the potential of Sofia’s growing independent arts scene resulted in a proposed long-term strategy under the brand name ‘Shared Vision’. By 2023 the support for the free initiative of organizations, artists, formal and informal associations should transform Sofia into an attractive European city, where co-creation, public interaction and professional development in the arts thrive. "Shared Vision" is an initiative of the Independent Theatre Association (ACT) supported by Sofia Municipal Programme Europe 2016.

A team of ten people carried out the work: five arts discipline experts, a project manager, a project coordinator and a culture expert responsible for the design of an intense process of analysis that took only six months from gestation to finish. There were multiple tasks: reaching out to respective professional networks (through an online questionnaire, consultation groups and public meetings) and analyzing the current context of practice (talent, technology and sharing) in the five artistic practice fields. Finally, the core areas of intervention were discussed that would underpin the strategic vision for development.

The design of the project relied on open participation. To make this work the visual identity and core definition of the free arts scene, three short videos and over twenty media interviews raised awareness. International culture experts contributed at the public launch and closure meetings with special reports. A full range of ‘free’ networking tools was used: a public-funded website relevant to the target stakeholders, social media pages and video channels.  ‘Shared Vision’ motivated artists, organizations, funders and partners to contribute with their views, data and capacity.

The cumulative effort reached 10 000 people and engaged the qualified input of over 300 persons and organizations. This lead to a joint proposal for a strategy with a concrete plan of action that has been shared publicly and is now in a consultation dialogue with the Sofia Municipality Council. Four priority lines of action were established: Monitoring of strategic activities and analysis of their impact; Optimization of the municipal program support and creating stimuli for stakeholder participation; Strengthening the creative scene and audience involvement through long-term partnerships; Supporting the sustainable development of non-state cultural organizations. 

The goal was to define realistic strategic objectives; to set short and long-term goals for the development of the free scene for  DANCE, MUSIC, LITERATURE, THEATRE AND VISUAL ARTS in Sofia (2016 - 2023).

The proposal for a Strategy has been finalised and is currently under review by stakeholders and the Sofia City Council.