Bogota announces 10-year culture plan

Bogota has launched a 10-year culture plan, outlining its plans for art, culture and heritage in the city from 2012 to 2021, acccording to newspaper El Tiempo.

The municipal government says ideas of what art is must extend beyond traditional spheres of “objects” or “works”, and proposes using new technologies to push boundaries. Other major elements of the plan include the safeguarding of cultural heritage and the promotion of the cultural practices of villages and communities around the capital.

The objective of the plan, launched by Bogota’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Sport at the Congress of Culture and Development, is to establish culture as one of the main axes of sustainable development in the city. It is the culmination of two years of work, which began with an analysis of culture in Bogota over the last six years, highlighting the main problems affecting the sector, and formulating ways to resolve them.

It included discussion forums and workshops in each of Bogota’s localities, in which over 2,000 citizens and experts determined what the city needs in terms of heritage, art and cultural practices over the next decade.

Bogota is hoping to follow in the footsteps of cities such as Barcelona, which has made itself known worldwide as a cultural city. According to Maria Clemencia Perez, Director of Art and Heritage in the department; “15 years ago Barcelona decided that culture would allow it to develop and become a cultural city. Today, people visit Barcelona for its culture”.

Bogota currently invests 0.84% of the city’s resources into culture, against Barcelona’s 4%. UNESCO recommends that 10% of a city’s resources are invested in culture. According to Perez; “We’re leaving Bogota with a proposal for funding culture in the city. Culture requires resources, and we have outlined how to acquire them”.

Bogota’s cultural plan outlines development paths in several key areas:


The plan recognizes that art now exists beyond the traditional spheres of dance, literature, music, drama, visual arts and audiovisuals. It proposed that the conception of art in Bogota must transcend the idea that it’s just about products, objects or works. It indicates a clear need to develop new technologies to promote and circulate artistic production, and to strengthen artisitic education. According to Perez; “Artistic training suffers from low coverage and weaknesses in its quality”. The plan emphasizes that funding sources must be strengthened to allow art to be sustainable.

Cultural heritage

The plan recognizes the advances made in safeguarding cultural heritage in Colombia, but highlights the need to emphasize ownership of heritage. According to Perez; “It should not be okay that during a march, for example, people damage historic buildings, this does not happen in a city that values its memories”. Perez stresses the importance of citizens claiming ownership of their heritage. The plan further highlights the need to promote the city’s intangible heritage, and integrate consideration of heritage into planning of the city’s land use.

Cultural practices

The plan outlines ambitions to raise awareness of the cultural practices of villages and communities around Bogota, and to place them in the centre of debates on cultural policy. It also emphasizes the need to continue to develop, manage and promote research into these cultural practices.

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