Communicative Proactivity in Architectural Initiatives Supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture
Keywords:architectural communication, cultural activities in architecture, architectural education of society, financial support for culture, Arts Council
The paper aims to highlight the need, distinctive features and problematic issues of cultural and communicative activities in architecture field by using a case study of the projects in architecture funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture (LCC). The identification of the problems in supporting non-commercial initiatives in architecture since 2014 up to 2020 is the scope of this paper, which is developed using an analytical descriptive approach. The analysis covers scientific and professional literature, legal documents, recommendations of professional architectural organisations, information from the LCC and semi-structured interviews with 7 experts. Problems regarding the funding of projects in architecture by the LCC are identified by using statistical information from the LCC database and the dissatisfaction/satisfaction with LCC activities, project approval for funding, general issues of cultural policy expressed in interviews, and by looking for correlations between them. Analysis of the statistics of project funding reveals several problems. Funding for the projects in architecture field is particularly low, compared to the projects in other fields of culture and art. Geographical distribution of architectural projects is uneven, as majority of projects were submitted by applicants from Vilnius. Funding is mostly allocated to institutions with experience, established groups of participants and time-tested ways of operation; non-standard, breakthrough initiatives are rarely supported.
The article states that problems related to the dominance of the narrowed concept of architecture, to the lack of cultural communication, and to the modest public knowledge of architecture lead to the devaluation of architecture and, consequently, to the diminishing of the quality, diversity and long-term cultural value of the surrounding environment. Architectural education of society would be the most effective way to address these problems. It is important to grow everyday users, politicians, investors, developers, activists, and preservers of local heritage able to understand and critically evaluate architecture. In order to increase the cultural significance and importance of architecture for society, architecture practitioners and theoreticians should be encouraged to make the most effective use of the opportunities offered by the LCC. Activities to be funded should be selected by the potential long-term value of their results and their impact on the public and/or the professional community. In order to balance the geographical distribution, revisions to the list of evaluation criteria and their weight should increase access to support for activities in regions, for ambitious early applicants and for innovative, out-of-the-box undertakings.
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