5 Cultural Policy Resources in South East Europe
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18.01.2001 | author: Borislav Petranov
National Culture Fund Bulgaria
Policies for Culture Journal, July 2001
Borislav Petranov
is the first Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Culture Fund, established under the Protection and Development of Culture Act in 2000.
The National Culture Fund of Bulgaria was established under Chapter 5 of the Protection and Development of Culture Act (1999). Initiated and supported by the Minister of Culture, it started functioning on 8th November 2000 at the first Board Meeting. The Fund is a corporate body, with off-budget accounts and has its headquarters in Sofia. The Ministry of Culture ensures the conditions of its functioning. The Fund was established to support the development of culture by
collecting, managing and spending resources designated to carry out the national policy in the field of culture. The Executive Director, Mr. Borislav Petranov, has been so kind as to answer several questions and to give information about the Fund’s activities.

Interview by Tsveta Andreeva, PfC

According to the Protection and Development of Culture Act (PDCA), the Fund is managed by a Management Board, a Control Council and an Executive Director. The Board is made up of a Chairman and 10 members, its Chairman being the Minister of Culture. Three of the Board Members change according to governmental changes in the country: the Minister of Culture, the second Ministry of Culture representative and the representative of the Ministry of Finance. The Management Board manages the activities of the Fund:

1. It prepares and approves the strategy and programme for the activities of the Fund;
2. It takes decisions to conduct competitions on financing cultural initiatives, programmes, creative projects etc;
3. It prepares the annual report about the activity of the Fund;
4. It takes major decisions for the election of an executive director;
5. It adopts the structure of the administration of the Fund and other functions listed precisely in the PDCA.

The Board
Members include: representatives of NGOs in the field of culture, creative professional organisations, cultural actors, academic communities -connected to culture, the municipalities and one representative of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance. They are appointed by an order of the Minister of Culture for a term of two years. The Executive Director is not a member of the Board. He participates in the Board sessions with a consultative vote. He is appointed for a term equal to the term of activity of the Board members. The Control council consists of a chairman - representative of the Ministry of Finance, and two other members. The Control council implements the control, collection and the management of the resources of the Fund. The executive body of the Fund consists of three persons: the Executive Director, a senior expert and an accountant. As the number of projects increases with every session, the Fund is enabled to contract partnerships with other organisations (such as the Euro-Bulgarian Cultural Centre - Sofia) in order to facilitate its work.

The resources for feeding the Budget of the Fund are mentioned in detail in the PDCA, Art. 31(1). They are collected mainly from:

1. 50% of the fines and other penalties for violation against copyright (detailed in art. 98, para 4 of the Law for copyright and the neighbouring rights);
2. 10% of the income from rent received from commercial companies with state participation in the field of culture, the deductions being made before the division of the rent between the landlord and the republican budget;
3. The amounts due as compensation for importing or manufacturing blank audio, video media and recording machines (art. 26, para 3, second sentence of the Law for copyright and the neighbouring rights);
4. 10% of the contracted price for the rent of articles – movable cultural monuments ownership of the state, included in exhibitions out of the country;
5. Grants, testaments and sponsorship by Bulgarian and foreign individuals and corporate bodies;
6. Interest from Fund’s accounts;
7. Subsidy determined in the Law for the state budget of the Republic of Bulgaria for the corresponding budget year.

In the first year of it’s existence, the Fund formed a budget of about 600 000 Bulgarian leva from which: 500 000 BGL came from the State Budget’s subsidy, 50 000 BGL came from fines and fees and the rest from donations and other raised funds. The resources of the fund are kept in off-budget accounts in Bulgarian leva and in other currencies at the Bulgarian National Bank.

Programmes and sessions
The purposes and activities of the Fund’s programmes and project sessions are listed in the PDCA, Art. 31 (2). The resources of the Fund are spent on:

1. projects and programmes with national, international and municipal importance for the creation, preservation and dissemination of works of art and culture, as well as for the preservation and promotion of our cultural heritage;
2. scientific research activity in the field of culture;
3. support of cultural events and initiatives with national and international importance;
4. programmes and projects for expanding the international cultural activity;
5. programmes and projects for new experimental forms of cultural activity;
6. programmes and projects for protection of the freedom for cultural events of the citizens in this number ethnic, religious and language communities;
7. educational programmes and projects in the field of culture, improvement and development of the structure and the quality of the education in the field of art
and culture;
8. creative scholarship for support of young and prominent authors and other young specialists in the field of culture with a duration up to 2 years;
9. programmes and projects for research, preservation and promotion of the cultural – historic heritage;
10. programmes and projects for the protection and development of culture of Bulgarian communities abroad;
11. programmes and projects for expanding the access of children and youth to cultural activities;
12. rewards for high achievements in the field of culture;
13. programmes and projects for the stimulation of amateur art.

All the resources of the Fund are granted on a competition basis, after submitting proposals. The programmes and calls for proposals of the Fund are for different fields of culture. Specialised expert committees are created in the corresponding cultural field for each project session. Each expert committee consists of 5 professionals from the field. They meet to give their opinion and to elaborate the expert selection of the project proposals. The executive director communicates with them and transmits their decisions to the Board, which approves or revises their decision.

Since its establishment in November 2000, the National Culture Fund has conducted 4 calls for proposals and there is a 5th forthcoming.

1. Dissemination of performances, exhibitions, concerts etc. for children in small towns and villages, and in social establishments.
2. Support of Chitalishte for collecting and preservation of the Bulgarian authentic folklore. 3. Publishing of studies and books in the field of specialised cultural studies, translations of studies for students in arts audience etc.
4. Promotion and dissemination of Bulgarian musical creation (choirs, opera, chamber and symphonic music).
5. Preparation of exhibitions of visual arts and museum exponents in Bulgaria and abroad.
The Fund covers up to 80 % of the total requested grant of the organisations.

Media coverage
The Fund communicates its activity by means of different media channels in Bulgaria. Each call for proposals is announced in two national dailies, two
cultural weeklies (Literature Newspaper and Culture weekly), diffused by the Darik private radio station with national coverage, as well as on the EUBCC and the Ministry of Culture websites. The results of the sessions are also announced with a press conference and via the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA). The final report of the first year of functioning of the Fund will be published in a booklet within 3 months after the end of financial exercise.

Developing sustainable partnerships
The increasing number of project proposals submitted to the Fund led to the establishing of the fruitful partnership with the Euro-Bulgarian Cultural Centre. The Centre provides the “interface” of the Fund with the potential and real beneficiaries – the assistants on the Information desk ensure information and consultations for interested organisations and individuals. They also receive and register the projects for each session, of course with a certain fee in counterpart.

The web site of the Centre (www.eubcc.bg) is the on-line area of the Fund, where all the news and results appear, and where the application forms for each project session are available.

The National Culture Fund is trying to coordinate its activity with the other funding institutions on a national level – particularly with the National Centres of Arts at the Ministry of Culture, with the idea to fulfil the non-covered area in Bulgarian arts and culture, spreading its support in less developed regions and organisations. The Executive director of the Fund is taking initiatives for partnerships in the field of publishing together with the foreign cultural institutes in Bulgaria (such as the Goethe Institute, French Cultural Institute, Pro Helvetia etc.) for a reciprocal support of translation projects. An effort for cooperation and coordination of programme activities with the main cultural NGOs is also available such as with the Soros Centre for the Arts etc.

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