Cultural policy is the main ideological platform of each successful state which forms the main value system of society and the creative origin of the individual.
Realising the need for modernisation of the cultural policy, President Nursultan Nazarbayev in his address to the people of Kazakhstan, “Kazakhstan’s Way 2050: common goal, common interests, common future,” set a clear goal, “to develop and approve a long-term concept of the development of the cultural policy of the country, aimed at the formation of a competitive cultural mentality of Kazakh people and development of modern cultural clusters.” This target implementation will allow Kazakhstan to become one of the centres of world culture and art by 2050.
Culture is one of the most important priorities of the development of any country. The availability of an effectively-functioning infrastructure of cultural institutions, as well as mechanisms ensuring the preservation and enrichment of the national and world cultural heritage and the creation, broadcast and consumption of high-quality cultural values are a criterion of the success of the state.
Given the high demand for a new conceptual vision of the development of the industry, the elaboration of the proposed concept involved leading cultural experts, art critics, cultural organisations and creative unions. The set task was not easy – it was not just to present a vision of the cultural policy of Kazakhstan until 2050, but also set new development impulses and mechanisms of forming a competitive cultural mentality of Kazakhstan. Therefore, everyone’s opinion was interesting. We have studied the advanced world experience and best practices and carried out a comprehensive case study of the problems and needs of the population. A large-scale discussion was held at each stage of development of the draft concept. All have worked with great dedication.
In his national development strategy until 2050, the leader of the nation has put forward the fundamental idea of consolidation of our multinational state “Mangilik Yel” (Kazakh for eternal nation) which has become a basic component of the draft concept of cultural policy.
In general, the draft document is based on such principles as the priority of the national cultural heritage: recognition of culture as a factor of growth and a powerful resource for social development, respect for the cultural diversity of the country, support and development of cultures and traditions of multi-ethnic Kazakhstan, freedom of creative personality and cultural expression, unity of cultural environment on the basis of new institutional associations, contemporary cultural clusters and advanced technologies. All these principles allow for building a system of values which will be the core of forming a new, competitive cultural mentality of Kazakhstan.
Culture itself is a very complex industry because it is impossible to make any calculations here, to determine a clear development forecast, to bring a certain formula. It is safe to say that no country in the world has clear standards and regulations in its culture. It is possible to bring up a civilised person. Books, movies, music and the environment in which people live can be involved, so it’s important to create a high-quality cultural product to form the correct values.
The head of state very accurately said, “Traditions and culture are the genetic code of the nation and we should preserve our culture and traditions in all their diversity and grandeur to collect our cultural heritage by crumbs.”
He has repeatedly emphasised that the Kazakh culture should become the nucleus for all citizens of the country. The Kazakhs have always had seven great spiritual treasures,“Zheti Kazyna,” or as they say today, fundamental priorities. Thus, the draft concept identified seven components of the cultural code of the nation – heritage, traditions, customs, language, family, lifestyle and holidays. These are values which must be laid at birth, accompany a person throughout his or her life and passed on from generation to generation. People who know their origins and respect the historical roots of tradition are the foundation of a strong and successful state.
Modern realities require the creation of a qualitatively-new cultural product, capable of forming and cultivating basic guidelines available and understandable to everyone. First of all, it is human values – family, virtue, humanity, creative labour. It is necessary to create bright new images, have the ability to set a clear hierarchy of norms and be the conductors of simple and indisputable truths. Our heroes, relatively speaking, should be an ordinary doctor selflessly devoted to the profession, as well as well-known, prominent personalities who have left their mark in history. The assets of the national cinema, literature and paintings must be the projects of the country’s iconic historical events and cultural heritage.
Domestic animation should get its full development. This is the most effective and affordable tool of educating a new generation in Kazakhstan, for which value orientation should be our national way of life, our traditions and our heroes. Kazakh batyrs, sultans and heroes who receive artistic expression in animation and movies will become mass examples to follow. The experience of The Walt Disney Company is indicative, which by creating modern heroes for children made them the subject of large-scale replication and influence. It is a big business and a huge industry.
No small role in the concept is devoted to the creation of modern cultural clusters or so-called “creative economy,” which will provide the relationship among creativity, education and science, economics, business and innovation. Today, it is the most appropriate way to achieve the competitive benefits of the industry.
With regard to institutional reforms, there is a proposal to establish a National Council for literature and art under the President of Kazakhstan and the arts councils by branches under the Ministry of Culture and Sport. It is an initiative of creative unions, supported by experts and industry representatives, which note the need to create a dialogue platform for artists, public figures and businessmen. It will address issues of formation of repertoire and touring policy, personnel, logistics industry and others.
In addition, in the near future there are plans to transfer a number of art schools, colleges and schools to the Ministry of Culture and Sport. This measure will solve a wide range of issues on the preparation of creative personnel, their further advancement, professional orientation and implementation of the principle of dual education. It is known that the formation of a creative personality is a continuous process that begins in early childhood and continues throughout almost all of one’s life. In this context, the task of the Ministry of Culture and Sport is to provide a systematic support to talents, to create the starting conditions for their creative growth and to shape its unique educational model in culture.
Cultural products should teach each of us to be proud for the country. We live in a country with rich historical and cultural heritage and we have unique cultural and natural sites, historical monuments and sacred places. We have everything, but unfortunately, it almost cannot find the proper development. In this regard, it is necessary to combine all the resources to use all available tools and to create the conditions for intensive development of a competitive cultural environment. In particular, the concept of cultural policy proposes to significantly expand the functions of national museums and reserve museums. The format of their work is expected to be focused on close interaction with the science of history, archeology, restoration, art and ethnography. Museums in the country should be supporting centres of research, science, cultural information and creative innovations.
We see the new format as well in the work of national libraries. Today they are a large-scale information resource for the country that should be utilised to the maximum and become widely available in a modern and convenient format. In fact, the library must be a multi-functional, educational and informational platform of the cultural activities of our citizens.
The priorities of the new cultural policy include strengthening the status of the Kazakh culture in the world. It is no secret that today, the potential of integration of the national culture and art in the world cultural process is not realised enough. There is a real need to increase international ties, including through organisations such as UNESCO, TURKSOY, ICOMOS and others. There are plans to create the country’s regional research, scientific and educational centre in the field of humanitarian cooperation with the UNESCO International Institute. There is also a proposal to make Astana the headquarters of a new international organisation in the field of culture – the Eurasian Council for Cultural Development of the Silk Road.
Of course, the industry faces difficult tasks. Each predetermined direction of the new cultural policy is a huge area of work and their successful implementation is another step towards a successful building of a strong, successful state with a high level of cultural development.
The author is Minister of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan.