Programme agreement signed for the Culture programme in Bulgaria

The programme agreement for the Bulgarian Culture programme was signed on 23 May 2018

Photo credit: Christophe Vander Eecken

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria
  2. The Donor Programme Partner in this programme is: Arts Council Norway (ACN)
  3. The programme’s objective is: Social and economic development strengthened through cultural cooperation, cultural entrepreneurship and cultural heritage management
  4. The programme funding amounts to € 10 million (excluding co-financing) and is funded entirely by the EEA Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

Culture and art are widely recognized in Europe as drivers for creativity and innovation, contributing to mutual understanding and respect. Culture and cultural heritage can also play a key role in local and regional development by creating employment and strengthening social inclusion.

The wealth of cultural heritage in Bulgaria calls for better management. Besides improving the physical state of facilities, there is a strong need to adapt collections to current needs, putting items into context and developing educational and outreach activities to attract larger numbers of visitors.

To make full use of the potential of arts and culture, they must also reach a broader audience throughout the country. To achieve this, cultural players need to develop their skills to develop and better involve audiences.

There is also a need to improve mutual understanding between majority and minority cultures.  especially Roma, by fostering dialogue through cultural or educational events, exhibitions and documentation of Roma culture.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

The programme will support projects improving the conditions for presentation of artefacts in museums, galleries, libraries and chitalishta – unique Bulgarian community centres. It will also support projects documenting the cultural history of different social, ethnic and cultural minorities, especially of Roma. The programme also aims to improve access to culture through projects which create new cultural content by organising festivals, performances, exhibitions and cultural routes. Transfer of knowledge through international cooperation will help develop capacities on audience development and cultural entrepreneurship.

People from different minority or ethnic groups, especially Roma, artists, students, entrepreneurs, children and young adults will directly benefit from the projects as participants in cultural events and exhibitions, being employed in the culture industry, or by participating in bilateral exchanges and practices.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

The Culture programme in Bulgaria contributes to forging bonds between cultural actors and institutions in Bulgaria and in the donor countries. As programme operator, the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria intends to strengthen bilateral cooperation by encouraging bilateral projects in the fields of arts and cultural heritage. The Arts Council in Norway, in its role as Donor Programme Partner (DPP), will help inform and connect cultural actors in Norway and ensure the participation of the Norwegian cultural sector in projects.

The programme will organize further bilateral activities, including ‘partner search’ workshops in Norway, expert meetings, study visits and mobility grants to allow potential partners to meet.

Availability of funding through open calls

The funding in this programme will be made available through the following open calls:

  • “Cultural heritage management enhanced”

- Making cultural heritage more accessible through digitisation - October 2019

- Cultural heritage presented in revitalised, restored and renovated spaces – January 2020

  • “Access to arts and culture improved”

- first call: June 2019

- second call: September 2020

  • “Awareness of arts and culture of ethnic and cultural minorities improved (Roma focus)” Small grant scheme

- first call April 2020

- second call April 2021


Download the full programme agreement for more detailed information about the programme.

More information can also be found on the Programme Operator’s website and on the Donor Programme Partner’s website: Arts Council Norway.