Programme agreement signed for the Culture programme in Portugal

The programme agreement for the Portuguese Culture programme was signed on 26 February 2019

Photo credit: Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lisbon

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: Director General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC)
  2. The Donor Programme Partner in this programme is: The Directorate for Cultural Heritage (RA) in Norway.
  3. Other Programme Partners: the Director General for the Arts (DGARTES) and Arts Council Norway (ACN).
  4. The programme’s objective is: Social and economic development strengthened through cultural cooperation, cultural entrepreneurship and cultural heritage management.
  5. The programme funding amounts to € 9 million (excluding co-financing) and is funded entirely by the EEA Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

Like in Iceland and Norway, Portugal’s population is also concentrated around metropolitan areas along its western coastline.  Despite investments in infrastructures (cultural venues and equipment), it remains difficult to attract arts professionals and provide with a high-quality cultural offer in low density regions across large parts of the country. The available cultural resources in these regions are scarce, severely reducing people’s access to and participation in arts activities. To address this, professional and context specific cultural initiatives must be developed at the local and regional level. Linked to this, a more decentralised access to cinematographic culture would help combat audio-visual illiteracy and increase awareness of local and national cultural identity.

Coastal cultural heritage, another common cultural thread with Norway and Iceland, is also at risk due to climatic, environmental and socioeconomic factors (increased exposure to weather, growing pressures from real estate sector and tourism industry). Underinvestment in underwater cultural heritage has led to a deterioration of material conditions and the number of qualified staff. There is a need for a more structured, cohesive approach to safeguard and revitalise cultural heritage to ensure sustainability through stronger local ownership.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

The programme aims to strengthen regional development and social cohesion by investing in a more even access to culture across thinly populated areas in Portugal and in a more conscious preservation and management of coastal heritage.  

One call will support the restoration and revitalization of degraded coastal cultural heritage and give it new functions in and for the local community. Through the projects supported, the programme will contribute to new community spaces, cultural venues, traditional crafts’ centres and local businesses.

The other call will promote strengthening access to and participation in arts in low-density territories. It will support projects designed for local communities, encompassing different artistic areas, such as visual arts, performing arts and cross-disciplinary arts and, as complementary areas, cinema and literature. Bilateral cooperation is strongly encouraged in these projects.

The programme will also support the capacity building of cultural organisations.

The direct target groups are cultural and artistic entities, municipalities and other local authorities and agents, public organisations, research centres, NGO’s, local museums, etc. Through the projects, the programme aims to support local communities in coastal and in low density territories and/or with limited access to cultural activities, as well as specific population groups (e.g. school population, minority groups, etc.), by improving their access to and participation in cultural heritage and arts. 

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

Portugal, Norway and Iceland are all sea-faring nations that share a common history of fishing and sea trade, which provides great potential for bilateral cooperation on the development of the programme. Besides the open calls, funds under this programme have been pre-allocated to two projects promoting bilateral cooperation on coastal heritage.

One project will build capacity and skills for the conservation and management of underwater heritage in collaboration with the Oslo Maritime Museum. The other project, FILMar, in collaboration with the Norway Film Institute and the National Library of Norway – Film and Broadcasting, will aim to broaden access to cinematographic heritage and to increase knowledge of local and national identity elements. It will include a programme of Norwegian and Portuguese films associated with the sea to be screened in local cinemas across Portugal and Norway.

 Availability of funding through open calls

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

Bilateral call: There are funds available to support travel costs of bilateral meetings to set up partnerships for bilateral cooperation in projects under each of the above calls.

Detailed information on the calls is available on the Programme Operator’s website.

In addition to the open calls: