Lima: Living community culture municipal programme

1. Context

According to the data provided by the National Institute of Statistics and Information Technology (INEI), 9,540,996 people live in Lima, accounting for 28.1% of the total population of Peru. Out of them, 48.99% are men and 51.01% are women, and most of them (39.55%) are between 18 and 39 years old. Lima is organised in 43 districts, with large urban sectors. According to the INEI, 14.5% of Lima's population lives in poverty.

In 1940, Lima began witnessing an important migration movement that became widespread during the internal armed conflict that raved the country from 1980 to 2000. As a result of this long migration process, growth was disorganised, chaotic and informal, marked by a poor service supply from the State. However, migration transformed Lima into a city where all Peruvian cultures exist, where the diversity of identities and artistic cultural expressions is found, confronts, dialogues and acknowledges the exchange, tension, cooperation and solidarity in a dynamic of coexistence. Diversity is Lima's greatest wealth

The problems addressed by the programme have been divided into three main areas: 1) the hegemonic concept of culture managed by the city, which highlights the value of canonical art and mass entertainment and gives priority to a certain type of spaces and expressions only accessible to a minority of culture consumers; 2) the cultural policies and practices derived from this concept; and 3) the way in which the mass media invest their funds to benefit these policies and practices. This situation results in 4(sic) major adverse effects for the cultural sector and for the population as a whole: 1) lack of awareness of cultural rights; 2) vulnerable population with cultural rights that are neither satisfied nor exercised by them; and 3) the invisibilisation of artistic cultural proposals that are generated outside the hegemonic concept of culture and revolve around objectives and concepts that put emphasis on local development and articulation with the community.

Faced with this context, several Living Community Culture processes have been developed in different peripheral neighbourhoods of Metropolitan Lima in the last 40 years. Living Community Culture is an autonomous and independent process that arises from the people, where the artistic and cultural expressions are generated by the articulation of the communities with social organizations; they contribute to the development and peace of their territories. It is an experience of human, political, artistic, educational and cultural training that recognizes and leverages identities, dialogue, cooperation, peaceful coexistence, social cohesion, inclusion with gender equality, and collective construction. The Living Community Culture Programme of the Municipality of Lima (PCVC) aims at being an element that radiates and echoes the new human development paradigms proposed by the living community culture movement. The idea is to visibilise, recognise and strengthen the experiences of this movement.


2. Lima and Culture

At regional level, the 2012 2025 Regional Concerted Development Programme of Lima proposes four strategic areas to develop specific policies. They highlight interculturality, inclusion, coexistence and capacity building, policentrality, democratic access to services and environmentally sustainable growth, as well as the development of a participatory and efficient management system.

  • a. Promote cultural diversity and strengthen the identity and self esteem of citizens, encouraging creativity and an inclusive process.
  • b. Secure the right to learn, at either school or other social environments, giving priority to the comprehensive training of boys, girls and young people.
  • c. Secure the right to a healthy life and to the development and protection of abilities.
  • d. Strengthen the inclusive management of the territory by implementing citizen participation mechanisms together with district authorities.

Within the scope of the local government, the Institutional Strategic Plan of the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima provides guidance on public policies to the relevant agencies. It outlines the areas related to human and urban development and public space, and those corresponding to management and good governance.

  • a. Expand capacities and secure social and cultural rights for citizens, with emphasis on early childhood and vulnerable populations.
  • b. Improve cohabitation conditions with an intercultural citizenship in an inclusive Lima.
  • c. Manage the metropolitan government following the principles of good governance.

Within the cultural sector, the approval of Ordinances 1650 and 1751 were an unprecedented milestone in the management of culture in Lima, because they provided for the organization of the Department of Culture. The Regulation for the Organization and Functions of the Department of Culture establishes that this Department is the steering body for cultural topics in Metropolitan Lima. It has to formulate, manage, monitor and evaluate any activity that promotes, strengthens and disseminates culture as a transversal element in the development of metropolitan policies, and to highlight the role of culture to build up citizenship and strengthen cultural identity. The Office of the

Assistant Manager for Cultural Promotion and Citizenship, the agency responsible for executing the PCVC, decides on the need to organize, manage, monitor and assess any activity strengthening living community culture in the city, promoting the recovery of public spaces as places for social and cultural development, in collaboration with other competent agencies.

Within the scope of living community culture, "Ordinance 1673 Introducing the Metropolitan Public Policy to Promote and Strengthen Living Community Culture within the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima" was approved. Several discussion and participatory construction processes were held for the first draft of the Ordinance. They were led by the Metropolitan Committee on Education and Culture and supported by the participation of 15 Living Community Culture organizations in the city. This was then extended to panel discussions during the public hearings where the Ordinance was discussed. The hearings were held in the four largest urban areas of Lima and supported by the relevant local cultural organizations. Participatory meetings are still held with Living Community Culture organizations to discuss and debate the basis of the Art and Community Contest and the action plan for the programme in 2014.

These ordinances have legitimised and institutionalised the cultural policy of the Municipality and the PCVC, and have created the management tools that have helped sustain the activities related to the promotion, technical and institutional training and artistic training for the population at risk, mostly migrants. This was achieved by the direct availability of public funds and by a large supply of cultural services focused on rights.

3. Project objectives and implementation

The PCVC pursues objectives and goals that reverberate in the principles and undertakings of the Agenda 21. It uses various action strategies targeted at the population it seeks to influence. It includes artistic cultural festivals, artistic training workshops targeted at boys, girls and young people, georeferenced maps with information about the artistic cultural activities of the living community culture organizations, among others. Additionally, in order to strengthen these organizations, we have developed workshops for professional artistic training and workshops to train in the use of cultural design, management and production tools, we have facilitated access to the public budget by granting financial awards and creating spaces to communicate, meet and reflect on culture and local development, and we have enabled the active participation in the processes to formulate public cultural polices. Over 3260 cultural agents (artists, producers and managers) have benefited from these activities.

3.1. Major and Specific Objectives

The Metropolitan Living Community Culture Programme (PCVC) is intended to grant socio economically vulnerable populations access to cultural goods and services by strengthening the current Living Community Culture Organizations that operate in Lima, recovering public spaces and democratising the cultural rights of citizens. Specific Objectives:

  • Democratise access to cultural rights.
  • Recognise the existence of the Living Community Culture organisations and the cultural agents related to their work, and strengthen the same.
  • Contribute to strengthen culture related institutional capacities at the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima.


3.2. Major actions performed

  • Approval of the "Ordinance Introducing the Metropolitan Public Policy to Promote and Strengthen Living Community Culture".
  • 95 Living Community Culture Festivals - a diverse and community based cultural offering.
  • 7 training modules at the Living Community Culture School with a decentralized supply for 3 areas: project design, cultural communication and artistic training. cultural labs targeted at living community culture organisations.
  • 28 Community Art Workshop programmes targeted at boys, girls and teenagers, conducted by local Living Community Culture organisations in the 4 most populated districts of Lima, expanding the supply of artistic and cultural training to over 1000 boys, girls and teenagers.
  • 2 International Living Community Culture Seminars with the participation of cultural organisations, experts and civil servants from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru, creating a space to exchange experiences and reflect on culture.
  • The printed version of the 2012 Seminar (1000 copies) was distributed for free to public and private cultural institutions and organisations. The reproduction rights have been waived and the digital version may be downloaded free of charge.
  • In 2012 and 2013, the Map of Living Community Culture Organisations was published to disseminate these initiatives. Each edition consisted of 40000 copies, which are distributed for free and may be freely downloaded from the web.
  • A Documentary on the Experiences of Living Community Culture Associations in Lima helps disseminate the practices and work of the programme in the mass media.
  • 5 public hearings were held in urban areas to discuss Ordinance 1673. Participatory meetings were also held to discuss the Basis of the Art and Community Contest and the programme's 2014 Action Plan and became a space of consultation, discussion and citizen participation in the collective construction of public policies.
  • Institutionalisation of the procedure for registration into the Living Community Culture Associations and Related Organisations Database of the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima.
  • Support to group initiatives by disseminating the same, lending logistics material, budget, institutional support and granting permits to use public spaces.
  • Presentation of the PCVC's results to cultural organisations and citizens.

3.3. Phases

The PCVC consisted of 4 major stages: diagnosis and formulation (January to June 2011), deployment of the First Season of Living Community Culture Festivals as a Pilot Plan (June to October 2011), full implementation of the PCVC (starting in January 2012) and institutionalisation of the PCVC (starting in March 2013).

3.4. Challenges

Internal challenges

  • The administrative procedures to hire services were not adapted to the cultural and artistic fields, mostly because the artistic work was not recognised as a professional activity. The fees paid to artists, artistic productions, cultural management, etc. were repeatedly contested. It was necessary to hold meetings and draft extraordinary documents to support these services.
  • Lack of procedures for open calls to contests and artists.
  • Weak bonds with cultural (or culture related) areas in the district municipalities of Lima.

External challenges

  • Scarce formalisation of artistic and cultural organisations, which makes their work with public institutions more difficult.
  • These organisations received no formal payment for their work, so it was necessary to give them guidance to fill in the appropriate documents for administrative proceedings.
  • Public opinion does not consider culture is a priority for the development of a city, so the amount invested in culture by the current administration is suspiciously under scrutiny.
  • Cultural management linked to the production of entertainment shows.
  • Weakness and scarcity of press coverage prevents compliance with the programme's media plan.


3.5. Outcomes

  • Recognition by the Peruvian observatory of public policies "Ciudadanos al Día" as Good Practice in Public Management in 2012 and 2013 under the category of Cultural Promotion and Citizenship.
  • Recognition as a decisive contribution to the appointment of Lima as Main Square of the Ibero-American Culture in 2014.
  • Over 367000 residents have participated in the programme at the neighbourhoods and area parks in which they live, located in the peripheral districts.
  • Over 700 shows of different cultural expressions from over 272 local cultural groups, resulting in a diverse and decentralized cultural offering.
  • Creation of cooperation bonds with territorial organisations and institutions.
  • Promotion of integration among participants and their families in their neighbourhoods.
  • 4 iterations in other provinces and regions of Peru, in universities and communities in Lima.
  • Over 10 presentations of the programme management experience in several platforms like the 2011, 2012 and 2013 National Meetings of Culture and the First Latin American Congress on Living Community Culture in La Paz, Bolivia.
  • Processes to restore the relations between the artistic/cultural sector and the Metropolitan Municipality of Lima were started on the basis of three major professional recognition of artists, advice on public administrative procedures and assessment meetings.

4. Impacts

4.1. Impacts on the local government

  • Institutionalisation of the cultural policy by organising the Department of Culture and, consequently, approving Ordinance 1673 to strengthen Living Community Culture.
  • Prioritisation of cultural initiatives in the budget of the Municipality of Lima.
  • Development of cultural indicators through a Cultural Observatory.
  • Recognition as Good Practice in Public Management in 2012 and 2013 under the category of Cultural Promotion and Identity.
  • Recognition as a decisive contribution to the appointment of Lima as Main Square of the Ibero American Culture in 2014.
  • Development of official management instruments to recognise the Living Community Culture organisations through the Living Community Culture Associations and Related Organisations Database and to strengthen the same through the Art and Community Contest.

4.2. Impacts on culture and local cultural agents

  • Enhancement of the planning, management and production capacities of the Living Community Culture Organisations (OCVC) in the three programmatic areas: cultural management, communication strategies and training in artistic skills.
  • Creation of spaces to reflect upon and exchange experiences related to Living Community Culture at local and Latin American level.
  • Dissemination and positioning of OCVC's initiatives and their cultural processes in the collective imaginary.
  • Inclusion of the significance of having spaces for consultation and discussion between the civil society and government agencies, in the formulation of public policies.
  • More resources to develop the artistic cultural initiatives of OCVCs.

4.3. Impacts on the territory and population

  • More inhabitants have access to a permanent, diverse and decentralized comprehensive cultural offering in the public spaces of Metropolitan Lima.
  • Residents have a larger supply of public spaces for a diverse artistic and cultural training, prioritizing boys, girls and teenagers.
  • The population is aware of the OCVCs in their communities and neighbourhoods and the work they do to improve quality.
  • Doors were opened to address the cultural rights of the population, particularly those in a position of vulnerability.

4.4. Transversal Impacts

The actions of the PCVC have produced evidence of the work of citizen based organisations that promote culture based processes and initiatives for the local wellbeing and development. According to the studies conducted by the PCVC, 77% of the attendees to the living community culture festivals failed to recognise the groups from their districts that had been performing. However, when learning about their work, 92% of the attendees considered these groups were contributing to the

development of their communities. Additionally, the PCVC has been a dynamising agent to promote the recovery of public spaces in a decentralised fashion, particularly in the case of territories where

the living community culture organisations operate. It has also created spaces for questioning certain citizen related issues, like environmental, gender based, and youth related issues, through arts and cultures. During the festivals, 68% of the attendees said they had been able to reflect on subjects like culture, opportunities for young people, values and respect for the environment, among other topics.

5. Other Information

The City of Lima has been a candidate for the first "UCLG - City of Mexico - Culture 21" International Award (January May 2014). The Committee of the Award prepared its final report in June 2014 and requested the UCLG Committee on Culture to disseminate this project as an exemplary experience.

Application approved in September 2014.

Good practice published in October 2014.

This report was written by Gloria María Lescano Méndez, Assistant Manager of Cultural Promotion and Citizenship.

Contact: glescano (at) / gloriamarialescano (at)

Web site: Living Community Culture Programme

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Vimeo: A: I Living Community Culture Seminar:

B: II Living Community Culture Seminar:

C: III Living Community Culture Seminar:

Lima: Living community culture municipal programme