Living community culture programme
1. Lima and culture
The Living Community Culture Program has been set up throughout the province of Lima, the capital of Peru. The city has 43 districts and nearly 10 million inhabitants. The program’s activities extend throughout a geographical area of 2,672 square kilometres and is organized into zones: North Lima, Central Lima, East Lima, and South Lima.
In Lima there are social gaps that still limit access to cultural services, products, and infrastructure for part of the population, resulting in people’s limited ability to exercise their cultural rights. In areas where the program is in place, cultural initiatives generated by social organizations are promoted and strengthened, which fosters social transformation and local development through the practice of art and culture.
In Lima there are social gaps that still limit access to cultural services, products, and infrastructure.
2. Project goals and implementation
2.1. Main goal and specific objectives
The Living Community Culture Program is a public policy that was established in 2013 and has since focused on the recognition and promotion of artistic and cultural expressions from throughout Lima.
This program ensures the sustainability of the artistic and cultural experiences of these territories by working with living community culture groups, and thereby striving to salvage and reinvigorate the city’s public spaces. The other aim is to recognize cultural diversity, the formation of citizenship, and the ability to enjoy a dignified life.
2.2. Project development
The Living Community Culture Program identifies cultural groups that have been developing initiatives with a positive impact on the city’s neighbourhoods. Those projects that meet the established requirements under the program are registered in the Database of Living Community Culture Groups and Partnerships. Registered groups can access a series of benefits and work together with the local government, a connection that strengthens and contributes to the sustainability of their activities.
The functions of the Living Community Culture Program are organized along the following lines of action:
- Sustainability and co-organization of activities
- Capacity building
- Strengthening of public policy
- Visibility and knowledge management
By managing this program, the initiative aids in procuring economic and logistical support to help develop activities by cultural groups. Such work also promotes the experience of citizens through the democratization of access to cultural goods and services. The Living Community Culture Program has set a new benchmark for public cultural management by demonstrating the success of a focus on shared governance between local government and civil society.
This program ensures the sustainability of the artistic and cultural experiences of these territories by working with living community culture groups.
3.1. Direct impacts
From 2019 until 2021, the Annual Art and Community Projects Contest was held. It was the largest activity under the Living Community Culture Program, and has led to the implementation of 112 projects throughout the city of Lima, benefiting more than 84,000 people. Training in cultural management and the use of digital tools was provided to 232 members of cultural groups; and specialized talks were given to 564 cultural actors and residents. Likewise, the project has contributed to the strengthening and support of 27 cultural groups, achieving the goal of providing over 34,000 residents with cultural experiences. It has also promoted cultural democracy with 7 Festivals of Living Community Culture, positively impacting more than 17,000.
On the other hand, 23 actions have been carried out to strengthen public policy, making it more accessible to 3,515 people, including local government workers and those interested in the cultural field. Up until 2021, the program had 73 groups registered in the Database of Living Community Culture Groups and Partnerships, which in turn brought together nearly 450 cultural stakeholders who actively participate in the actions organized throughout the year. In addition, 30 plenary meetings were held. These were meeting spaces that promoted dialogue between civil society and local government, allowing beneficiaries to identify cultural needs in order to devise activities for the community.
Finally, it is evident that from 2019 until 2021, the beneficiaries resulting from all the artistic and cultural event amounted to 150,000 residents across the city of Lima, mostly children and families living in vulnerable conditions.
The evaluation of the Living Community Culture Program is based on Municipal Ordinance No. 1673, and is carried out through ongoing participatory processes that gather opinions, consultations, and proposals from the living community culture groups, as well as with reports on results presented by the living community culture organizations. Additionally, the Institutional Operating Plan (POI) allows for monthly and quarterly monitoring on the progress of the Living Community Culture Program at a quantitative level, and annual reports are made to the Metropolitan Council on the results of the program.
3.3. Key factors
The Living Community Culture Program has been successful as a result of several factors that have contributed to its ongoing work:
- Participatory and plenary processes, with open dialogue between civil society and the Municipality of Lima.
- The organizing committee maintains close communication with the cultural groups, and develops continued partnership.
- Resource management with active co-responsibility for the proper use, efficiency, and reporting of public funds.
- Strengthening of the groups is achieved through training and support in their activities.
- Advocacy in the community with special attention paid to vulnerable populations.
The Municipality of Lima has guaranteed that the program will continue through Ordinance No.1673, which 9 years ago established the Living Community Culture Program. This ordinance establishes the functions and responsibilities of the municipality, as well as those of the living community culture groups included in this public policy. In turn, the management of the Living Community Culture Program is based on the Operations and Functions Regulations (ROF) of the Culture Management team.
The Living community culture program has set a new benchmark for public cultural managenement by demonstrating the success of a focus on shared governance.
4. Further information
Lima was a candidate for the fifth UCLG Mexico City – Culture 21 International Award (February - June 2022). The jury for the award drew up its final report in September of 2022, and requested that the UCLG Committee on Culture promote this project as one of the good practices implemented under Agenda 21 for culture.
This report was written by Sandra Scotto Núñez, Coordinator for the Living Community Culture Program, Lima, Peru.
Contact: sandra.scotto (at) munlima.gob.pe