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Government gears up to hold Indonesian Cultural Congress

Liza Yosephine
Liza Yosephine

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Tue, November 27, 2018 | 11:04 am
Government gears up to hold Indonesian Cultural Congress

Wadion Bawo and Gelang Dadas dancers perform during the “human” segment of the Bawi Lamus, a theater performance based on Kalimantan's Dayak tribe traditions. The government aims to formulate a policy framework for the advancement of arts and culture in the nation. (JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

In a bid to establish and advance Indonesia's arts and culture sector, the Education and Culture Ministry is set to hold the Indonesian Cultural Congress in Jakarta on Dec. 5-9, an official has said. 

The ministry's culture director general, Hilmar Farid, who is overseeing the congress, said the upcoming event would result in a “cultural strategy”, a policy framework that would shape government policies to support and establish the arts and culture sector and industry, which would be applicable from the regency level to the national sphere. 

Hilmar explained that the congress itself was already a regular event that took place every five years, which can be traced back to the era shortly after Indonesia's independence with a culture congress taking place in 1948. Further, he added, a reiteration of the congress had also already taken place since 1918.

The upcoming congress, however, is different than any previous installments, Hilmar said, where discussions at the regional and national level would all take place during the days designated for the congress. 

"This is the first time that the congress itself would straightaway focus on discussing gathered empirical data and recommendations from across the nation in order to design the policy framework that would be produced at the end of the event," Hilmar said in Jakarta on Thursday. 

This year, empirical data has already been gathered ahead of the congress, with discussions at the regency level taking place since March. 

"As many as 256 regencies and cities have submitted their respective formulations - identifying their cultural strengths, local facilities and infrastructure - that were then brought forward to the provincial level, where 26 provinces had submitted reports so far," Hilmar said.

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The congress aims to create a policy framework, or dubbed the “cultural strategy”, which focuses on the development of culture, in line with Law No. 5/2017 on cultural advancement. 

The ministry notes that the law outlines 10 focus objects of cultural development, namely oral tradition, manuscript, customs, rites, traditional knowledge, traditional technology, art, language, folk games and traditional sports.

The “cultural Strategy” to be produced at the end of the congress would be the basis for formulating the Master Plan for Promoting Culture, which would be the main reference in the preparation for the short-, medium- and long-term development plan in the cultural field.

This year's event also marks a different approach, as it will be open to the public, by involving relevant stakeholders in the creation of recommendations for the grand strategy, as well as hosting performances to showcase the sector itself. (kes)

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