Education 3: Development of participatory management model in sphere of culture

Author: Maja Dragojević

Civil-Public Partnership within Spatial and Cultural Policies 

The idea of social-cultural centres realized through civil-public partnership has effect of change on spatial and cultural policies.  Spatial policy is changed in a way that a part of spatial resources is included in a model allowing citizens control over conversion of space and building works, from planning, over procurement, to completion of project.  In this way, there is room for inclusion of social and cultural criteria in spatial planning. Cultural policy is changed by cultural system co-opting social practices that traditionally do not belong to the sphere of culture, although they were created in accordance with traditional artistic and cultural practices.  Another important change in the sphere of cultural policies is a change of the organizational structure of a cultural institution, resulting in change of management and program creation.  

Until now the response of cultural system to new needs was a mixed one: private initiative, realized through enterprises, artistic organizations and associations, that are co-financed with public resources; and public institution, incorporated for specific activity by local self-government or state.  

We need to ask ourselves why would civil-public partnership be response to growing need for inclusion of various artistic, cultural and social practices into cultural system, instead of existing solutions: private initiative and public institutions. 


SPACES OF DISCOURSE Social-cultural centres are, above all else, spaces of discourse. They are positioned on localities that define them to some extent.  Social moment situates them to spatially limited, though not static, community. Social-cultural centres cannot be separated from the spaces they are located in and communities they act in. They connect various sorts of communication, documentation, artistic work, texts, activism and entrepreneurship with space.  Their operating model looks more like an itinerary than a map, which is their distinctive feature in comparison with other cultural institutions, that do the mapping, first of all, as is relevant for their field of work.  

Basic Elements for Establishment of Social-Cultural Centres:  

• Organized civil society 

• Political, professional and social will 

• Mutual trust and respect among all stakeholders  

• Presumption of democracy 

• Need for democratization of public space management  

• Legal framework and mechanisms that enable and encourage civil-public partnerships  

• Legal framework and mechanisms that  ensure participation of various stakeholders in public space management  

• Transparency and access to information 

• Capacities for advocating of civil-public partnerships and participatory management 

• Common understanding of civil-public partnerships and participatory management 

• Training programs for all included actors  

• Financing resources 

Civil-Public Partnership  

Civil-Public Partnership represents joint and collaborative action and dialogue between public and civil sector for the purpose of quality, efficient and effective management and use of public resources in comparison with conventional and traditional approaches.  Division of responsibility and quality-like connection between civil and public partners establishes a new model of structure and organization of public resources utilization. Collaboration is established at the initiative of civil or public sector, while relations and responsibilities are defined as long-term contractual obligation in which all partners are obliged to execute contractual tasks and accepted responsibilities in a quality-like way.  All included stakeholders are strengthened through partnership. Civil-public partnerships can be of various form, duration and intensity.  

Possible models of civil-public partnership (each model implies defined set of rules, relations between partners, and division of responsibilities and tasks):  

Hybridization model – civil-public partnership in co-founding and co-management of new joint institution, that will manage public resources. 

Joint management model – joint body is formed, that will manage public resources, consisting of equal number of representatives from public and civil sectors. 

Collaborative management model – partnership between public institution and CSOs for the purpose of joint management of space in public infrastructure. 

Extended collaboration model – civil-public partnership only on the level on which public sector provides resources to civil sector to be managed and used for a specific period of time, with no compensation, and with public sector obligation to cover part of material expenses for infrastructure use, while civil sector ensures public purpose (cultural and social) of the space. 

New public culture model – transformation of the existing centralized model of management of public cultural institutions towards democratized management structure. Inclusion of CSO representatives and citizens on management boards would ensure participation of various stakeholders in management structure.  

Participatory Management 

Participatory management occurs where people organize, whether formally or informally.  Participatory management implies definition of rules and relations among those that are in interaction and wish to achieve their objectives.  Issues of power, mutual relations, responsibility, authority, decision-making, influence, etc. are regulated in that way. There is no universally accepted definition of participatory management, but majority of relevant actors understand this concept as participation and inclusion of various stakeholders in  

management processes in which power and responsibility are shared. Which participatory management arrangement will be the most flexible and capable of replying to local needs, opportunities and threats, depends from situation to situation.  That is why the most suitable participatory management system has to be identified for each local context.  

Elements of participatory management In order to ensure effective and stable participatory management, each individual element has to be defined in accordance with the needs and specificities of local context and social conditions.  Definition of elements can be made easier if elements are divided into three groups, such as: constituting, strategic and operative elements. The interested stakeholders should organize a set of jointly coordinated elements for each group and transparently available to all included in participatory management processes. 

Constituting elements are related to formulation of management processes and its changes, and directly affects strategic and operative elements; it can include the following questions and rules:  

• Who are included stakeholders? 

• What is the division of responsibility among stakeholders like? 

• What are the management bodies? 

• Who is authorized for decision making? 

• How is decision-making process defined?, etc. 

Strategic elements are related to creation of policies and rules for use of resources, and have direct effect on operative elements, including, as follows: 

• Who uses the space? 

• What are their rights? 

• What procedures are in place for allocation of space? 

• Conditions and criteria for


use of space 

• Rules for use of space…, etc. 

Operative elements are related to elements that are implemented on a daily basis and assist in implementation of defined rules from groups of constituting and operative elements:  

• How is use of space being monitored? 

• Who monitors use of space and to whom are they responsible? 

• What are mechanisms for conflict resolution? 

• Who resolves the conflicts? 

• What sanction are envisaged and who defined them? 

Principles of civil-public partnerships and participatory management 

• Legitimacy and transparency 

• Responsibility 

• Justice 

• Openness 


Political: lack of clear political will, anxiousness caused by division of power and responsibility, fear from civil society and community, political elites’ distrust towards citizens and civil society, unwillingness of decision makers to participate in long-term and exhausting processes with various stakeholders  

Professional: lack of human resources for practise of civil-public partnership and participatory management, lack of knowledge for establishment and development of participatory management mechanisms, conflict about legitimacy for public resources management  

Community challenges: citizens’ distrust towards political elites, lack of ownership feeling in relation to citizens’ participation on public resources management  


Which participatory management arrangement will be the most flexible and capable of replying to local needs, opportunities and threats, depends from situation to situation. That is why the most suitable participatory management system has to be identified for each local context.

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