Cultural domain: Description

Vibrant and rich cultures

The cultural domain is the aspect of life (and policy) in which human beings’ values are enacted. Culture can be considered broadly as what we care about- ‘… the social production and transmission of identities, knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes and understanding’. Culture is also the way we express those things, our ‘way of life, including customs, codes and manners, dress, cuisine, language, arts, technology, religion and rituals; norms and regulations of behaviour, traditions and institutions’ (Hawkes, 2001). Therefore, culture is both the things that we care about, and how we express and share those things.

Cultural creativity is the source of human progress; and cultural diversity, a treasure of humankind, is an essential factor of development. One of the chief aims of human development is the cultural fulfilment of the individual. By including culture as a domain of public policy, and enabling citizens opportunities to express their culture, governments maximize the potential for human development. Access to and participation in cultural life is a fundamental right of individuals in all communities, and therefore governments have a duty to enable this expression and facilitate their citizens’ human rights.

The arts are an expression of culture, the activities that enable expression of cultural meaning, through performing, visual and literary art forms, or combinations of those. A culturally rich and vibrant community is one in which its members regularly express their own culture by making new art; and through their engagement with cultural activity, experience aesthetic enrichment, gain new knowledge, ideas and insights, come to appreciate the diversity and difference of human expression, and feel a connection to a heritage they share with others, from the past, through the present and into the future.