Creating a Culture by Governance: Issues in Managing Culture

  • Ma. Victoria T. Herrera


The management of culture involves a network of agencies, institutions and entities both from the public and private sectors. This is part of a collective process by which objects acwuire cultural significance. We create images of our nations, tell stories, and construct experiences for other people through exhibitions, festivals and other cultural activities. Our role is never neutral and it is important to rcognize this power and the implications of our actions.

In the Philippines, government has taken an active role in the production and management of culture. In spite of the relatively small percentage of funding spent on culture and the arts, it has extended support through various institutions and agencies that, at present, comprise a complex network. Through their respective programs, government has defined paths of cultural production-- from the larger policy framework for organizations to specific commemorative programs. Given this range of involvement, how has the state empowered people and organizations shape culture? What strategies has it taken to extend to support the production and distribution of culture?

This paper focuses on two case studies that represent strategies the state has taken in cultural management. At a macro level, the changes the Cultural Center of the Philippines underwent reflect shifting policies and priorities. As products of changing political administrations, this institution went through a re-orientation of its mission. This came with an abrupt expansion in scale but without the necessary resources to support the CCP's new programs. At a micro level, the second evaluates the refurbished Rizal Shrine, Fort Santiago, one of the major projects of the now defunct National Centennial Commission. This underscores the need for a more transparent decision-making process, prioritizing the interest of the museum's public and not just that of the specialists who control the production of knowledge.