The National Institute for Cultural Research and Training (INCFC) is an institution subordinated to the Ministry of Culture. It is involved both in training and research activities related to the field of culture. This is a good practice case because the Institute aims to train professionals who choose a career in the field of culture and also to provide statistical data in the field of culture, in order to contribute to the design of further studies, to the elaboration and the implementation of cultural policies, but also in order to assess the impact of current cultural policies within the cultural field.
The INCFC aims to reach all the cultural operators, regardless of their type of organization (public or private) and regardless of the level at which they operate: local or national. The prospective student of the INCFC works for cultural operators such as: museums, NGOs, local cultural centers, public libraries, ecclesiastical structures, concert organizers, art galleries – and is involved in activities. Within these organisations, there is a constant need of professional training because cultural activities are not a static domain; additionally, the arrival of the new openings provided by the cultural and creative industries, and the emerging media has constantly fuelled the need for professional education in this domain. The INCFC also covers a significant gap in traditional formal education because, in Romania, universities do not provide qualifications such as museum educators, curators, cultural researchers, cultural facilitators, cultural mediators etc.
The other significant component of the INCFC is to act as a provider of research data for the cultural domain. Collecting and interpreting statistical data is an important part of the organization’s mission, since its ultimate goal is to sustain and support the professional development within the field of culture. Among other, the Institute provides data for organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization or for the European Commission. Also, INCFC is in charge with elaborating national surveys on themes related to cultural consumption.
In order for the INCFC to fulfil its mission, it is crucial to have a legal base regulating the professional higher education. Also, it is important for the INCFC to be included in a chain of policy making and to perform 2 important roles: 1. To study the cultural priorities assumed by the Government and in order to transform them into relevant research programs, and 2. To obtain significant data that will provide a valuable input when it comes to decide upon future cultural policies.
Main actors involved: Ministry of Culture (financing research and training activities), Ministry of Education and Ministry of Labour (recognising the final diploma and qualifications), cultural operators (main beneficiaries of INCFC professional higher education programs), professional associations (endorsing PHE programs, providing expertise), the local public administration (funding cultural operators and supporting the financial costs of PHE programs followed by the employees working for those cultural operators), the local representatives of the Ministry of culture (endorsing and promoting the PHE programme on a local scale).
Human resources: teaching staff and collaborators; administrative staff for supporting the efforts of organizing PHE programs; supporting staff for promoting PHE amongst prospective students. The INCFC has its own dedicated staff for delivering the courses, but is also relying on collaborators (reputed specialist within their field).
Infrastructure and equipment: national network of institutional collaborators to facilitate accommodation for the experts if the PHE are taking place in various cities across the country or to facilitate accommodation for students when the courses are taking place in Bucharest at the INCFC headquarter. Courses venue with learning facilities and tools (computers, video projectors etc.). The Institute is actually using the infrastructure of the Ministry of culture (venues, accommodation) or the infrastructure of museums or cultural centers that have the needed capacity to accommodate students, based on a partnership. In some cases, they are using the infrastructure of the Ministry of Education, on the basis of a prior agreement.
Financial resources: for preparing and delivering the courses.
What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?
PROCSEE Themes and challenges
• Ensure strong recognition of the impact of PHE on society and the world of work, of the quality of programmes offered in PHE and of the qualifications issued by PHE institutions
• Implement measures to increase the confidence of PHE Institutions to fully embrace their professional profiles, rather than drift towards academic higher education
• Increase the flexibility of PHE in response to the labour market needs, in terms of changes to curricula and speed of implementation
• Promotion of PHE in Responding to Skill Shortages
The INCFC, under the current organization, is a rather new institution (since 2014). Despite this, the Institute actually continues a 40 years’ tradition of training and formation in the field of culture and it has proved a high degree of adaptation, both to the current labour market and to the contemporary practice of cultural consumption. It is a well reputed institution and it constantly covers a gap within the Romanian higher education system as the universities only seldom provide courses related to jobs like museum educator, cultural mediator, cultural programs manager, curator etc.
Amongst its main achievements are the formation of many generations of museum educators, curators, cultural mediators. Also, the Institute is constantly adapting its courses to the current need of cultural operators and to their learning environment.
What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?
• Good professional reputation
• Reliable network in terms of infrastructure and human resources
• Constant financing from the Ministry of Culture
• A constant presence on the market of PHE programs dedicated to cultural operators, but also to educators
What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?
• The main public is formed by cultural workers employed by local or national administration and the institutions subordinated to them
• Accessing a more diverse audience (independent cultural operators) is a challenge, especially since for providing a large number of leisure and cultural activities they don’t need to be accredited by the Ministry of culture
• During austerity periods employees of the Institute had to balance both educational and research activities, due to the lack of staff
Feasibility & Sustainability
What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?
Such an organisation is both feasible (as proved by its long history) and sustainable, taking into consideration that is not entirely self-sustainable. The Institute is able to generate its own revenues from taxes paid by participants at courses, but there is a shortcoming: in most cases taxes are usually paid by institutions and not by individuals. Also, the main beneficiary of the research program is the Ministry of Culture and therefore, although they have a consistent expertise is quite difficult to “sell” cultural consumption studies to private organizations.
Replicability & Upscaling
What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?
There is a high degree of replicability of this model, and the main requirement to replicate it in a similar context is to have both the expertise and a legal base. By legal base I understand to impose to all the cultural operators that provide a specific set of services to be accredited by the Ministry of culture, on the basis of a specific qualification. In this way, the quality of cultural services delivered to the general population will definitively increase.
What would have facilitated an earlier and/or bigger impact? What are the key features that should be kept in mind if this would have to be implemented again? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? What could have been done better?
Although it started as a quasi-monopole institution, the INCFC managed to become a competitive provider of PHE education, having also a good reputation.
Please provide some information about the context and initial situation that can help in fully understanding the action (e.g. information about the national system, applying regulations, etc.)
The INCFC is the main provider of PHE for all sorts of cultural operators. It is the heir of a former structure created during the communist regime when all the educational institutions were under the strict supervision of the State. Although it is still funded from public funds and it is subordinated to the Ministry of Culture, the Institute is a flexible actor amongst the providers of PHE.