During electoral times, like the one we are in right now, it is common to hear the complaints of people who are dedicated to culture, lamenting the low representation and relevance that it is given in public debates. Unfortunately, those complaints do not exaggerate the real situation. Culture is always the last, the most forgotten, among the issues on the social agenda and, when it is mentioned in these debates, very few minutes are devoted to discussing cultural policy. Culture, considered dispensable and accessory, already tends to occupy a secondary role during ordinary times, but this exclusion is further intensified during the electoral period.
However, few of the challenges that we currently have to face can be addressed without an approach from culture and, therefore, without adequate cultural policies. Culture plays a fundamental role in the redistribution of material and immaterial resources, as well as in equal opportunities. Culture has enormous positive impacts on education, both emotional, relational, and cognitive, and likewise, from a socioeconomic point of view, incorporating the arts in schools allows redistributing cultural capital. Also, culture contributes to improving physical and mental health, as declared by the World Health Organization in 2019 and attested to by numerous experiences that have shown emotional benefits and improvements in the clinical variables of patients. In relation to climate change and the adaptation needs that we face as a society, culture offers valuable tools, such as its role in the creation of new life narratives or collaboration with science and technology to propose solutions for the future. Culture also contributes to strengthening gender equality, ethnic-racial diversity, reducing the intergenerational gap, and social inclusion. Likewise, it provides keys to strengthen social ties, foster the generation of community and deepen democracy, all of them unavoidable challenges. Culture also, of course, contributes to the generation of employment and wealth in a territory. And finally, culture gives us a more pleasant, fun and enjoyable life, which is essential to live better.
Political decisions that have to do with culture, therefore, do not only affect professionals in the sector, but have repercussions for all people, in all of our lives, in all of society. Usually, this approach is relegated in existing proposals on cultural policy, but it is important to remember and underline that culture is more than a sector, it is a matrix with which to address common issues, and face problems from a transversal approach with the uniqueness provided by cultural codes, practices and experiences. In this sense, cultural policy is a high-impact social and redistributive policy aimed at the citizenry as a whole, just like educational policy or health policy. In short, culture is an essential element for a good life for all people, and with this conviction we work to make culture a central element of a policy to live better.