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Sam Tanson (Ministry of Culture): Developing and Professionalizing the Luxembourg Cultural Sector

“Luxembourg, despite its small size, has an abundant and rich cultural scene”, says Sam Tanson, Minister of Culture. According to her, the sector has two challenges that the ministry supports: Its professionalization and its development on the international scene. Explanations.

 Political itinerary

After studying law and political science, Sam Tanson’s career began at RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg where she worked as a journalist. She then practiced as a lawyer at the Luxembourg Bar before entering politics and occupying several positions within the déi gréng political party. Starting as a member of the Council of State, she became a member of the Chamber and then a councilor and alderman of the City of Luxembourg. She entered the government following the legislative elections of 2018 as Minister of Culture and Housing. Most recently, she traded the latter ministerial portfolio for that of Justice during the government reshuffle of 2019.

Networking and international outreach are among the development priorities

Cultural Challenges

“The sector has been particularly affected by the Covid-19 crisis because the virus spreads from exchange and contact with the public. The restrictions and closure of cultural venues at the start of the pandemic had a considerable impact on artists and the scene in general,” she says. At the same time, the cultural sector is faced with the challenge of professionalization, which has been going on for years and is deeply transforming it. In addition, networking and international outreach are among the development priorities.

Ministry Support

“We strive to have a participatory approach; to listen to the cultural sector and to include the recommendations and ideas they provide. During lockdown, we supported the sector by triggering the Neistart Lëtzebuerg – Culture aid scheme that endowed €5 million and aimed, among other things, to compensate for the shortfall resulting from the cancellation of events. We were also among the first countries in Europe to reopen cultural venues,” explains the Minister of Culture. Since 2016, the ministry has been organizing Cultural Conferences in order to include the sector in all political reflections and to better identify its challenges. These reflections are the basis of the Kulturentwécklungsplang 2018-2028, the development and professionalization plan for the sector. She adds: “The ministry has also ordered reports from several experts to build its future cultural policy.” In terms of professionalization, the Kultur | lx promotes and accompanies the international approaches of artists to enable them to find audiences abroad. This association is intended to become a public institution.