A dozen professional associations in the cultural heritage sector and museums They have sent a letter to the Minister of Culture and Sports, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, in reaction to the measures to support the cultural sector, approved by a royal decree on May 5, to deal with the economic and social impact of the coronavirus. The associations, constituted in a network, express in the letter their “firm” protest against what they consider “an omission” of their group by the Ministry. In the letter they take the opportunity to “reach out” to Rodríguez Uribes so that Get more actively and empathetically involved with your industry, “to quote your own words”, and to be able to face this new stage “with a common roadmap within the framework of the Pact for Culture that the country requires”.
The so-called Network of Professional Associations of Cultural Heritage and Museums is made up of, among others, the Association of Anthropology of the Spanish State (ASAEE), the Spanish Association of Landscape Architects (AEP), the Association for the Interpretation of Heritage (AIP), the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), the Professional Association of Museologists of Spain, the Spanish Professional Association of Art Historians and Historians (APROHA), the Associació de Museòlegs de Catalunya (AMC), the Spanish committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM ), the Spanish committee of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the General Council of Colleges of Doctors and Graduates in Philosophy and Arts and Sciences, the IBERTUR Heritage, Tourism and Sustainable Development Network, the Platform of Professional Associations of the Conservation and Restoration of Spain (PAPCRE), the State Platform of Professionals of Archeology and the Platform of Emp Cultural Resas of Cantabria (PECCA).
In your letter, the network, which represents thousands of professionals from these sectors, recalls that the crisis generated by Covid-19 has compromised the viability of many museum institutions and cultural projects of medium and small size, which form part of the dense fabric of museums and heritage sites in Spain, and which should receive a “first and special attention on the part of the supralocal administrations in order to guarantee their survival ».
They assure, in this sense, that the activity they carry out offers an important contribution to the economy of their environment, boosting local commerce in their area of implantation. The signatories consider that the professionals they represent (restaurateurs, art historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, agents of heritage interpretation, guides.) they are the most fragile group and the one that before will suffer the effects of the retraction of the activity“For this reason, it is a priority to take it into account when allocating the planned aid, in the same way as other groups of professionals in the cultural sector.” For this reason, it “caused some surprise” to note that, so far, this group has not been specified and it is not clear how it is reflected in the category of aid dedicated to fine arts.
“No specific mention”
The royal decree approving aid to the cultural sector includes measures for sectors such as the performing arts, music, cinematography, audiovisual arts, books and contemporary art. «However “, the signatories of the letter point out,” there is no mention of the scope of museums and heritage, beyond the line of fine arts included in Chapter 1 and for which no concrete measure of any kind is made explicit ».
Faced with this situation, they raise the “urgent need” to implement specific lines that guarantee the maintenance of the professional fabric linked to museum activity and cultural heritage so that they can face “the serious crisis in which we are immersed”. Given the high predominance of micro-SMEs and the self-employed that characterize the sectors around heritage, the signatories claim the protection of professionals who for some reason were not registered when the state of alarm was decreed and “or because, having losses, they did not meet the requirement to prove a decrease of 75% of the billing ». For this reason, they request that within the scope of article 2 of the decree, all persons working in the cultural sector (not only artists of public performances) be considered, both in the General Scheme and in the Special Scheme for Self-Employed Workers, which due to their specific circumstances temporary and eventuality could not take advantage of extraordinary benefits for cessation of activity or remain covered by the ERTEs.
In addition, and with “the spirit of collaboration and coordination with the Ministry” they call on Minister Uribes to constitute a space for dialogue with professional organizations in the cultural heritage sector and museums “with the idea of promoting and consolidating as soon as possible a State Pact for Cultural Heritage ». In his opinion, this pact should focus on the safeguarding and enhancement of heritage and on a comprehensive improvement strategy “that stops the precariousness of the professional sectors that are dedicated to wealth management in all its aspects”