Gwangandaegyo Bridge

About Busan

Cultural Charter of Busan

Cultural Charter of Busan

Culture is both the foundation of our life and a mode of living. It is the energy that keeps our life truly humane, as well as the foundation for promoting happiness in daily civic life and a harmonious community. The citizens of Busan are the subjects that create and possess culture as well as exercise their cultural sovereignty.

Geographically, Busan has been a point of entry into the oceanic world, setting the stage for the modernization of Korean Peninsula through maritime exchange. By embracing diverse cultures within and outside of the region more actively than any other place in Korea, it has formed an open and dynamic culture. This sort of cultural identity enabled the city to willingly share its home turf with evacuees at the end of their road during the Korean War, and to help pave the way for Korea’s democratization by standing up for the Bu-Ma Democratic Protests, fueled by the spirited vigor of Mount Geumjeongsan and fiery ardor of the Gamasot traditional iron cauldron.

The ancient artifacts discovered in local shell mounds and tumuli also speak to Busan’s long history of culture. Citizens’ enthusiasm for film has made the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) a world-class film festival, and Busan holds the honor of being named a UNESCO Creative City of Film. Documents on Joseon Tongsinsa, the diplomatic delegation that traveled from the port of Busan to Japan to conduct cultural exchange between the two nations during the Joseon Dynasty, have been inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register as an exemplar of the ideal of peace building.

Nowadays, diverse cultures cross national borders without cease. Busan, alive with the spirit of openness and inclusion, should be a venue for cultural exchange where traditional cultural assets are passed down and disparate cultures find paths for creative communication. In particular, through a full realization of cultural decentralization, Busan should build an autonomous cultural ecosystem and its own unique identity. By fostering a healthy civic community where cultural values are respected as the people fully enjoy cultural sovereignty, we should nurture future generations to grow as agents for creating culture.

Towards making Busan a cultural city where all citizens are happy, we proclaim this preamble and 13 articles of the charter, on October 29, 2020.

1. (Protection of local cultural sovereignty and rights)

All citizens are active subjects of creating local culture, and their cultural expression and activities should not be discriminated against based on gender, religion, race, age, hometown, political orientation, social/economic status, or physical condition. All have the right to exercise culture by freely creating it and participating in cultural activities, and these rights should be guaranteed.

2. (Nurturing a humanistic spirit as the foundation of culture)

The cultural values that sustain the community include respect for people and life, a spirit of coexistence and hospitality, consideration and goodwill towards others, fairness and tolerance, pursuit of the common good, and harmony with nature. Since such values are the basis for trust, cooperation, and solidarity of the community, a humanistic spirit oriented towards such values should be fostered.

3. (Respect for diversity)

Cultural diversity is the foundation for heterogeneity that enriches society, as well as the cornerstone for peace and coexistence. Citizens should create culture freely, understand diverse cultural values, and contribute to creating a global culture of peace and coexistence.

4. (Protection of cultural rights of minorities and the vulnerable)

Cultural rights of children, youth, physically disabled people, senior citizens, multicultural families, and all social minorities and vulnerable groups should be protected. Foreign nationals and migrants in the Busan region should enjoy cultural rights equal to those of the local citizenry.

5. (Protection of artistic and academic freedom)

Art and study are the source of creativity and innovation as well as the foundation for developing the intellectual, emotional, and ethical capacities of the local community. All citizens should be able to freely participate in artistic and academic activities according to their talents and abilities, while being guaranteed freedom of thought, expression, and inquiry. With respect to the creative output they achieve, their right to receive moral and material compensation should be guaranteed.

6. (Protection of cultural practitioners’ rights)

The creation of arts is key for promoting culture. To this end, the rights of cultural practitioners should be justly guaranteed, and they should rightfully receive moral and material compensation for their cultural and artistic creations.

7. (Supporting cultural activities of future generations and creating a conducive environment)

Busan Metropolitan City, artistic and cultural organizations, civic organizations, and the Busan Metropolitan City Office of Education should communicate and collaborate with cultural practitioners to actively support cultural activities of future generations and should create a cultural environment conducive to their growth as creative cultural persons.

8. (Vitalization of arts and culture education)

Being the foundation of the people’s creative cultural activities, arts and culture education should be actively pursued towards achieving a virtuous circle of cultural production and consumption. To this end, educational programs that are customized according to age, gender, and locality should be organized and actively supported.

9. (Preservation of cultural assets)

The tangible and intangible cultural heritage and history embodying the experiences and aspirations of the Busan region’s predecessors are invaluable assets to be shared by humanity. Such cultural assets should be fully preserved to serve as a well spring for further creative development. As a cultural asset to be shared by present and future generations alike, the natural environment of Busan should be protected in a sustainable manner.

10. (Harmonious economic and cultural development)

Culture is a fundamental force driving economic and social development. Economic development and social prosperity should be in harmony with the cultural objective of fully realizing a decent life as human beings.

11. (Supporting and balancing cultural industries)

Cultural industries are industrial activities as well as essential cultural activities influencing citizens’ spiritual life and identity formation. Cultural industries should contribute to the development of civic culture while maintaining balance between market logic and cultural values. Adequate social support should be provided to the sector of the cultural industry that is not as strong in terms of market competitiveness, though it plays an important role in civic cultural life.

12. (Spread of social values related to culture)

Towards ensuring the safety, security, and happiness of its citizens, Busan faces diverse challenges to be resolved. Among them are social isolation, an ageing population, urban decline, and climate change. In an effort to leverage the values and spirit of culture to address such social problems, the power of culture should be spread.

13. (Duties of Busan Metropolitan City)

1) Guarantee of cultural rights

Busan Metropolitan City should establish policies guaranteeing citizens’ cultural rights as declared in this charter and strengthen institutions enabling enjoyment of civic culture. In doing so, legal and institutional measures to protect citizens’ cultural rights should be implemented, including abiding by the principles of partnership and collaboration, resolving disparate concentrations of culture between localities and bridging gaps, and nurturing local artists and creators.

2) Pledge of implementation and evaluation

To realize the spirit of this charter, Busan Metropolitan City should continuously pursue and implement all legal, institutional, policy, financial, and other specific and practical measures, and should regularly evaluate and improve its implementation. Civil society and all local public institutions have a duty to work together to practice the cultural ideals declared in this charter.