Republic of Korea
Life with Culture, Culture for All – Enjoy culture in your neighborhood, in your everyday life
Promoting cultural rights makes all the difference in our lives. “In my life, culture was a luxury, inaccessible like a mirage,” said Kim, an elderly woman who receives basic livelihood security benefits, but is able to seek ‘small but certain happiness’ such as going to amusement parks with her grandson, watching comedy films when she feels sad, and buying books she has always wanted to read, thanks to the cultural voucher.
“Culture is essential for living.”
Culture is an integral part of life as well as a defining feature of human identity and dignity. Ryu, a mother of two sons, pointed out that culture is as essential as food, clothing and shelter for living. That is why the Republic of Korea has strived to promote cultural rights for all in general and increase opportunities for vulnerable groups to enjoy and participate in cultural life in particular.
“The voucher brought about a change in my life.”
With a view to closing the gap in cultural enjoyment and improving the lives of culturally underprivileged people, the cultural voucher project, which began in 2006, has reached out to a broader public and helped them live a better life. “Struggling to make ends meet, I couldn’t dare to go to the movies with my children,” recalled Ryu. But now she does so without hesitation because she has the voucher. “The voucher brought about a change in my life. It shines more.”
What happens on the last Wednesday of every month?
On this day, special prices and discounts up to 50 percent are offered on admission to museums, movies, concert halls, sporting events, and other various culture-related events nationwide. This monthly Culture Day project also includes many programs to revitalize local cultural activities. “My life had nothing to do with culture, as I was completely absorbed in taking care of my children,” said Na, a mother who lives in Seoul. However, participating in culture day programs, she now has the time to regain her energy.
Culture Salon: forming cultural communities at neighborhood bookstores
One of the culture day programs is Culture Salon, which aims to make culture more approachable and accessible in everyday life. The program encourages local residents to join in a wide variety of cultural activities ranging from cooking classes to book discussions at neighborhood bookstores, which leads to the forming of cultural communities. “Our bookstore provides young people a place where they can share their interests and dreams with each other,” commented Kim, youth manager at one of these bookstores.
Building better lives through promoting cultural rights
Culture voucher projects and monthly culture day programs are some examples of various human rights-based and people-centered measures taken by Korea in implementing its cultural policy agenda. The Republic of Korea will redouble its efforts to build better lives through the promotion of human rights including cultural rights.
Our Good Human Rights Story 2018 …
Civil society – an open-ended story
Civil society activism has played a key role in ensuring promotion and protection of human rights in Korean society.