Brazil’s Cultura Viva (Living Culture) programme has been one of the most innovative, wide-reaching and long-lasting achievements of President Lula’s 2003-10 government. Carried forward by Celio Turino, Secretary of Cultural Citizenship, it brought into being the Pontos de Cultura: points, places and practices of culture – points of life, points where the people have been ‘de-silenced’.

Cultura Viva is innovative not just because it has found ways to recognise and fund artistic activities that previously existed outside of public funding mechanisms, but for the way in which it creates bridges and networks between cultural and social initiatives. It is in the veins between the nation’s ‘vital points’ that the programme finds its strengths.

When Brazilian Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil invited Celio Turino to develop a programme of democratisation and access to culture, he could hardly have imagined the extraordinary initiatives that today cross Brazil from end to end, from the desert to the sea, from Amazonia to the grasslands. – The Pontos de Cultura have provided the means through which the multiple voices of a diverse nation can find expression in music, literature, poetry. – Turino’s book is a map of living Brazilian Popular Culture, disseminated over every corner of a country that is finally seeking to be a country for everyone.‘ – Emir Sader

The growing interest in Brazil’s transformational cultural policies and practices has led to a knowledge-exchange programme with the UK, Points of Contact, inspired by Cultura Viva and produced by People’s Palace Projects in partnership with Arts Council England, the British Council and Brazil’s Ministry of Culture. The programme is described in the final section of this book.

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Seminar The Point of Culture: Brazil Turned Upside Down

On 14 January 2014, the UK Branch of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation organised a seminar to launch The Point of Culture: Brazil Turned Upside Down, a translation of the insightful book by Célio Turino edited by Paul Heritage and Rosie Hunter (People’s Palace Projects).

The seminar developed as follows:
– Introduction (Morag Shiach – 0:00)
– The ‘Pontos de Cultura’ programme (Célio Turino – 2:00)
– On ‘The Point of Culture’ (Paul Heritage – 27:16)
– A View from the Arts Council England (Moira Sinclair – 39:37)
– Q & A (52:07)