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Poland/ 7. Public institutions in cultural infrastructure  

7.3 Status and partnerships of public cultural institutions

Changes in public responsibility for cultural institutions were connected with the national political system reforms conducted in 1991 and in 1999. The results of the new administrative regime for cultural institutions are presented in chapter 2.1 and chapter 3.2. The state remains the founding body of national cultural institutions and the local government administration (provinces, districts and municipalities / communes) of local cultural institutions.

There are 53 national cultural institutions that are organised or co-organised by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The full register of the National Institutions of Culture organised by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage is available on the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage web page ( Among those institutions there are also several institutes responsible for specific fields of culture and acting similarly to non-departmental public bodies, e.g:

  • Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Warsaw (see chapter 3.4.2);
  • National Centre for Culture, Warsaw – a cultural institution with national status created in 2006 and is one of the most active and visible national institutions of culture. The objectives of the Centre's activity are: to support and popularise national traditions; to promote Polish national heritage as an important element of the European cultural heritage; cultural education; to inspire and support social movements and NGOs active in the field of culture and national heritage; to provide cultural information; to conduct research and expert works in the area of culture and national heritage; and to raise the qualifications of cultural professionals. NCK is also responsible for implementing the ministerial operational programmes (for information on the Centre's activities see also chapter 8).
  • Polish Film Institute, Warsaw (see chapter 4.2.3);
  • Book Institute, Warsaw (see chapter 4.2.3);
  • Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Warsaw – the activities of the Institute cover the following areas: research and popularisation of knowledge about Chopin's life and work, publications, concerts, conferences, courses, cooperation with institutions and organisations dealing in the protection of Chopin's heritage, Chopin-related archive materials and museum objects, monitoring Chopin's image and name so they are not used for commercial purposes, and a Chopin Information Centre (for more information see;
  • National Heritage Board of Poland (see chapter 4.2.2);
  • The Centre for Protection of Public Collections (see chapter 4.2.2);
  • National Audiovisual Institute (see chapter 4.2.11);
  • Zbigniew Raszewski Theatrical Institute – responsible for documentation, promotion and animation of Polish theatre life. The institute invokes public debate on contemporary Polish theatre, broadens the perspectives of accompanying scientific reflections, and supports research and educational activities. The Institute has created the biggest portal dedicated to Polish theatre, the unique Internet theatrical television and a specialised bookshop The Institute also organises festivals to promote the most interesting phenomena of Polish theatre, as well as lectures, meetings, workshops, contests and study visits; and
  • Institute of Music and Dance ( – established on 1 October 2010 by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. Its creation was preceded by a sector consultation and a three month preparation of the development strategy with the Polish organisations and institutions active in the field of music and dance. A key mission of the Institute is to act for the development of music and dance culture in Poland. The Institute analyses the operation of the dance and music sectors, submits reports and proposals to the Minister, providing expert advice; is responsible for holding documentation and archives; acts to enhance the quality of vocational education, promotes existing cultural institutions and nongovernmental organisations; and initiates new programmes. The institute also takes part in the exchange of information and experience between national and international sector organisations, organises workshops and training, as well as commissions scientific research. During the first year of its operation, the Institute focused mainly on the development of two thematic portals (dedicated to dance and music) as well as on the preparation of the music status report and specific regional dance reports. Another crucial task of the Institute was to organise the Convention of Music and the First Dance Congress in April 2011. During the Congress, the Minister of Culture committed himself to supporting the creation of a music and dance development strategy, but no action has been taken yet. Moreover, the current seat of the Institute is temporary and no decisions concerning a new, permanent seat have been made. All this makes the future of the Institute rather vague.

There have not been any legislative changes regarding the functioning of national cultural institutions; either in the form of privatisation or de-etatisation (see also chapter 5.2). The only recent and noticeable change in the culture sector was the creation of the so called co-led (co-financed) cultural institutions. In June 2005, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage signed an agreement with local governments on co-financing of local institutions which play a vital role on a national scale. Among the co-led institutions, there are those where the Ministry has a dominant role (14), and those were the local governments have a greater responsibility (15).

Poland gained two new national institutions of culture in 2007: the European Centre of Solidarity in Gdansk and the Centre for "Memory and Future" in Wroclaw, which act de facto as non-departmental public bodies. In October 2007, the Minister announced that the "Zespół Pieśni i Tańca Śląsk" (a folk music group in Siliesia) would be managed and financed by both the Province of Silesia and the Ministry of Culture from 2008.

Until 2006, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage granted yearly private sector companies with a prestigious "Patron of Culture Award", based on their financial investments in culture. The Award had several categories: Founder, Promoter, Donor, Sponsor and Patron.

The last Minister, Bogdan Zdrojewski, changed the award's name and principles. The award for Benefactor of Polish Culture aims at disclosure of the role of institutions and private persons in supporting and developing cultural life in Poland, as well as dissemination and promotion of the possibility of financing culture from non-budgetary sources. The award is granted yearly in three categories: Sponsor, Donor and Media Curator. The candidates, both private persons and institutions, are submitted by local administrations, non-governmental organisations and organisers of the events.

Chapter published: 20-08-2015

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