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A new report on living conditions in Poland indicates that there is a decline in ability to pay for culture and in interest.

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Poland/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation  

8.2.1 Trends and figures

The drastic fall / collapse of cultural participation rates observed during the first years of transformation came to a halt in 1994. While figures have begun to rise, they have not yet reached the levels recorded before the transformation period. Since 1999, the number of cinema visitors has systematically increased, by about 23%; nevertheless it is not stable growth. However, this kind of participation in culture is more and more popular, due to a richer offer and increasing number of showings.

At the same time, there has been a decrease in the rates of participation in activities of "high culture" – those which require higher intellectual skills and aesthetic sensibility. At the same time, there has been a scaling down of cultural education and programmes of aesthetic education in public schools. Surveys on household spending have shown that in the 1990s, approximately 80% of the Polish population reduced their expenditures on culture. It has been observed that the way of life for many Polish people has become "home-centred provide" in the past 15 years: watching TV and video cassettes which limited other forms of cultural activity. The reasons which originally facilitated "home-centrism" were of a political nature, today they are economic. Participation in cultural life outside of the home is taking on a "holiday" value.

Graph 3:  Attendance figures for selected cultural fields, in thousands, 1995-2009

Source:    Central Statistical Office (GUS), Culture in… (yearly publications), Cultural institutions in Poland in 2009 and Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2007 (GUS).
*              53% of all art galleries are public.
**            Audience figures.

Table 13:   Public libraries, 1995-2009 and 2012

 

1995

1999

2000

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2012

Registered readers in thousands

7 023

7 332

7 392

7 579

7 509

7 337

7 230

6 720

-

6 600

6 500

Borrowing of books per 100 readers

2 241

2 029

1 992

-

1 979

1 840

-

-

1 870

1 890

-

Source:     Culture 2005, Culture 2007, Cultural institutions in Poland in 2009 published by the Central Statistical Office (GUS), Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2007 (GUS) and Culture in 2012 (GUS).

Graph 4:  Library readers according to age groups, 2009

Source:    Central Statistical Office informational note: Culture Institutions in Poland in 2009.

In an average Polish household, according to the Central Statistics Office 2008, most of the budget for culture was spent on cable TV fees (c.a 90 PLN per capita). Purchase of newspapers and periodicals, as well as public TV fees, took second place with c.a. 40 PLN per capita each. Only c.a. 17 PLN was spent on books and c.a. 14 PLN on theatre and cinema tickets.

Table 14:  Household expenditure on private cultural participation and consumption, by domains, 2006-2010 (yearly for 1 person)

Items (Field/Domain)

Household expenditure for culture in PLN (EUR*)

% share of total household expenditure

2006

2007

2008

2010

2006

2007

2008

2010

Newspapers and periodicals

42.48
(11.00)

42.84
(11.3)

41.88
(11.9)

39.24
(9.00)

14%

12.4%

11%

9.7%

Books and other publications

15.00
(3.9)

17.04
(4.5)

17.76
(5.05)

20.28
(4.68)

5%

5%

4.5%

5%

Theatre, music hall, cinema entry fees

11.16
(2.9)

12.84
(3.4)

14.04
(3.99)

19.92
(4.6)

3.7%

3.7%

3.7%

4.9%

Purchase of stereo appliances

8.64
(2.2)

11.76
(3.1)

10.56
(3.00)

8.16
(1.88)

2.9%

3.4%

2.8%

2%

Purchase of TV sets

22.56
(5.8)

33.24
(8.8)

50.64
(14.4)

42.24
(9.75)

7.5%

9.6%

13.3%

10.4%

Purchase of video appliances

11.04
(2.8)

10.92
(2.9)

9.72
(2.76)

7.20
(1.66)

3.7%

3.2%

2.5%

1.9%

Purchase of sound and image carriers

9.96
(2.5)

11.16
(2.95)

10.44
(2.96)

11.28
(2.60)

3.3%

3.2%

2.7%

2.8%

Radio, TV licence fees

44.52
(11.4)

45.96
(12.1)

40.68
(11.5)

34.56
(7.98)

14.8%

13.3%

10.7%

8.5%

Cable TV fees

62.52
(16.00)

75.36
(19.9)

93.00
(26.4)

123.72
(28.5)

20.7%

21.8%

24.4%

30.4%

TOTAL

301.44
(77.3)

345.72
(91.4)

381.48
(108.4)

406.56
(94.00)

100%

100%

100%

100%

Source:    Culture 2008, Central Statistical Office.
*              Yearly average rate (National Bank of Poland).

A new report on Social Diagnosis 2011, Living conditions and quality of life of Poles, has beenprepared by the Council for Social Monitoring at the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw. In 2011, 13%-20% of examined households were unable to go to the cinema, theatre, opera, museum, etc. due to financial reasons – less than in 2007 but a little bit more than 2009. Most of restrictions concern the purchase of books – 20.4% of households and visits to museums and galleries at 12.6%. At the same time, the level of interest in attending culture is decreasing. The research from 2009 revealed that over 40% of respondents declared that they do not want to visit museums (in 2011 it was 45.9%, in 2007 – 38.1%) and 5.8% do not wish to buy newspapers (in 2011 it was 5.9%, 2007 – 3.7%).

Graph 5: Have any of the household members been forced to stop their cultural participation for financial reasons in recent years (%)

Source:             Social Diagnosis 2011.

According to the Social Diagnosis 2009 most households (almost 76%) assessed that provision for their cultural needs in the previous 2 years had not changed. However, almost 19% of households observed a deterioration of the situation and only 5% stated an improvement in that field. All forms of participation are related to material well-being (income and household equipment) and are correlated to the level of civilisation (number of modern communication tools). Both depend on the level of education of the population. In almost all cases, when the householder has higher education the household has a collection of books of between 100 and 500 volumes. There is growing participation in culture through the Internet, for example 30% read newspapers online in 2009.

According to the Report on the condition and diversification of urban culture in Poland, prepared for the Polish Culture Congress 2009, the changes in forms of cultural participation and consumption are very visible. The difference between metropolitan and smaller urban areas is still large. However, the technological and civilisation changes are leading to a universal rejection of traditionally understood institutionalised culture.

There is no regular and complex monitoring of participation in culture at national level apart from the reports of the Central Statistical Office. Also, the data is diversified only for different social groups but not in terms of gender, age or education. There are no surveys monitoring the participation of national minorities or immigrant groups.


Chapter published: 20-12-2013

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              Council of Europe/ERICarts, "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 15th edition", 2014 | ISSN 2222-7334