A team led by prof. Dorota Ilczuk has been studying the situation of artists in Poland for many years. These studies were aimed at diagnosing the specificity of the artists’ labor market, analysing the professional situation of artists in Poland, exploring international experiences both in monitoring and analysing this area, and various forms of support provided to artists. It also was the first successful attempt in the history of post-war Poland to estimate the number of professionally active artists in Poland. Without knowing the size of the artistic milieu, it was impossible to calculate the costs of the planned support system for artists, and thus to introduce systemic changes in the cultural policy in Poland.
The social and professional situation of artists, authors and creators in Poland is very unstable. This state of affairs has been ignored in the public debate for many years, despite the artistic community’s attempt to draw attention to it (with for example the artists’ protest ‘A Day Without Art’ in 2012). In 2017, at the National Conference for Culture (OKK), the debate about artist’s support began. The OKK Group of Experts was formed and they started to work on an Act on the Rights of the Professional Artist. The project aims to:
• defines professional artists and their rights, enabling the precise adaptation of tools for the needs of this professional and social group;
• regulates the procedures for confirming and updating the rights of a professional artist on the basis of artistic education or achievements confirmed by representative organisations of artistic milieu, as well as revenues from artistic activity;
• defines the rules of access of professional artists with entitlements to the social and health insurance system (each artist pays contributions at the level of those corresponding to the minimum wage);
• creates a dedicated fund to support social and health insurance contributions for the lowest-earning persons with the status of an artist (subsidies from 20% to 80% of the amount of contributions);
• identifies the sources of financing for the above-mentioned fund (the main source are extra-budgetary funds from the so-called reprographic fee, a state budget guarantee);
• creates a mechanism for the artist’s card enabling the creation of packages, amenities, discounts and offers addressed to this social group;
• creates the Polish Chamber of Artists as a state legal entity, the Council of which will be composed of representatives of artists’ organisations, the Ministries of Culture and Labor and the Social Insurance Institution.
The creation of a new bill would not be possible without the research carried out by the team of the Creative Economy Research Centre, under the supervision of prof. Dorota Ilczuk. As stated above, the team faced the difficult task of estimating the size of the artistic milieu in Poland. There are 59 970 people working in the following industries: music, architecture, visual arts, theatre, film, literature, dance, folk art, and interdisciplinary arts.