6. Cultural participation and consumption
Last update: May, 2022
Two of the four main objectives of the Lithuanian Cultural Policy Strategy 2030, adopted in 2019 by Lithuanian Government, are targeted at the accessibility of culture and cultural participation. The first objective is to strengthen the cooperation between the state, municipal and non-governmental sectors, reducing cultural exclusion and inequalities. The objective has to be achieved by accomplishing three tasks: to ensure leadership and proportionality of performed functions within the network of cultural institutions; improve the quality and efficiency of the performance of cultural and art institutions by optimally distributing services across their networks; and to ensure the sustainability of cultural human resources and their equal distribution. The second objective is to stimulate creation and participation in culture. It also comprises three tasks: to develop and foster talents by providing the appropriate conditions for creation in different artistic fields; to promote the equal accessibility of high quality and various forms of culture for diverse social groups; and to promote the participation in diverse creative activities by lifelong development of cultural competencies.
The third goal of the Lithuanian Cultural Policy Strategy 2030 links the issue of cultural participation to the development of civil society and critical thinking of people. The tasks of the goal are the following: to strengthen the immunity of citizens and institutions to information threats and their civic activity and knowledge; to strengthen people's critical thinking ability and understanding of cultural phenomena; and to develop national awareness and cognition of the tangible and intangible heritage of modern society.
Before the adoption of the strategy in 2019, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture already implemented some measures to increase the accessibility of culture and cultural participation. The newest measure is free admission to museums. Since the beginning of 2019, under the initiative of the Ministry of Culture, permanent exhibitions of national and state museums can be visited free of charge every last Sunday of the month. This regulation does not apply to private museums.
In 2018, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, launched a programme for schoolchildren called the Cultural Pass (Kultūros pasas). The aim of the measure is to improve access to cultural and educational projects and events, to develop the cultural awareness and experience of schoolchildren by providing appropriate cultural and artistic services. The measure provides each pupil with a "cultural passport" worth 15 EUR per school year that can be used for visiting performances, concerts or exhibitions offered by various cultural organisations and selected by expert groups according to the needs of different age groups and other criteria. Depending on the age group, the pupil attends cultural and artistic events either with their class or individually. The range of services that can be chosen per year depends on the price of the service. The whole list of services is published on the site Cultural Pass (Kultūros pasas).
Since 2008, following the contest of the European Capital of Culture, the contest “Lithuanian Capital of Culture” has been organised. Under this programme, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture organises a contest and selects one Lithuanian town (except for the capital Vilnius) each year as the Lithuanian capital of culture. The town is selected after experts evaluate the Capital of Culture projects submitted by the municipalities. The contest is organised every three years and cultural capitals for three consecutive years are announced as a result. Selected projects receive partial financial support from the Ministry of Culture. The programme seeks to promote the cultural activity and creativity of the residents of Lithuanian regions, develop culture, arts, and creative industries, and expand access to culture. Each nominated municipality implements cultural programmes; organises music and theatre festivals and exhibitions; and provides educational workshops for children and young people. In general, the project has revitalized the activities of local communities, schools, arts and culture institutions, stimulated cultural participation and has become an important factor for local and regional development.
In 2015, another competitive project – "The Minor Lithuanian Capital of Culture" – was initiated and started by the Ministry of Culture and the community of Naisiai village. The Minor Lithuanian Capital of Culture competition is announced and organised by the Union of Rural Communities of Lithuania. It is a project that stimulates small towns and villages to be involved in cultural life and creative processes. The Lithuanian Council for Culture runs a special funding programme “The Minor Lithuanian Capital of Culture” which is dedicated to the projects of villages and small towns.
In 2006, in order to promote reading and help improve reading skills, The Lithuanian Ministry of Culture approved the Reading Promotion Programme. The Programme supports various reading promotion initiatives and projects; the election of the “Book of the Year” (organised by Martynas Ma˛vydas National Library of Lithuania; the “Top 12 Most Creative Books” competition (organised by the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore); the summer reading action “Reading Challenge”; and the event “Lithuania Reads” (coordinated by the Lithuanian Publishers Association) organised on 7 May, the Press Recovery Day. The Reading Promotion Programme for 2019 – 2024 provides 8 measures (events, conferences, workshops) aimed at modernisation and accessibility of reading environments, development of reading promotion competences of cultural workers and educators, enhancement of reading abilities of schoolchildren and formation of a positive attitude towards reading.
Last update: May, 2022
The Lithuanian Ministry of Culture commissions representative surveys of the Lithuanian population (15 years and over) about participation in culture and satisfaction with cultural services since 2013. The survey is carried out every 4 years. Currently, data from the surveys of 2014, 2017 and 2020 are available. The questionnaire used in the surveys has been prepared within the full scope of the cultural participation questionnaire of the ESS-net Culture. However, the scope of the questionnaire of 2020 is broader. According to the authors of the survey report, it consisted of two phases: during the first phase, 1 200 residents were surveyed by way of face-to-face interview at their homes and during the second phase, 1 963 respondents were additionally surveyed. The questionnaire used in the second phase was expanded to include additional topics, which, according to the authors, allows the identification of links between involvement in culture and social capital and to start observing the trends of cultural consumption by residents from less favourable cultural backgrounds. The results of the survey of 2020 cover the period of 12 months before the introduction of the first quarantine on 16 March 2020; therefore, reference is normally made to the cultural activity, participation or cultural consumption by the population during the period from March 2019 to March 2020.
According to data from the surveys of 2014, 2017 and 2020, there was no significant increase in the figures of 2020 in the live consumption of culture, except for cultural heritage attendance – 2014 – 73%, 2017 – 71%, and 2020 – 78%. The biggest decrease in live consumption (-6.7%) was in the reading of newspapers. In virtual consumption, the biggest increase (+9.8%) occurred in accessing art exhibitions or museum expositions online or by other means. Cultural consumption in all other fields remains similar to the average for the three surveys.
Table 33: Persons (≥15 years) who have consumed cultural products during the last 12 months in Lithuania in 2014, 2017, and 2020, %.
|Persons (≥15 years) who in the last 12 months..., %||2014||2017||2020||Difference 2017/2020|
|1. attended events of performing arts, watched or listened to programmes||89.7||85.0||84.9||-0.1|
|1.1 attended performing arts events||57.5||61.4||63.7||2.3|
|1.2. have watched live broadcasts of events while not at home (e. g. outdoors, at a cinema, public library or elsewhere)||32.7||31.2||36.6||5.4|
|1.3. have viewed or listened to recordings of artistic performances||79.3||70.0||69.1||-0.9|
|2. attended events of visual arts, architecture, crafts and design, watched/listened to programmes||47.9||50.4||51.9||1.5|
|2.1. attended exhibitions of painting, graphic art, photography, sculpture, or crafts||28.2||25.0||27.4||2.4|
|2.2. attended virtual exhibitions of painting, graphic art, photography, sculpture, or crafts||12.2||13.7||12.2||-1.5|
|2.3. watched or listened to programmes about visual arts or crafts (on the TV, radio, online or by other means)||37.7||39.7||33.2||-6.5|
|3. visited museums or cultural heritage sites, watched/listened to programmes||72.6||71.0||78.2||7.2|
|3.1. visited a museum||37.8||31.5||36.6||5.1|
|3.2. visited a gallery or exhibition||31.6||21.3||24.3||3.0|
|3.3. watched virtual art exhibitions or museum expositions online or by other means||7.3||8.6||18.4||9.8|
|3.4. watched or listened to programmes about museums on the TV, radio, online or by other means||29.2||34.5||32.8||-1.7|
|3.5. visited cultural monuments, historical sites or art locations, famous buildings, archaeological sites||50.0||53.0||60.4||7.4|
|3.6. watched cultural monuments, historical sites or art locations, buildings or areas online or by other means||21.2||28.9||32.4||3.5|
|3.7. watched or listened to programmes about cultural monuments, historical sites or art locations, buildings or areas on the TV, radio, online or by other means||41.4||41.3||42.6||1.3|
|3.8. visited archives||3.7||1.6||4.9||3.3|
|3.9. visited archives online||3.8||2.8||7.7||4.9|
|4. have read books and press||97.1||96.3||94.0||-2.3|
|4.1. read a book||63.1||66.3||69.4||3.1|
|4.2. read magazines and/or periodicals||88.2||86.7||80.3||-6.4|
|4.3. read newspapers||91.8||88.1||81.4||-6.7|
|5. have used library services||38.3||35.3||39.2||4.1|
|5.1. visited a library||36.7||31.2||34.7||3.5|
|5.2. visited a library online||13.4||11.9||17.2||5.3|
|6. have watched films and videos||89.0||91.4||95.5||4.1|
|6.1. went to a cinema or a film festival||35.1||40.8||36.2||-4.6|
|6.2. watched films on the TV||86.8||89.2||91.6||2.4|
|6.3. watched films online||45.9||49.5||48.6||0.9|
|7. have listened to the radio||80.4||81.3||80.1||-0.2|
The comparison of the data on the consumption of state funded cultural activities and activities without large public subsidies shows the latter to be more popular, and figures demonstrate a slight increase in their consumption in almost all categories except reading of periodic publications and watching TV. The largest increase (by 5.1 % and 7.4 %) in consumption in the group of state funded activities is in the categories of museum and monuments visiting (see the table below).
Table 34: Persons (≥15 years) who attended a certain cultural activity during the last 12 months in Lithuania (in % of the population, in 2014, 2017 and 2020)
|Activities heavily subsidised by the state|
|Dance (ballet or modern dance)||8.0||8.0||9.0||+1.0|
|Concerts of classical music||12.0||14.0||15.0||+1.0|
|Activities without large public subsidies|
|To read books not related to a profession or studies||63.1||66.3||69.4||+3.1|
|In paper format (Usually use)||62.0||63.0||66.0||+3.0|
|In digital format (Usually use)||15.0||21.0||23.0||+2.0|
|Directly on the Internet (Usually use)||-||-||-|
|To listen to music (Usually listen)||-||-||-|
|In a computer or directly on the Internet||-||-||-|
|To read periodic publications (Usually read)||96.0||94.0||89.0||-5.0|
|Directly on the Internet||37.0||39.0||45.0||+6.0|
|To watch videos (Usually watch)||88.0||91.0||95.0||+4.0|
|Directly on the Internet||45.9||49.5||49.0||+0.5|
|To watch television (Usually watch)||97.7||96.6||94.0||-2.6|
|Directly on the Internet||20.0||30.1||25.0||-5.0|
|To listen to the radio (Usually watch)||80.4||81.3||80.0||-1.3|
|Directly on the Internet||18.7||22.2||25.0||+2.8|
|To play videogames (Usually play)||-||-||-|
|To use a computer for entertainment or leisure (Usually use)||-||-||-|
|Internet for entertainment or leisure (Usually use)||62.9||71.1||81.01||+10.0|
According to the data of 2014, 2017, and 2020, the most popular cultural activity in Lithuania was making textile works. In 2020 the largest increase was in the number of residents engaged in photography. Painting and drawing as forms of cultural participation take the third place (see table 35).
Table 35: People who have carried out artistic activities in Lithuania in the last 12 months by type of activity, in % of total population, period 2014, 2017, 2020 pct.
|Type of activity||2014||2017||2020|
|Creative Writing||6 %||4 %||6 %|
|Painting or drawing||8 %||10 %||11 %|
|Making textile works||11 %||12 %||12 %|
|Photography||5 %||8 %||12 %|
|Making videos||3 %||3 %||6 %|
|Designing web pages, games, blogs||3 %||4 %||6 %|
|Acting in theatres, directed a play||5 %||5 %||5 %|
|Dancing||4 %||4 %||6 %|
|Playing an instrument||6 %||6 %||6 %|
|Singing||5 %||7 %||6 %|
Regarding the causes preventing the population from participation in cultural life, the most common personal reasons mentioned are a lack of time (47%, 45% and 43 % of the respondents in 2014, 2017 and 2020 respectively indicated this as an obstacle), cost of cultural services (37%, 36% and 23% of the respondents in 2014, 2017, and 2020 respectively) and a lack of interest (25%, 28% and 34% of the respondents in 2014, 2017, and 2020 respectively). In the survey of 2020, the cost of cultural services was mentioned as a barrier to participating in cultural life less frequently, and a lack of interest increased by 6%.
About 40 % of the population of Lithuania has mentioned at least one problem in the supply and accessibility of cultural services. The most common problem indicated is poor accessibility of such services (“difficult to access” mentioned 16%, 16 % and 18 % of population in 2014, 2017 and 2020). In second place was a lack of information that was mentioned by 8 %, 10% and 15 % of population in 2014, 2017 and 2020. Limited choice was the third problem of cultural supply mentioned most frequently (by 11 %, 10 %, 13 % in 2014, 2017, and 2020). In general, the main reasons for not participating in cultural life are personal and the most alarming result is the growing lack of interest in cultural participation.
Table 36: Reasons of non-participation in culture in 2014, 2017, and 2020 pct.
|Lack of time||47 %||45 %||43 %|
|Too expensive||37 %||36 %||23 %|
|Lack of interest||25 %||28 %||34 %|
|Poor health||20 %||17 %||17 %|
|Difficult to access||16 %||16 %||18 %|
|Lack of information||8 %||10 %||15 %|
|Limited choice||11 %||10 %||13 %|
|Poor quality of cultural activities in your area||6 %||6 %||8 %|
|Inconvenient opening hours of cultural institutions||4 %||5 %||7 %|
|Other||3 %||1 %||1 %|
|None||5 %||7 %||10 %|
Last update: May, 2022
Table 37: Household cultural expenditure by expenditure purpose, 2012, 2016
|Items (Field/Domain)||Household expenditure (in million EUR and percentages) per month||Average per capita expenditure (EUR) per month|
|I. Books and Press (Newspapers, books and stationery)||202.1||-||198.3||-||1.57||2.44|
|II. Cultural Services (Recreational and cultural services)||454.2||-||781.6||-||0.49||3.57|
|Cinema, theatre and others||-||-||-||-||0.35||-|
|Museums, libraries, parks and similar||-||-||-||-||0.04||-|
|Photographic services and other||-||-||-||-||0.10||-|
|III. Audiovisual equipment and accessories||327.6||-||304.9||-||2.54||3.76|
|Support for recording image, sound and data||-||-||-||-||0.01||-|
|Audiovisual equipment and accessories||-||-||-||-||2.51||3.74|
|IV. Subscriptions of television, information processing||-||-||-||-||1.66||-|
|Rental and subscriptions of radio and television||-||-||-||-||1.66||-|
|Subscriptions of radio and television||-||-||-||-||1.66||-|
|Rental of cultural equipment and accessories||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Information Processing and Internet||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Material for information processing||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Mobile and Internet services||-||-||-||-||-||-|
Last update: May, 2022
According to the data of the Register of NGOs, there have 2 191 NGOs in Lithuania in 2022. 449 NGOs develop activities in the fields of democracy and citizenship, and 1153 have been working in the fields of culture and leisure (these two categories may overlap). Policy on NGOs is coordinated by the Lithuanian Ministry of Social Security and Labour according to the Law on the Development of Nongovernmental Organisations (2013) (last edition in 2022). The activities of NGOs are partially funded through tenders of the Lithuanian Ministry of Social Security and Labour. In 2021, the Ministry allocated 26 894 124 EUR for the projects of NGOS.
In Lithuania, participation in culture and civic activism are also promoted by cultural centres. According to the Lithuanian National Cultural Centre, in 2021, there were 160 cultural centres and 481 of their branches and subdivisions that are located in urban and rural territories of Lithuania, with 2 628 amateur art groups, 742 studios and clubs that have in total 43 544 participants. Children's and youth groups comprise 32 % of all amateur arts groups, and young participants comprise about 35 % of all participants.
Table 38: Number of cultural centres, amateur arts groups and participants in 2014–2021
|Number of cultural centres||632||637||645||645||654||637||634||641|
|Number of amateur arts groups, clubs and studios||3908||3877||3863||3841||3798||3757||3520||3370|
|Number of participants||52823||56138||53106||52956||52819||52 671||47 307||43 544|
The activity of state and municipal cultural centres is regulated by theLaw on Centres of Culture (2004) (last edition in 2020). The Law distinguishes between state, municipal and other centres. State centres for culture have the legal form of a budget or public institution and are founded by the Ministry of Culture. Municipal centres for culture have the legal form of a budget or public institution and are founded by the municipal councils. Other centres for culture are established by private persons or social organisations and can have various legal forms. The name of each cultural centre, regardless of its legal form, must include the words “centre for culture”. According to the law, a legal person seeking recognition as a cultural centre must perform at least two of the following functions: to create conditions for dissemination of ethnic culture; organise activities of artistic collectives of amateurs, workshops, and hobby groups; take care of the preparation of artistic collectives of amateurs and their participation in song festivals, local, regional, national and international events; organise recreational, educational and other events; organise commemoration of national holidays, remembrance days, calendar feast days; take care of employment, artistic education of children and youth; organise events popularising ethnic culture, amateur art, to meet other cultural needs of the community; create conditions for dissemination of professional art; and satisfy the sociocultural needs of the population.
State and municipal centres for culture are financed from the state or municipal budgets respectively. Other centres for culture are financed with their own funds. Centres for culture may receive state and municipal budgetary appropriations by taking part, according to the procedure laid down by legal acts, in competitions announced by the Ministry of Culture, counties, or municipal councils, for the implementation of appropriate cultural activity programmes financed from the state or municipal budgets. The Ministry and municipalities may additionally finance the activities of centres for culture pertaining to the organisation of state events.
The main political body shaping the policy of cultural centres is the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry founds, reorganises and liquidates cultural institutions providing methodological assistance to cultural and art workers of centres for culture, helping to implement qualification improvement programmes for cultural workers; establishes a strategy of the development of centres for culture, finances cultural programmes and projects related to the activities of centres for culture, which are important for Lithuanian culture; draws up drafts of legal acts regulating activities of centres for culture and approves them in the prescribed manner; approves a list of positions of cultural and art workers of centres for culture; approves forms of statistical reports of centres for culture; organises qualification improvement of workers of centres for culture; approves regulations of assessment of cultural and art workers of state and municipal centres for culture, and supervises the assessment; approves criteria of granting of categories to centres for culture and lays down a procedure of accreditation of centres for culture, etc.
The Council of the Centres for Culture in an advisory body under the Ministry of Culture, which carries out the expert and consultant functions when resolving the issues concerning the shaping and implementation of a policy of Lithuanian centres for culture. The Council of Centres for Culture comprises 11 members. 8 members are appointed and recalled by the Association of Lithuanian Culture Centres and 3 members by the Ministry of Culture.
The Lithuanian National Cultural Centre is a state budgetary institution promoting the cultural and creative expressions of the society, development of ethnic culture and amateur art. It operates under the Ministry of Culture of Lithuania. The Centre plays an important role within the national cultural institution system, helping society and individuals acknowledge and preserve their cultural identity and representing Lithuanian ethnic and amateur culture abroad. This role is primarily realised through numerous events the Centre organizes, such as the Lithuanian Song Celebration (inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity), international folk festivals Baltica and Griežynė, Baltic student song celebration Gaudeamus, Lithuanian national costume exhibitions and presentations, ethnic craft symposiums and seminars, folklore, children and adult choir festivals, folk dance competitions, wind orchestra championships, children and youth theatre festivals, and folk art exhibitions.
The Association of Lithuanian Culture Centres (ALCC) unites 96% of all Lithuanian culture centres. Its aim is to represent the interests of centres for culture and to ensure that their activities are accessible in Lithuania and abroad. ALCC is a member of the European Network for Cultural Centres. It also delegates 8 members to the Council of Cultural Centres under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania. Members of ALCC take part in working groups, expert groups, funding programmes of the Seimas, the Government, the Ministry of Culture, and prepares projects of various normative acts. Members of ALCC are members of committees of the Lithuanian Association of Municipalities and take part in the election of the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
To encourage creativity among cultural centres and recognise the best achievements and work of cultural centres, the Ministry of Culture established three Prizes for the Best Cultural Centres of the Year. These prizes are awarded for active, creative and innovative activities over the past five years in fostering ethnic culture and amateur art, creating artistic programmes, expanding educational and recreational activities, meeting the cultural needs of the community and organising the spread of professional art.
In 2005, the Ministry of Culture established the Prize for Active, Creative Activities at Cultural Centres. The goal of the prize is to encourage professional activities among arts and culture employees at cultural centres and recognise their best achievements and work. Heads of cultural centres and arts and culture employees who work at cultural centres can be nominated for the prize.