6. Cultural participation and consumption
Last update: September, 2021
There are no specific programmes or policy initiatives to promote participation in cultural life or an explicit policy linking participation in cultural life to the broader issues of civic participation, citizenship, civil society development / cohesion etc.
Special segments of the population (school children, students) pay 50% of the full ticket price for museums, but this can hardly be called a programme or policy initiative.
In 2008, the project "Active citizenship and participative cultural policy" was promoted by the Multimedia Centre for Performing Arts. The project-workshop was aimed at the representatives of local administrations, cultural institutions and local NGOs of initially five communities. The main goal was finding suitable mechanisms that would lead to systematic cultural development in the local communities.
Cultural participation is one of the key goals of the new National Strategy for Cultural Development 2018-2022. The document insists on accessibility and participation in cultural processes and on investing in the development of the public and the cultural needs of the citizens. It also underlines the necessity of the equal participation of deprived and marginalized groups in cultural production and socio-cultural life. Significant players in this direction are the national institutions and their programmes that have to ensure the development of public and inclusive projects for everyone. However, none have been put into practice yet.
Last update: September, 2021
According to the State Statistical Office data (News Release No: 126.96.36.199) for the 2019/2020 season, compared to 2018/2019, the number of performances at professional theatres decreased by 40.6%, and attendance decreased by 39.4%. The average number of visitors per performance was 221. In the period 2019/2020, compared to 2018/2019, the number of performances at professional youth and children's theatres decreased by 40.3% and attendance by 36.7%.
In amateur theatres, for the same period, the number of performances decreased by 85.1 % and the number of visitors decreased by 86.5%. In 2019/2020, in comparison with 2018/2019, the number of concerts increased, while attendance at the Philharmonic decreased. Regarding professional folk dance and song ensembles in 2019/2020, compared to 2018/2019, there was a decrease in the number of concerts and the number of visitors.
According to the data of the State Statistical Office (News Release No: 188.8.131.52), there were 314 organised fine art exhibitions in 2020, which represents a decrease of 41.7% compared with 2019. The number of artists-participants at the exhibitions in the same period declined by 44.1%, while attendance fell by 76.3%. In 2020, there were 18 organised fine art colonies, and the number of participants compared with 2019 decreased by 32.3%. There is no clear explanation for the decrease in 2019, but the significant decreases in 2020 is mainly caused by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the official data and the classification of libraries, there are several types of libraries in the Republic of North Macedonia, such as: national, libraries within tertiary education institutions, specialised libraries, non-specialised, libraries-national institutions and public (popular) libraries. In 2019, compared with 2016, the number of specialised libraries decreased by 9.6 %. The number of other libraries in 2019, compared with 2016, slightly increased (State Statistical Office, News Release No: 184.108.40.206).
According to official data, the number of museum visitors in 2018 was 427 493. Of the total of 26 museums, 18 are public (national) museums, 8 are public (local) museums, while 15 are general and 11 are specialised museums. In 2018, the museums organised 117 custom exhibitions, of which 39 exhibitions were organised by general museums and 78 by specialised museums. There were 170 440 inventoried exhibits in the museums, of which 26 615 were displayed in 2018. The museum collections had 167 827 inventoried exhibits, with 26 282 on display. The data presented in this release were obtained from completed questionnaires for 2018, submitted by 26 museums and 40 museum collections. The number of internet users in the period January-march 2019 increased by 3% compared to the same period in 2018.
Table 11: Number of attendances on certain cultural activity in North Macedonia over 3 available years
|Activities heavily subsidised by the state|
|Theatre*||232 000 (2013/2014)||257 080||156 407|
|National Philharmonic||15 670||83 000||47 773|
|Libraries||893 409 (2016)||851 600(2019)||/|
|Museums (and museum collections**)||250 582 (2012)||476 385 (2015)||427 493 (2018)|
|Activities without large public subsidies|
|Cinema||466 926 (2018)||539 000 (2019)||128 315 (2020)***|
|Internet for entertainment or leisure (Usually use)||1 212 347||1 287 924||1 326 973|
Source(s): State Statistical Office.
* Professional theatres including professional youth and children’s theatres.
** The data presented here also includes 40 museum collections, but it is unclear which collections and their locations.
*** The data includes only 11 cinemas.
According to the data of the State Statistical Office, the structure of activities of persons aged over 10 for the year 2014/2015 shows that sleeping takes up 36% (8 hours and 44 minutes); free time activities take up with 22% (5 hours and 17 minutes) and cover socialising, visiting and receiving visitors, telephone conversations, entertainment and culture, resting, sports, walking, hiking, art, using computers, reading books or magazines, watching TV, listening to music, etc. Domestic activities make up 10% of all other activities during the day (2 hours and 25 minutes); this group includes the following activities: food preparation, dish washing, cleaning, laundry, ironing, handicrafts, gardening, caring for pets, as well as other activities related to the household such as construction and repairs, shopping and services, childcare and other unspecified activities. Employment accounts for 10% (2 hours and 30 minutes), comprising the main and second job, including short breaks during working time, traveling during the working time, overtime work, business trips, seminars, etc. Eating and drinking represent 9% (2 hours and 14 minutes). Traveling takes up 4% (52 minutes): travel from and to work, travel related to study, shopping and services, childcare, other household care, social life, travel related to other leisure, i.e. for entertainment, hobby, sport, resting, etc. Studying takes up 4% of time (46 minutes), covering regular classes and lectures, laboratory work, practice, short breaks between classes at school or university, homework, studying in a library and free time study and courses, etc.
Table 12: Average cultural time used per day of persons, aged 20 to 64, by activities, 2014-2015
|Activities in hours and minutes||Total||Male||Female|
|Entertainment and culture||0.01||0.01||0.01|
|Computer and video games||0.01||0.02||0.00|
|Other hobbies and games||0.01||0.02||0.01|
|Reading magazines and other||0.02||0.03||0.01|
|Watching TV, videos, DVDs||1.52||2.01||1.42|
|Radio and music||0.01||0.01||0.01|
Source: State Statistical Office, Time use survey, 2014/2015.
Table 13: Number of visitors in specific cultural fields, in thousands, 2000-2017
|Year||Professional theatres||Cinemas||Museums||Libraries (members)|
Source: State Statistical Office: Macedonia in Figures 2012; Macedonia in Figures 2014, Macedonia in Figures 2018.
Heavily subsidised activities (e.g. theatres, museums, concerts etc.) have, more or less, a stable number of visitors. There is no accurate data on participation in activities that are not publicly subsidised (e.g. press, private or cable television etc.).
There have been no official surveys taken in recent years on the cultural activity of social groups differing with respect to gender, age or education. There are no special surveys monitoring the participation of national minority groups or immigrant groups in the cultural life of a community or the composition of the audience at multi-cultural festivals.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that Prof. Predrag Cveticanin from Nis, Serbia, conducted a research in 2007 on cultural needs and habits of citizens of Serbia and Macedonia which to a certain extend reflects cultural habits in selected fields and for certain parts of Macedonia. It is available under: http://www.scribd.com/doc/73755569/Kulturne-Potrebe-Navike-i-Ukus-Gradjana-Srbije-i-Makedonije.
Last update: September, 2021
Table 14: Household expenditure on recreation and culture, in %, 2015-2019
|Share in %||2.5||1.9||1.8||1.7||1.6|
Source: State Statistical Office, North Macedonia in numbers, 2020.
In 2019, an average household in North Macedonia spends 63.4% of its expenditure on basic needs like food, clothes, housekeeping etc.
Table 15: Household expenditure on recreation and culture, in %, 2003-2011
|Share in %||3.3||3.5||3.3||2.9||2.9|
Source: Macedonia in Figures 2012, State Statistical Office of the Republic of Macedonia.
Table 16: Basic data on GDP [2017-2018]
|GDP (market prices) in million MKD||618 106||658 053|
|- Real growth rate (in %)||1.1||2.7|
|- in million EUR||10 038||10 698|
|- per capita in EUR||4 839||5 153|
Source: State Statistical Office, North Macedonia in numbers, 2020
Last update: September, 2021
There are several important points that indicate the relationship between culture and civil society in North Macedonia. For example, there is a strong connection between the development of culture and the “socialistic” tradition of amateur arts and folk culture. The infrastructure of cultural and educational centres has also a long tradition throughout the country and, of course, there is the changing role that civil society organisations in contemporary arts and culture have and their impact on the whole society, etc.
The primary mission of cultural houses and cultural centres is to conduct activities in the field of culture and to facilitate cultural life on the local level. In addition to professional programmes, amateurism is a special target of these institutions, through the establishment of amateur clubs in the field of music, theatre, film, literature, folklore, fine arts, etc. Some of these cultural houses did function on a satisfactory level, performing continuous and varied activities, while there were some whose existence was noticeable only in the payrolls of the Ministry of Culture. Until the 1990s, there were around 50 cultural houses located throughout the country. However, today it is obvious that central and local governments often underestimate the role of these cultural segments in society.
The Cinema Union was comprised of 19 amateur film clubs from several towns. Since 1996, it has been a legitimate member of the International Union of Amateur Film headquartered in the Netherlands. During the period 1956 and 2000, it was estimated that 1 353 amateur films were made in the country. According to the latest data the number of amateur theatres is decreasing (from 9 in 2015 to 4 in 2019). Until December 2000, 15 amateur clubs were designated with the status of national cultural institution which meant that the Ministry of Culture provided salaries for approximately thirty employees. Since the beginning of 2001, these clubs have been receiving funds only for programme activities.
Civil society and the cultural NGO’s were an important component in the citizens’ protest against the regime during the former government (2006-2017).