1. Cultural policy system
Last update: March, 2015
One can identify two basic periods that characterise the development of Polish cultural policy in the last 60 years. Distinguishing features of the first period – real socialism – include limited sovereignty, a one-party system and a planned economy. The second period – liberal democracy and market economy – recovered Polish independence, introduced parliamentary democracy and principles for a market economy. 1989 is the watershed year that marked the shift between these two periods and the year when the first democratic parliamentary election was held in post-communist Poland.
Before 1989, cultural activities were organised under a system characterised by a high level of centralisation, institutionalisation and a monopoly of state property. Decisions made on the development of cultural activities were strongly politicised and the creative arts were under political censorship. The principles of cultural policy were created by both the Ministry of Culture and Arts and the Cultural Division of the Central Committee of the PZPR (Polish Communist Party). At the same time the growth rate of public cultural expenditure was higher than the growth rate of the GDP, which gave the state legitimacy to act in this field. The "Fund of Development for Culture" was established in 1982 as a means to secure this position. Between 1982 and 1989, expenditure on culture within the overall state budget rose from 1.25% to 1.81%. This relatively high level of public funding for culture enabled wider access to cultural goods and services and a feeling that professional stabilisation for artists working conditions was being achieved.
After 1989, Poland underwent a process of political and economic transformation and the state re-established its new responsibilities with a social character. Those responsibilities were formulated in the introduction to the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. Article 73 directly refers to the field of culture and states that everyone is granted the right of freedom of creation, to conduct scientific research and announce their results, freedom of education and use of cultural assets.
The new principles for organising and financing cultural activities were formulated in 1993 and presented in the governmental document entitled The Principles of State Cultural Policy. According to this document, the Polish government should:
- encourage the growth of democracy and the strengthening of civil society;
- make it easier for artists and institutions to convert to the market economy;
- protect the most precious cultural assets; and
- introduce and encourage legal solutions which facilitate the development of new forms of cultural activity.
Cultural policy should therefore achieve the following goals:
- decentralisation – shift competencies from the central administration to the provincial level, and from the provinces to the lower levels of administration: districts, municipalities and communes;
- provide public financial support for selected cultural institutions and crucial cultural events; and
- provide support for the development of non-public cultural institutions and funding mechanisms which could supplement the public funding of culture.
These goals are in support of the principles formulated in 1993.
Cultural policy priorities established by the Ministry of Culture for the newly established democracy were published in 1995. The three most important areas for state support were identified as books, the protection of national heritage and cultural education.
In 1998, a general framework was presented which identified the major directions and activities of the Ministry of Culture and Arts in the following areas:
- to adopt a new approach that connects public and private funds;
- to eliminate the stratification between the dynamics of culture and economic development;
- to create a space for family oriented participation in culture;
- to train managers and cultural animators;
- to eliminate differences between high and popular culture;
- to initiate activities that aim to reinforce the educational role of public media;
- to encourage inter- ministerial co-operation for culture;
- to protect the cultural heritage;
- foreign promotion of Polish culture; and
- support for research in the field of culture.
In 1999, the Directions of Cultural Policy of the State / Government was published and described the basic duties of the state in the following areas:
- enhancement and development of the national civil community;
- enhancement and dissemination of national heritage;
- formation of principles aimed at supporting creativity and cultural education; and
- foreign promotion of Polish culture.
Priorities established in 1998 and 1999 were carried out by the government with different levels of success. There were some concerns voiced over the long list of priorities and that they were being mixed up with principles. In fact, while there were several priorities listed, in practice, there were no priorities at all.
The years 2001 and 2002 can be considered a turning point when the Minister of Culture Andrzej Celiński's programme of reforms became the subject of consultations. The programme included comprehensive changes in the organisational and financial system for Polish culture. New sources of financing for culture were also proposed including financing culture from state lottery funds, which was eventually introduced. Still, the attempt to reform the general system of financing and organising the cultural sector turned out to be unsuccessful.
The following Minister of Culture, Waldemar Dąbrowski, specified new priorities for 2003 as follows:
- strengthening the basic pillars of the national film industry, such as script-writing, production and distribution, by creating new conditions for funding;
- promoting books and reading especially among children; emphasising the role of reading in the cultural formation of society; supporting cultural periodicals and literature (with a limited number of copies);
- highlighting the mission of the public media and its contribution to national culture;
- supporting activities aimed at broadening access to cultural goods for the disabled; and
- supporting young artists.
In 2003, efforts were made to prepare Poland for gaining access to EU funds, especially Structural Funds. In this context, emphasis has been placed on developing regional approaches to the development of culture. In 2004, encouraging access to European Union funds was a priority for the Ministry of Culture. The document entitled The National Strategy for the Development of Culture (NSRK) for 2004-2007 was developed.
The strategic aim of the NSRK is "balanced development of culture in the regions". The strategy was created centrally for the fully territory of Poland but it defines coherent horizontal actions that are to be realised in the regions. The NSRK defines financial sources for the strategy, taking Structural Funds and other European funds into consideration.
The arrival of the National Development Programme for 2007-2013 forced the Minister of Culture to extend the period of the National Culture Development Strategy 2004-2013. As a result, a document extending the strategy was prepared, entitled the National Development Strategy Supplement for 2004-2020.
The strategic functional areas, set by the National Strategy for the Development of Culture as elements of the State's Cultural Policy, have been the basis for 5 National Culture Programmes.
The Programmes were designed as functional action plans and guidelines for implementation as well as tools for exact schedules of activity. Their aim was to enable monitoring and evaluation of the implementation process. In the following years, the ministers used the proposed formula and introduced new issues in place of National Cultural Programmes, commonly known as Minister's Programmes.
It should be also noticed that Minister of Culture, Waldemar Dąbrowski, made significant efforts to elaborate a new financing system for Polish cinematography. Unfortunately, he did not manage to carry out an eagerly awaited reform of Polish cultural policy.
Neither did his successor Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski. He has been in office since the beginning of Jarosław Kaczyński's governance (2005). His governance realised an increase in public expenditure for cultural purposes, which was 22% more in 2006 than in the previous year. The cultural priority set by the government was the protection of national heritage and cultural identity, therefore Ujazdowski's policy successfully contributed to an improvement in this field which had been seriously neglected by previous governments.
Since 2007, Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform*) has been the ruling party having won two parliamentary elections. In 2011 the Civic Platform formed a coalition with Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe (Polish People's Party) once again. The Minister of Culture and National Heritage – Bogdan Zdrojewski – took up his post in 2007 and again in 2011. The two-time success of one party, as well as the same minister continuing his mission, has never before occurred in the history of the young Polish democracy since 1989. It created better conditions for realisation of the Minister's aims but expectations were higher than before. The initial intentions of conducting a wider reform of the whole financial system were presented at the Polish Culture Congress in 2009 and again proved to be impossible to implement. Instead of the "revolution" sought by the cultural circles, only a small reform was carried out. It concerned mainly the issue of management of public performing institutions. The first term of office of Minister Bogdan Zdrojewski has been measured mainly by the success in the use of European funds, Polish participation in the ECoC Programme, turning attention to the issue of digitalisation of culture and a very strong cultural component during the Polish Presidency of the EU. At the first press conference after second nomination (November 22nd 2011) the Minister said that completing the most important investments, increasing funds for heritage protection and building the public online domain were the key challenges for the upcoming 4 years.
In 2014 new Minister of Culture and National Heritage - Malgorzata Omilanowska - was elected. The new Minister of Culture is an art historian and specialist on the last two centuries of architecture, protection of monuments and art theory. She announced the fight for lower prices of access to live culture, especially for marginalised groups, as well as the progress in digitisation and sharing of culture for free, on the web. She is also planning an amendment to the National Readership Development Programme, which would be extending to the school libraries. New Minister also intends to implement a project for easy access and enhancing quality offers historical museums throughout the country. Małgorzata Omilanowska also plans to amend the law on the protection of monuments. Moreover she focuses on education in the field of protection of monuments.
(* The Civic Platform is a democratic and liberal-conservative political party. Since the 2007 general election, it is the largest party in the Parliament. The Civic Platform is a member of the European People's Party (EPP)).
(The information presented above is directly connected with the issues described in other chapters. To understand the topic completely, please read chapter 2.1 and chapter 2.9).
Main features of the current cultural policy model
When developing the new model for Polish cultural policy, various systems were considered. First, the old social democratic / social democracy approach was examined, but was quickly rejected as a basic model because it was demanding and related too much to the Communist era. During the first three years of transformation, there was strong support for a more neo-liberal approach, but it was then dismissed as an option for the future. Today the "third way" has become a popular approach. It is based on the welfare state model and advocates partnership between the state and an active civil society. Despite the potential role of third sector organisations – foundations or associations – they are still not regarded as real partners of local government administration or the state in the field of culture (e.g. as cultural managers or as agencies to distribute public funds).
In summary, the major changes which have taken place in the cultural sector since 1989 revolve around 6 main axes:
- decentralisation of the powers of the public administration concerning culture;
- transferring the majority of cultural institutions from the central government to local governments;
- privatisation of the majority of government owned culture industries (publishing, cinema, galleries etc.);
- abolishing censorship (waiving the requirement for formal authorisation to undertake artistic / cultural work);
- ceasing detailed co-ordination and control of all levels of public spending on culture (especially from the Ministry and Voivode); and
- general changes in the administration and regulations of the government which have had a major impact on culture.
Today, the Polish cultural policy model is characterised by a high level of decentralisation, which emphasises the important position and role of local governments.
The process of decentralisation for the management and financing of culture is connected to the introduction of various legal acts which initiated an overall reform of the national political system and transferred many competencies in the field of culture to local governments and their administration. For example, the 1990 Act on Local Government Administration states that responsibility for libraries and other institutions aimed at the local dissemination of culture is to be devolved to local governments.
As a result of the second phase in the overall administrative reform, two new tiers of local level management were established: provincial (Voivodeships) and district (Poviats). These two new levels became legally obliged to provide public activity within the area of "culture and protection of its goods". Responsibility for local culture activity and the establishment of local cultural institutions, once the sole domain of municipalities / communes, is now shared between the provincial, district and municipal / communal administrations (for more information see chapter 1.2.1 and chapter 1.2.2).
The gradual assumption of responsibility for culture by local governments was accompanied by a revamped of funding strategy, with local governments allocated 78.1% of public funds for culture in 2004 (79.4% in 2003; 81.1% in 2002). In the following years, the proportion remained quite steady (for more information see chapter 7.1.2).
Changes in the public responsibility for culture came in the wake of a more general process of decentralisation of state powers and the subsequent reform of several laws. For example, overall tax law reforms and amendments which introduced relief and exemptions for people making charitable donations were also applicable to the cultural sector. One of the assumptions has been that the overall reforms will automatically be beneficial to the needs of the cultural sector and therefore it has not been actively involved in shaping, but rather adapting to the new realities in Poland. In recent years, the adaptation process has continued and has been aimed at assisting Polish culture to benefit from European Union funds.
Cultural policy objectives
Contemporary cultural policy of the Republic of Poland reflects the major objectives of the Council of Europe policy dealing with: decentralisation and democratisation of the decision making processes, observing the principle of transparency of the decision making, compliance with the rules of diversity and subsidiarity and departing from the idea of placing culture on the periphery of public administration. Of course, it is easier to comply with the rules in a declarative manner rather than applying them.
However, it is important to keep in mind that while it may be popular to adopt commonly defined democratic principles and cultural policy objectives, the way in which these principles are formulated and implemented cannot be harmonised. In this context, Poland has the ambition to find its own cultural policy model rather than merely replicating established models and solutions from Western European countries.
Last update: March, 2015
Last update: March, 2015
There are cultural administration bodies located at the central (state), provincial (Voivodship*), district (poviat) and municipal / communal (gmina) levels.
The central state administration is the main actor which sets cultural policy objectives and funding principles. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage prepare a draft of state budget in part related to the activities of the Ministry and is also responsible for legislation, searching and securing new sources of non-public financing for culture, monitoring the implementation of cultural policy and keeping track of ongoing changes in the system. In other words, the main Ministerial tasks are to set the legal, financial and programme frameworks which facilitate the development of culture.
Local government administration (at all tiers: Provinces, Districts and Municipalities / Communes) and – to a certain degree – non-governmental organisations have acquired an important role in cultural policy whether it be according to state set objectives or creating their own development strategies. In the latter case, it is important to underline the autonomy and independence of local governments.
The institutional picture of Polish culture is changing gradually. The main changes deal with a shift from the state monopoly over cultural institutions towards diversification of ownership (including changes to their legal status to private organisations, foundations or associations) and the creation of third sector institutions. There is a lack of arm's length culture institutions in Poland, which in other European countries play a key role in protecting the autonomy of decisions taken in the sphere of culture.
The Cultural Commissions located in two houses / chambers of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland – Sejm and Senat - are responsible for legislation in the field of culture. Their role is to:
- propose candidates for positions in the state cultural policy administration;
- amend, consider and present opinions for legalisation or legal acts;
- consider reports and communications of the Minister of Culture;
- analyse activities in the cultural field; and
- prepare responses on budget related requests.
The Commission of Culture and Mass Media of the Sejm specifically deals with issues arising in the following fields: creativity, dissemination of culture, protection of cultural heritage, press, radio and television, publishing houses, socio-cultural movement and cultural co-operation on the international forum / foreign cultural co-operation.
(* Voivodships (Provinces) were formerly part of the state. The new Voivodships (Provinces) are now part of both the state and local government (self-government) structure. Responsibility for culture is now in the hands of the self-governing Voivodships (Provinces)).
Please find the available information on this subject in 1.2.2.
Please find the available information on this subject in 1.2.2.
Last update: March, 2015
Citizens of Culture
Citizens of Culture is an informal and open movement aimed at increasing funds for culture, at least to 1% of the state budget, and changing the rules of management and financing of culture.
The "1% for culture" was first formed as a social postulate in 2009 at the Culture Congress in Cracow. Attention was paid then to the critical condition of readership in Poland and the need to work on including culture and art in the general education programmes, as well as the requirement to change the public media and their financing. Obywatelski Komitet Mediów Publicznych (Citizens Committee for Public Media) was established in order to prepare a social draft of an Act on Public Media. Also Obywatelskie Forum Sztuk Wizualnych (Citizens Forum of Visual Art) and Obywatelskie Forum Dostępu do Książki (Citizens Forum of Access to Book) were established.
The main postulates of the Citizens of Culture movement have been formed and included in the Pact for Culture, announced on 11 December 2010. Up to the end of March 2011, the Pact was a subject of social consultations. It was supported by a few hundred Polish artists, culture managers and animators as well as nearly 100 thousand citizens. On 14 May, at noon, in the National Museum, the agreement was signed by the government, represented by the Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, and the Citizens of Culture represented among others by: Agnieszka Holland (film director), Katarzyna Kozyra (artist), Krzysztof Warlikowski (theatre director), Krzysztof Krauze (film director), Piotr Frączak (the Polish National Federation of NGOs) and Jerzy Hausner (economist).
The signing of the Pact was widely commented on by cultural circles and media. It was emphasised that the Pact was the first social agreement between the public authorities and citizens since the August Agreements of 1980. The Prime Minister stated that "The Pact is the triumph of culture over the authorities." According to the Pact the state is obliged to ensure equal access to culture, particularly in towns and villages to prevent cultural exclusion. This requires improvement of cultural competences of the citizens as well as defending the freedom of speech and art. The government obliged itself to make works of art owned by the state accessible to a wide audience and to finance the annual purchase of copyright for especially important works in order to popularise them in the public domain.
On 5 July 2011, the Team of the Pact for Culture was established as an auxiliary body of the Prime Minister. It aims at elaboration of the implementation of the Pact for Culture. The team is conducted by Minister Michał Boni and Beata Chmiel – leader of the Citizens of Culture movement and president of National Museum in Warsaw. The team includes 6 thematic groups: on legislation and procedures, on cultural education and readership, on public media and the public sphere, on equal access to public funds, on reform of cultural institutions and on EU and EEA funds. On 16 October 2012, members of the Team of the Pact for Culture met again. During that meeting programmes and activities already started under the Pact for Culture, and those currently created, were discussed. Citizens of Culture showed that as a result of social actions on behalf of "1% for Culture" and the commitments stated in the Pact for Culture the spending on culture in the state budget increased from 2.47 billion in 2011 to 2.89 billion in 2012. Yet the state budget project for 2013 involves an increase in funding by only 42.5 million. It was agreed, among others, to extend the work of the Standing Committee and Local Government for issues related to culture and cultural education and to establish a Subcommittee on culture. Citizens of Culture also pointed out the need for changing the law concerning the management and financing of culture in Poland. The issue of the law on public media was also raised.
The most controversial statement of the Pact concerned increasing public expenditure on culture to at least 1% of the state budget. Finally the government declared that this level will be achieved in 2015, yet it is unclear how it will be counted (especially in the case of national input to projects realised with the support of EU funds). The only demand that was withdrawn before signing was to constitute the possibility of a 1% tax exemption for legal entities (CIT) for the purpose of supporting cultural activity (a similar mechanism for private persons works already for several years). Instead the government will elaborate a system for encouraging private companies to support culture.
The recent initiative of Citizens of Culture movement is called "Monitor kultury polskich miast" (Monitoring of Culture in Polish Cities). The idea is connected with the ECoC 2016 contest. According to the open letter published on 22 June 2011, the Citizens of Culture established a team to work on monitoring local authorities and supporting residents of cities nominated for the title. It will concern implementation of the projects contained in the bids.
The Pact for Culture became a basis and model for agreements between citizens and local authorities. So far agreements have been signed in Bydgoszcz, Warsaw, Cracow, Lodz, Olsztyn and Poznan also declared they will introduce similar solutions.
For more information see the official website: http://obywatelekultury.pl
The Council of Non-governmental Culture Organisations
In March 2007, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage established the Council of Non-governmental Culture Organisations. The Council is a consultative and advisory body for the Minister. The Main aims of the Council are to submit proposals and opinions on directions and collaboration forms between the Ministry and the NGOs as well as judgement of legal acts important for NGOs operating in the cultural sector. The Council is also to prepare the proposals for the use of European Funds in the culture sector. However, many NGO workers are disappointed as this body is composed of representatives of big associations representing the interests of particular creative disciplines and artistic unions. Research organisations and innovative non-governmental projects were neglected within the process of the council's establishment. The council's activity can hardly be noticed and no comprehensive information on its actions is presented by the ministerial sources.
Many non-governmental organisations and institutions act for the benefit of local societies. They aim at increasing the level of participation in culture and activation of citizens through raising awareness and knowledge as well as supporting creativity. The examples below are to show the diversity of the actions.
The Association of the Creative Initiatives "ę"
The association operates since 2002. It has implemented social projects focused on education and development of youth through art. It is active both in Warsaw and in smaller cities and villages. The association cooperates with citizens, carries out research on cultural institutions (e.g. publication "ZOOM on cultural houses") and initiates debates and discussions. It activates not only young creative people but also seniors and engages in inter-generational dialogue (e.g. project "Seniors in action").
Artnet – integration of cultural organisations
Between 1 September 2008 and 31 December 2009 the Veno's Studio, an enterprise acting in the field of cultural industries, implemented a project of the network of NGOs operating both in urban and rural areas in Śląskie Province. The project was co-founded in the framework of the European Social Fund (Human Capital Programme). It aims at increasing effectiveness of cultural organisations, especially in rural areas, in the field of equal participation in creating local and provincial cultural policy through integration, networking and professionalisation. The local trade coalition was created and connections and exchange of information between organisations were strengthened. NGO employees could benefit from training and counselling in the field of professional management.
There are multiple advocacy groups functioning in Poland, e.g.: Polish Filmmakers' Association; Polish Music Council; Polish Composers' Union; Polish Performing Artists' Union; Polish Visual Artists' Union; Polish Folk Artists' Association; Polish Writers' Union and The Authors' Society. Their main purpose is to associate artists, authors and creators of different professions, to take care of their interests, promote their branches and manage copyright issues etc.
Social Dialogue Commission for Culture in Warsaw
The Social Dialogue Commissions are created by the non-governmental organisations and the City Authorities according to the "Cooperation Programme". The role of the Commission is to act as an initiative and advisory body for City Authorities as well as opinion making for major legal acts considering the functioning of NGOs, setting up action programme priorities of collaboration between the NGOs and the City and nomination of councils' experts responsible for decisions of grants giving bodies. Participation in the Commission's meetings is open to all NGO representatives.
Department of Proposals – Brainstorming for Warsaw
In the framework of the "Warsaw under Construction" Festival, organised by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, a Department of Proposals has been established – an open session for the inhabitants of Warsaw, where participants can freely present their proposals for the city. Professionals and amateurs, activists and theoreticians, dreamers and engineers, representatives of organisations and unaffiliated enthusiasts are welcome to introduce their ideas. All proposals are considered by the participants of the Festival – including those who have real power to influence the decisions made in the city: journalists and city public servants. Meetings are held every Thursday in the Museum's auditorium.
Last update: March, 2015
Since 1998, inter-ministerial co-operation in the field of culture has been extensively organised around the programmes devoted to the preparation of Poland for EU membership. The European Committee of the Council of Ministers was formed in March 2004 to operate as a decision-making forum and is responsible for drafting EU integration policy.
There are also a few examples of other types of cooperation:
- in December 2004 the Minister of Culture and the chairman of the Central Statistical Office established a research group. The aim of the group is to carry out research of primary and secondary sources of quantitative and qualitative data for the cultural sector and to establish a methodological basis for the qualitative data of the cultural system. The National Centre for Culture is responsible for providing assistance to the group;
- another programme of interest is the campaign entitled All of Poland Reads to Kids. This programme was established by the ABCXXI – All of Poland Reads to Kids Foundation. It was launched on 1st June 2001; there is no intention to end the project. It is a nationwide project aimed at encouraging reading among children and increasing the role of literature in the process of children's mental development. The campaign has received strong support from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as well as significant media patronage and sponsorship (many well-known NGOs and public institutions are involved). The project has received a great deal of visibility thanks to strong and modern advertising opportunities in many nationwide television broadcasts and coverage in the main newspapers and periodicals; and
- in February 2009, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, and the Minister of Education, Katarzyna Hall, signed an Agreement on Cultural Education in Public Schools. According to this agreement, the programme of cultural education in schools will be enlarged and modified to make it more relevant for pupils.
- in 2010, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage started cooperating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on development of the web portal http://www.kula.gov.pl - Culture in the network for children. Both ministries share responsibility also for promotion of Poland abroad.
Last update: March, 2015
According to the Report on financing and management of cultural institutions, prepared for the Polish Culture Congress in 2009, the number of cultural institutions and entities conducting business in the sphere of culture was systematically and rapidly growing, especially in the last years (2004-2007). There were approximately 14 000 cultural institutions in 2007 – including 187 theatres, 40 of which are located in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship, including 34 in Warsaw (public and private). The sphere of culture is dominated by public entities and therefore the development of culture depends on the level of state and local allocations. A low degree of financial autonomy of cultural institutions causes their administrative dependence and politicisation. The report notes the low effectiveness of public funds spent in the sphere of culture. State funds are spent mainly on the maintenance of existing institutions rather than on creative programme activities and to a low degree are spent with a view to development and investments. Generally, the number of museums, theatres, galleries and music institutions was increasing in contrast to the number of cinemas and libraries.
Despite the observed tendencies towards commercial markets and the development of private cultural institutions, most cultural institutions are still organised by the public sector.
The latest information provided by the Central Statistics Office (CSO, Culture in 2013) states that in 2013 there were 822 museums (including branches) in Poland. The number of visitors amounted to 29 million. At the end of 2013 there were 3 901 cultural centres and establishments, clubs and community centres, 0.8% more than in the previous year. Cultural centres, clubs organised a total of 206.1 thousand events that drew 38.1 million participants. The most common were organised: lectures, meetings, lectures (19.3% of all events), performances by amateur (17.5%) and tourist events and sports facilities (10.7%). According to the data collected by the Central Statistical Office, the number of public libraries decreased in 2013 to 8 112, 0.9% less than in 2012. In comparison with the previous year, the numbers of readers in public libraries decreased to 6.4 million readers, who have made at least one borrow in a year. Data concerning theatres and music institutions reveal that 170 operated in 2013. We can observe a decreasing number of theatres and music institutions operating in their own venues, with simultaneous improvement of their infrastructure. 5 700 events were organised in 2013 (4.3% more than last year), of which 41.8% had an artistic-entertainment character. According to the data gathered by the Central Statistical Office in 2013, there were 474 cinemas operating in Poland. Cinemas operate in urban areas (the number of mobile cinemas is minimal) but the number of visitors decreased from37.5 million in 2012 to 36.9 million in 2013. Films produced in Europe accounted 34.2% of all sessions, while the Polish production - 17.9%. Polish films have accumulated an average of 26 spectators at one session, while European production - 20, and outside of Europe production - 23.
Cultural institutions are trying to adapt themselves to the new requirements of the market economy by employing professional cultural managers, setting up departments for promotion and advertising / public relations and developing activities to attract donors and sponsors. Relying on the market to generate a portion of their income, managers or directors of cultural institutions are making decisions which are influenced by economic rather than artistic objectives (goal displacement). The result is the introduction of popular repertoire, renting out space for non-artistic activities etc. Despite these efforts, cultural institutions still do not have adequate resources to remunerate talented artists with professional wage scales or to present experimental exhibitions.
According to the previously quoted publication (CSO, Culture in 2012) the cultural institutions systematically adapt their premises to the special requirements of the disabled, especially those with mobility difficulties. More and more architectural barriers are being removed. Most of the arts and entertainment institutions have been adapted for disabled people, more often wheelchair-adapted entrances (85.6%; 77.5% in 2011) than facilities inside the building (79.9%; 67.6% in 2011). In 2012, 17.2% of theatres and musical institutions were equipped with devices for audio support.
Last update: March, 2015
Table 12: Cultural institutions financed by public authorities, by domain
|Domain||Cultural institutions (subdomains)||Number (Year)||Trend (++ to --)|
|Cultural heritage||Cultural heritage sites (recognised)||46 (2011)||+|
|Museums (organisations)||822 (2013)||++|
|Archives (of public authorities)||34 (2011)||no change|
|Visual arts||Public art galleries / exhibition halls||202 (2013)||+|
|Art academies (or universities)||8 (2012)||no change|
|Performing arts||Symphonic orchestras||12 (2010)||-|
Music / theatre academies |
|11 (2011)||no change|
|Dramatic theatre||104 (2012)||+|
|Music theatres, opera houses||25 (2012)||no change|
|Dance and ballet companies||n.a.||n.a|
|Books and Libraries||Public libraries||8 112 (2013)||-|
|Audiovisual||Broadcasting organisations **||2 (2010)||no change|
|Interdisciplinary||Socio-cultural centres / cultural houses||3 870 (2012)||--|
Central Statistic Office, The activities of cultural institutions in Poland in 2010, The activities of cultural institutions in Poland in 2011 and Culture in 2013.
* There are no separate data for music schools. According to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage there are 355 public arts schools.
** Polish Public Television and Polish Public Radio are two separate public broadcasting organisations, however they consist of several channels each and numerous regional branches.
Last update: March, 2015
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 1.1 and chapter 1.2.2. 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 (http://www.mkidn.gov.pl/pages/strona-glowna/kultura-i-dziedzictwo/instytucje-kultury-w-polsce.php http://bip.mkidn.gov.pl/pages/rejestry-ewidencje-archiwa-wykazy/biuro-obslugi-prawnej.php). 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 1.4.1);
- 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 7).
- Polish Film Institute, Warsaw (see chapter 3.5.1);
- Book Institute, Warsaw (see chapter 3.5.1);
- 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 http://en.chopin.nifc.pl/institute/organization/about);
- National Heritage Board of Poland (see chapter 3.1);
- The Centre for Protection of Public Collections (see chapter 3.1);
- National Audiovisual Institute (see chapter 2.4);
- 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 http://www.e-teatr.pl, the unique Internet theatrical television http://www.e-teatr.tv and a specialised bookshop http://www.prospero.e-teatr.pl. 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 (http://www.imit.org.pl/?lang=eng) – 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 4.2.1). 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.
Last update: March, 2015
The main institutional actors in the promotion of Polish culture abroad are the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Other ministries and agencies that also play an important role in this field are the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Economy and other public or private institutions and organisations such as the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the International Centre of Culture, the Book Institute, the Polish National Tourist Office, the Polish Film Institute, and the Polish Information and Foreign Investments Agency.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs realises its tasks in the field of international cultural cooperation chiefly through the Polish Institutes based in other countries, among others: Germany (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Lipsk), France (Paris), Bulgaria (Sofia), Sweden (Stockholm), Israel (Tel Aviv), Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg), and the United States of America (New York). Co-operation is also undertaken through Polish embassies and attachés (cultural and science attachés) and the departments of the Polish Academy of Science in Berlin, Paris, Rome and Vienna.
The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are responsible for working out the priorities of foreign state cultural policy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ratifies the cultural agreements on the government level. Poland has many bilateral agreements with countries from all over the world (in October 2006 there were 68 binding agreements). The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage supervises the application of these agreements and the implementation of cultural cooperation programmes.
In the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, international cultural cooperation is the responsibility of the Department of International Relations. The main task of the Department is to coordinate international cooperation in the field of culture. It also has the role of cooperating with Polish organisations abroad and of realising international agreements. The Department also supervises the work of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the International Cultural Centre in Krakow.
- The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is a state cultural institution which aims to popularise Polish culture around the world and cooperate on cultural projects with other countries. The Institute was founded on 1 March 2000 on the basis of a directive issued by the then Minister of Culture and Art. The goal of the Institute's activity is to promote Poland abroad by popularising the historical and contemporary achievements of Polish culture, in accordance with the fundamental guidelines of Poland's foreign policy and cultural policy. From 2001-2007, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute carried out promotional projects in 25 countries, including Russia, the Benelux Countries, Spain, Austria, Sweden, France, Germany, Ukraine, Lithuania, as well as Algeria, Morocco, India and China; some of these projects will be continued in the future. In 2008/2009 the Polish Year took place in Israel and in 2009/2010 it has been organised in the UK (see Polska Year website: http://www.polskayear.pl/en/). In projects completed to date, the IAM presented more than 2 500 cultural events, watched by 14 million people. Information about these projects was published in more than 500 European and world-wide publications and electronic media. The websites run by the IAM are visited by users from more than 120 countries around the world. The total number of site visits to http://www.culture.pl since the inception of this web portal has exceeded 10 million, and the total number of site hits so far is 20 million (for more information see http://www.iam.pl/en/about-us/about-the-institute).
- The International Centre of Culture was founded on 29 May 1991 during the CSCE symposium in Cracow. This was the first meeting of the East and West dedicated to culture and cultural heritage since the memorable year of 1989. Thus, the new institution with a clear mission made its mark on the international forum from its very inception. The core ideals of the Centre are inter-cultural communication and building a common Europe which bridges political, ideological and religious divides. Projects run by the Centre revolve around such issues as: the essence of European civilisation; national stereotypes; national identity in the face of globalisation; collective memory; the multicultural character of Central Europe; Poland in Europe; cultural heritage and a new philosophy for its preservation; the concept of the historic city; culture and development; and the place of culture in society. The International Cultural Centre is an expert research institution that stages exhibitions, organises promotions, and is active in publishing and education. It successfully blends modernity with tradition, which is best exemplified by the Centre's base, the Ravens House, with its historical interiors fitted with state-of-the-art technical equipment. It is a forum where the wider public can meet scholars, artists and politicians, where young people hold debates with eminent intellectuals, and there is a dedicated space to enjoy early and modern art.(for more information see: http://www.mck.krakow.pl).
In recent years, an increasing role in cultural relations has been carried out by cultural institutions founded by local government administrations as well as NGOs. Many of these institutions help to influence and shape Polish cultural relations with other countries e.g. Nadbałtyckie Centrum Kultury in Gdańskand Ośrodek Pogranicze in Sejny (see also chapter 2.5.1).
Foreign cultural institutes such as the British Council and the Institute Français no longer play a major role as cultural operators, although they do organise a series of cultural projects which are the outcome of co-operation with Polish private and public institutions.
Some of the bilateral agreements with other countries include the promotion of film co-production. This enables film-makers, who apply for funding in the framework of bilateral co-production, to receive state support. Poland is also a party to the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production (1994) and to the EURIMAGES FUND (1988) - the Council of Europe fund for the co-production, distribution and exhibition of European cinematographic works, which has currently 32 Member States. EURIMAGES aims to promote the European film industry by encouraging the production and distribution of films and fostering co-operation between professionals.
There are no official statistics in Poland for public spending on intercultural co-operation.
Since 2006 a new operational programme established by The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage called Promotion of Polish Culture Abroad (currently Polish Culture Abroad) gives various institutions and organisations an opportunity to gain financial support for projects aimed at popularising Polish culture in other countries. In 2010, according to the Polish Presidency of the EU for 2011, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage established a new programme entitled Polish Presidency – Promesa for projects dedicated to promotion of Polish culture abroad. The Minister of Culture allocated a budget of 20 million PLN for this purpose.
Last update: March, 2015
Poland became a party to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1976. Since then it has been involved in the work of the World Heritage Committee aimed at the preservation and conservation of cultural properties. As a result of these efforts two Polish cultural and natural sites were included on the prestigious World Heritage List two years later (in 1978) - Cracow Historical Centre and Wieliczka Salt Mine. Since 2006 there are 13 Polish cultural and natural properties on the List, the latest being Hala Stulecia (Century Hall) in Wroclaw. It is a unique ferroconcrete construction designed by Max Berg in the years 1911-1913.
The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was ratified in Poland in August 2007. The convention was adopted through a simplified procedure by the government without parliamentary voting. However, the adoption of this important document hasn't been followed so far by any initiatives aimed at setting up a special coalition of politicians, artists and UNESCO national commission representatives (similar to those in Germany, Canada and Switzerland) that could contribute to and benefit from ratification of the convention within cultural circles. A delegation of the Ministry took part in the Second Ordinary Session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention (Paris, 15-17 June 2009). The Conference approved draft operational guidelines for the implementation of Articles 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17 and 18 of the Convention. In 2012 UNESCO initiated preparation of reports concerning the efforts and activities helping the preservation and promotion of culture and its forms of expression between years 2008 and 2011, in all countries that approved the Convention. The first part of the Polish report touches upon the issue of diversity of culture and its place in national cultural policy, including forming new trends, realising citizens' rights to freedom of creative activities and benefiting from cultural goods. Therefore the document applies mainly to activities of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The report focuses on such cultural policy areas as: preservation of tangible and intangible heritage, collection and presentation of museum properties, promotion of multicultural dialogue, and support for the production of cultural goods and services and shaping cultural and artistic competencies. The activities of the Polish Committee for UNESCO were also taken into account. Issues concerning preservation and promotion of cultural diversity are of course much wider than cultural policy field of interest. Culture is an important element of foreign affairs policy, racial minority policy or development policy. Those issues were raised in the following parts of the report, including the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Administration and Digitisation. The report describes also examples of civic society movements and NGO initiatives, which are crucial for the Convention. It is worth emphasising that the economic convergence, unfettered opportunity to travel, common rules in many spheres of activities in the EU countries also foster cooperation in the field of culture in the form of elimination of cultural barriers and encouraging of cross-border co-operation between cities, institutions and individual artists. Public authorities responsible for Polish international cooperation are primarily the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, together with subordinate institutions. The major international cooperation programmes held in Poland are the Eastern Partnership and ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting). The Polish Presidency within the EU Council in 2011 was also an opportunity to establish closer cooperation with artists from countries of Eastern Europe such as: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia and the Ukraine. The elaboration of the report was crucial to identify challenges for the future and indicate fields where intensified actions are required in order to popularise the Convention's guidelines. The final part of the report summarises the main achievements so far and lists the main tasks for the future.
Poland participates in the UNESCO programme Memory of the World established in 1992 aimed at preservation and dissemination of valuable archive holdings and library collections worldwide. The first meeting of the International Advisory Committee took place in 1993 in Pultusk (Poland). Currently there are 27 on-going Memory of the World Projects including Memory of Poland which contains collections registered on the world and national registers: Nicolaus Copernicus' masterpiece "De revolutionibus libri sex", the masterpieces of Fryderyk Chopin, and Warsaw Ghetto Archives (Emanuel Ringelblum Archives). The programme had its 20th anniversary in 2012. As part of the commemorations an experts' meeting was held in Warsaw, Poland, from 8th to 10th May 2012. The meeting was organised by UNESCO, hosted by the government of Poland and attended by 50 experts covering different geographic areas and professional expertise, containing a blend of representatives of the different structures of the Programme on international, regional and national levels.
In the framework of co-operation with the Council of Europe, Polish activity is aimed at the enhancement of the protection of monuments on the international level. This means comprehensive Polish involvement in some important Council of Europe projects: European Heritage Days (since 1999) and HEREIN (since 2000).
Polish presence in the Council of Europe has been strongly enhanced since its chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers from November 2004 until May 2005. Poland took the initiative to organise the opening conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the European Cultural Convention, which concluded with the adoption of the Wroclaw Declaration, acrucial document for the future of the Council of Europe-led collaboration in the areas of culture. In addition, the Third Summit of the Heads of State held in Warsaw in May 2005 adopted two important documents referring to the guidelines for future action in the area of European unity, European values and challenges for co-operation: the Warsaw Declaration and Action Plan.
Prior to taking up membership in the European Union in 2004, Poland had already participated in some of the EU funding programmes. Since EU accession, Poland has benefited from the Structural Funds.
The European Union Programme Culture 2000, which Poland joined in 2001, created the possibility for the promotion of Polish culture via multilateral co-operation with cultural organisations from other Member States. Polish participation in Culture 2000 constantly grew: in 2001 Polish operators were involved in 14 projects, with the figure rising to 46 projects in 2005 – involving 79 Polish organisations. The total EU funding for the year 2005 was 6 million EUR. According to the Polish Culture Contact Point, statistics on projects involving Polish beneficiaries in the Culture 2007 Programme, in the years 2007 – 2012, show that 154 Polish institutions and organisations took part in 163 projects. Polish representatives were leaders in 30 projects, and in the remaining 133 they were co-organisers.
In 2004, Poland was given access to the European Union Structural Funds and other aid lines. Among the 7 Operational Programmes for the years 2004-2006, the most important for Polish culture was the Integrated Regional Operational Programme – IROP (Zintegrowany Program Operacyjny Rozwoju Regionalnego - ZPORR), financed from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund. Most of the projects of national importance were realised in the framework of Priority 1 - Development and modernisation of the infrastructure to enhance the competitiveness of regions, measure for the Development of Tourism and Culture. According to the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, in the framework of IROP (measure for the Development of Tourism and Culture), in the years 2004-2006, 837 million PLN was spent on the realisation of 81 projects.
The aid lines for the years 2007-2013 are far more developed and consist of 4 National Operational Programmes, 16 regional operational programmes, the Operational Programme Development for Eastern Poland and several transnational and transregional co-operation lines. In the field of culture, the most important are the:
- Operational Programme – Infrastructure and Environment (Program Operacyjny Infrastruktura I Środowisko), financed from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund, especially priority XI – Culture and Cultural Heritage;
- Operational Programme – Human Capital (Program Operacyjny Kapitał Ludzki), financed from the European Social Fund (ESF), and
- Regional Programmes, financed from the European Regional Development Fund. The priorities and measures of these programmes vary and reflect regional needs. Each of the programmes enables realisation of cultural projects.
Poland has made great use of the EU financial support in the field of culture. Recent studies (e.g. "Culture and Structural Funds in Poland", 2012, as a part of research conducted by the European Expert Network on Culture on the commission of DG EAC) show it is the largest beneficiary of the Structural Funds in the current funding period. Moreover, with over 1 billion EUR, Poland is the country that devotes more funding to culture within the SF in absolute terms.
The Polish government, in its official statement on detailed regulations on the functioning of the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020, highlighted the necessity to supplement the domains eligible for support and investment priorities, listed in the European Commission's "Elements for a Common Strategic Framework 2014 to 2020". The new areas are: cultural heritage preservation contributing to the improvement of settlement, investment and tourist attractiveness of regions; cultural infrastructure, including cultural institutions and cultural / artistic education, in the field of both improving its previous condition and creating new buildings which guarantees the possibility of raising consumer cultural competences and constant investment in human capital; and digitalisation of cultural goods as necessary for cultural heritage preservation and its wide dissemination, including universal access to via the Internet. These proposals are strictly connected with the Polish situation and needs in the field of culture. When accessing the EU, Poland was on a different (disadvantaged) developmental stage than the so-called "old" Member States. The list of examples proving the specific situation of Poland was long. Among the most important were: long-term negligence in the area of cultural heritage protection with its great richness but also enormous needs in restoration and fatal technical condition; expanded but outdated cultural infrastructure; artistic education of good quality but without modern infrastructure; weak cultural education connected with underdeveloped cultural competences of consumers; as well as the appalling low level of digitisation in the field of culture. The Structural Funds used by Poland contributed significantly to improving this situation. Yet, there are still many things to do, especially regarding the condition of monuments, infrastructure for culture and cultural education as well as digitalisation. The development of modern cultural education (especially extramural) and consumer cultural competencies is and should be further supported by the European Social Fund.
The Polish government's reaction to the European Commission's proposals for investment in liberating an innovative approach to the creative sector instead of care for cultural heritage in the years 2014-2020, devoid of uncritical Euro-enthusiasm and protecting the previous priorities is fully justified by the situation in Poland. It is important to highlight that the meaning of the creative sector in economic development, including job creation, is not questioned. However, the above mentioned report's authors were rather moderate than enthusiastic to the idea of Structural Funds investment in the creative sector. Firstly, it is a result of insufficient diagnosis of this area as well as absence of public awareness about the socio-economic potential of the creative sector in Poland. Lack of consensus on the choice of creative sector domains, in which state intervention would be necessary, is also an extremely important issue. In order to change this situation, conducting in-depth research, promoting the results and wide consultations with potential stakeholders (public authorities, cultural institutions, artists, scientists, private entrepreneurs, NGOs) are essential. Therefore, the report suggested that the list of priority domains of investment of Structural Funds in years 2014-2020 should include also infrastructure for monitoring and research on the creative sector at the national and local level. Without this infrastructure and without research and monitoring in that field it is impossible to think seriously of efficient Structural Funds investment in the creative sector. Considering the perspective of culture and even the whole creative sector funding from the Structural Funds in the years 2014-2020, one cannot ignore the issue of the lack of systematic collecting of data on the cultural sector in Poland, including its public financing. For experts it is obvious that this information enables more efficient action, evaluation of particular investment effects, responding to threats or creating real and achievable development visions. It, however, still remains underestimated by authorities responsible for shaping cultural policy both at national and local level. Therefore, the proposal supported by the European Commission to put greater emphasis on outcome indicators rather than performance in created systems of monitoring of the Structural Funds is welcome. For more information see: http://www.eenc.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/DIlczuk-MNowak-Culture-and-the-Structural-Funds-in-Poland.pdf.
According to the information provided by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the co-financing within the priority XI – Culture and Cultural Heritage of Operational Programme – Infrastructure and Environment will reach 3.8 billion PLN by the end of 2012. By the end of 2011, 78 projects had received co-financing. 21 new and renovated premises have been supported, including the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, the Galician Market in Sanok, the Millenium Amphitheatre in Opole, and the Philharmonics in Częstochowa. In 2012, 13 projects gained co-financing in the overall amount of 176.58 million PLN.
Poland is a member of Visegrad Group (V4), which reflects the efforts of the countries of the Central European region to work together in a number of fields of common interest relating to European integration. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have historically been part of one civilisation sharing cultural and intellectual values and common roots of religious traditions which they wish to preserve and further strengthen. All the V4 countries aspired to become members of the European Union, perceiving their integration in the EU as another step forward in the process of overcoming artificial dividing lines in Europe through mutual support. They reached this aim on 1 May 2004 when they all became members of EU.
All of the activities of the Visegrad Group are aimed at strengthening stability in the Central European region. The participating countries perceive their cooperation as a challenge and its success as the best proof of their ability to integrate into structures such as the European Union. In order to support multilateral co-operation the Visegrad Fund was established in 2000. The mission of the Fund is to promote the development of closer cooperation between the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia and strengthening of ties between these states. The fund supports the development of common cultural, scientific research, and educational projects, exchanges between young people, promotion of tourism and cross-border cooperation. The budget of the Fund is created by equal annual contributions of the four Member States (for more information see: http://visegradfund.org/)
The current activity of the V4 Group in the field of culture is focused on matters connected with participation in EU bodies as well as on current issues like the protection of cultural heritage or the role and functioning of libraries. Presently, the V4 Group is seeking a platform of co-operation with partners from the Ukraine and Belarus.
Poland is also a member of Ars Baltica – created in 1989 as a forum for multilateral cultural co-operation with an emphasis on common projects within the Baltic Sea Region. It gives priority to art, culture and cultural history. The intention of Ars Baltica is to enhance cultural identity in the Baltic Sea Region and also to realise projects of European significance. Its goal is to implement common projects, with the intention that they will become regular networks of individuals and organisations. Co-operation between the members is carried out by meetings, exchanges of information and joint projects. There are 10 member countries including: Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden). A number of Polish cultural operators have been involved in projects such as the: Towns on the Baltic Coast and their Common Heritage and Baltic Culture and Tourism Fortresses' Route.
Poland is a member of CEEPUS – Central European Exchange Programme for University Studies which was established in 1993. The member states are: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, and the Ukraine. In the framework of this programme, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage supports international exchange of students of from higher arts education institutions (high schools) and provides funding for study visits.
Last update: March, 2015
Polish NGOs are the main institutions that devote attention to the issue of intercultural dialogue. Moreover, in some cases, they are more committed to the process of establishing partnerships with foreign institutions than with local governmental bodies. The project Metropolises of Europe confirms the role of NGOs (Pro Cultura Foundation in this case) in introducing and implementing modern research in the broad field of culture, including the theme of multiculturalism which seemed to be neglected in Polish cultural policy. The resulting publication entitled "Metropolises of Europe. Diversity in Urban Cultural Life" is a good example of the involvement of a Polish NGO in the subject of intercultural dialogue.
The Foundation Pogranicze (Borderland), situated in Sejny - a small town near to the Lithuanian border - provides various programmes (together with the Centre Borderland of Arts, Cultures and Nations) for students, artists, cultural activists etc. Sejny is a town where the atmosphere of multiculturalism is still vibrant (in the past it was a village inhabited by Jews, Poles, Lithuanians, Russians and Germans - a perfect example of the cultural blend that was characteristic of Poland before World War II). The Foundation is very interested in extending its projects that result in co-operation with European and world organisations involved in intercultural and trans-national issues. In June 2005, the Foundation Pogranicze was one of the co-organisers of the 2nd Colloquium of Intercultural Dialogue which took place in Tbilisi, Georgia and gathered many specialists in cultural, social and religious affairs. Sejny based institutions are very active and give support to many initiatives aimed at promoting tolerance and peaceful co-existence of many ethnic and national groups.
Since Polish accession to the EU, direct professional cooperation has been fostered. The various NGOs still play the key role, yet the participation of other entities (e.g. schools, private companies) in international cultural projects is more active. There is a visible trend in recent years for cooperation with Eastern European countries (eg. Members of the Eastern Partnership Programme) and also Middle- and Far-East countries. The Euro 2012 was an important incentive for development of cultural cooperation with Ukraine. This concerns both official programmes realised within the Culture Stadium project and private initiatives. Cultural cooperation with non-EU European countries is supported via Swiss Grants and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, which are an important source of co-financing of activities based on bilateral cooperation with Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland.