2. Current cultural affairs
Last update: March, 2015
During the first years of transformation, the cultural policy priorities have varied and were dependant on the current overall policy lines directly related to the priorities of the governing party. There have been shifts in emphasis from the protection of cultural heritage to support for contemporary creators or the economic value of culture. Often the priorities were only of a declarative character (for more information see chapter 1.1).
At the end of 2005, Michał Ujazdowski (related with the Law and Justice Party) became Minister of Culture. The name of the Ministry was changed from the Ministry of Culture to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (previously it was changed several times, corresponding to policy priorities). On the 17th of December 2005, during a press conference, the Minister presented guidelines for the cultural policy and protection of heritage programme. These were then included in a document: Policy on Support to the Field of Culture and National Heritage. The new Minister underlined the necessity of continuing the policy of his predecessor, especially as regards benefiting from the EU funds. At the same time he stressed the need to introduce a new priority into cultural policy - the broadly defined cultural heritage.
On the basis of the new guidelines, a list of priorities was created which formed the Minister's Operational Culture Programmes for 2006.
A résumé of Minister Ujazdowski's term was included in a document entitled Full-scale Patronage. Cultural Policy of the State in the Years 2005-2006. This is not a programme-shaping document; however, stress was placed on the new "patriotic" approach to national culture including traditional values, history (especially its chapters related to the struggle against foreign invasions and protection of national values) and homage to those who fought for the country's independence.
The aforementioned paper presents a rather one-sided vision of Polish cultural policies, focused on re-thinking and reformulating the image of national culture. It also illustrates a decrease in the level of decentralisation and confirms the Ministry's role as the main governing body in the field of culture.
In March 2007, "A Package for National Heritage" was introduced by the Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski, and the General Inspector of Monuments, Tomasz Merta. The project assumed a structural reform and modernisation of the conservation services, improvement of the functioning of museums, maximum usage of the EU funds in the field of culture and an increase in funds for conservation and renovation works of historic buildings.
In October 2007, the Minister of Culture succeeded to increase overall funding for culture from the state budget of 4.5 Million PLN (1.19 Million EUR). For more information see chapter 3.1.
In November 2007, Bogdan Zdrojewski (Civic Platform Party) took up position as the new Minister of Culture and National Heritage. He has introduced significant changes to the operational programmes including shortening the list of priorities and amended the application regulations. The yearly updated operational programmes can be viewed at the Ministry's web site (http://www.mkidn.gov.pl/pages/strona-glowna/finanse/programy-ministra/programy-mkidn-2011.php).
Since taking office, the Minister has started to prepare a reform of Polish cultural policy. As part of this process, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage organised the Congress of Polish Culture in Krakow in September 2009, the sixth edition since 1910, which involved artists, academics and politicians in a debate on the development of Polish culture. In preparation for the Congress, fifteen research groups were commissioned to prepare reports on various fields of culture – from financing to promotion of Polish culture abroad. The conclusions of the reports were presented during the Congress. The main reservations towards the reports concerned the substantive value and research methodology. Furthermore, the reports were a one-off action; there are no plans to draw up reports on the condition of Polish culture regularly, which would make future comparisons possible. Nevertheless, many of the reports are quoted here.
Apart from the animation of the cultural circles, which insist vociferously on systematic reform in the field of culture and understand the economic value of culture and its industries, the proposal to amend the existing Act on Conducting and Organising of Cultural Activity became the main substantial result of the Congress. The amendment to the Act was signed on the 31 of August 2011. The main changes introduced are: creation of "artistic institutions" (dealing with performing arts) as a special kind of cultural institution and introduction of new rules for the appointment of directors. The amendment removes the possibility of appointing the directors for an indefinite period, specifies procedures for conducting a contest for the position and conditions of appointment of a director without a contest. Also, it allows the concept of artistic season to be the basis for the organisation and implementation of the tasks of the arts and the ability to entrust the management of cultural institution to a legal or physical person. It also allows combining different forms of activities in a single cultural institution (e.g. merging a library with a culture house).
The priority in 2010 in the field of culture was celebrations of the Year of Fryderyk Chopin where total outlays come to 146.8 million PLN. The Ministry of Culture was also a leader in using EU funds. Over 34 agreements have been signed for an amount of 2 billion PLN, including 1.15 billion PLN from the European Regional Development Fund. Poland is also the biggest beneficiary of the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norway Financial Mechanism; 87.7 million EUR was dedicated to investments in the field of culture.
In 2010, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage has recognised, as a main task, for the coming years a sweeping change for the way in which culture is perceived as unprofitable, anachronic and concentrated mainly at the preservation of cultural heritage. One of the tools here is the campaign led by the National Cultural Centre entitled Culture Counts! (Kultura się liczy!). It is aimed at increasing social awareness of the meaning of culture and its pro-development potential. The Ministry of Culture will also focus on the issue of digitalisation, cultural education and development of cultural institutions, especially libraries and cultural houses.
The year 2011 was dominated by the Polish Presidency in the EU Council so the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage realised the double task of:
- being responsible for preparation and implementation of actions in the field of culture, audiovisual issues and copyright; and
- coordinating the national and international cultural programme of the Polish Presidency.
The cultural programme constitutes an integral part of every presidency. Cultural events are dedicated to a wide audience at home and abroad. They also accompany the official meetings. The Ministry appointed two institutions responsible for preparation and realisation of the cultural programme: on the national level – the National Audiovisual Institute, and on the international level – the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Among the most important events of the Polish Presidency were:
- a conference on the "Eastern Dimension of Mobility" (Warsaw, 6-7 July 2011) organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Sport and Tourism, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the European Commission, devoted to the Eastern Partnership (more information: http://www.eap-mobility.pl/en/);
- an experts' conference on "Competences in Culture" (Warsaw, 18-20 July 2011) dedicated to the priorities of the Ministry of Culture in the field of culture, audiovisual issues and copyright (more information: http://www.competencesinculture.pl/en/about-conference);
- a European Congress of Culture (Wroclaw, 8-11 September 2011) which was both the culminating point of the cultural programme of the Polish Presidency and an opportunity for deep reflection on culture. During the congress, an informal meeting of European ministers responsible for culture and audiovisual matters took place (more information: http://www.culturecongress.eu/english/home).
In particular the last event, the European Congress of Culture, aroused interest among Polish and foreign media. The slogan of the Congress was: "Art for Social Change". The statistics of the Congress are impressive: 15 000 accredited participants, 500 curators of artistic events, 200 000 viewers, 126 accredited journalists, 100 NGOs from all over Europe. The special guest giving an opening lecture was Zygmunt Bauman. He said that "culture is the most important element of social capital of modern Europe and a source of needed change". Bauman talked also about multiculturalism, a necessity of cultivation acceptance attitudes and inclusion especially in the context of financial crisis. The panel discussions presented two visions of culture: as a branch of the economy, used for revitalisation of public spaces, building the image of a city and growth stimulation; and as critical or rebellious, with the ambition of inspiring civil consciousness and engagement of audiences. It is worth mentioning that the opinions assessing the level of discussion were diverse.
New plans of the Ministry for the next 4 years were outlined in November 2011 and include the aforementioned most important and most costly investments (such as II WW Museum, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Shakespeare's Theatre, etc.). The Minister stated that this period will be a very good time for music due to investments in infrastructure which will enable us to make up for the last 50 years. Moreover, in 2012 a new educational portal "Muzykoteka" will be launched. The Minister committed himself to supporting so called small pacts for culture signed on the local level (for more information see chapter 1.2.5).
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Last update: March, 2015
Libraries quickly acknowledged that the new technologies would be able to reduce their costs and increase the public's access to their collections. A standard classification system (MARC 21) was introduced in 1993 which helped to harmonise the different library catalogues and to facilitate the exchange of data between different libraries.
There are around 100 out of 1 200 scientific and academic libraries providing their catalogues via the Internet in Poland. The central catalogue run by the Library of Warsaw University currently has more than 500 000 records, including 50 000 in the Kaba language, which are compatible with the US Library of Congress Subject Headings.
State support for the development of widespread access to the Internet is deployed through measures such as a reduced 7% VAT rate for Internet connections (the basic VAT rate is 22%) and education programmes introduced at the school level.
In December 2003, the Ministry of Scientific Research and Information Technology in co-operation with other ministries drew up a Strategy for the Introduction of Information Technology in the Republic of Poland 2004-2006 – ePolska; a document based on the EU initiative eEurope. A number of activities have been foreseen within the framework of the Strategy, some of which are aimed at ensuring access of citizens to the new information and communication technology in the field of culture. More specific references have been made to:
- digitalisation and publishing of collections on the Polish Internet Library;
- digitalisation of cultural goods and access to databases on the Internet; and
- introduction of terrestrial digital broadcasting in Poland (preparation of amendments to the Broadcasting Act).
In December 2008, the Ministry of Interior and Administration prepared a document on The Strategy for Development of the Information Society in Poland until 2013. Objectives of the strategy include reforming the Polish education system, equipping schools with computers, enabling election voting via the Internet, improving the operation of the emergency number 112, health care computerisation, digitisation of libraries and museums and the implementation of e-services in public administration.
In May 2009, the government accepted the project of amending the Act on Informatisation of Activity of Entities Realising Public Tasks. Proposed regulations are aimed at facilitating electronic contact with the administration structures. In administrative proceedings, documents in electronic form will have the same power as a paper document. Adoption of amendments to the Act is one of the recommendations of the Interdepartmental Team for the Implementation of the Digital Poland Programme, set up by the Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, at the end of 2008.
On 6 August 2009, an agreement on the Programme of Computers for Polish Public Libraries was signed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Interior and Administration, the President of Polish Telecom and the Chairman of the Foundation for the Development of the Information Society. According to the agreement, the TP Group is obliged to provide municipal and communal public libraries and their branches with free connection to the Internet. All libraries will be exempt from license fees for three years, the duration of this agreement. The Polish Programme of Polish Public Libraries' Computerisation is the best example of co-operation of government institutions, NGOs and the private sector for the development of an information society in Poland.
According to the Report on Digitisation of Polish cultural resources (prepared for the Congress of Polish Culture 2009), the digital resources of State Archives are calculated at approximately 3 million scans, libraries - 300 thousand library units (ca. 1915-1917 million scans), museums - about 300 thousand reproductions.
The most important initiatives of digitisation in Poland include the following projects: National Digital Library Polona and the Polish Internet Library; Digital Archive of Historical Polish Literature; Polish Digital Libraries Consortium and Digital Libraries Federation and National Digital Archives.
Moreover, the National Audiovisual Institute is operating since 2009 (for more information on its mission and activity see http://www.nina.gov.pl/en/nina).
The work of digitalisation in Poland is characterised by fragmentation and a lack of coordination of the initiatives undertaken. The reasons for this situation include, inter alia, lack of funding of digitisation at the central level, low levels of awareness on the importance of digitisation of Polish cultural goods among the administrators of the memory institutions, and lack of awareness of the importance of collecting and permanent storage of digital documents for Polish heritage. Moreover, most cultural institutions are not able to finance the laboratory equipment and digitisation from their own budgets, which is why these works are financed on an ad hoc basis, from the structural funds, targeted subsidies or international projects, which does not provide them with continuity and sustainability. Central coordination of the digitisation process is particularly important for libraries, since there is a danger of digitising the same documents in different centres.
One of the obstacles that complicate the process of sharing digital documents in archives and library websites is the limitations of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, database protection and others. Therefore it seems necessary to modify the existing provisions or create new legal provisions, as well as to popularise the free licenses for the non-exclusive digital publications and to post documents on the Creative Commons license type, developed specifically for the Internet.
In September 2009 the Programme on digitalisation of cultural goods and collecting, preserving and popularising digital objects in Poland in the years 2009-2020 was elaborated. According to that document, the main tasks for the years 2009-2020 are development, protection and ensuring access to Polish digital resources. It demands legislative changes, e.g. in the Act on the Obligatory Library Copies or Copyright.
In 2010, the so-called Lost Museum (Muzeum Utracone) started to operate. During World War II, Poland irretrievably lost over 70% of its material cultural heritage. Following the war, the listing of 516 000 stolen works of art took into account only the most valuable collections in just a few provinces (Voivodeships). The project aims to explore new ways of presenting knowledge about Polish war losses in the field of cultural goods. The website http://www.muzeumutracone.pl will be a virtual museum where lost and stolen objects will be exhibited.
In January 2012, the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, announced that within four years Poland will create a digital public domain which will be a complete public cultural resource and will contain an explanation of copyright issues. The aim is to be one of the first five countries with such a domain.
Regardless of the above mentioned documents emphasising the significance of new technologies for the country's development, Poland is still below the European Union average for development of its information infrastructure. In 2008, Eurostat, in cooperation with the EU statistics offices, published the results of research on the utilisation of information and telecommunications technology in households in Europe. Parallel research was carried out in all EU countries, which in Poland was completed by the Central Statistics Office (GUS). In 2007, 30% of households in Poland had access to broadband Internet. The Internet is used mainly by young people. Less than half of Poles aged between 25 and 54 admit to network activity while the situation for the elderly is much less, at 10%. Less than 50% of Poles know how to use search engines, only a third can send e-mail messages and 7% of Poles know how to create a Web page.
Last update: March, 2015
There are no specific state programmes to support trans-national intercultural dialogue. Some of the activities in this field are covered by the Euroregions. In Poland, there are 18 Euroregions. These are:
- Nysa (1991, Czech Republic, Germany and Poland);
- Sprewa-Nysa-Bóbr (1993, Poland and Germany);
- Pro Europa Viadrina (1993, Poland and Germany);
- Pomerania (1995, Poland, Germany, Sweden);
- Niemen (1997 , Poland, Lithuania, Belarus);
- Glacensis (1996, Czech Republic, Poland);
- Karpacki (1993, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania);
- Tatry (1994, Poland, Slovakia);
- Bug (1995, Poland, Ukraine);
- Pradziad (1997, Poland, Czech Republic);
- Bałtyk (1998, Poland, Lithuania, Sweden);
- Śląsk cieszyński (1998, Poland and Czech Republic);
- Silesia (1998, Poland and Czech Republic);
- Beskidy (2000, Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic);
- Dobrawa (2001, Poland and Czech Republic);
- Puszcza Białowieska (2002, Poland and Belarus);
- Szeszupa (2003, Poland, Lithuania, Russia and Sweden); and
- Łyna-Ława (2003, Poland and Russia).
The activities in the scope of trans-national intercultural dialogue on the local level are partially covered by the Town-twinning programmes and municipality networks such as Eurocities or BaltMet.
Polish NGOs are very active in cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation. One great example is the Other Space Foundation, based in Warsaw, which has the objective of providing a new space for social and artistic expression. The Foundation implements and runs innovative cultural and artistic projects as well as social projects, in the attempt to make real change in Poland and various corners of the world. The Foundation is permanently involved in the implementation of such programmes as the portal "Continent Warsaw" - Warsaw of Many Cultures, The Tibetan Programme (http://ratujtybet.org), and Transkaukazja Festivals (http://transkaukazja.pl). The Foundation conducts a number of actions on behalf of various ethnic minority groups living in Warsaw and realises some unconventional projects inspired by the history of Warsaw (see also the Foundation's web page: http://www.przestrzen.art.pl).
Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
Intercultural dialogue is becoming more and more identified as one of the priorities of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. Up to now, a lot of work undertaken on issues of dialogue with recognised national and ethnic minority groups has been done through local organisations and institutions.
The majority of activities in the field of intercultural dialogue were connected to the celebrations of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (EYID) in 2008. The National Centre for Culture, which elaborated a document entitled The Strategy of Poland for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, was the coordinator of the celebrations. Within the framework of the official celebrations of the EYID, 13 projects and 78 events were realised.
The National Centre for Culture also runs an official website of the celebrations of the EYID in Poland (http://www.dialog2008.pl).
The celebrations were summarised during a two day conference held in February 2009 in Warsaw. EYID is the only clear initiative at the national level and it is unclear whether it will be continued.
Government's overall approach to intercultural dialogue
Last update: March, 2015
The official Polish educational system does not cover issues related to intercultural dialogue and multiculturalism. However, many smaller-scale initiatives are undertaken in this field (usually by NGOs and independent institutions). In 2002, the group Wielokulturowo.pl, which is a part of the KONTEKST society, carried out a cycle of meetings and workshops to sensitise students of particular schools in Warsaw to the issue of intercultural dialogue.
In many respects Poland seems to be a culturally homogenous country. However, the subject of interculturalism has been seriously neglected in national education. Still, being a part of the larger multicultural European community should encourage educational authorities to incorporate such topics in school curricula. Some elements of intercultural education have been introduced into teaching programmes in the regions which have a significant number of students with origins other than Polish. These programmes are mainly based on national and ethnic identity (as defined by law – see chapter 2.6) and do not address or draw attention to other aspects such as dialogue with new immigrant groups, actions aimed at combating xenophobia, racism and lack of tolerance, etc.
The question of interculturalism in arts and cultural education is pointedly connected with the issue of mobility. Schools and universities which participate in European programmes like Socrates etc., have made a notable contribution to the process of modernisation of Polish education. Activities concerning multilingualism, tolerance etc., as well as creative actions related to such issues become more and more popular among students from all types of educational institutions. The growing popularity of intercultural activities facilitates and increases the possibilities of gaining financial, technical and content related support from various institutions.
One can observe an increase of interest in intercultural issues among students and teachers.
Last update: March, 2015
The Polish audiovisual market model is based on three categories of broadcasting: public service broadcasters, licensing - social broadcasters, and licensing - commercial broadcasters.
According to the report on the Situation of the Polish Audiovisual Media in 1989-2008, prepared for the Polish Culture Congress 2009, in terms of popularity, the Polish market is dominated by commercial radio stations. The television market is divided between the public broadcaster TVP and two commercial television stations: Polsat and TVN. Public television offers nationwide and regional programmes operating under the name TVP INFO (16 regional centres). Additionally, TVP offers four satellite channels: TVP Polonia (for Poles living abroad), TVP Kultura (culture channel), TVP Historia (history channel), TVP Sport (sports channel) and TVP HD. According to the report Social Diagnosis 2009, less than 50% of Poles had cable or satellite television, therefore only two basic channels TVP1 and TVP2 as well as TVP INFO have nationwide range. Other channels can be viewed only via the digital platforms and cable networks, so their range and influence is limited.
TVP Kultura channel was launched on 24th April 2005. It is aimed at the promotion of various cultural activities, including non-commercial artistic projects. The half of the channel's broadcast material is based on Polish Public Television's (TVP) archival programmes. The rest consists of programmes bought from foreign broadcasting companies (35%), e.g. Arte television and TVP Kultura's own productions (15%). TVP Kultura does not attract huge audiences. TVP Kultura is a satellite and cable television station and it is accessible to approximately 4 million people in Poland. In September 2006 TVP Kultura won the Hot Bird Award for the best European satellite thematic channel in the category of culture and education, beating Deutsche Welle and Rai Sat Nettuno.
Public radio and television are mainly financed from public funds – licence fees and budget subsidies. Advertising is an additional source of financing although some restrictions regarding public media are present.
There is a visible decrease in the number of radio and TV subscribers, which reduces the income from licence fees. According to data provided by the Central Statistical Office, in 2008 the number of radio subscribers equalled 7.3 million, while the number of TV subscribers was 7.1 million, relatively less than in 2007. The collection of fees is also problematic which led to the decision to stop the system of fees and to fund public radio and TV from the state budget. However public funding carries the risk of being dependent on the political situation and makes long-term planning difficult. In 2008, the Parliament adopted a new Media Law, although it was vetoed by the President and it did not enter into force. The new law had intended to change the rules for managing the public media in order to make them less politically dependent; however some of the regulations were considered as controversial by the opposition, hence the veto. In 2010, the new Media Law was been voted on by the Parliament and accepted by the new President, Bronisław Komorowski (for more information see chapter 4.2.6).
The major responsibilities of the National Broadcasting Council are set out in the Broadcasting Act and are twofold: to award broadcasting frequencies to public radio and television stations and to share income from the license fees between different public broadcasters. The National Broadcasting Council is also obliged to design, in consultation with the Prime Minister, state policy in the field of broadcasting. In 2005, the National Broadcasting Council created a document Strategy of the Polish State in the Field of Electronic Media for the years 2005-2020.
The supervision of the National Broadcasting Council does not prevent the politicisation of public media. A strong political influence on Polish public broadcasting institutions is very visible and commonly discussed.
Several complaints against public broadcasters have been issued which argue that they do not fulfil their public function to support independent and ambitious producers or young creators.
Anti-monopoly actions lie in the competence of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. All projects that fall under this jurisdiction must be notified to the Competition Office if the applicant had an annual turnover of more than 50 000 EUR in the previous budgetary year. Under the Broadcasting Act (1992), the Head of the National Broadcasting Council can refuse to grant a license to a broadcaster who might dominate the market. Nevertheless, media concentration remains a topic of animated debate.
In 1995, the Media Ethics Charter was adopted and in 1996 the Conference of Polish Media established the Media Ethics Council. It consists of representatives of journalist organisations, press publishers, and radio and television broadcasters. The members of the Media Ethics Council are elected by the Conference of Polish Media by vote (determined by the majority) for a period of two years. The principle exists that the Council cannot be composed of individuals performing political functions. The Council cannot impose any sanctions but it is authorised to make announcements and statements in cases of breaking the ethical rules and standards in media. The Council also acknowledges complaints from customers. According to the authors of "The Report on Audiovisual Media" (prepared for the Congress of Polish Culture 2009), in most cases, the Council represents a conservative voice, or proposes a kind of "Solomon's court" - but it becomes unnecessary baggage for journalists forced to take immediate decisions. The weakness and helplessness (as well as the environmental shortcomings in recognition) of the Council and Conference of Polish Media is accompanied by numerous disagreements in the professional organisations of journalists.
The Press Freedom Monitoring Centre, operating within the Polish Journalists Association, defends the freedom of information in media.
In May 2005 the Council of Ministers accepted the document The Strategy of Transition from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television on the basis of which the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting begun. There are 3 digital platforms planned (multiplexes). The first stage of converting the signal from analogue to digital began in 2010 and finished in November 2012. The other two platforms will be introduced gradually and the whole process is due to finish by April 2014.
Despite the dynamic development in the field of accessibility to the Internet, Poland still faces the problem of digital exclusion. In developing infrastructure to deliver broadband Internet, Poland, in particular the eastern Polish provinces, lags behind the rest of Europe. The problem is also lack of media education, which could prepare young people to be more critical and conscious as well as creative and active in using media, especially new technologies.
Last update: March, 2015
The official national language is Polish. The national interest in protecting the Polish language was expressed through the adoption of The Polish Language Act in 1999 (see also chapter 4.1.8).
The Polish education system guarantees the right to learn minority languages as mother tongues, since a Decree of the Ministry of National Education and Sport on 3 December 2002. Learning a minority language or being taught through a minority language is available at all levels of education and is organised by school directors at the request of parents or legal guardians of a pupil (for older youth - at the request of the student). A minimum of seven pupils is required at primary level to hold a class in a minority language, and 14 students at secondary level. Minority language teaching is financed from the state budget. National and ethnic minorities and the Kashubian community benefit from increased educational subsidies in accordance with a Decree of the Minister of National Education and Sport from 21 December 2006, on the allocation of the overall education subsidy to local governments in 2007.
On 12 February 2009, Poland ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The Convention entered into force on 1st June 2009.
There is currently no debate on minority languages in Poland. Particular projects focused on sustaining minority traditions and languages are financially supported by the Ministry of Culture, for example the publication of periodicals. However, it is worth noticing that a growing minority in Poland are the Vietnamese, which are still not legally recognised as a minority.
Last update: March, 2015
There is a relatively high degree of feminisation in public sector cultural professions. However, there are still few women holding executive posts and there are no special programmes to promote the position of woman in the cultural sector.
Below is an overview of the share of women working in public culture sector. These figures represent the total number of women working in 5 specific sectors of professions as defined by the Central Statistical Bureau:
- activities connected with film and video (92.1);
- radio and television activities (92.2);
- other artistic activities and entertainment (92.3);
- information agencies (92.4); and
- activities of libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural activities (92.5).
Table 2: Share of women working in the public cultural sector, 1995, 1998 and 2000
|Year||Total number of employees||% share of women|
Source: Data from Central Statistical Office (GUS).
The figures indicate a high percentage of women working in these fields and show that in terms of numbers their position has remained steady since the mid-1990s.
Two women have held the office of Minister of Culture since 1989: Izabella Cywińska (12th September 1989 -14th December 1990) and Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa (31st October 1997 – 25th March 1999).
This information will be published as soon as possible.
Last update: March, 2015
In Poland there are 13 national and ethnic minorities recognised by law. They constitute between 3 and 4% of the Polish population. The representatives of national minorities are: Germans, Ukrainians, Ormians, Belarussians, Russians, Latvians, Slovaks, Jews and Czechs. In Poland, there are also representatives of four ethnic minorities: Karaims, Łemkowie, Roma and Tatars. In addition, some areas of Pomorskie Voivoideship are inhabited by the Kashubian community, speaking the regional language. Polish law defines in detail the rights of national and ethnic minorities.
Article 35 of the Polish Constitution ensures that national and ethnic minorities retain freedom to practice their own traditions and customs, and to use their national language.
The National and Ethnic Minorities and Regional Languages Act was adopted by the Polish Parliament on 6th January 2005. This is the first legal document that gives a precise definition of national and ethnic minorities in Poland. This Act describes "national minorities" as those groups who identify themselves with an established country / nation i.e., Germans, Ukrainians, Jews etc. It also defines "ethnic minorities" as those who do not have their own country – those who are state-less such as the Roma people. Other points of the legal definition are common for both types of minorities.
This Act is perceived as controversial by many experts, politicians and social activists. Some of its items provoked a discussion about the situation of new minorities e.g. the Vietnamese. The National and Ethnic Minorities and Regional Languages Act emphasises that a foreign community can only be recognised as a national and ethnic minority if its ancestors had lived in Poland for at least a hundred years. Currently, the Vietnamese are a significant and continually increasing community in major Polish cities. They do not, however, enjoy equal rights with other, officially acknowledged minorities. The law has been criticised for not including such communities.
The only minority group with parliamentary representation are the Germans (two deputies in the Lower Chamber). Other communities have their representatives in local governments. In a few communes in various regions of the country, German and Lithuanian obtained a status of "auxiliary languages" and public information is published both in Polish and German or Lithuanian.
Other examples of locally supported activities are: the protection of cultural monuments representing minorities, inventory and restoration of Jewish cemeteries and the conservation of icons and polychrome in Orthodox churches located in Sanok and Komańcza. The 2005 National and Ethnic Minorities and Regional Languages Act foresees concentration of all these issues, including cultural matters, within the competence of a Minister responsible for religious, national and ethnic minority affairs.
Until the law changed in 2005, the competences in the implementation of state policy towards national and ethnic minorities were dispersed between the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. The Ministry of the Interior and Administration coordinated all the activities. The National and Ethnic Minorities and Regional Languages Act finally regulated the competence and responsibilities of the state administration towards national and ethnic minorities, pointing out that the authority competent in matters covered by the Act is the Ministry of Interior and Administration, the Department of Denominations and National and Ethnic Minorities.
Last update: March, 2015
In the National Strategy for Cultural Development 2004-2007 there were no direct references to the issue of social cohesion. Indirectly, this issue is addressed in the main goal of the Strategy – the balanced development of culture in the regions. Another document of the Ministry of Culture, the Supplement to the NSCD 2004-2020, touches on the issue of building a community support system including the assurance of local assistance for those people who experience or are threatened by exclusion.
In 2009, a report on "Poland 2030. Developmental challenges" has been issued by the Team of Strategic Advisors of the Prime Minister. The scientific editor of the paper is Michał Boni, who took up the post of Minister of Administration and Digitisation in November 2011. The document outlines the vision of possible development paths for Poland in the next 20 years. Referring to the already completed transformation process in Poland, and showing the possibility of further modernisation, the study shows dilemmas to be jointly resolved in the near future, particularly in the areas of economic, social, infrastructure, energy security and efficient management of the state. One of the crucial areas indicated in the report is the further development of social and creative capital of Poland.
The report lists 10 important challenges to be faced by Poland over the next two decades: growth and competitive edge of the economy, demographic developments, high professional activity and adaptability of labour resources, adequate infrastructural potential, energy and climatic safety, knowledge-based economy and development of intellectual capital, solidarity and regional cohesion, enhancement of social cohesion, efficient state, and an increase in social capital. The report analyses the current situation of Poland in areas such as: country development, economic growth, the situation of Poles and the Polish position on the economic and social map of Europe. It identifies the directions of state policy in order to meet the challenges of development. It also identifies the path of sustainable development of the country by polarisation and a diffusion model. By 2012, the Team of Strategic Advisors of the Prime Minister published 11 more reports concerning issues discussed in "Poland 2030. Developmental challenges" such as: innovation, the labour market and the development of the Polish and European (world) economy, education, science and more.
Within the next years the management of Poland's development is to be realised with the support of a system of planning documents created by a Long-term Strategy of Country Development (until 2030), a Midterm Strategy of Country Development (until 2020) and 9 integrated strategies. One of these is The Strategy for Social Capital Development, coordinated by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The actions within the Strategy are aimed at supporting active citizenship, encouraging cooperation and enhancing the creativity of Poles, which is extremely important for the cultural sector as a whole.
The Act on Public Benefit Activity and Voluntary Work adopted in April 2003 provided a legal framework for funding activities of NGOs that are subsidised by public funds. It defines a volunteer as a person who is engaged voluntarily and without remuneration in work for society, NGOs and various institutions engaged in different social areas.
The report "Voluntary Work, Philanthropy and 1% - report from research, 2007", published in November 2008 by the Klon / Jawor Association, shows that in 2007 only 11.3% (that is about 4 million) of adult Poles were engaged in voluntary work. This figure is more than 10% less than in 2006. About 68% of volunteers worked over 5 hours per day. It is less than in previous year. In 2008, about 20% of volunteers declared working in more than one organisation, while in 2007 the figure was 40%. Volunteers worked mainly in charity organisations and groups, religious and parish organisations, organisations and groups active in the field of education and upbringing and the Volunteer Fire Brigade, Volunteer Mountain Rescue (GOPR) and Volunteer Lifeguards (WOPR). Most volunteers have a higher degree of education (generally, the higher the education, the greater the activity). The research confirms that most volunteers are aged between 15 and 19 years old (pupils and students). The inhabitants of rural areas are also often involved in volunteer work.
The above mentioned research also embraced the issue of philanthropy. In 2008, 28% of adult Poles granted financial or in-kind support to NGOs and social or religious movements. This is slightly more than in 2007. Poles support mainly charity organisations (11.6%), humanitarian aid organisations (7.7%), religious and parish organisations and movements (5.4%). In general, people with higher education, aged between 26 and 45 years of age, are the most engaged in philanthropic activities.
According to the Klon / Jawor Association's research from 2010, there are 12 000 foundations and 71 000 associations in Poland. Nearly one third (31%) of them are interested in culture and art and 14% operate mainly in this field of activity. Almost half involve theatrical, musical or cinematic activities; slightly less operate in the field of visual arts, painting, sculpture, photography and architecture; one third focuses on national and regional traditions, monuments and places of memory or they run museums. Cultural organisations are also active in other fields, such as: education, sport, recreation and local development.
Table 1: Main fields of activity for NGOs in Poland 2004-2010
|Sport, tourism, recreation, hobbies||39%||39%||38%||36%|
|Culture and art||12%||13%||13%||14%|
|Social services, welfare||10%||10%||11%||7%|
Source: Basic facts on nongovernmental organisations 2010, report by Klon / Jawor (2011).
The cultural non-governmental sector is mainly concentrated in big cities – almost half of NGOs operate in the past or present provincial cities (15% in Warsaw). At the same time, 22% of cultural organisations operate in rural areas.
Cultural organisations have rather small budgets: the average income per year is 13 000 PLN, while the average budget for the entire Polish non-governmental sector is 20 000 PLN. There are huge differences between NGOs in rural and urban areas: the average budget of a cultural organisation in a village is only a few thousand, while in towns the figure is close to 20 000 PLN (and in the capital city exceeds 30 000 PLN). The budget of cultural NGOs in 2009 was based on public funds (42%) and donations, 1% of income taxes (17%) and membership's fees (15%). Nearly one-third of organisations applied for EU financial support in the past two years via projects – about a half with success, and two thirds intend to apply in the future.
The financial situation probably results in only 14% of cultural NGOs having permanent workers and another 23% are contract workers. A significant percentage of employees working in cultural NGOs have higher education degrees and the majority of them are women (there appears to be a feminisation trend among those working for cultural NGOs).
Foundations and associations which represent this sector more often join international networks and federations and also co-operate with foreign partners. Still, cultural organisations' main partners are local communities and authorities as well as public institutions. Cultural NGOs maintain frequent contacts and co-operation with the media which is not characteristic for the entire sector. Only 16% declare frequent and regular cooperation with other NGOs and only 22% are members of national associations of nongovernmental organisations.
This information will be published as soon as possible.
Last update: March, 2015
The debate that took place in Poland in 2002 was one of the first attempts in years to undertake a wide public discussion on comprehensive changes in the field of culture. On the 6th of April, the debate "Chance for Culture" was held in the Warsaw Castle with the participation of the Prime Minister, the Marshal of the Parliament (Sejm), representatives of the President, the Minister of Culture and members of the artistic community. The main issue of debate was the programme introduced by Andrzej Celiński (Minister of Culture) concerning organisational and financial changes to the cultural sector.
The theoretical background of the proposed ministerial programme was brought about through a set of reports concerning the organisational and financial system of managing culture in Poland. Dorota Ilczuk (the Jagiellonian University) and Wojciech Misiąg (Gdansk Institute of Market Economies) were the authors of the complex reform project including: new sources of financing, the role and tasks of the government, creating conditions to encourage the private sector to finance culture and proposals for new legislation regarding cultural activities.
Andrzej Celiński ran his term of office and left the Ministry in July 2002. The main financial instrument emerging from the report to be realised in 2002 was the proposal to use lottery funds for cultural purposes. Indirectly - through the Act on Public Benefit Activity and Voluntary Work - the 1% principle of tax for public benefit purposes (including cultural ones) was implemented - although it only refers to non-governmental organisations. Work on legislation regarding cultural activities was suspended.
The year 2003 brought an intensified interest, among those working within the culture sector, in Poland's accession to the EU and its influence on the development of Polish culture. At that time, it was the private sector that came forward to meet the expectations of the cultural community. The Polish Confederation of Private Employers, and its Culture and Business Working Group, organised a debate entitled "The European Union and Culture: Is it really only about money?" held at the Warsaw Castle on the 14th of May 2003. The goal of the debate was to find out what kind of help can be expected from the EU, but also, how the culture sector will have to adjust to the EU. Experts from many EU countries, representatives of the president's office and of the Ministry of Culture as well as representatives from the cultural community took part in the debate. Shortly afterwards, the Minister of Culture created a new post to deal with structural funds and appointed a Task Force for Structural Funds (within the National Cultural Centre).
The year 2004 was dominated by public interest in the National Strategy for the Development of Culture (2004-2007) prepared by the Ministry of Culture. During conferences and seminars, discussions were held on the aims of the Strategy and its potential effectiveness. Attention was drawn to its implementation (or lack of it) and to modern civilisation challenges, especially issues concerning the building of an information society.
In 2006, the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage successfully proposed to change the official name of the former Nazi concentration camp situated in Oświęcim (formerly Auschwitz). In March 2006, an official motion was presented to UNESCO and it was finally accepted at the organisation's session in Wellington, New Zealand in 2007. Since then the official name of the Nazi camp is: the Former Nazi German Concentration Camp Auschwitz – Birkenau. The Ministry's action was carried out in reaction to a number of articles in the foreign press where Nazi camps existing on the territory of Poland during the World War II were dishonestly named "Polish".
The year 2009 will be remembered as the year of the Congress of Polish Culture (for more information on that event see chapter 2.1).
The debate of the Congress also concerned financing of culture. The social initiative Citizens of Culture (Obywatele Kultury) made an appeal to the Prime Minister to designate 1% of the state budget for culture at the disposal of the Minister of Culture (for more information chapter 1.2.5). The government's commitment to this fund was included in the Pact for Culture signed on 14 May 2011 and was concluded between the Council of Ministers of Republic of Poland represented by the Prime Minister and the social side represented by the Citizens of Culture (for further information see chapter 1.2.5).
On June 21st 2011, Wroclaw was appointed as European Capital of Culture for 2016. 5 cities took part in the final selection (Gdańsk, Katowice, Lublin, Warszawa and Wrocław). The competition provoked a nationwide debate on local cultural policies and their directions. It also forces candidate cities into long-term planning in the field of culture.
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement provoked a heated discussion about copyright. Although Bogdan Zdrojewski, Minister of Culture and National Heritage, stated that ratification of ACTA by Poland will not influence the existing legal system, it met with great reluctance. The probability of signing the agreement by the Polish government resulted in strong social support for the Anonymous Group among Polish Internet users, who feared restrictions on freedom of expression and other rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Poland. There have been cases of virtual attacks on government websites. Numerous protests took place, of which the largest was held in Krakow, with about 15 000 protesters. During the vote in the European Parliament on ACTA, all Polish MEPs present at the vote spoke against it.
City of Warsaw
Although cultural policy on the central level is still under debate, there are visible trends to set up coherent and long term policies at local levels. Warsaw is a good example in this case. It is possible that after the acceptance of the "Warsaw until 2020 – Strategic Plan for Culture", Warsaw will be one of the few Polish cities to have a clearly defined cultural policy with specific objectives for the following years. The basis for this Programme (the so called White Paper on Culture in Warsaw) was prepared in 2008 by the Pro Cultura Foundation under the commission of the Culture Department of the City of Warsaw. Consultations have been held and the programme was approved by Warsaw City Council on 29 March 2012.
City of Bydgoszcz
Bydgoszcz is the first and so far the only Polish city that signed the Agenda 21 for Culture. It is also a great example of social activity in the field of culture triggered by the ECoC 2016. On December 7th 2011 the local Pact for Culture has been signed by the representatives of city authorities and Citizens Council for Culture (which is a local branch of Citizens of Culture movement). The Pact is the result of Culture Congress in Bydgoszcz (held in September 2011) and constitutes a unique for Poland social agreement on cultural management. Thanks to the Pact creators, artists and cultural animators were given a real chance to influence the shaping of cultural life in the city. The mayor and the city council resigned some of the rights reserved so far for the local authorities for the benefit of the social side. The representatives of the Citizens Council for Culture take part in creation of city's development strategy – Masterplan for Culture in Bydgoszcz. Among the detailed regulations contracted within the Pact there are: the possibility to co-create by the social side the rules and regulations concerning grants in the field of culture and civic participation in the process of creation of city's budget as well as in the monitoring of financing of culture. Bydgoszcz has also declared to raise its expenditure on culture in the following years by at least 1 million PLN yearly.
In 2014 years Polish artists turned to producers of smartphones and tablets with aproposal to introduce a tax on mobile devices. Their main slogan was "Do not kill us!". Collective Management Organisations of Copyright want to add the smartphones and tablets to the list of so-called "blank discs". These are the media in which price the fee, which goes to organisations of copyright administration, is included. The idea has not been positively received neither by producers of electronics nor by the Ministry of Culture. However, in its Communication the Ministry of Culture emphasizes that the system of charges on blank discs and electronic devices needs to be updated.
Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszynski
In the budget for 2015 foresees 16 million PLN for the construction of the Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszynski. This caused outrage among many commentators and citizens. There were questions on how this grant will be used. Temple of Divine Providence, where a museum is located, is still under construction. This led to the suspicion that the money from the grant will be used to build a church. An expression of opposition to the transfer of such sums to the museum at the Temple of Divine Providence was a protest, which took place on 20 December 2014. Its organisers reminded that in February 2014 Museum of John Paul II and Primate Wyszynski got 6 million PLN grant for improvement of cultural infrastructure. This represented a third of all the funds allocated for this funding line by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. In total, since 2008, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage had already forwarded 44 million to build a museum in the Temple of Divine Providence.