6. Cultural participation and consumption
Last update: March, 2015
The 1996 Law on Museums stipulates that free admission to the public must be guaranteed one day per week and that reduced tickets must also be made available (the amount to be determined by the museum directors). Museums have developed cultural education programmes for children and youth. A similar educational obligation is in the remit of public theatres, as one of their statutory aims, although it is rarely implemented.
Cultural centres also play a very special role in promoting participation in cultural life. First of all they provide facilities for amateur art activities and help to organise various events. There is also formal co-operation between schools and the cultural centres as part of a cultural education programme.
The "Polish regions in the European cultural space" (co-ordinated by the National Centre for Culture) is a programme inspired by the motto of the European Union - Unity in Diversity. It aims to increase professionalism in the cultural sector and promotion of the cultural potential of Polish regions. Realised since 2003, the programme has evolved together with the expectations of the beneficiaries (employees of cultural institutions, non-governmental organisations and entrepreneurs operating in this sector). The programme's goal for the years 2008-2010 are: strengthening and promoting the cultural potential of Polish regions; stimulation of international cultural cooperation; supporting the development of the cultural sector; promotion of management standards in the cultural institutions; incorporation of culture into socio-economic activities; and active national heritage protection. The enriched web platform of the programme serves as an information source on e.g. cultural profiles of different provinces, studies on directions of interregional cooperation implemented in the national and international environment and important institutions and organisations operating in the sphere of culture in a given region.
The Academy of Polish Cinema is a 2 year long course on the history of Polish cinematography at academic level, implemented by the Polish Film Institute in cooperation with the Polish Film Foundation, the Polish Filmmakers Association and the National Film Archive.
The National Film Archive in Warsaw has operated since 1955. Since March 2009, it is a member of Association des Cinémathèques Européennes (ACE) – the European network of film archives aiming at preservation of European cinematography and security of European film collections. The National Film Archive has its branch in Lodz which is involved in the preservation of the archives of Polish films made between 1945 and 1989.
The Museum of Film Art – "Iluzjon" Cinema is the showpiece of the National Film Archive. Each year it screens about one thousand films representing the entire history of the cinema arranged in thematic and monographic cycles; it also stages many special film reviews together with foreign partners. The Iluzjon / Film Art Museum Section prepares a monthly cinema programme and special reviews featuring the achievements of world and Polish film art.
The Polish Film Institute leads following educational programmes:
- School Film Library (see chapter 5.2);
- 100 years of Polish cinematography. 1908-2008 – an exhibition and website on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Polish cinematography organised in cooperation with the Film Museum in Lodz (for more information see the website http://www.100latpolskiegofilmu.pl/);
- Academy of Polish Cinema (mentioned above); and
- Polish Film School – on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Polish Film School a virtual movie rental was created.
The Film Museum in Lodz exists since 1976 and aims at collecting, preservation and promotion of Polish film heritage. It also maintains educational and exhibition activities.
The Arthouse Cinemas Network is a programme aimed at disseminating film culture through the introduction of high artistic value films, including educational ones, to distribute in the Arthouse Cinema Network. The goal is to increase the amount of artistically valuable European films, including Polish ones, in our cinema repertoire, and supporting young audience repertoire. The cinemas voluntarily acceding to the Arthouse Cinemas Network commit themselves to grant 50% of their repertoire to European films (20% to Polish films). ACs are also obliged to fulfil the role of film culture dissemination centres. The programme's executor – the National Film Archive – co-finances film distribution costs or the costs of running the ACs.
The promotion of Polish cinematography ensures also the Polish Filmmakers Association. The Association promotes Polish film domestically and abroad, supports talented young filmmakers, and produces debut films (for more information see: http://www.sfp.org.pl).
Last update: March, 2015
The drastic fall / collapse of cultural participation rates observed during the first years of transformation came to a halt in 1994. While figures have begun to rise, they have not yet reached the levels recorded before the transformation period. Since 1999, the number of cinema visitors has systematically increased, by about 23%; nevertheless it is not stable growth. However, this kind of participation in culture is more and more popular, due to a richer offer and increasing number of showings.
At the same time, there has been a decrease in the rates of participation in activities of "high culture" – those which require higher intellectual skills and aesthetic sensibility. At the same time, there has been a scaling down of cultural education and programmes of aesthetic education in public schools. Surveys on household spending have shown that in the 1990s, approximately 80% of the Polish population reduced their expenditures on culture. It has been observed that the way of life for many Polish people has become "home-centred provide" in the past 15 years: watching TV and video cassettes which limited other forms of cultural activity. The reasons which originally facilitated "home-centrism" were of a political nature, today they are economic. Participation in cultural life outside of the home is taking on a "holiday" value.
Graph 1: Attendance figures for selected cultural fields, in thousands, 1995-2009
Central Statistical Office (GUS), Culture in… (yearly publications), Cultural institutions in Poland in 2009 and Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2007 (GUS).
* 53% of all art galleries are public.
** Audience figures.
Table 13: Public libraries, 1995-2009 and 2012
|Registered readers in thousands||7 023||7 332||7 392||7 579||7 509||7 337||7 230||6 720||-||6 600||6 500|
|Borrowing of books per 100 readers||2 241||2 029||1 992||-||1 979||1 840||-||-||1 870||1 890||-|
Source: Culture 2005, Culture 2007, Cultural institutions in Poland in 2009 published by the Central Statistical Office (GUS), Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2007 (GUS) and Culture in 2012 (GUS).
Graph 2: Library readers according to age groups, 2009
Source: Central Statistical Office informational note: Culture Institutions in Poland in 2009.
Last update: March, 2015
In an average Polish household, according to the Central Statistics Office 2008, most of the budget for culture was spent on cable TV fees (c.a 90 PLN per capita). Purchase of newspapers and periodicals, as well as public TV fees, took second place with c.a. 40 PLN per capita each. Only c.a. 17 PLN was spent on books and c.a. 14 PLN on theatre and cinema tickets.
Table 14: Household expenditure on private cultural participation and consumption, by domains, 2006-2013 (yearly for 1 person)
|Items (Field/Domain)||Household expenditure for culture in PLN (EUR*)||% share of total household expenditure|
|Newspapers and periodicals||
|Books and other publications||
|Theatre, music hall, cinema entry fees||
|Purchase of stereo appliances||
|Purchase of TV sets||
|Purchase of video appliances||
|Purchase of sound and image carriers||
|Radio, TV licence fees||
|Cable TV fees||
Culture 2008, Central Statistical Office.
* Yearly average rate (National Bank of Poland).
A new report on Social Diagnosis 2013, Objective and subjective quality of life in Poland, has been prepared by the Council for Social Monitoring at the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw. In 2013, from 13%-20% of examined households had to give up going to the cinema, theater, opera, concert, visit a museum or exhibition, with the purchase of a book or the press for financial reasons. Most of resignation (20%) concern going to the cinema and the lowest (12.6%) visit a museum or exhibition. In 2013 compared to 2011 scale of household financial difficulties in the some forms of participation in culture did not change significantly
Graph 3: Have any of the household members been forced to stop their cultural participation for financial reasons in recent years (%), 2007-2011
Source: Social Diagnosis 2011.
In 2011, also 13%-20% of examined households were unable to go to the cinema, theatre, opera, museum, etc. due to financial reasons – less than in 2007 but a little bit more than 2009. Most of restrictions concern the purchase of books – 20.4% of households and visits to museums and galleries at 12.6%. At the same time, the level of interest in attending culture is decreasing. The research from 2009 revealed that over 40% of respondents declared that they do not want to visit museums (in 2011 it was 45.9%, in 2007 – 38.1%) and 5.8% do not wish to buy newspapers (in 2011 it was 5.9%, 2007 – 3.7%).
According to the Social Diagnosis 2009 most households (almost 76%) assessed that provision for their cultural needs in the previous 2 years had not changed. However, almost 19% of households observed a deterioration of the situation and only 5% stated an improvement in that field. All forms of participation are related to material well-being (income and household equipment) and are correlated to the level of civilisation (number of modern communication tools). Both depend on the level of education of the population. In almost all cases, when the householder has higher education the household has a collection of books of between 100 and 500 volumes. There is growing participation in culture through the Internet, for example 30% read newspapers online in 2009.
According to the Report on the condition and diversification of urban culture in Poland, prepared for the Polish Culture Congress 2009, the changes in forms of cultural participation and consumption are very visible. The difference between metropolitan and smaller urban areas is still large. However, the technological and civilisation changes are leading to a universal rejection of traditionally understood institutionalised culture.
There is no regular and complex monitoring of participation in culture at national level apart from the reports of the Central Statistical Office. Also, the data is diversified only for different social groups but not in terms of gender, age or education. There are no surveys monitoring the participation of national minorities or immigrant groups.
Last update: March, 2015
Amateur arts and folk culture
The Ministry of Culture supported folk culture in the framework of the programme "Cultural Heritage". In 2010 Priority 3 "Folk Culture" was aimed at strengthening regional identity, preservation, documentation and transmission of authentic values of traditional culture as well as supporting diverse forms of promotion of folk culture.
Annually, The Minister of Culture awards the prize in the name of Oskar Kolberg to the achievements in the field of folk culture (see chapter 7.2.3).
Since 1999, the curriculum includes "Regional education – cultural heritage in regions" addressed to students of primary, secondary and high schools. The objective is to indicate the need for conscious participation in culture, to preserve local cultural heritage as well as promotion of tolerance for cultural diversity.
Amateur arts are supported mainly by culture houses, community clubs and NGOs acting locally. The offer is diverse and dependant on the profile of the institution / organisation. Despite the recent changes and attempts to modify the scope and range of activities, most of the public institutions offering amateur arts courses are perceived as anachronic relics of the previous system. Here the NGOs represent a much more modern and demand-oriented attitude.
Folklore preservation, including traditional arts is associated mostly with rural areas. In many villages the tradition of regional arts is cultivated and more often operates as a local tourist attraction.
The protection, development and promotion of Polish folk culture are also the main aims of the "Cepelia" Polish Art and Craft Foundation operating since 1984. In particular it supports research in the field of art, handicrafts and ethnography; arranges exhibitions, shows, concerts, lectures, conferences; establishes, maintains and supports the activities of the exhibition centres, art galleries and outlets selling works of art and handicraft products; supports the publishing of books, magazines, brochures, etc.; and promotes Polish culture and art abroad.
Folklore in its many forms (from arts and crafts to music and dance) is slowly gaining the interest of younger generations. It is no longer perceived as boring and unoriginal. Initiatives to popularise and re-new folk culture are becoming more common. Numerous design and music events using traditional folk patterns, instruments, tools etc in a modern way are gaining a wider audience every year.
According to the report on folk dance in Poland (2011) prepared for the 1st Congress of Dance by the Institute of Music and Dance, the biggest organisation in Poland active in the field of folk culture and connected with activity of unprofessional folk groups is the Polish Section of the International Council of Folklore Associations, Festivals and Folk Art (CIOFF – Conseil International des Organisations de Festivals de Folklore et d'Art Traditionnels). Poland was one of the initiators of this organisation in 1970. It aims at protection of folklore and folk art; fostering international cooperation in the field of preservation and popularisation of folklore and folk art as well as the widest possible inclusion of the younger generation in the implementation of these objectives. CIOFF includes 111 folk dance ensembles, 12 cultural centres and many events concerning folk culture. It associates 145 individual members.
There are two professional folk ensembles in Poland: "Mazowsze" Tadeusz Sygietyński State Folk Song and Dance Ensemble and "Śląsk" Song and Dance Ensemble. The former is in a very good financial situation and owns an extremely modern base, which was recently renovated with the assistance of EU Structural Funds. There are also many amateur folklore groups, 30 student groups, including 18 that are associated in the Polish Academic Folklore Association.
So far a specialisation in folk dance does not exist in any Polish college or university. Until the end of the 1980s students at public music schools could learn Polish musical folklore. Nowadays, this subject is present in 8 public music schools (1 hour per week during over 1 year).
According to the Report on Polish Music (2011), due to the engagement of local institutions, regional ensembles and ethnographers, traditional music is still present in rural areas. Folk music is increasingly an inspiration for modern musicians who play it in a traditional way or with jazz, rock or even techno arrangements. The festivals of folk music are becoming more and more popular (e.g. Folk Festival of Polish Radio "Nowa Tradycja – New Tradition"). Data on the number of folk musicians are basic – there is no register on a national level. 164 representatives of folklore (musicians, singers, dancers) and 68 folk ensembles and bands are registered around the country. Since 1999 the Folk Artists Association in Lublin has conducted a national database entitled "Village artistic groups" including 2 000 music ensembles, bands and theatre groups.
Cultural houses and community cultural clubs
Prior to 1989, cultural houses in Poland were leading institutions of the communist cultural politics. It was difficult to find their equivalent in democratic European countries. There were even problems with translating the term itself. No law defines cultural houses. The Act on Organising and Conducting Cultural Activity merely states that this is one of the possible forms of organising cultural activity but does not indicate differences or gives a description. However, cultural houses run by state enterprises were dismantled in the free market economy environment because their costs were seen as unjustified. Today, cultural houses and centres are creating a new image for themselves as a shelter for amateur art and various programmes aiming at broadening participation in cultural life, with a special accent put on those parts of the population which are "socially excluded". Together with libraries they are often the only cultural institutions in the Polish suburbs. Their activities are undertaken in co-operation with and financed by local governments, mostly the municipalities and communes.
The extent to which cultural houses and community cultural clubs are financed by the government and local administrations is presented in chapter 7.1.3.
Graph 4: Number of cultural houses and centres and community culture clubs, 1999-2007
Source: Central Statistics Office, Culture in 2008.
Graph 5: Percentage of cultural houses, cultural centres and community culture clubs in urban and rural areas, 2009
Source: Central Statistics Office information note: Cultural institutions in Poland in 2009.
In 2009, 4027 cultural houses, cultural centres and clubs were registered, 142 fewer than in 2007. Over a half are based in rural areas. Altogether, they organised 237 900 events for over 34 million participants (In 2007, there were 214 700 events for over 33.6 million participants). In this number, the bigger share was film screenings (22.3 %). There were less amateur music band performances (18 %) or seminars and meetings (14.7 %). The most popular were performances of professional artists which had over 10 million viewers. Hobby and artistic workshops were organised in 5 200 specialist studios, with the most popular being artistic (28%) and music (25.8%). There were 18 300 amateur artistic groups which involved 287 300 participants, of whom 156 000 were under the age of 15.
Table 15: Activity of cultural houses, clubs and community centres, 2003-2012
|In general||Of which in rural areas|
|No. of institutions||3 716||3 937||4 169||4 027||3 900||2 195||2 320||2 548||2 375|
|No. of specialist studios||4 203||4 692||4 719||5 200||6 400||1 212||1 364||1 424||1 732|
|No. of events (in thousand)||208.4||208.9||214.7||237.9||195.1||65.5||58.7||57.6||63|
|Event participants (million, per yr)||30.2||32.3||33.6||34.5||31.5||6.9||7.1||7.0||7.4|
|No. of workshops organised||5 668||5 696||5 409||7 142||-||1 142||1 114||1 380||2 032|
|Workshop participants (per year)||94 200||91 500||96 300||115 300||-||18 400||20 500||24 000||29 000|
|of which under the age of 15||54 900||47 000||51 200||54 100||-||11 800||12 100||14 300||17 000|
|No. of amateur art instructors||7 221||7 458||7 458||-||-||1 831||1 908||2 099||-|
Source: Central Statistical Office, Culture in 2008, information note Cultural Institutions in Poland in 2009 and Culture in 2012 (GUS).
The activity of cultural houses and centres is at present a hot topic. Their low efficiency and insufficient level of adaptation to contemporary requirements is acknowledged. Several research reports with specific recommendations were published by NGOs.
An important programme has been launched by the National Centre for Culture. The Culture House + (Dom kultury +) aims at creating equal access to culture for the inhabitants of rural areas and improvement of participation in culture. The concept of the programme is to initiate the process of transformation of the existing culture houses into modern local culture centres. The programme consists of 3 priorities: Training, Development and Infrastructure. An important part of the programme is creating the Support Network – an interactive platform of cooperation and exchange for all culture houses. It aims at having development strategies created on the basis of socio-economic-cultural diagnosis of the given municipality or commune; actively animating the cultural life of local communities; creating possibilities for basic but universal cultural education, etc.