Zoom in on the cultural centers
Diagnosis of the cultural centres in Mazowieckie Voivodship

In the years 1988 – 1991 the number of local cultural centers in Poland decreased from 16,000 to 6,000. Some of the surviving centers have dealt very well with new conditions, skilfully using municipal funds and finding new financial sources. Others had to face many difficulties. We examined how the cultural centers in villages, towns and cities are dealing with current challenges and whether their actions are effective and efficient. Why some of them draw people in with an attractive offer, while others are empty? The project explored functioning of cultural centers based on an example of 13 institutions in Mazowieckie Voivodship chosen randomly to participate in the study. Through analysis of documents, interviews with leaders, a survey sent to pupils and visual analysis we managed to learn a lot about the operations of cultural centers in Mazowsze.

Based on the study we have come to the conclusion that cultural centers in Poland need primarily:

  • To change the way of thinking about their mission– we believe it should be created individually for each center and each local community.
  • To learn how to examine the needs of communities in which they function – their knowledge of communities they operate in is often rather fragmented.
  • To find new ideas for activities – most cultural centers compose their programmes using known and tested ideas. They need examples of interesting, original activities and incentives to experiment with the form and content of their programmes.

Within the project, we have also released a publication which included the most important conclusions of our study and an overview of the history of cultural centers. The book showcases examples of good ideas for cultural activities from Poland and Europe. We have also asked professionals involved with culture to tell us about cultural centers of their dreams.