On February 25, over 500 of Poland's most renowned creators and administrators of culture, along with art associations and public interest groups - Citizens for Culture, issued a petition to the Polish government calling for an increase of at least 1% of the national budget for government spending on culture. Together with the Citizen's Institute Foundation (Instytut Obywatelski) they have organised the debate "What does a Country Need Culture For?"...
On February 25, over 500 of Poland's most renowned creators and administrators of culture, along with art associations and public interest groups, issued a petition to the Polish government calling for an increase in government spending on culture up to the level of 1%.
The Citizen's Institute Foundation (Instytut Obywatelski) is a supporter of the initiative and co-organiser of the debate "What does a Country Need Culture For?" The conference will take place within the Instytut Teatralny space on June 17, 2010, with the participation of Joanna Rajkowska
and Mirosław Bałka
(artists), Stefan Chwin
(Gdańsk University Philosophy Professor, writer and essayist), Irena Herbst (economist and PPP Centrum Foundation President), Andrzej Mencwel (historian, literary and cultural critic), Maria Poprzęcka (historian and President of the Association of Art Historians), Andrzej Szahaj (Dean of the Humanities Department at the Mikołaj Kopernik University in Toruń) and Bogdan Zdrojewski (Minister of Culture and National Heritage).
The event is open to the public. Citizens for Culture activists will have the opportunity to submit questions through Skype, Facebook and Blip.
Signatures for the Citizens for Culture petition are still being collected on the website www.obywatelkultury.pl.
Campaign organisers are calling for:
Citizens to sign up, collect signature, encourage others to sign the petition, record videos and spread the word. News, instructions and materials are available at: http://obywatelekultury.pl/jak-moge-pomoc/.
Culture has the potential to create a vision of development, which Poland is still lacking. Since 1989, culture has been subject to easy budget cuts by the government, which does not recognise the value that investments in culture and education bring to a civilisation and its growth. In 2010, only 0.378% of the national budget was dedicated to culture - that is: for creative advancement, improving quality of life, shaping skills for citizens to face new challenges. Constitutional access to culture is limited to a select few, even though it could easily be more democratically accessible (by comparison, the French government dedicates 6% of its national budget to culture).
"We're all working voluntarily for the common good - JOIN US!" is the motto.
A wisely-invested 1% will allow schools to bring back education about culture, fight with illiteracy and social exclusion. Our goal is also to bring about a reform in the way funds for culture are distributed. A democratic, socially-viable and socially-managed system would keep these funds from getting wasted on bureaucracy and useless projects. The scale and scope of the potential for change in Poland depends on creative people and people who have the skills to use that creativity wisely.
Signatures are being collected throughout Poland: in theatres, at picnics, concerts, art openings and theatre festivals. Campaign organisers will be present at the Women's Congress on June 18-19 and at the Open'er music festival in Gdynia July 1-4. Signed petitions will be collected by July 7, 2010.Presidential candidates Grzegorz Napieralski and Jarosław Kaczyński have joined the Citizens for Culture.
Speaker of the House and Acting President Bronisław Komorowski signed his name to the Citizens for Culture petition on June 11 and has committed himself to dedicating 1% of spending on culture within the Budget Act.
Presidential candidate Andrzej Olechowski declares in his agenda: "I will support efforts to increase public funds for culture."
Source: information provided by Citizens for Culture.
Venue of the debate:
The Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute
ul. Jazdów 1, 00-467 Warsaw
tel. (+48 22) 501-70-03 (press spokesman)