Warsaw is one of the few cities in Poland with a full cultural strategy, which includes financial support for cultural institutions, investment, modernisation and renovation. In 2021 a new cultural complex will open on Defilad Square in the heart of Warsaw. This will house both the TR Warszawa Theatre and the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, established in 2005. Also important is the City’s Cultural Education Programme, a long-term collaboration between local NGOs, cultural organisations and the private sector.
Meanwhile, a key aim for the City is increasing informal cultural participation among residents. Warsaw is currently a city very interested in the central concepts of cultural policies. As a clear evidence of this interest was in September 2018 the celebration of the Warsaw Forum which gathered researchers, cultural practitioners, activists, policymakers, and decision makers representing different cultural disciplines from across the EU and further afield.
The event is the result of a collaboration on a number of European projects by different organisations, which now form the Steering Committee, and which have put together their time, energy and experience to bring this event to fruition. The ambition was both to have a conversation and to begin a process. The idea of the Forum is to set in motion a collaborative and evolving partnership which will give rise to further debate and writings on key policy issues facing the cultural sector. They consider engaging cultural audiences a priority in thinking about cultural policy that addresses social and political issues.
The participation in the MESOC project as a partner is a coherent continuation of the Warsaw Forum of Cultural Policies with future Forums currently being planned across Europe. This first edition of the Forum was organized by the City of Warsaw. The Culture Department was actively involved in promoting both the concept and practice of audience development in policy making at the city level. The city is in fact very much interested in partnerships and international debate to further develop our thinking on public engagement.
Key policy crossover
Increasing cultural participation and social trust is a key goal for the city. Grassroots cultural initiatives are growing in Warsaw; audience development initiatives by cultural institutions and organisations in Warsaw are increasingly becoming more inclusive of underrepresented and minority groups. Although this main interest the City has accepted to be analysed under the three dimensions of the MESOC Structural Model. Thus, it will be the only pilot showing complete adherence to the proposed analytical framework, cutting across all the crossover themes.