The current cultural situation in Poland is a consequence of bad practices accepted over the years

18 October 2021

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Jaroslaw Suchan, director, Muzeum Sztuki in Lódz, Poland

"The current cultural situation in Poland is a consequence of bad practices accepted over the years. The government prioritized its ideological interest over the welfare of the institution. Leadership positions were treated as trophies and were given among the supporters of the winning parties, and even if the competition was organized, attempts were made to manipulate the results".

"A robust ideological agenda drives the current cultural policies. The ruling party wants to use culture to promote traditional values, and these are derived from idealized national history".

"At the same time, they are seen as a danger by the progressive, cosmopolitan culture, and contemporary art, which represents this culture, is treated as suspicious, if not hostile. This perception regulates policies towards contemporary art institutions. Some of them are taken over by the powers that be, and others are neutralized or marginalized".

Jaroslaw Suchan, director, Muzeum Sztuki in Lódz, Poland, and panelist at CIMAM's webinar, Museums in Easter Europe Under Pressure?

Museums in Eastern Europe Under Pressure?

The workshop took place on Thursday 2 September 2021.

  • Zdenka Badovinac, curator and writer, former director Moderna galerija, Ljubljana.
  • Barnabás Bencsik, former director of Ludwig Museum, Budapest. Currently Glassyard Gallery, Budapest.
  • Mikołaj Iwański, vice Rector of the Academy of Art in Szczecin, Szczecin.
  • Jaroslaw Suchan, director, Muzeum Sztuki in Lódz, Lódz

Moderated by Malgorzata Ludwisiak, Ph.D Independent Art Critic and Curator, Warsaw and member of the CIMAM Board 2020–22.

Are modern and contemporary art subject to xenophobia by populist politicians? The webinar will focus on the recent developments in the cultural landscape in Eastern Europe with a special focus on Poland – the host of the upcoming CIMAM 2021 Annual Conference. It will serve as an introduction to the local context and some of the key issues that will be further elaborated upon in November 2021. The Webinar will include current and former directors of museums who will show the changing types of political and economic pressures imposed on the institutions in the region. The landscape will be completed by Mikołaj Iwański, a scholar and social activist engaged in the struggle for the wellbeing of the artists in Poland.

Watch the workshop recording at CIMAM's only member section.

About CIMAM’s Rapid Response Webinars

Started in 2020, CIMAM has taken the new virtual scenario as an opportunity to launch a series of online activities exclusively for our community to, now more than ever, reinforce the sense of connectivity through online meetings in a peer to peer environment to share, learn, and be inspired by the experiences of other CIMAM professionals.