The “Counted! Artists in Poland” project is the first ever, in the history of post-war Poland, comprehensive study of the artistic community. This pioneer analysis, conducted by researchers from SWPS University’s Creative Economy Research Center, led by Professor Dorota Ilczuk, has provided valuable data on the number of artists in Poland, their financial situation and types of specializations they engage in. Collecting the information on the general number of professionally active artists and creating a database of artistic professions will support the development of an effective state support system for creative professionals in need of financial help.


Artists left to their own devices

To develop an effective support system for professional artists, the government needs hard data and statistics on the artistic community. Until recently, the available data has been rather fragmentary and dispersed. To compile a complete list of artistic professions that would be entitled to receive monies from the newly planned support fund, the researchers first developed definitions of artistic professions, based on clear scientific criteria.

How many artists are there in Poland? What is their financial situation depending on their artistic profession and specialization? How do incomes and working conditions compare between the different professions such as visual arts, architecture, music and theatre? How can the cost of a financial support system for artists be calculated? How to create a reliable database of artists and creative professionals?


Research project “Counted! Artists in Poland”

For the past eight years, researchers from SWPS University’s Creative Economy Research Center, under the leadership of Professor Dorota Ilczuk, have been gathering and analyzing data on artistic and creative professions in Poland. The study has been commissioned by the Fryderyk Chopin Institute that coordinates the activities related to the new regulation on artistic professions in Poland. The team has developed a new research method, which helped to estimate the number of artists in the country and also engaged the artists in the information gathering process. The researchers used aggregate data obtained from various institutions such as the Statistics Poland office, professional associations, and other organizations representing interests of creative professionals. For less formalized professions, where the predominant form work is freelancing, the researchers applied manual counting methods and conducted detailed surveys. Between September 1st and November 10th, 2018, over 5,000 artists and creative professionals, representing visual arts, architecture, music, theatre, dance, film, literature, and folk art, completed the survey.

This allowed the researchers to establish an overall number of artists actively working in Poland at close to 60,000, and capture the scale of multitasking inherent in creative professions (study participants often declared engaging in several types of creative activities or combining the creative and non-creative professions).

The study report was published by SWPS University Press, in collaboration with Dom Wydawniczy ELIPSA. Download a free report (in Polish) »


Supporting Polish artists and Polish culture is our common responsibility

The data on artists in Poland, gathered and systematized by researchers from SWPS University, was used to develop assumptions for a draft regulation on the rights of professional artists, which on May 5, 2021 was submitted for public consultations. The conclusions of the study will also provide a useful data source in case any amendments to the regulation on artistic activities are considered or introduced in the future. Undoubtedly, the project will also motivate the artistic community to undertake initiatives that might lead to obtaining state support for artists.

Caring about the development of arts and culture and ensuring that artists can create in proper conditions, aligned with European solutions, is a common responsibility not only of accountable culture consumers, but also invested researchers. The project conducted by the Creative Economy Research Center will help regulate state pension and health insurance matters for professions that are strongly impacted by income fluctuations.

Dorota Ilczuk

Professor Dorota Ilczuk

was a Principal Investigator on the “Counted! Artists in Poland” research project. She is a professor of humanities, specializing in cultural economics, as well as management in the arts and culture sector. Her research interests include issues of the civil society, creative economy, professional arts and culture labor market, and the role of producers in creative economy. She founded the Pro Cultura Foundation and was its President for many years. From 2001 to 2007, she was the President of the Cultural Information and Research Centres Liaison in Europe (CIRCLE), an organization that researched, documented and promoted information about culture. Professor Ilczuk is a member of the European Cultural Parliament and the Scientific Board of the Public Library of the City of Warsaw. She collaborates with various international organizations and research societies, including: ERICArts, the Association for Cultural Economics International (ACEI), and the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR). As an expert affiliated with the Council of Europe and the European Union, she participates in international research projects focused on arts and culture.

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School of Form ACCELERATE(S) art and design learning

The ACCELERATE project aims to develop innovative methodologies, tools, platforms, and resources for accessible immersive learning in art and design.