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Idea and history

of the JU Institute of Culture

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Institute of Culture of Jagiellonian University

Since 2009, we have been studying and practising the management of culture, media and advertising, and contemporary culture. We have been educating multitudes of students who seek to have agency in shaping the worlds of culture, arts, media, marketing and to respond to the pressing challenges of modern times. Since its beginning, the JU Institute of Culture owes its unique, interdisciplinary formula to the symbiosis of management science, communication and media sciences, and art sciences. The Institute is a leading centre for education and research in the field of humanistic management in the Central and Eastern Europe.

The Institute of Culture of the Jagiellonian University was established pursuant to the Order No 79 of the Rector of the Jagiellonian University of 29 December 2008, with effect from 1 March 2009. The initiator of its establishment was Professor Emil Orzechowski. Thanks to him, the Institute was endowed with an organisational and research structure as well as didactic functions.

The Institute of Culture was created by a group of people who believed that management in the cultural sector is of key importance for the entire socio-economic life. This conviction had been built consistently since 1994, when, thanks to the efforts of Professor Emil Orzechowski, by order of the Rector of the Jagiellonian University, the Department of Organisation of Cultural Life was established as part of the JU School of Management (in 1995, another order of the JU Rector transformed the said Department into the School of Culture Management). Further organisational form of this unit was the Chair of Culture Management, operating within the framework of the JU Institute of Public Affairs since 1997. Based on this Chair, in 2009 the JU Institute of Culture emerged – both institutes are the main centres for research in the field of humanistic management in Poland.

The JU Institute of Culture was initially composed of: Chair of Culture Management, Chair of Contemporary Culture, Chair of Philosophical Research on Culture and Department of Management and Media Economics, later transformed into the Chair of Management, Media Economics and Advertising.

In the first year of its existence, the Institute of Culture educated students in two specialisations: Culture Management and Contemporary Culture. In the third year of the Institute of Culture’s activity, the specialisation of Media Management was launched, unique in the whole country.

In 1996, the JU School of Management became the JU Faculty of Management and Social Communication, with Professor Emil Orzechowski as its first dean (who held this office for two terms). This unit is the largest faculty at the Jagiellonian University and the aforementioned institutes operate today within its structure.

As a result of many years of evolution, the Institute and the studies it offers have become firmly embedded in the field of management sciences. This was the outcome of a conscious decision resulting from the conviction that the cultural sector in Poland suffers from a serious shortage of managers with knowledge in the field of management. Today the JU Institute of Culture has become a brand, many culture managers operating throughout the country have completed their studies here.

From the very beginning, students interested in working in cultural organisations and in various media sectors were drawn to study at the JU Institute of Culture (and its earlier organisational forms). At the Institute, as part of the Culture and Media Management major, various specialisations have been implemented over the years.

The second strand of the Institute's teaching activities have always been studies in the field of Contemporary Culture. An important part of the scientific and didactic achievements of the Institute of Culture is the reflection on the most recent phenomena in culture and art, conducted from diverse methodological perspectives of many disciplines of humanities by the employees of two Chairs: Chair of Contemporary Culture and Chair of Philosophical Research on Culture. A comprehensive analysis of performative, visual, linguistic and digital forms contributes to a better understanding of the specific nature of culture and media management in the 21st century, and allows the students to grasp and follow the rapidly changing phenomena of contemporary culture.

It is this symbiosis of management and art sciences that makes for the unique, interdisciplinary formula of the Institute of Culture.

This symbiosis is also expressed through the renowned Polikultura Festival, constituting an important part of the study programme. The festival is also a showcase of the Institute of Culture itself in the public space, testifying well to its intellectual and organisational potential. In 2022, the 10th edition of the festival will be held, attracting each year a large audience consisting not only of students and employees of the Institute of Culture and the Jagiellonian University, but also of Krakow’s residents. 

Another example of this unique, interdisciplinary symbiosis of disciplines present at the Institute of Culture is the UBU lab project led by Piotr Marecki, PhD, Prof. JU, a former Fulbright scholar at MIT. UBU lab is dedicated to the study of the relationship between digital techniques and art, but also to practising digital genres of art within its frame.

Graduates from the JU Institute of Culture work currently in dozens of cultural institutions throughout the country. The high-school graduates who apply for studies at the JU Institute of Culture are characterised by two features: the fields of study offered by the Institute are their first choice; and those who are admitted belong to the best high-school graduates in the whole country.

A distinguished group associated with the JU Institute of Culture are the postgraduate students attending the Culture Management study programme conducted since 1996. These studies continue to attract unflagging interest and many of the students perform managerial functions in cultural institutions throughout the country. Among the lecturers there are researchers working at the JU Institute of Culture, as well as specialists and scientists from other institutions.

  • Orzechowski, E. (2013), Kilka uwag o zarządzaniu kulturą w Polsce. Stan na rok 2013, „Problemy Zarządzania”, 11 (44), s. 75–86:

  • Orzechowski, E. (2015), Arte et ratione, w: Nierenberg, B., Batko, R., Sułkowski, Ł. (red.), Zarządzanie humanistyczne. Kraków: WUJ, s. 63–74.

  • Nierenberg, B. (2015), Laudacja prof. zw. dr. hab. Emila Orzechowskiego, „Zarządzanie w Kulturze”, 16 (3), s. 323–326:

  • Kocój, E. (2018), Zarządzanie w sektorze kultury w Polsce – krótka historia idei i perspektyw, w: Kocój, E., Szulborska-Łukaszewicz, J., Kędziora, A. (red.), Zarządzanie w sektorze kultury. Między teorią a praktyką. Kraków: WUJ, s. 39–49.

  • Pałasz, M. (2022), Zarządzanie bardziej ludzkie, ludzkie, więcej-niż-ludzkie, w: Jasikowska, K., Pałasz, M. (red.), Za pięć dwunasta koniec świata. Kryzys klimatyczno-ekologiczny głosem wielu nauk. Kraków: Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Biblioteka Jagiellońska, in press.