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Accessibility of Krakow's museums for foreign students

             In 2023, a report will be published on the accessibility of Krakow's museums from the perspective of the young international community - foreign students living and studying in the city. In the 2021/2022 academic year, about 8,000 students from abroad studied in Krakow. The largest group of them were people from Ukraine (approx. 56% of all foreign students), then from Belarus (9.6%), followed by Norway (5.3%), Spain (3.7%), China (2.3%), and Russia (2%). It is important to emphasize, that the vast majority of them plan to stay for at least one academic semester. Thus, they do not belong to the group of tourists who come to Krakow on a one-time or short-term visit to enjoy the city’s cultural offerings. Foreigners studying here are an important element of the social fabric of the city, which is one of Poland’s most important cultural centers, for natives and foreigners alike. A wide range of cultural activities offered by public institutions allows visitors not only to get to know the city itself, but also to take advantage of the role of various types of cultural institutions as both educational and integrational centers. An important element of the cultural map of Krakow are museums that can play a significant role in the integration and education of foreigners studying in Krakow. These people remain an unexplored group from the practical perspective, as well as in terms of policies and barriers that they meet regarding their participation in the city’s cultural life. Through the proposed study, undertaken in cooperation with the Research Institute of Cultural Organizations - IBOK, we intend to fill this research gap.

             The main goal of this study is to determine the extent to which foreigners studying in Krakow take advantage of the offerings of the city’s museums, and what their perceptions are regarding the accessibility of these institutions. Additional objectives are (1) to identify favorable practices related to making Krakow's museums accessible to foreign students and (2) to identify institutional practices that may present barriers to foreign students who are interested in taking advantage of such cultural offerings available in Krakow. The study will make it possible to determine which practices facilitate such access, and to subsequently develop new ones to enhance that access. The project will strive to develop information that will serve as the basis for designing and implementing policies in regard to foreign students, in order to facilitate their access to Krakow’s museums in the future. The research includes quantitative techniques (CAWI survey), mixed techniques (mystery client technique), and qualitative techniques (individual interviews). In the research, the team will be supported by the Research Institute of Cultural Organizations - IBOK, whose resources will enable researchers to reach respondents effectively and analyse the selected field comprehensively.