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Neuroscientists have been interested in the undeniable impact of music on the human brain for many years. In his book Musicophilia, the noted neurologist Oliver Sacks describes how patients with serious neurological impairments, such as the Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, can respond to music when no other stimuli would reach them. Researchers from SWPS University on the other hand set to investigate the relation of musical training and the development of reading skills and other cognitive abilities in children.



History of Popular Culture in Poland  

in the first half of the 20th century from the perspective of transmediality

Research UnitUNI SWPS english
Grant Amount  PLN 498 938
Funding SourceNCN logo poziom en2

Duration of Research Project: July 2013 – July 2017


Papyrus scrolls, movable print, color printing, and electronic reader. A phonograph, a gramophone, a tape recorder, a CD player, and an iPod. The ways of recording written texts and music have been changing throughout the ages. Focusing on the first half of the 20th century, researchers from SWPS University examined how the technology available at the time influenced various platforms and formats of popular culture.

Project Objectives

The main goal of the project was to approach popular culture from a transmedial perspective in the context of modern civilizational transformations. The researchers examined how the technology available in a given historical period had influenced various platforms and formats of popular culture. This approach allowed to examine popular culture as a set of linked phenomena grounded in a social context. The researchers focused on capturing the local dialectic of modernism and modernization. They also examined how a specific local civilizational environment had influenced the symbolic expressions of experiencing modernity and the related cultural practices. In the course of the project, the researchers focused on literature, performing arts, cinema, and other audio-visual media.

Detailed Research Goals

  • Examination of the distribution and perception of West European thriller genre in literature.
  • Study of the entertainment industry of the early 20th century on the example of the professional publication “Organ”.
  • Examination of the relation between the Polish film vanguard and the rest of the with the film industry, understood as entertainment industry.
  • Analysis of the Polish popular theatre (e.g. vaudeville) and community theatre of blue collar workers in the period 1918-1939 as activities aimed at including wider social groups in the theatre culture.
  • Examination of the social context, in which the “new” technologies, such as the sound film, gramophone, and radio functioned in the first half of the 20th century.
  • Reconstruction of the tradition of the Polish pop culture historiography - description of the Polish post-war informal “school” of the pop/mass culture research

There is an ongoing revision of the popular narratives in the field of global media history. Our project is a part of this movement, including not only new archival research, but also theoretical re-visitation. Within the project, we use new theoretical tools for the reinterpretation of the facts discovered by the previous generations of researchers.

Mirosław Filiciak, Principal Investigator


Research Results

During the project, the researchers completed the following research goals:

  • Complied a description of pop culture from the transmedial perspective in the context of civilizational transformations related to modernity, which allowed to examine popular culture as a set of linked phenomena grounded in a social context.
  • Prepared a comparative analysis of the history of modern pop culture in Poland up to 1939 and the “world history” of pop culture, which enabled a better understanding of the local variant of modernization and cultural education.
  • Conducted archival research to study source materials pertaining to the development of pulp fiction, popular theatre, and film culture as well as completed a scientific analysis of mass/pop culture.
  • Edited source materials.

Educational Activities

The project has also been a good opportunity for popularization of the history of Polish popular culture. Some activities included:

  • Promotion of modern Polish popular culture of the period before 1939, among researchers from around the world, by means of a seminar organized during an international conference, the participation of the research team in the international conference and publication of academic articles in English.
  • Creation of open digital archives of the history of pop culture in Poland as well as the development of various research tools.
  • Development of an online network of researchers, representing various disciplines, interested in the history of popular culture.


258 miroslaw filiciak

 Assistant Professor

Mirosław Filiciak

Principal Investigator
media and culture expert, researches relationship between new media and cultural participation

258 lukasz biskupski


Łukasz Biskupski, Ph.D.

culture and film expert, researches history of film culture



Michał Pabiś-Orzeszyna, Ph.D.

media and audio-visual culture expert, University of Lodz



Piotr Morawski, Ph.D.

culture expert and culture historian, researches cultural history of theatre and performence art, University of Warsaw



Monika Wąsik, Ph.D.

culture and theatre expert, researches history of theatre and playwriting, University of Lodz



Piotr Olkusz, Ph.D.

culture and theatre expert, researches French theatre, theatre critic, University of Lodz

258 justyna jaworska


Justyna Jaworska, Ph.D.

culture and film expert, researches Polish 1970s cinema, University of Warsaw



Monika Rawska, M.A.

graduate of cultural studies at University of Lodz, currently doctoral student at University of Lodz




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