The humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border, the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the increasing ethnic diversity in Poland are motivating the cultural environment to take a new approach to its mission, programme, work methods and relations with the addressees and participants of cultural events. How can we open up cultural institutions and activities to a multicultural society? How should we do this both at the level of programming (i.e. topics to be addressed, cooperation with artists and contact with the audience) and at the level of employment? How should we diagnose the topics that are important to a given minority? Should we create events that are universal or addressed only to one community: focusing on its problems, using its own tools, its language, with its own actors and artists? How should we define and implement the mission of today’s cultural institutions? How can we prepare for the future?
Being aware that we can only answer these questions by working together, we are starting an open network accompanied by a series of meetings for organisers of culture: from public institutions in voivodeship capitals and community centres in smaller towns to people involved in non-governmental organisations and informal collectives. Together, we want to build a space where we can exchange ideas and experience concerning the mission of and work in the cultural sector from the perspective of a multicultural society.
The first meeting will be held on 27 and 28 June, during the Malta Festival Poznań. It will aim to diagnose the situation and be an opportunity to look at the foreign institutions, which have recently undergone a transformation in their approach to a multicultural society. These are institutions that have not only implemented individual projects, but are also working with ethnic minorities which they have included in their overall strategies. We will look at their experience and how it can inspire us, as well as the similarities and differences between us. We will also examine the grassroots cultural and artistic initiatives set up by people with migration experience in Poland. We wish to invite you to a series of presentations and discussions, and above all, to take part in working groups where we will to get to know each other, talk about the most urgent needs, exchange ideas and practices, look for solutions and start planning the necessary changes at the junction of migration and cultural policies in Poland.
If you would like to take part in the first network meeting in Poznań, please fill in the form, which will help us put together the major topics to be discussed in the working groups. Please submit your application 12 June. We will confirm your participation by email by 15 June.
The meetings will take place every two months in different Polish cities. They will be hosted by: Malta Festival Poznań, CK Zamek, Pawilon, Polish Theatre (Poznań), European Solidarity Centre and Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre (Gdańsk), Powszechny Theatre and Strefa WolnoSłowa (Warsaw), Łaźnia Nowa Theatre and Multicultural Centre (Kraków), and Galeria Labirynt (Lublin).
In an environment where xenophobic discourse is becoming more and more prevalent, it is especially important to create spaces for dialogue and independent cooperation.