Saturday, 28 February 2009

25-26/02 from Aga


University day – start: 9:30, finish: 18:00 :)
Community Arts in global perspective – what ‘globalization’ means to you? Impacts, clashes, identities, definitions and nothing is so simple…
Mark and festivals in Mexico and Spain – community art is everywhere :)
Meeting with Nick Clemens and astonishing documentary film “Muratare” about Suburu’s rite of passage… Feelings, responsibility, personal journeys, and being a catalyst.
From central Africa straight to… Poland – our presentation once again. How to explain in English what ‘PGR’ means? :)
‘Accountants won’t change the world – but you will’


Meeting with Susan and Rebecca (who’s come back from Mostar) – twenty-five years of work told in two hours – postcards, carnivals, flags, performances, emotions, consultation, feelings, giving voice… Similar experiences: your neighbour asks you ‘What do you do?’ and your answers is ‘I’m a cultural animator’ or ‘I’m a community artist’ and reaction is just the same: ‘WHAT?’ :)

Did you know? There is more wasteland per person in Stoke than anywhere in England.

Next trip with Ben – this time to Wheaton Aston – small village with social estate. Same situation as in Birmingham – firs impression is really good, and then you see that something isn’t ok… Like somebody said: everything is hidden behind the walls. Taking photographs and recording sound. And teaching Ben how to pronounce ‘dresiarz’.

In the evening – so called ‘social time’ :) Very nice dinner with Staffs’s staff :)

from Ola


Wake up in the morning – typical english weather – foggy day
Breakfast with whole group – pancakes day
Second day in Fit for the Future (Northstaffs Hospital)
· New idea for our small activity in the Hospital that we called Leave a message
· Discussions about the creative consultation led by Nick for the architecture project of new hospital building – for us it is new way of involving community to deciding about their environment
· Searching for inspirations and materials for our project in Newcastle-under-Lyme
· Last pictures of Hospital buildings for today
In the evening – hard work - preparing our common presentation about our work as cultural animators in Poland – it would be a part of one-day workshop for students running the course called “Community Arts In Global Perspective” on Staffs University.


Whole day at the University 9:30-17:00
Short review of the last workshop. One hour discussion – very general – about meaning and influence of globalisation. Some very interesting examples of Cultural Democracy in the world:
-Day of the Dead in Mexico – very good organised and involving festival
-Las Fallas in Valentia – very expensive, spectacular but connected more with idea of destruction and competition than with community art
-La Mercé in Barcelona – dancing with devils and dragons – don’t forget to come to Barcelona on September 24!
After short lunch (Pannini) – amazing and impressive presentation by Nick Clements and story about his work with young men in Northern Kenya. Very interesting issues and inspirations about the meaning of working as an community artist – at first as a challenge.
The most important things for me that Nick said, are:
- community art is always an extremely individual journey – we have to invest in it!
- making small steps with other people and community is a part of globalisation – on a personal level
- everywhere you are, as an community artist, in new place or new community, you should know that you know nothing – others are teaching you!
- it is important to remember to give away sometimes – let it be! – community artist should not intervene until the last moment
- Community Art tells small stories
- Community artist is influencing ALL the time, whatever he does and whichever group he works with
- We are attempting only to listen NOT to judge

After this impressive session and a hard film “Muratare”
(, we took a deep breath and started our quite well organised presentation about examples of Cultural Animation practice.

Idea of the day: what should we do, instead of community art? – nothing!


Trip with Tone to The Lowry - Art&Entertainment – the museum near to Manchester (Salford Quays) and Manchester United Stadion.
We saw three exhibitions:
A Long Exposure: 100 Years of Guardian Photography
Lowry Favourites - LS Lowry’s work in changing exhibitions
Clouds Descending - remarkable images by photographer Jem Southam re-trace Lowry’s lesser-known footsteps along the Cumbrian coast.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Breaking Glass


The New Vic Theatre involved me in a project called "Breaking glass". They are working to create a performance with young people and refugees. A part of the script is the story of one of the refugees from Iraq. It's combined with texts about the Crystal Night. We are thinking about adding a part from the "Tint Drum" by Gunter Grass.
I'm still surprised how they are involving me here in everything they do. Yesterday, I made a physical and vocal workshop with them. After we worked on the performance, I thougth that I would just watch and listen, but Sue invited me to be her assistant!
It's incredible.

I also made a computer animation for the performance.
I can't upload it on the blog, but you can see it at

Read this text before (we will use it in the performance, it's anonymous):

Moishe was always breaking glass.

Schlomo was always gluing glass pieces together to make beautiful art.

Moishe and Schlomo were the perfect team.

Sure, Schlomo needed Moishe, but Moishe needed Schlomo because Schlomo amazing glass artworks were beautiful enough to convince someone that it was okay that their window got smashed.

When Moishe got married, Schlomo glued the crushed wineglass into a beautiful swan and presented it to the bride.

He kept one piece for himself, which later that evening, he used to cut his own throat.

Oy gevalt, what a mess! Hierschel, what gets blood out of a carpet?


Thursday, 26 February 2009


Gabi Sitek
Aga Pajączkowska
Ola Stańczuk
David "Boney" Sypniewski
DIRECTOR andt the rest: Kamila Szuba
Music: Warsaw Village Band

at the free time...

music by: Architecture in Helsinki
photos by: Aga
rest by: Kamila

Second day with Ben.Arts ;)


Pancake day today!

Mega-fast lesson about leading music workshops....

... and trip to Birmingham. Landscapes of s social estate:

... and then delicious pancakes - local speciality: pancake with sugar and a few drops of lemon juice - wow :) (thanks to Michael and his wonderful family ;)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Words will come later...first impresions from my mobile phone - Kamila

22.02.09 Manchester

21.02.09 - evening

21.02.09 - Liverpool

20.02.09 Stoke on Trent

19.02.09 Stoke on Trent

18.02.09 Poland / England

living in a movie


I’ve got to remind myself constantly that I’m not in a movie and the people that I meet are not film characters. I guess it is because of the language that is the same as in American films. And Manchester really looks like in an old gangster movie. The first time I had no problem with this was yesterday when I first met people with mental disabilities. Such peoples rarely appear in movies.

They love my stilts here! Sue from the New Vic Theatre can’t stop talking about it. I’m happy to know that walking on stilts can be considered such a great experience. We are thinking about a new project to be done in the future.

I talked a lot with Sue last evening. I’m surprised that there are so few differences between Polish and English contexts of cultural animation. The social problems are nearly the same. Even the fundraising is quite similar – there is one difference: The New Vic Theatre got a grant from the police, who seem to be doing some great work with the emigrants.

We talk a lot about techniques of working with theatrical tools. They did a project for the teachers about the Holocaust. They made them feel how it is to lose all these small things that make your everyday life. Instead of giving them numbers like 6 000 000 Jews that died in camps.
I realized that this kind of transforming knowledge into experience is similar to the stories in the ancient Greece. It’s like the sword of Damocles – often in these stories, the characters communicate by symbols and prefer to make somebody a part of the experience rather than give him arguments. A tyrant wants to show to Damokles how it is to live the life of a dictator. So he invites him to take a rest in his bed. When Damokles lays down, he shows him a sword hanging over his hand on a horse hair.

Actually, if I am to write here about everything that I learn, I should record what Sue is saying and transcript the whole discussion. I am learning so much here.

from Aga


Manchester – architectonical mish-mash: redbrick mixed with glass and the postindustrial mixed with the very modern. How come people here aren’t freezing? Maybe it’s not so cold but we’re wearing coats, scarfs and gloves and they look like it is almost summer…
China town, Canal street, Piccadilly and just fantastic dinner in an Asian restaurant (starters from Vietnam and main course from Japan – yeah ). Looking for Hacienda – now it’s a block of appartments…


Looking for B.Arts ‘headquaters’ in mysterious old barracks in Newcastle.
Why are there beavers in reception?
Good to know: if you don’t want milk in your tea, you should be really fast in mentioning that because real Brtitish could be even faster 
Tour around the place – rooms, stairs, room stairs… Real maze. Ben said it’s messy but I think is just place where creative people work 

Too much stuff that has been gathered over the last twenty-seven years…? Remember – do not throw anything, it could be useful one day. What you need is to find place to store it – for example in the attic of an unfinished museum in a post-mining area.

‘You should know where you are’ – said Ben and took us for a trip.

We also took a look around the area with a canal – there is a huge network of canals (waterways) in Britain which were connected to industries and factories. They were used as a smooth ways of transport to some pottery or stuff like that. Now they are part of landscape with could be very nice, I suppose, but it isn’t in fact – almost nobody uses this canal as leisure or relaxing place because there is no access to them, they’re a bit dirty, banks are full of bush and there’s no light in the evening. So B.Arts has just started a long-term project to do some workshops and events around the canals to encourage community to use it and care for it. And then do more permanent changes like organize places convenient for meetings, picnics or events.

Taking part in session of “Bridge” project (take a look at the B.Arts website) that is led for young men mainly form Kurdisthan and Afghanistan. Good to know: sometimes it happens that times of some planned sessions or activities are not convenient - so only few people will show up. So? Nothing, in fact. You can basically find some other day and now just have a nice time talking to each other (about car insurances or the youngest daughter who is just one month). Obvious and nice, isn’t it?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Ola's first days

The first days (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
Warsaw Airport – London Luton Airport – Stoke-On- Trent Railway Station
• Studying at the Staffs University – hopes and expectations
• Trip with Helen around Staffs Uni.- amazing mixture of possibilities in ways of learning art → create the difference
• First contact with Placements (FitForTheFuture, NewVic, B Arts)
• Alternative/artistic trip with Ann&Glan through Stoke On Trent
• Weekend full of exciting places like:
Liverpool – ecclectic →Crosby – place like the moon
Manchester – paradise for the redbrick - lovers

• First day in our Placement – Fit for the Future in General Hospital – meeting the Team
• New experiences and inspirations to work with
• Our small project as a part of big project called Rebirth
Big question: What kind of influence could art have on health?
Small question – consultation: What dose in your opinion this/new hospital really need? Some kind of thing, feeling, tool or maybe some place/space?

Wednesday to Saturday - Aga's impressions


Wake-up at 2:12 am. Streets covered with snow.
ID left in a scanner (Davids’ fast trip by taxi). Landing. Spring, in fact. Favorite umbrella left in a bus (but luckily found and restored).
Everyone sounds like in a film – what makes it funny is that everything is absolutely real. And incredibly nice. But why, for heaven’s sake, do they need two taps?
Staffs Uni building looks like a Polish hospital. But there is something much different in the air… ‘Create difference’? Hmm… So, we’ll try ☺


What does ‘oatcake’ mean? Mmmm…
Hopes, expectations, contributions and risk (“but, of course, nothing is going to happen” ☺). Sometimes all you need to make your thoughts clearer is a flipchart....
‘Rush hours’ in Students Union mean you need much more than 30 minutes for your lunch :)
Tour round the university – you have to s e e it – I am giving up describing all this stuff… But that idea of linking practical work with ideas and theory seems incredibly … obvious and just brillant. Almost all opportunities in one place. Wow.


‘Let it be’ – in the taxi at the morning. I’m wondering – does anyone in Liverpool listen to The Beatles?
Presentations, talks, pictures – knowing our placement-hosts. First impressions, good impressions ☺
Mysterious place marked on the map – coordinates N053º00.831 and W002º10.962. Revitalisation tour – ‘do you feel the same’ in the park, vision of enormous huge Tesco, delicious lunch (dinner, in fact) in a thai restaurant, pink building of David Bowie’s old disco (!), view from the top of biggest car parkway and the bus station so similar to Dworzec Zachodni…


Have you seen Terence Davies’ films?
“Hold me, love me, hold me, love me, ain’t got no but love Babe… Eight days a week she loooooooooves you….”
Wind, sun, river, red bricks, docks, and The Beatles everywhere.
Train to Hall Road and astonishing landscape – ‘Another Place’, Anthony Gormley’s. Soaked shoes and this kind of feeling which you can keep inside for a very long time.