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Monthly Archives: May 2023

Agnieszka Szara

the Director of creative company PLAY FULL Ltd. celebrating and promoting FILM // MUSIC // ART.

has graduated from Cultural Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and earned her MA in Russian Culture and Language specialisation.

She has been collaborating with various Film Festivals in Poland, such as Etiuda Anima, Krakow Film Festival and Tarnowska Nagroda Filmowa, as well as Witkacy Festival at Westimnster University in London, where she was coordinating film section.

She has worked on many film productions on short films and permanently collaborates with Thorny Devil Productions as a script supervisor.

She works as an Events Manager at Clapham Picturehouse and an Independent Cultural Manager.

She has joined Play Poland Film Festival in 2013 as a Screening Coordinator and a Venue Manager and earned an Assistant Producer position.


New Joanna Rajkowska/ the UCL Project – Discussion

on Thursday, the 29th of May Joanna Rajkowska in discussion with Urszula Chowaniec and Tim Beasley-Murray will present her  new Project The Light of the Lodge


UCL Roberts G08 Sir David Davies Lecture Theatre, Roberts Building, Malet Place

All are welcome, open free event, no registration needed


The Light of The Lodge

(in London)


Ideas behind the project:

London’s fears and the idea of university.

London is a city of fear. Fear of conflagration, fear of conflict, fear of perceived potential risk to society, community or individuals. And fear of offence or abuse. Risk assessments and certification for everything. Following September 11, new anti-terrorist laws that can be used/abused for anything. The issue of political and social “Health and Safety” is now an irreducible part of London’s identity. It has devastating effects for the public realm: protecting people from themselves, from thinking and from social responsibility. Constant surveillance is just one of its symptoms.

The University, as a community of academics, should be an oasis of freethinking and unconstrained research. Holding up the fire, the visibility of the flames on the roofs of the UCL buildings could be a symbolic response. To say – nothing will stop us from reasoning and comprehending. We are not afraid of freethinking. We are responsible for the intellectual outcome of our research and the consequences of it.

Fire, because of its link with Freemasonry, also offers another line of reading.

Knowledge and understanding are indispensable, but they are not the only way of solving multilayered social problems. We have to acknowledge the incomprehensible needs people have, like their love for obscure rituals, spells or magic.

The origins of the project

The University College London was founded by Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773–1843), Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, (1813–1843). He laid the foundation stone of the new university on 30th April 1827. The corner stone reads as follows (translated from Latin):

To God’s favour the greatest and best, eternal architect of the universe may it bring you happiness and good fortune at the beginning of the eighth year of the reign of King George IV of Britain the most highest prince Augustus Frederick Duke of Sussex patron of all the fine arts the oldest order of architecture the highest among the English the foundation stone of the London University between city state [i.e. citizens] and brothers standing around will be placed by his hand to applause.

Day before the day before the Kalends of May

The work of God desired by the most fortunate citizens of this town has begun at last in the year of human greeting 1827 and in the year of light 5827.

In the name of these most illustrious men who are present and with the guidance of Henry Duke of Norfolk, Henry Marquis of Lansdown, Lord John Russell, John, Viscount Dudley and Ward, George, Baron Auckland, the Hon. James Abercrombie and Sir James Macintosh, Alexander Baring, Henry Bougham, Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, George Grote, Zachary Macaulay, Benjamin Shaw, William Tooke, Henry Waymouth, George Birkbeck, Thomas Campbell, Olinthus Gregory, Joseph Hume, James Mill, John Smith, Henry Warburton, John Wishaw, Thomas Wilson, and William Wilkins, architect.

The Freemasons remain a secret society devoted to education, charity and the Enlightenment legacy on one hand and having a clandestine heritage and mysterious symbolic structure on the other. Freemasons continue to have a hidden, pervasive presence in many professions, including education.

The Light of the Lodge, being a project devised to explore the nature of the University as a community of scholars and academics, will try to reveal the dark powers of the institution, albeit in a rather humorous way. What is the other side of the coin of education and enlightenment? How does the university foster the irrational and the obscure? How does it sneak into the daily life of the institution? What is the role of women in it?

Regarding the Freemasons presence, influence and legacy, the project asks about the function of the masonic lodges and their current mission, and whether the ideals of the Enlightenment represented by the masonic movement are still as vivid and progressive as 200 years ago. Furthermore, it asks whether this distinctly European product is able to accompany the continent in its current transformations and set up a direction. If yes – what is this direction?

Project outline:

  •        Performance: Women with flaming torches on the top of their heads, standing on the top of the plinths in front of the UCL main building
  •        Performance: Torches installed in front of the façade of the main UCL building
  •        Performance: Sheet of iron with the text from the foundation stone cut out, positioned over a fire, so that flames go through the letters
  •        Publication: The Alternative Guide to the UCL – an unorthodox collection of night guards stories about the secret life of the university buildings, interspersed with maps of strange appearances, drawings, bits of unusual research by UCL academics and some of the more extreme biographies of UCL graduates.
  •        Workshop: a guided tour of the Freemasonry Museum and Library, a visit to the Masonic Lodge in the Andaz Hotel


The Project has been conducted with SSEES UCL (eMigrating Ladscapes Project) and the UCL Art Museum

Polish Summer School – Discussing an Adventure (Friday October 31, 2014 at 4pm)

Why Polish Language? Why Polish Summer School? Why Spend Summer in Poland? 

come for a discussion and sharing experience over a glass of wine

31st of October at 4 pm 

at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, room 432

16 Taviton Street London WC1H 0BW (Bloomsbury Campus)

Within the program: Presentation by Hannah Phillips (a participant of the 2014 Summer School), discussion and sharing experinces as well as a small reception afterward.

What is Angelus Silesius House (ASH)?

The ASH is a non-governmental education and training centre. It sees itself as a meeting place for personal and professional development as it works with young people from various religious backgrounds, nationalities and cultures. There are many ways in which you can get involved. As an NGO they work locally with young people in Poland that have had a difficult start in life, running short-term and long-term schemes which vary across the year. They also work with foreign students in and out of Poland. Their summer school project aims to promote Polish language and culture whilst breaking down embedded prejudices and stereotypes associated with Poland.  Their summer school only lasted 10 days this year, so for those of you who are looking for something more long-term they also provide voluntary services. Since 2001 they have taken part in the European Voluntary Service (EVS) programme, which runs projects that can last between 2 to 12 months. In this way, you can develop your language skills, gain insider knowledge on the inner workings of NGOs and gain a new qualification. In all of their projects, including the voluntary service, participants receive free accommodation, food, insurance and pocket money. The only thing you might have to pay is a small part of your travel costs. All of this is on their website. To best illustrate this organisation’s work and the opportunities it offer, I will guide you through some of the activities they arranged whilst I was participating in their summer school project. (Hannah Phillips)

Opinion of Klaudia Konkolova (a participant of 2014 Summer School):

Between 10th– 20th September, 2014 I had the chance to participate in a wonderful project: Szkoła letnia z Polską II in the beautiful historic city of Wrocław. The project was co-funded by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych) and organised by the Dom Spotkań im. Angelusa Silesiusa. 23 students studying Polish language from different partner universities all over Europe were given the opportunity to discover Polish culture from within and improve their language skills by attending professionally taught language classes and communicating with each other and the Polish organisers in Polish. The language skills improvement is not the only positive achievement we will be bringing home. The visits organised at different important institutions based in Wrocław gave us an insightful look into the contemporary situation in Poland, the lecture by the famous Polish language specialist prof. Jan Miódek made us appreciate more that even though in Europe we speak so many different languages, at the heart we all belong into one Indo-European group*, we visited the vibrant city of Łodź over the weekend, and even got a first-hand experience in film-making! The accommodation and food was provided for. Even up to 70% of the travel expenses were covered by the organisation. It is a pity, we only had ten days for uncovering the marvels of Polish cuisine, which is really savoury and manifold. Personally, I would be up for trying out of a new type of pierogi andzapiekanka every day. Last but not least, the people participating on the project were all very friendly, open, tolerant and keen on meeting new people and getting to know them better and making friends with them was perhaps the most valuable outcome from the whole project. *With the exception of Finnish, Hungarian, and Estonian, which belong to the Finno-Ugric group.

Coming Out – Polish Style (6th of November, 2014 at 6.30 SSEES)

  1. Coming Out Polish Style

“Coming Out Polish Style” is a unique documentary by Slawomir Grunberg and Katka Reszke which offers a rare look into the lives of gays and lesbians in contemporary Poland. The documentary explores the issue of gay and lesbian rights in a conservative society, which is undergoing a very dynamic transformation, allowing for more and more successful liberal changes. The documentary investigates the diverse and complex identity struggles involved in the process of ‘coming out.’ The filmmakers turn to Polish celebrities who are openly gay as well as follow young people from small towns who are still in the process of ‘coming out’, Grunberg and Reszke also register an interesting migrating phenomenon of gays and lesbians from peripheries of Poland emigrating to Warsaw as an open and gay-friendly place to live, the issue we would like to take further during our panel discussion at University College London with Dr Richard Mole and Prof Anne White, whilst debating gay and lesbian migration from Poland to the United Kingdom motivated by homophobia.

  1.  Coming Out PS & Floating Skyscrapers as part of Play OUT

This year Play Poland Film Festival welcomes Play OUT (curated and launched by PLAY FULL!

Play OUT has been created to promote queer culture, further discussion about the importance of queer culture in arts and society and issues close toLGBTQ communities. At Play OUT we aim to be inclusive, open and as wonderfully queer as we can and want to!

Given the societal and political situation in Poland, we have chosen to launch our project alongside Play Poland Film Festival in London this year in bid to support Polish LGBTQ filmmakers as well as London based Polish LGBTQ communities, filmmakers and artists!

As part of Play OUT’s programme at Play Poland Film Festival in London this year, we are proud to present two events:

* The screening of the first openly gay feature “Floating Skyscrapers” by Tomasz Wasilewski, award-winning coming out drama about the aspiring swimmer Kuba who, in order to come to terms with his own feelings, needs to break away from confinements of his home and training routine as well as a relationship with his girlfriend, Sylwia. The film is showing as part of OUT at Clapham, a monthly LGBTQ film club at Clapham Picturehouse, on the 30th October at 6.30pm.

* The screening of the extraordinary documentary “Coming Out Polish Style”, exploring gay and lesbian identities in contemporary Poland, from portraits of liberated Warsaw with the prevailing gay-friendly atmosphere and a growing LGBTQ community, through openly gay Polish celebrities to the lives of those in peripheries and their struggles coming out in the  very conservative, Catholic society.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion with Dr Richard Mole and Prof Anne White which will take the issues raised in the film further to include and explore the migration of Polish LGBTQ individuals to the United Kingdom, motivated by homophobia.

With these two events launching Play OUT, we are hoping to embark on many more queer adventures in the future, furthering debates relevant to LGBTQ communities, promoting queer art & culture and creating an open platform for LGBTQ communities to come together!

Katka Reszke

Katka Reszke is a writer, documentary filmmaker, photographer and researcher in Jewish history, culture, and identity. She holds a Doctorate in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a recipient of fellowships from the Mandel Foundation and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.
She is the uthor of “Return Of The Jew: Identity Narratives of the Third Post-Holocaust Generation of Jews in Poland”. Her recent documentary films include “Coming Out Polish Style”, “Magda” and “Shimon’s Returns”. Her film editor credits include titles such “The Peretzniks”,  “Paint What You Remember”, “Castaways” and “Trans-Action”. Katka has lectured on different aspects of the Polish-Jewish experience at educational and cultural institutions in North America, Israel and Europe.

Gendering Migration and Reading Literature

Gendering Migration: Women’s Writing, Displacement and Melancholy: Lecture on Selected Aspects of Polish Contemporary Literature


Urszula Chowaniec

(Language and Culture, UCL SSEES)

Discussant: Ursula Phillips (Honorary Research Associate of UCL SSEES)


AtSt. Antony’s College at University of Oxford lecture within the series of talks within the theme of

 Who are the Poles and where’s Poland? Ethnic, civic, and cultural identities and frontiers in modern Poland



European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Rd, Oxford OX2 6HR



“What will be born, what can be born in Poland, in the souls of a ruined and brutalized people when one day (in the future) the new order that has stifled the old one disappears and nothing follows” – asked Witold Gombrowicz about Poland after communism in his Diary of 1953. This “nothing,” sounding both pessimistic and intriguing, is a time of transition, revolution and transformation. From nothing many things can be created. Indeed, the year of 1989 can be seen as giving Polish prose an unique opportunity to create new characters, new stories that would not conform to any political or ideological standards and expectations. Also, the year of 2004, the beginning of a new Europe with apparently no borders, brought a new notion of freedom, especially for the new migrating writers. Yet, there are fears, disappointments and failures that accompanied this time of hope. How did the post-1989 political and social changes influenced Polish literature? Does gender matter in evaluating these impacts and diagnosing the literary phenomena? If so – how? How did women writing respond to the time of change? And finally, is there anything more to melancholy than the mourning after unspecified loss?


The lecture will focus on the contemporary, post-1989 Polish literature and it will discuss the new understanding of emigration and migration in literary studies, the traces/inscriptions on migration in the texts written by women as well as the gendered aspects of migration and the “power” of melancholy.

Afternoon with Polish Language and Culture Affairs (UCL SSEES)

Let’s share the experience of the Polish Summer School in Wrocław and studying Polish language and culture at School of Slavonic and East European Studies UCL 

On Wednesday afternoon, 21st October (2-4pm) at  Masaryk Senior Common Room, 16 Taviton Street, UCL SSEES students and teachers of Polish Languages discussed the advantages of taking Polish classes at UCL as well as the advantages of  attending the Language Summer school and the chances of going to Polish Summer School in Wrocław.


Polish Studies at SSEES

Polish Summer School

Wrocław – the meeting place

“Talking heads” by Krzysztof Kieślowski, screening of selected fragments. 



Presentation about Szkoła Letnia z Polską (the 3rd edition) in Wrocław, Dolny Śląsk, during August 17-28, 2015
 organized by www.silesius.org

The project was co-financed by Polish Foreign Affairs, project called „Współpraca w dziedzinie dyplomacji publicznej” 2015.

Session 4: Literature and Performance

Session 4:

Between words and performance

(Wioletta Grzegorzewska, Marek Kazmierski and Zuza Tehanu)


Come and meet unusual Polish neighbours: artists, writers and performers.

You will be able to talk to them, ask questions and take part in discussion.

During the session:

-reading of poems;

-reading of fragments of short story;

– a short performance;


Artists’ profiles:

  • Wioletta Grzegorzewska
  • Marek Kazmierski
  • Zuza Tehanu

Session 3: LoVArts

Session 3:

LoVArts presents Polish visual artists!

(Ania Perkowska, Oskar OK Krajewski, Aleksandra Karpowicz)


LoVArts invites you to meet some of the Polish artists who are part of our collective. Find out who they are, what do they do and in what way their personalities and identity influence their work.

Artist: Ania Perkowska

Project title: Onmytoes Ceramics


Artist: Oskar OK Krajewski

Project title: ‘Immersion’


Artist: Aleksandra Karpowicz

Project title: Paying Tribute to Dance

Questions for discussion:

  • Does clay have a national identity?
  • How does your background influence your works?
  • Do you think art is a mean of expressing one’s national identity?


LoVarts, London Visual Arts is a multinational collective formed of London based visual artists and arts lovers whose aim is to promote the wide variety of visual art and to create opportunities for work and collaborations.

For more information on LoVarts please visit

Find us on Facebook and Twitter (@arts_london)

Artists’ profiles:

Ania Perkowska

Oskar Krajewski

Aleksandra Karpowicz

Session 2: Theatre – Performance

Session 2: Meet the Polish Artists: Theatre, Performance, Film

(Margot Przymierska and Dominika Akuszewska)


Drop in for an amazing session to see what is being created in London by young film and theatre creators…


Artist: Margot Przymierska

Project title: ‘Romanians’- exploration of the subject: ‘How stage-able is bi-linguality?’

 Artist: Dominika Akuszewska

Project title: Play Poland Film Festival


Questions for discussion:

  • What do you think/ feel when watching a theatre play/ film in a foreign language?
  • Is theatre performed in the original language (non-English) relevant today in London? Why?
  • Is Polish art any different than any other art?
  • Will you look for more Polish art or you had enough?
  • How would you describe Polish cinema?


Artists’ profiles:

  • Margot Przymierska
  • Dominika Akuszewska