How does community act?


June 3, 10, 11, 2017
Warsaw, Poland

What information about refugees and migrants does a person gets most often? These are statistics that demonstrate growing numbers of migrants year by year as well as information about various incidents and crimes with involvement of refugees and migrants. In public space the messages that contain hate speech or claim that one nation is higher than another are increasingly common. The social media are following the same trend. Fear makes the situation even worse. The lack of information from the side of refugees and migrants contributes to the spread of negative stereotypes, leading to the dehumanization of this group of people. This, in turn, provides fertile ground for the manipulation of public consciousness. That is why individual stories, interpersonal relations and collaboration between different ethnic groups are so important.

A series of working meetings “How does community act?” had aim to start a new practice of collaboration between representatives of various social and ethnic groups of newcomers and local residents in Poland. The workshop sought to build trustful relations within the group, to find to find the points of intersection of various opinions, to reveal important topics, to pose the questions, and to work together on them. The workshop provided the ground and conditions where the diverse believes could meet. Everyone had opportunity to speak out and to hear the other. Disputed situations and individual prejudices were discussed in order to develop strategies of possible actions.

Workshop introduced the methods and possibilities of collective work: the practices, games and techniques that allow critical reflection and active search of grassroots ways on solving the social problems. During the workshop the participants shared their individual stories. Based on that stories the problematic was formulated  – the topics like: emotional and psychological violence; instability of the position; vulnerability; fear; lack of social relations ; loneliness;  xenophobia ; identity and self-identification; necessity and possibility to defend of labour and human rights; the influence of global corporations on the living conditions of people. Ideas how to behave in the certain situations were proposed and discussed. Participants exchanged the information about available resources and opportunities, and together decide the possible methods of action.

In group was discussed of how and around what people could unite. The main accent was on active personal life position. During the workshop, the understanding of the community as a group that united according to ethnic or national characteristics was transformed into conception of unification around common values and believes. And idea to defend the rights of particular group was rethought as necessity to fight commonly for human rights that allows escape the isolation and expand the social circle.  The participants agreed on necessity public discussion on problematic connected with migration.

During the workshop were recorded collected and created the materials: from intimated stories to universal messages that would be understandable for various social, ethnic, and political groups.


Between the Vulnerable Territory and the Utopia


October 27, 2018
New York, USA

Workshop Between the Vulnerable Territory and the Utopia emphasizes the importance of collaboration and solidarity, beyond borders, language and ethnic groups. Participants design a map of vulnerable territory based on their context, beliefs and experiences. Then together, we analyze the map, and strategize resilient strategies towards transforming vulnerable territories into safe and inspiring spaces. At the end the workshop participants, individually or collaboratively, design maps which imagine territories of possibilities. With collaborative facilitation by the artists, some renewed awareness and imagination, the vulnerable territory become the utopian territory – imaginary, but not necessarily unreal.

Workshop Between the Vulnerable Territory and the Utopia has been conceived in collaboration with EMIRETH HERRERA – independent curator and professor at Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila in Mexico

"Between the Vulnerable Territory and the Utopia"

Migrations of bodies and words


October 20-29, 2017
Warsaw, Poland

For five days of the workshop Migrations of bodies and words we shared stories, experiences, poems and reflections on the situation of people of a foreign origin living in Poland. Poetry and linocut were constituted our means of communication, collective action and designing a social change. To what extent may non-citizens count on protection on the grounds of employee rights and human rights in Poland? By which tools does the patriarchal capitalism wield control over women of a foreign origin and to what forms of labour does this capitalism sentence those women? In which acts of physical and psychological abuse does Polish xenophobia manifest itself? What is the reason behind the immigrants’ problems with self-identification and difficulties in entering close relations with the Poles? In what way does the capitalism create the precarious condition of a human being while interfering with their material and social status, as well as their physical and affective domain? And finally, how to find a field of social solidarity with the people excluded due to their origin?

Each of the meetings left a mark in the form of a poetic phrase which was handed over to the participants of the next meeting in order to be cut. As a result, a poem was created as a record of common experiencing and meetings. At the same time the linocut became a manifesto of a collective action.

The workshop Migrations of bodies and words was initiated by artists Yuriy Kruchak and Yulia Kostereva and realized in collaboration with poets Maja Staśko, Michał Kasprzak and Aneta Kamińska, as well as with the visitors of the exhibition “Gotong Royong. Things we do together”.

"Migrations of bodies and words"


October 19, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Center for contemporary art U-jazdowski
Warsaw, Poland

Curators: Marianna Dobkowska and Krzysztof Łukomski
Architecture: Maciej Siuda

Open Place worked with economic migrants from beyond Poland‘s eastern border, Belarus and Ukraine. They conducted extensive research, led workshops and meetings, and recorded dozens of stories to make a series of posters. The documentation of their work was shown on the exposition, and their linocut workshop operated in the exhibition space as a place to meet, discuss and work together on a shared poem about the situation of immigrants and its representation by the linocut technique.

The immigrant condition observed by Open Place paradoxically has not changed in years and is free of cultural contexts. The first theme that emerged in the research was the search for a better future, and how much a change in context makes it possible. The second was the physical labour performed by people arrived from Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. It is represented here in the form of shared creative work, during which the discussants will address the key themes and develop a joint position. The themes that emerged during the research were psychological violence, the instability of one’s position in society, restoring one’s agency and defining individual identity, violations of labour laws and human rights, corporatizing relations among people. Can the group formulate a joint manifesto, develop a shared hierarchy of values and establish priorities over individual preferences?

The project attempts to go beyond context and personal experiences to create a universal manifesto understandable to the grand public. It explores and broadens the model developed collectively as a series of impulses coming from different sources, which build up into a joint communiqué in the course of the discussion. The communal work, in which all visitors were invited to take part, aimed to integrate problems, themes, controversial issues and various points of view into a single work. The artists have stated their goal as building a universal dialogue tool that can strengthen civic engagement.

Exhibition “Gotong Royong. Things we do together”

Culture as a method for change


May 10, 2018
Poltava, Ukraine

The workshop Culture as a method for change worked with the range of issues faced by cultural workers with aim to elaborate together the possible solutions.

The participants were introduced to available practical methods and tools used by cultural institutions in Sweden, Belarus and across Ukraine to drive the development of their audiences and the local community.

We together with the participants reviewed the examples that inspire us. This included looking at curatorial practices characterised by inclusiveness and democracy, promote interaction with different age and social groups, and support interdisciplinary collaborations. By combining the case studies, personal experience, and use the method, introduced during the workshop, the participants had developed the propositions that may be used in work at cultural institutions such as museums, as well as by individual cultural workers.

The workshop Culture as a method for change was initiated by Kultura in Motion and Open Place, as part of the Creative Force programme supported by the Swedish Institute.

Events in the frame of the workshop

Anna Karpenko
Curatorial practices and ways of social interactions
May 10, 2018
Anneli Bäckman
Shifting perspectives in contemporary art practices and work in communities
May 10, 2018