Wednesday, September 16th 20:30

The culture of engagement

- meet the artists that really care
Many activities in the civil society sphere are conducted through arts and culture. Many artists use their artistic expression to convey a message to create change, or connect with citizens around specific values or actions. How can the links with arts and culture be further developed in our work for active and vibrant CEE civil societies? Tomek Kitlinski will lead this conversation with artists-activists who bring about social change, mixed with clips, pieces of music and art to accompany the discussion.

Krzysztof Czyzewski is founder and head of The Borderland Centre of Arts, Culture, Nations in Sejny. Inspired by Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Czeslaw Milosz, and beginning with alternative theatre Czyzewski established this experimental cultural organization in 1990 in Sejny, Poland, right at the borders between Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia. Czyzewski has written and worked on the active role of art in multicultural communities and the need to overcome the deep historical burdens faced by borderland communities across the world. He has revived the Jewish life in Sejny and co-edited the Krasnogruda magazine on the cultural diversity of East-Central Europe. Czyzewski’s Borderland Centre of Arts, Culture, Nations has developed into one of the most dynamic multicultural civil society projects in the region. The activities of the Borderland Centre include: 'Meeting the Other' and 'Classes of Cultural Heritage' (seminars and field trips for high-school students), 'European Borderland School'  (training for leaders of cultural organizations), 'Sejny Theatre Company'; 'Open Regions of East-Central Europe' and 'Borderland Publishing House' (research and publishing on multicultural societies).

Anna Daucikova is East-Central Europe’s leading queer artist and has worked at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia for the last decade, among other functions, as Vice Rector. Her innovative artworks explore boldly the issues of identity and society. Daucikova creates and teaches video and multimedia art at the Academy’s Department of Intermedia and Multimedia and is active in the international network of institutions of HE in art ELIA, including her participation in the discussion The Arts as Dialogue? She was recipient of the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation scholarship and has exhibited internationally: at the Gallery BINZ 39 and Projektraum in Zurich, Kaskadenkondensator in Basel, Synagogue On Palmovka in Prague, Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava, The Lux Centre in London, KulturForum Austria in London, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein in Berlin, Galleria Valentina Moncada in Rome,  Apollonia Center in Strassbourg, Changing Europe Festival in Sheffield, Leeds and Huddersfield, 12th Feminale in Cologne  and at a number of lesbian and gay art festivals globally. Daucikova’s work will feature in Pawel Leszkowicz’s exhibition Queer Art for Warsaw at Poland’s National Museum in 2010.

Ivan Juras, AZYL Foundation and a band from the Karel Kryl inspired “Krylovci“ project

Karel Kryl was born 12th April 1944 in Kroměříž, Czechoslovakia, in the time of Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. He became known during „Prague Spring“ in 1968, when he reflected the situation in Czechoslovakia by his lyrics and songs. Karel left his homeland and live in exile in Germany in1969, working as a freelance cooperator with „Radio Free Europe“ in Munich. He published several musical albums, which were smuggled to Czechoslovakia and spread underground. He returned to his homeland immediatelly after the fall of socialistic regime, however disappointment with the political and public life was the reason for his decision to return to Germany and visit Czechoslovakia only from time to time. He passed away in Passau, Germany in 1994, short before celebrating his 50th birthday. Karel Kryl was a legend already during his life in exile 20 years and remains a legend to this day. He influenced several generations showing a way to secure depths at the sea of our goodness – and we did not became neither more clever nor more honest and gentle as in the time when Karel Kryl sang his songs. Our personal freedom changes only slowly, even that formally we became free 20 years ago. So we want to bow to Karel Kryl, to make him a tribute by passing his allegation further. Our project „Krylovci“ (Kryl-people) is to highlight sense of freedom, human and civil responsibility.

 „Krylovci“ is a line-up of musicians cooperating almost 10 years on various musical prpojects. Line-up leader is Miki Michelčík, singer and TV dramaturge. Guitar player Dušan Kulich and drummer Braňo Jelen recently cooperate with popular slovak singer Zuzana Smatanova. Keyboards are played by Miro Peniak and bass guitar by Rasťo Kuric. Second singer and manager of the „Krylovci“ project is Ivan Juráš.


 Tomek Kitlinski is an author, academic and activist. As a student in Communist Poland, he was involved in the opposition’s alternative theatre movement. After 1989, he studied with Julia Kristeva and obtained his M. Phil. at the University Paris 7. He was a Fulbright scholar at the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies, New School for Social Research. His Ph.D.  dissertation was published as The Stranger Is Within Ourselves. To Love According to Julia Kristeva, Aureus, Cracow 2001. He co-authored a book Love and Democracy. Reflections on the Homosexual Question in Poland, Aureus, Cracow 2005 and participated in Poland’s gay and lesbian visibility campaign Let Us Be Seen. He has contributed to Art in America, Die Tageszeitung, Dos yidishe wort, The Advocate and volumes published by Routledge, New York University Press and Paris VIII. Currently, Kitlinski is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Philosophy and Sociology, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin. He moderated a discussion with Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz, the Lublin meetings of Krytyka Polityczna and conducted interviews with Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous and Sir Ernst Gombrich.


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