Reflections from U-Jazdowski, Warsaw. Part Two
Della Hill, our Development and Communications Officer, spent a month in Warsaw working with U-Jazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA). We’ve asked Della to give us an insight into her weekly schedule, and she will document her experience in 4 blogs.
Diary Entry #2 – Monday 27 August 2018
I’ve now completed my first full week of my international placement in Warsaw. I feel like I have blinked and missed it! The past few days have been full of meetings with different individuals from CCA, and we attended an event on Friday called Performance TV. It was an interesting experience because we had heard a lot about the performance from the different departments of the Castle who were involved. On Saturday, I supported the Education Officers in three workshops for toddlers and children. I gained a real insight into the family unit in Poland too. The parents of the toddlers were getting involved, so it was great to talk to them and find out a little more about the art activities that are available for children. This fantastic experience allowed me to notice that comparisons and contrasts between Our Projects here at Literature Wales.
Everything is still very new at the moment. We are slowly making our way around popular places in the city. We had a really lovely evening by the river on Elena’s last evening and we have explored the Old Town a little – we travelled there by bus, and this was a true experience. I still can’t quite get over the exchange rate. We have roughly figured out that when we purchase anything here in the zloty currency, that when divided by five, we can work out the English amount. The bus tickets were 3.40 zloty, which works out at around 70p in GBP. The ride was roughly equivalent of my normal commute to work which costs £3.60 a day!
We are currently analysing the audiences that attend the Castle on behalf of the Education Department. So during the TV Performance event, we decided to ask the audiences that attended to complete a survey about who they are and why they were interested. At first it was a challenge to gain the confidence to ask audience members because of the language barrier. Most young people here speak English at an advanced level, and after connecting with different groups of people it became clear that quite a few of them had lived and studied in the UK. It was interesting talking to them, there must have been at least 60/70 people at the event, and most of the audience seemed loyal to the Castle and the arts scene. I think this week has been great in getting a bit more information of how the arts sector works. Last week I had a meeting with the Head of Fundraising and Development, and I was keen to find out how much of their budget is from the State, as they call it. Overall, having the courage to engage with a large audience who were communicating in a different language and asking them to complete an English-language survey was the best thing that I have achieved.
It has been really lovely to be able to live and work on the Castle Grounds. Although the days are busy, and the evenings are filled with events, the surroundings have really allowed me a chance to breathe. The Education Department managed to get Jonny (a fellow Jerwood intern) and I our own office to work in, but we have asked if we can sometimes work outside in the café when the weather is nice. I seem to be much more productive outside and it is really lovely to get fresh air. I think that this opportunity has given me a pause from reality. Cardiff is a fabulous city, but it’s home to me now, so I think that the parts of the city that I once really appreciated are just second nature. Work is very busy and with my dissertation there has been a lot of pressure to succeed in different areas of my life. I feel that I can relax here and take a second to enjoy the surroundings and appreciate the opportunity. It has also been really lovely to work with children again, and I’m really enjoying seeing how the arts can benefit different groups from the community.