Anna Jafernik, Anna Barabasz
Żywiec Development Foundation
We’re the small town community in the south of Poland, in a region attached to tradition, culturally uniform.The population has lived here for many generations.And yet certainly among us live people with different lifestyles,different views,traditions and aspirations.The world around us is also changing and people from other countries come to us.Are we ready to accept, to like social diversity?Our project starts a public debate on this topic,and the starting point is ART that asks important Q.
The project takes place In Żywiec (31K inhabitants) in Silesian Voivodship on South of Poland.
Zywiec is etno-region located far from industrial centers and large cities.Residents have a strong sense of local id. and attachment to tradition. The belief systems and behaviors are transferred from generation to generation. It builds strong bonds of community & creates pressure on social uniformity.Communities like that are relatively slow to embrace change and innovation.So how do people who have a great need for individuality and sovereignty function in such a community? And what about those who don't give up individual autonomy?All these questions also apply to artists who are often individualists rebelling against social uniformity. We’ll talk about the tension between the community and individualists and minorities, about whether we can be a community over differences.
Democracy at its best is direct participation in the public debate. For this to happen, citizens must feel that they are right to express their opinions freely, they must have a sense of individual efficiency and influence. Our project is a dialogue between the community and minorities/individualists, between the desire to feel unity and the need for autonomy, between artists and recipients of art.Project is a reflection on building the common good, which is diversity in small communities in the province.Thanks to the project, we will talk of: the fundamental values of local democracy, freedom and its limitations, the individuals and their right to autonomy, a place for those who don’t feel the need for collective life, but who participate in the community and have a voice in it.
The debate should involve the whole community, all its groups. We have preliminary topics on which we will talk. We want to debate the situation of women. In communities like ours, women have a very rigidly assigned social role, and in the meantime we have women-artists of the young and older generation who change traditional perspective. We want to talk about:
the situation of young people who are planning their future differently than older ones expect, about acceptance of diversity between different groups of young people,
sexual minorities and their lives in communities like ours,
the Roma community who live in our city,
the situation of the elderly, about the diversity of their needs and dreams that do not fit into the pattern set by society.
-Planning a series of 6-8 meetings with discussion on the topics of social diversity
-Invitation to 6-8 artists to collaborate on the project
-Development of website materials:texts,films and photos presenting the profiles of artists, works, critical texts referring to social diversity in the context of the work of given artist.
-Designing and creating a www
-Organization of a series of debates: Introduction of a moderator,presentation of the artist's works, moderated discussion, film/photo report
-Development of a manual "Art as a platform for discussion on important issues of the local community"(good practice to implement in small towns
-Support for 3 NGOs operating in small towns in different parts of Poland. They will prepare 1 meeting in accordance with the manual
When our project is completed, the local community will know that social diversity in Żywiec may be our wealth. People will be aware of the social diversity that is in our city just now and will not be afraid of this diversity in the future. Individualists and members of minorities will feel more accepted by the community and more included. Three other small cities will have similar projects implemented.
The weakening of democracy in some countries or regions has its source fearing social diversity and treating the "other" as an enemy. That is why talking about diversity is so important. It is important to disarm the fear of differences in order to strengthen democracy. It's important to talk about it and realize that even in a homogeneous, traditional community like ours, we are very diverse. And that it does not threaten us.
All the work of our organization is building social cohesion in our local community, without blurring individual differences among people. This project is a logical consequence of many years of our work to date.
And in addition - we ourselves are both individualists and the same time - we care about strengthening the community.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Online gallery webpage 4 000,00 €
Visual identification of the project 1 300,00 €
Recordings (films) 11 200,00 €
Photographic documentation 950,00 €
Experts costs - writers, editors etc 6 500,00 €
Personal costs - PR, Finance specialist, coordinator 11 700,00 €
Office expences 3 600,00 €
Organizational cost (meetings with artists) 5 500,00 €
Moderator of discussion 1 200,00 €
Substantive and graphic Manual's preparation with translation 500,00 €
We are interested in all opinions and comments about our project. We also want to know critical opinions, doubts and other points of view. We are interested in both specific good advice and general reflections that our project raises.