The Polish Season in the UK is being prepared by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in association with the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. It will begin in May 2009, and last through May 2010.
The objective of the Polish Season in the UK is to present Polish contemporary culture and heritage in one of Europe’s most influential, opinion-forming and affluent European countries. The presentation is also relevant in the context of Poland’s membership in NATO and the European Union, as well as the opening of the British labour market which resulted in a wave of Poles looking for work in the UK.
Cultural events held during the Season will show Poland as a dynamic and modern country which, at the same time, has a rich tradition, culture and history. These, in turn, will be proven to have far more in common with Great Britain than is usually considered on the basis of widespread opinions and stereotypes. It is important to show that Polish culture, although founded on the same values as the British society, created its own currents and gave birth to creators and works which contribute to the European heritage. Using culture as a vehicle to picture Poland as a free, democratic, open, tolerant and modern state is a part of a promotional campaign which will foster co-operation in other fields, such as business, science, and tourism.
During the Polish Season we plan to arrange a series of cultural events throughout the UK. As many of these will have a regional reach, we shall try to build on the co-operation existing between twin cities such as Plymouth and Gdynia, Edinburgh and Krakow.
The programme of the Season is shaped to correspond to the needs and expectations of the British side. We are in touch with the most important cultural institutions, among others: British Museum, Imperial War Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Barbican Centre, British Library, Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery. Alongside ‘highbrow’ events organized together with prominent institutions and in prestigious venues around the country, there will also be numerous ‘mass’ events. These will include Polish fairs, outdoor concerts and other ‘popular culture’ events which are sure to appeal to the British public and attract a broad spectrum of viewers.
Currently, the key element in the preparations before the Season is the studio visits programme, addressed towards specialists in the field of culture: curators, artists, critics and journalists. Its goal is to establish closer and sustainable co-operation between the Polish and British cultural institutions and invigorate Polish-British relations at the regional and national level.