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"Open Krakow" Programme

We invite you to read the report on the activities of the Villa Decius Institute for Culture as part of the implementation of the "OPEN KRAKOW" programme in 2021.
A photograph. Two women perform, one of them plays the violin, the other one plays the bandura.

Open Krakow


DEBATE “Art, Violence and Gender in the Social Debate”
The Villa Decius Institute for Culture, alongside the 2Act Foundation and the Villa Decius Association, co-organized the project: “Art, Violence and Gender in the Social Debate”, which sought to look at the problem of violence in a broad way and to create a platform for agreement between scientists, humanists, and artists. The main objective of the project was to answer the question: are art and science capable, through constructive dialog, to educate and change the way we think and act? As part of the program, an online discussion panel was organized, during which each participant has presented his or her interpretation of the topic, in the context of their own field, such as visual arts, music, sociology, journalism, culture management.

CONCERT “Art and Violence”
Concert – the grand premiere of the winning works of the First “Art and Violence” International Composition Contest took place in Villa Decius, immediately after the end of the debate and was broadcast live on social profiles.
Works written for the piano trio by: Tomasz Szczepanik from Poland (1st prize) and Valentin Schaff from Germany (2nd prize) were for the first time performed by Contemporary Ensemble Music Cooperative.

VILLA ARTIS: MUSIC OF THE WORLD – a cycle of events for the 25th anniversary of restoration of the Villa Decius palace and park complex.
The theme of the cycle of events for the 25th anniversary of restoration of the Villa Decius Renaissance palace and park complex was music of the world. The project promoted the multidimensionality and diversity of musical traditions of various cultural areas and its interpreters; among them, artists who create their artistic inspirations based on studies and interest in local aspects of heritage. The anniversary events were international concerts of high artistic value, diversified in presentation and musical form:

- “Traveler” by “Kontakt Choir” conducted by a Syrian musician and composer Wassim Ibrahim. The band uses music as a universal language for understanding and breaking down cultural barriers, which was appreciated i.a. by granting them the title of the Polish Ambassador of Multiculturalism 2019 AD.

- Balkan music performed by the BalkanArtz group, which combines folk elements with i.a. rock’n’ roll, ethnic with electronic instruments, and whose compositions are inspired by works from different sides of the world. The second part of the band’s name refers to the Hungarian word “Arc” meaning “face”. BalkanArtz combines traditional sounds with modern arrangements, showing the listeners a new face of Balkan music.

- An African evening during which the duo: Ablaye Badji from Senegal and Ethan Smith from South Africa presented the works that were inspired by the traditional music of their home countries.

Visegrad Days, 1-4 July 2021

Art Picnic at Villa Decius is a cyclical event intended to present and promote the cultural diversity of our city and its multicultural roots among Cracovians. Organizing the Art Picnic in one of the most interesting sites in Kraków, founded by a German Justus Ludwik Decius, a newcomer from distant Alsace, reflects the character of the city, shows its openness and cultural potential based on the heritage of visitors and close contacts with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2021, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Visegrad Group, the Villa Decius Institute for Culture organized an Art Picnic dedicated to the V4 countries. For years, Villa Decius has been a member of the Visegrad network of organisations involved in a range of cultural and educational initiatives, a meeting place for future regional leaders, and a centre for innovative solutions.

Art Picnic, which took place on July 1-4, 2021, presented the culture of the Visegrad Group countries. In cooperation with a number of cultural institutions, a program was developed that presented interesting and noteworthy phenomena in visual arts, film, literature, and music of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland.

The following events took place as part of the Art Picnic:

The meeting “Literary Center of Europe”. The discussion led by Aleksandra Hudymač was attended by: Pavol Rankov (Slovakia), Alena Mornštajnová (Czech Republic), Aleksander Kaczorowski (Poland) and Ferenc Czinki (Hungary) – scholarship holders of Villa Decius residency programs.

A concert of BalkanArtz, a band which combines traditional music with modern arrangements.

POSZTERRA – a traveling exhibition of posters from V4 countries
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the cooperation between the Visegrad countries, the Hungarian Academy of Arts initiated the international poster exhibition “PoszTerra” curated by Krzysztof Ducki. The cross-sectional exhibition is a challenging selection of works by three outstanding artists representing each of the Visegrad countries. In addition to the works of masters, the exhibition also features projects by selected students. Juxtaposed works by authors from Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia showed the history of design of cultural posters with distinctive national characteristics.
The open-air exhibition POSZTERRA was presented in Villa Decius from July 1 to October 10.

“Botanical Dream no 11”
In the interiors of Villa Decius you could see an original exhibition entitled: “Botanical Dream no 11”, where the works of the Slovak artist Milan Lukáč are gathered. In addition to subtle monotypes that refer to childhood memories, the author presented bronze and wood sculptures themed around plant forms. Milan Lukáč is a teaching fellow at the Faculty of Architecture and Design of the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava and the author of many monumental works, monuments and memorials.

 The open-air exhibition “Visegrad is people” on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Visegrad Group in the Krakow Planty Park. The exhibition was divided into several subject areas, such as history, culture, people, cross-border cooperation, education, aspects of innovation and solidarity. It aimed at highlighting the role of the V4 communities at different levels and showing the power of international cooperation on a local and global scale. Currently presented in the courtyard of Villa Decius.

 Exhibition “Vaclav Havel. Politics and Conscience”
The exhibition, prepared by the Czech Center in Warsaw, showed the most important moments from the public activity of Vaclav Havel, together with the quotations from his statements. On the occasion of the exhibition, in cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Poland and the Czech Center in Warsaw, documentary films about Vaclav Havel were also screened at Villa Decius.

As every year, a gala concert was held in Villa Decius to commemorate the victims of famine in Ukraine (1921-1923, 1932-1933, 1946-1947). Compositions dedicated to this event were performed by a talented pianist, Marianna Humetska. The program includes works by Ludwig van Beethoven and contemporary Ukrainian composers. The event was held under the honorary patronage of the Consulate General of Ukraine in Krakow.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the independence of Ukraine, in cooperation with the Consulate General of Ukraine in Krakow, a photography exhibition “Beauty of Unity” was opened. “Beauty of Unity" is a project aimed at combining cultural and artistic traditions of Ukraine and Poland. Renowned representatives of the world of Polish culture – actors, journalists, and writers were invited to take part in a photography session prepared by Stepan Rudyk, Ukrainian photographer living in Poland. They were shown in authentic costumes from the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, representing various regions of Ukraine.

In November 2021, the Foundation and the Villa Decius Institute for Culture organized a meeting in Villa Decius with Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, one of the most famous contemporary Belarusian writers and an active pro-democracy activist, on the occasion of the publication of his new book, “Gai Ben Hinnom”.
The meeting was accompanied by a concert by Todar Vajciuškievič, a Belarusian musician, multi-instrumentalist, film music composer, bard.

The residential program of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) aims at providing security for artists who, due to persecution, cannot live and work freely in their own homeland. In 2021, under this program, the Villa Decius Institute for Culture hosted an Angolan writer and activist – Aaiún Nin.

More about the program:

SAR is an international network of academic institutions and individuals whose mission is to protect persecuted members of the university community and to promote academic freedom. By organizing temporary jobs in partner institutions, SAR provides security for scholars at risk, and provides advisory services for the scholars and host institutions, organizes campaigns for imprisoned or repressed scholars, and monitors attacks on the academic community worldwide. In October 2021, under the SAR program, Villa Decius hosted Prof. Fulya Atacan from Turkey. The Turkish scientist, seeking research and teaching opportunities in a safe place, received the assistance of the global Scholars at Risk Network, and since then, she has been hosted in Krakow as a SAR Fellow. Her stay is organized by the City of Krakow, the Villa Decius Institute for Culture and the Jagiellonian University.

More about the program:

The Krakow UNESCO City of Literature Residency Program is dedicated to writers, poets and translators from the Cities of Literature belonging to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The aim is to create an opportunity for authors to present their work to the Central European public, to promote greater diversity in Polish and European literary community and to enable local creators to establish contacts with foreign writers. The program is implemented in cooperation with the Krakow Festival Office – the cultural institution of the city of Krakow.
In 2021, two scholars were hosted under the Villa Decius program: Maarten van der Graaff from the Netherlands and Ostap Ukrainiets from Ukraine.
More about the program:

As part of Year of Karl Dedecius commemoration, in the fall of 2021, an exhibition titled “Karl Dedecius. Between Words – Between Nations” was presented in Villa Decius. The opening of the exhibition was honored by a speech by Dr. Andrzej Kałuża (German-Poland Institute in Darmstadt), presenting the life of Karl Dedecius, and the presentation of the anniversary album “Karl Dedecius. Inter verba – inter gentes” with a commentary from its authors: Dr. Ilona Czechowska (Karl Dedecius Foundation) and Dr. Ernest Kuczyński (University of Łódź).

On the occasion of the 100th birthday of Karl Dedecius, the German-Poland Institute in Darmstadt (Deutsches Polen-Institut), in cooperation with Villa Decius, announced the resumption of the Karl Dedecius Award for Polish translators of German literature and German translators of Polish literature.
The award, named after the leading figure of German translators of Polish literature and the distinguished mediator between Poland and Germany, Karl Dedecius, will be granted in Darmstadt on May 20, 2022. The laureates, a Polish translator and a German translator, will be honored for outstanding translation achievements, and thus for the work for the understanding between Poles and Germany. The award winners will receive a prize of €10,000 and a residential stay in Villa Decius in Krakow.

The Villa Decius Institute for Culture was a partner of the edition of the Multicultural Festival – New Cracovians 2021, organized by the Villa Decius Association and the Internationaler Bund Polska Foundation, the operator of the Multicultural Center in Krakow with the financial support of the Open City of Krakow.
The Multicultural Festival aims to introduce the profiles of foreigners living in Krakow and carrying out their activities here, as well as to present the cultures of different countries. In 2021, the Festival took place from September 23, 2021 to October 3, 2021 and included a number of artistic and educational activities. The Festival included i.a. lectures, anti-discrimination workshops, guided walks in Krakow for children and adults, showing the multicultural face of the city, a Round Table, that is the debate “Multiculturalism in European Cities”, music workshops with Wassim Ibrahim, Afro Dance workshops, the contest for the best restaurant in Krakow ran by foreigners, language evenings with native speakers (Italian, Ukrainian, Russian, French), culinary workshops and social campaigns.
Another event that took place during the Festival was the finale of the “Multicultural Library” campaign, as part of which books donated by Consulates, cultural institutions, and publishers were handed over to the Library of Krakow, supplying and expanding the library collections in foreign languages and collections of literature translated into Polish.

As part of the 19th edition of the Visegrad Summer School organized in July 2021 by the Villa Decius Association, the Villa Decius Institute for Culture organized a workshop meeting of the Cultural Heritage Laboratory. During the Lab, several participants, young leaders from countries such as: Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Poland, under the guidance of a mentor from the Audience Agency, Jonathan Goodacre, learned and acquired new competence in audience development and modern methods in the field of culture and heritage management.
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