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Villa Decius Association

The Villa Decius Association, founded in 1996, also continues its activities at Villa Decius.

Since 1996, the Villa Decius Association has implemented a number of initiatives and activities to promote and develop culture, science and art in local, regional and international forums, working with Polish and foreign scientific, artistic and economic communities. The Association’s program activities are interdisciplinary in nature from the outset, and the topics covered by our projects include issues for the development of international cultural and intellectual collaboration, the deepening of European integration processes, the protection of cultural heritage, the shaping of tolerance attitudes and the promotion of human rights. A unique place in the Villa’s activities is taken by literature and its translations aimed at mutual recognition and dialogue between nations and cultures.

The programs of the Villa Decius Association can be divided into 3 main areas:

- the development of humanist thought and civil society,
- support and promotion of artistic and literary creation,
- promotion and protection of the cultural heritage and traditions of Villa Decius.


The values of humanism and civil society are reflected in the Association’s multi-annual programs that promote international collaboration, dialogue and tolerance in public life and the idea of the protection of human rights.

The flagship program of the Villa Decius Association is the Visegrad Summer School – a two-week cycle of training for young people from the Visegrad Group countries and Eastern Europe, which has been implemented annually since 2002. 

In 2003, the Villa Decius Association established the Prize of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who died tragically in a bomb attack in Iraq the same year. The prize is awarded annually to individuals and non-governmental organizations for their particular contribution to the peaceful coexistence and collaboration of societies, religions and cultures. The Prize Jury is composed of representatives of: the President of the Republic of Poland, the Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, embassies and consulates supporting the Association’s activities in the field of human rights, the President of the Institute of National Remembrance (until 2020), the Ombudsman, funders and initiators of the Prize – the ZNAK Foundation and the Villa Decius Association, and since 2020, the President of the City of Kraków. The previous winners of the Prize are, among others: Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Siergiej Kowaliow, Szewach Weiss, Pietro Bartolo and late Paweł Adamowicz.

More about the prize: 

Thanks to an initiative taken by the Villa Decius Association, Kraków, as the first city in Central and Eastern Europe, joined in 2011 the International Cities of Refuge Network, ICORN, which brings together more than 70 cities from all over the world, which offer asylum to writers persecuted for their work. Since 2011, ten writers have found refuge in Kraków, among others: Lawon Barszczewski (Belarus), Asli Erdogan (Turkey), Monem Mahjoub (Libya), Kholoud Charaf (Syria), and Aiun Nin (Angola). Kraków is also active in the structure of the ICORN network – in the years 2014–2018 Danuta Glondys, the then director of the Villa Decius Association, sat on its Management Board. In 2020, Robert Piaskowski, Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Kraków for Culture, became a member of the Management Board. 

The Association is also a founding member of the new initiative of the European Alliance of Academies, established in October 2020, bringing together cultural institutions and universities active internationally in the area of freedom of expression and artistic creation and a member of the Scholars at Risk network, providing an opportunity to continue scientific work and research to scientists persecuted in their countries of origin.


Culture Dialogue Laboratory – an interdisciplinary, multi-annual cultural program of the Villa Decius Association

The Culture Dialogue Laboratory is a comprehensive program planned until 2022. It contains three main components: “Literary Center”, “Platform for Intercultural Dialogue” and “Renaissance as a Space for Cultural Dialogue”. The interdisciplinary nature of the project allows a multi-faceted view of the role of culture in the modern world and to address issues relating to international cultural and scientific collaboration, including management methods and sources of funding for culture.


Literature and translations have been present in the Association’s programs from the very beginning thanks to Albrecht Lempp, a slavicist, translator of Polish literature and at the same time the cultural manager, who was the first director of the renovated Villa. The Association realizes its mission mainly through the oldest in Poland literary residency program, which has been in existence since 1998, and which currently includes:

Visegrad Literary Residencies – a series of residential stays and literary events addressed to the artists of the Visegrad Group countries, implemented simultaneously in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The program is based on a partnership of four host institutions from each V4 country: Institut umeni in Prague, Petőfi Irodalmi Múzeum in Budapest, Literárne informačné centrum in Bratislava, and the Villa Decius Association in Kraków, which is the leader and operator of the program. 

Creative and Scriptwriting Scholarships – a residential program organized together with the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, addressed to German writers and translators, and since 2019 aimed at Polish and German film, radio and theater scriptwriters, as well as creators of scripts for board and computer games.
A special project of the Association, promoting literature in its most modern forms, is Write the Game – Summer School of Computer Game Scripts – an innovative and interdisciplinary project for the development of creative industries implemented since 2016. In each edition, a group of participants takes part in a comprehensive script creation course, run by the best Polish and foreign scriptwriters and experts, and also participates in networking meetings and study visits in the best Polish game studios.


Activities carried out through extensive cultural and educational programs presenting the history of the palace and park complex and the cultural traditions of Europe support the promotion and protection of the Polish and European cultural heritage and cultural traditions related to Villa Decius. Among them are i.a.:

Renaissance Trail in Malopolska – the main objective of the project is to activate and promote the Malopolska cultural heritage trail through the organization of open events and making historical objects from the Renaissance period available to a wide audience in an attractive, comprehensive and integrated formula, with particular regard to the history and tradition of the region.

Sunday at Villa Decius – the annual educational and artistic open-air event in the form of a family picnic in the surroundings of Villa Decius since 1996, and since 2019, in partnership with the Villa Decius Institute for Culture. The artistic concept is based on a dialog of history with modernity and a combination of different disciplines of art: visual arts, dance, theater, and music. Children and youth groups as well as Polish stage artists are performing on the open-air stage. The project refers to previous musical and educational cycles such as: The International Summer Academy of Art (2002–2016), Gardens of Creativity (2008–2016), Heritage of Chopin (2006–2015).

Heritage conservation – post-graduate studies – is an educational project aimed at developing a new post-graduate course on the protection of cultural goods in the event of a crisis and war. As part of the program, an interdisciplinary team of experts with rich international experience will develop a curriculum of future studies as well as a package of necessary scientific materials. One of the objectives of the project is to emphasize the importance of the protection of cultural goods in situations of international conflict during armed conflicts and emergency situations. The project is financed by funds of the European Economic Area.


The project carried out by the Villa Decius Association is based on earlier multi-annual programs addressed to seniors (i.a. SAGA – creative writing workshops), offers the opportunity to take advantage of a wide range of activities, but above all to integrate and develop your own talents and passion and acquire new skills.
For more information on the activities and programmes run by the Villa Decius Association, please follow the link:


Villa Decius Association
ul. 28 lipca 1943, 17a,  30-233 Krakow
tel. +48 12 425 36 38, +48 425 36 44, +48 503 088 476
fax: +48 12 425 36 63

tel. +48 503 088 476
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