Trasna Na Líne: Visible / Invisible panel in Warsaw

“Visible / Invisible” panel 

On November 13, 2019, we participated in the “Visible / Invisible” panel which took place at the POLIN Museum in Warsaw. The panels discussed the situation of artists with disabilities in various contexts. Are the realities and strategies of social inclusion in art in Eastern and Western Europe very different? What are the potentials, practices and traps accompanying these processes? How is the actor’s subjectivity built into the team? How are the actors in inclusive companies developed and what principles of co-operation have been explored? How to create relationships with parents and guardians of artists with disabilities? And how about the audience? These questions became the starting point for discussion with the participation of an international group of artists and practitioners. Then, thanks to the intersection of knowledge and experience in the design thinking process, a visual record of the conversation about the inclusive model of the institution was created.

We listened to the presentations prepared by our guests, who were:

Nele Jahnke – a graduate of the Zurich University of Arts. Since 2012, she has been working in Zurich at Theater HORA – the only professional theatre in Switzerland, whose members are people with intellectual disabilities. Nele told us about working at Theater HORA and more recently, Kammerspiele in Munich: about building a team, relationships with parents and carers of actors.

Filip Pawlak – theatre producer and performer – told us about the program “Europe Beyond Access” implemented by the British Council. This is a four-year EU Creative Europe Large Co-operation project, with a budget of €4m. Partners include: Per Arts in Novi Sad (a company of actors with intellectual disabilities), Kampnagel, a theatre in Hamburg, Occidente Oriente – Dance festival in Italy, The Onassis Foundation in Athens, Skanes Dance company in Sweden

Jonathan Meth – curator and founder of The Fence – an international network of playwrights and cultural operators. He also teaches theatre, arts administration and cultural policy at universities in the UK. He is Project Dramaturg for the “Crossing the Line” partnership and expert of the UK charity organization Ambitious about Autism. Jonathan showed a film of the first “Crossing the Line” festival in Roubaix in 2017.

Ulyana Roy – lectures at the Department of Theater and Acting at the Department of Culture and Art of the National Ivan Frankov University in Lviv. Ulyana introduced us to the theatre scene of disabled people in Ukraine.

Katarzyna Żeglicka – feminist and activist for the rights of women with disabilities. Performer and self-defence and assertiveness trainer, cultural animator. Katarzyna told us about the challenges she faces as a disabled person and performer in Poland taoday.

The Final part took the form of a design thinking process. This was led by theatre teacher Agnieszka Chlebowska from the Design Thinking Institute from Poznań and Justyna Sobczyk, founder of Teatr 21. This captured key aspects of the presenters’ talks and clustered them to create a system of analysis and reflection towards focusing Theatr 21 in meeting the challenges ahead, within the wider cultural landscape for disabled theatre artists.