Roundtable | Creative Approaches to Memory TFDC 1.16
Jul 06, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230706T0900 20230706T1030 Europe/London 5.24. Polish emigre theatre in the UK: performing the memory

The roundtable offers an insight into the development of émigré theatre by Polish migrants to Britain as a means of sustaining identity through the performative art and, as a consequence, creating a distinctive memoryscape for performing what a given migrant group defines for themselves as Polishness, or, relatedly, performing a new, migrant identity that opens up to the new zones of contact. Focusing on various periods of the Polish émigré life in Greak Britain, the panel participants will highlight the following:- the motivation behind setting up theatre groups and productions by Polish migrants to Britain;- the nature of these groups and their operating foundations: professional, amateur, financing, marketing;- main timeframes for considering the history of Polish migrant theatre in Britain, starting with the post-WWII migration of war exiles; the 1980s (the martial law migration); the 1990s (the postcommunism transformation migration), and post-2004 (the post-EU accession migration), the Brexit consequences for migrant cultural life, especially the theatre;- visibility of Polish migrant theatre, outreach to the Polish community, lateral connections with other migrant artistic initiativesHowever, first and foremost, the roundtable aims to present a map of the Polish migrant theatre life in the UK in order to analyze role in developing and tending to the landscape of memory. This map will also be a valuable data pool for establishing a grid of theoretical perspectives on the specificity of migration from a postcommunist country in the period of system transformation (the 90s, the post-EU accession) to the European West of which Great Britain is part. Considering also the past waves of migration to Britain from Poland, especially the post-WWII Polish exiles' set ...

TFDC 1.16 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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The roundtable offers an insight into the development of émigré theatre by Polish migrants to Britain as a means of sustaining identity through the performative art and, as a consequence, creating a distinctive memoryscape for performing what a given migrant group defines for themselves as Polishness, or, relatedly, performing a new, migrant identity that opens up to the new zones of contact. Focusing on various periods of the Polish émigré life in Greak Britain, the panel participants will highlight the following:
- the motivation behind setting up theatre groups and productions by Polish migrants to Britain;
- the nature of these groups and their operating foundations: professional, amateur, financing, marketing;
- main timeframes for considering the history of Polish migrant theatre in Britain, starting with the post-WWII migration of war exiles; the 1980s (the martial law migration); the 1990s (the postcommunism transformation migration), and post-2004 (the post-EU accession migration), the Brexit consequences for migrant cultural life, especially the theatre;
- visibility of Polish migrant theatre, outreach to the Polish community, lateral connections with other migrant artistic initiatives

However, first and foremost, the roundtable aims to present a map of the Polish migrant theatre life in the UK in order to analyze role in developing and tending to the landscape of memory. This map will also be a valuable data pool for establishing a grid of theoretical perspectives on the specificity of migration from a postcommunist country in the period of system transformation (the 90s, the post-EU accession) to the European West of which Great Britain is part. Considering also the past waves of migration to Britain from Poland, especially the post-WWII Polish exiles' settlement in Britain, the first mass migration to the UK before the Windrush generation, the continued relative invisibility of that migrant group within Britain's multicultural diversity, the panel will propose to enhance the memory studies perspective in that particular case with a postdependence studies perspective which encourages research into inequalities known from the postcolonial contexts but concerning the peripherality and subordinate status of Eastern and Central Europe, especially in the post-WWII decades until the EU accession of most of the countries in the region, Poland included.

The roundtable will address a range of questions, including: What kind of memory does migrant theatre promote, what identity patterns does it create and sustain, what escapes from identity regimes (national, ethnic, gender?) does it offer to those who seek in migration also a way out of limitations in the home country, and what dialogue does it attract with the host country's artistic scene, Britain's, in this case?

Phd student
,
University of Lodz
Research assistant
,
University of Łódź
Associate Professor
,
University of Wroclaw
Associate Professor
,
University of Wroclaw
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