Feminisation – democracy – work. Towards a democratic cultural institution
December 8, 11.30 a.m. – 1.30 a.m., Big Stage of Powszechny Theatre

➤ participants:
– Agnes Quackels – artistic director of Kunstencentrum BUDA in Kortrijk, Belgium
– Katja Sonnemann – theatre producer, founder of the Academy for Performing Arts Producers project
– Lara Staal – curator, collaborates with the DAS Theatre in Amsterdam as well as the NT Gent

➤ moderators: Agata Adamiecka-Sitek, Marta Keil, Igor Stokfiszewski

There is no doubt that, in order to survive, we must rethink our world. Faced with depleted resources and irreversible changes to the ecosystem we can no longer insist on growth, competitiveness, efficiency and productivity as the rational foundations of our existence. In the era of growing authoritarianism, we cannot accept hierarchy and submission as basic social relations. We must find a way to replace them with care, solidarity, relation and cooperation. We must do it together, here and now. The best place to begin designing and practicing radical democracy are cultural institutions-complex organisms, where different groups of workers coexist with collaborators, social partners and the audience. Cultural institutions can become laboratories of a new social order. Here, we can observe the common experience of work, which fits the logic of efficiency and competition, often marking the experience of power and alienation as well. In this setting, we can design and test mechanisms that will trigger processes of feminizing conceived as a reinforcing of the categories of the everyday, relativity, cooperation, co-responsibility, care for the common good and sustaining of life, all of these culturally associated with femininity.

The Powszechny Theatre has launched an 8-month process of reorganizing the logic of work, with the aim of specifying- along with the staff, collaborating artists and the community- the demands of the workers, negotiating with the board and signing a deal. It is a process beginning the fight for a change in the working conditions in the realm of culture and beyond.

The necessity of transforming factories of festival hits into places of creative work, which carry the possibility of real, not merely declarative political change is at the center of debates about performing arts institutions in Europe. For that reason, we have invited prominent female curators, directors and producers, who work towards democratizing institutions in various areas, to come to Warsaw. During the session we will discuss the process of reaching the accord with the theatre board, present its elements and confront them with the experience of our guests. We will talk about the successful and unsuccessful practices and solutions, as well as the meaning of a feminist cultural institution in our time.