poniedziałek, 25 października 2010


Weekly workshops:
1. ESOL - the group of young immigrants from different countries (Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Poland, etc.) who are studying at Stoke-on-Trent College. We have workshops with them every Monday for an hour.
2. Strathcross- the group of adults with learning difficulties. 2hours workshop every Tuesday.
3. YPTC - (Young People Theatre Company) the group of young people from difficult backgrounds, with complicated life stories who where working with the Borderlines before.2 hours every Wednesday.
With all three groups we are working on a Lost Boys project connected to the Peter Pan performance in the theatre. We are playing various games trying to explore the idea of being lost (in many senses) and the story of Peter Pan and the ability of storytelling and improvisation.

Extra projects:
1. Yizkor - Project about Holocaust.
a) We had workshops in primary schools based on the Legend of Lódź Ghetto. We were working on drawings made for children from the Glezer factory.
b) we are preparing performances for high schools.
So for the last two weeks I was watching "Peter Pan" (1953 & 2003) "Hook", reading about Peter Pan's syndrome and about Lodz ghetto, the holocaust, Auschwitz, and the Jews. These two things got mixed up in my head in a very strange way.

Other things in a theatre:
1. I have seen The Game
2. Rehearsals for Peter Pan just began and I'm happy to have warm-ups every day with actors, I have even tried "silk" with them.
3. We had auditions for the Yizkor performance, and now rehearsals have begun.
4. For one week we had in Borderlines Aiden - a young boy, who came for his work experience. When you are 15 in the UK you have to go and work somewhere for a week or two- we should have the same thing in Poland.
5. We are preparing ourselves for a Halloween event.

1. I went to London.
2. I went to the Peak District with my landlady. We visited Eyam - a small village best known for being the "plague village" that chose to isolate itself when the plague was discovered there in August 1665, rather than let the infection spread. 

We taught Loud Mouth Women a Polish song.
And there are pictures from World In Our College on NULC website:

sobota, 23 października 2010

REACH, Quality Streets and a bit of economics

Both of the names in the title I mentioned in one of the previous posts. Now I can and I sholud write a bit more about these projects, because I am more and more familiar with them.

REACH is a very special project and a self-advocacy part of ASIST (Advocacy Services in Staffordshire, choose 'projects' on the website to find REACH). Generally speaking it 'supports poeple with learning disabilities in Stoke-on-Trent to speak up about their lives and the services they use to help them live the life they want'. One of the Mondays I took part in 10th anniverary of this project. I met than people that work in REACH, many of them are/were the REACH MPs (Member of Parliment - one of the abbreviation I have already learned). This parliment is one of the most immpressive parts of REACH: it was set up for poeple with learning disabilities, it's members are voted in by poeple they speak up for to the local Government MPs. During the meeting I could read also the last and challenging piece of work: a strategy about sevices delivered for poeple with learning disabilities for the next years.

It is reasonable to add that CCU delivers the course called 'Speaking Up' - that is one of the connections between REACH and the uni I found and I will be looking for during the next two months. And I am sure that REACH members will help me in my job :) .

Quality Streets is a name for the broad project that started last year. The main points of the project have been already fulfilled, but you can still observe new results. Everything happened in the University Quarter: students and local residents used participatory appraisal methods (very important phrase!) to change their place of living/learning (when you think about community here you never forget about conditions of living that impact it's capacities). Some thing happened as a part of after-project-results during my staying in Stoke. I took part in a walkabout in Hanley Park (that is very close to the uni and I pass it quite often) with a police officer and a council officer who is responsible for delivering services in this area. I was also on the meeting, where Quality Streets arose to be a part of a broaden local policy, involving City Council and local housing associations.

[Note: Quality Streets is not a Quality Street that you can find now on every shelf with Halloween sweets]
'Housing association' is one of the institutions/ideas that I found interesting from economic (my second faculty at Warsaw University) point of view. Have you ever heard about it? I had to ask my English friends (at last wikipedia can help as well...). Some other:
 ... for further reflection.


poniedziałek, 18 października 2010

Wake up at 5 a.m.

Shooting...each days started about 5 a.m. and finished about 6 p.m. On location we were waiting and maiking replays all the time. In fact, it is true about making movies, but making movie is also a joy when we shot a great moment, and an integration with very nice and interesting people. Movie we made is about a domestic violence and I hope it will be really emotional. The premiere will be on 24 of November during the International Day for the
Eliminations of Violence.
But in last days I took part not only in shooting. I haven't had time earlier to write about this:
I spent one day with another company called Inspired, which majors in documentary and promotional films. We made of course...a documentation, because documentation is that what for British people is really important. Everything must have good documentation. In first week I was really surprised when with Junction 15 we went  to primary school and made documentation of ...very small reception after renovation. With Inspired we were shooting recollections of hospital's staff, because this hospital will have a new building, and that old will be destroyed.

On Friday I had a day off, so I go at the University and took part in a lecture: From Muybridge to Murch: Film History and Technology – it was really interesting, I hope I can take part in it each week. Together with Ola W. we were on two courses what we will immediately describe.

Summing up: really many thinks went on the last days, but I had a moment to went to Manchester. Really fantastic city! After weeks in rather not big town, I needed  urban clamour. In Warsaw I’m a tourist guide and I’m appreciating how friendly is Manchester for tourists.  Entry to each museum, gallery is free. What is more on a tourist track are many signposts, so it is really difficult to lose one’s way.


czwartek, 14 października 2010

next week

We worked with Aspire
To help people aim higher
We swatted and toiled
And made our blood boil
But found us a play *
That made people’s day..
And then we all slept the weekend away...
Apart from Yula
Who was not through ya!
She went over to Wolves **
Answering her friends calls
Wound up with eyes, big black and tired
But an interest in England that is still well-fired
Now I’ve *** written her blog, in 2 minutes flat
So she can play KickBall ****, and that is that!!!!

* We prepared play on improvisations and stories about unemployed people. Two young people (Gareth and Elizabeth) were working with us and two volunteers (Sid and Mirka)

** Wolverhampton (through Birmingham). I visited my polish friend and her husband. Dorota prepared very tasty lunch, and we went for a walk to small "Łazienki" (Łazienki - old big park in Warsaw)

*** Chris L.
**** We added new leisure activity (zośka, but in a Chinese/ Vietnamese version)  

On Friday I went with my landlady and her friend for a performance to Regent Theatre in Hanley. We saw Calendar girls -  my flatmate act in this play.

And I'm now on a table with New Vic theatre staff pictures!

poniedziałek, 11 października 2010


We do not have a weekend any longer, but we still have this lovely (yes, Jula, lets get used to this word) Monday. In fact we have something like "złota polska jesień" ('gold Polish autumn' in a direct translation) and I shuold write about it before it finishes.

I started last weekend with yoga classes and I have never heard so many times in such a short time that something is 'lovely' and 'well done' (and that is also why I do not really believe...). Than I went for a trip on the countryside. To be precise: I was (thanks to my host, who gave me a lift) in the Cheshire. I visited Little Moreton Hall - the icon of English Tudor domestic architecture. I continued my trip walking through the fields (not exactly fileds of gold - it is too late, but nearly) and the Cheshire Ring Canal Walk.

I could have sung (and I did) one of the songs I learned at Loud Mouth Women meetings (that we three anjoy every week):
I walk to the end of the road
And I look in both directions
As far as the I can see
I have a blue sky, sun shine
There's nobody here, but me
(something like this...)

How suprised I was today when it turned out that walking by the canals is becoming my favourite free-time activity... (It is something that no well-mannered and timid girl like me has ever done by the bank of Wisła / Vistula river) This time I walked by the canal in the center of Stoke-on-Trent (visiting also Hanley Cementary). I could not have stopped taking photos...

Do not I live in a lovely place?

środa, 6 października 2010

always too late

We are in the middle of the third week here and I still haven't collected thoughts from the last one... It can't wait longer.
There was the real English weather (melancholic, misty) in one of the mornings last week, when I found myself in front of the Civic Centre in Stoke (not Stoke-on-Trent, just Stoke - you, from Poland, will never guess what I mean...) an hour before the meeting... I spent it walking around the church on Church St. (not surprising, doesn't it?).

That was the beggining of the week. At the end I learned how to use English doors and locks. There is one normal handle and above it you can find the second that blocks the machanism of a lock - happily my Penny (who demonstrates that a weather here is usually better than in the stereotype - Penny, I am not sure if I have your permission to use your image?..) managed to explain me that by phone when I stayed alone in the office on Friday afternoon.

Between this two events many things happened. I took part in millions of meetings (maybe a bit less...) introducing myself to millions of people: from the City Council, housing associations, uni staff, local art organizations (B-art), residents, volunteers and so on. I read the reports about some projects implemented in Stoke thanks to uni (Quality Street; digital stories). I collected a lot of observations. A few of them:
  • The main point of many meetings was connecting the university with other institutions from public/private/volunteering sector (and also the role of CCU is connecting poeple and institutions rather than direct action).
  • As well important is never-decreasing interest in involving poeple (especially those with learning disabilities, excluded somehow) and communities in activ citizenship.
  • A person that we call in Poland "animator" here is called "facilitator" - it changes a lot. Animator is more in the cetre of the process of animating, facilitator only ficilitates...
  • Nobody works here - everybody runs the projects :).
  • I heard that in Japan they spend 80% of the time planning project and 20% putting it into practise - and that it is a kind of an ideal. Here you spend 40% on planning, 10% on carrying out and 50% on evaluation and reflection - the new ideal I am learning.
(And it is also my job here - I am collecting stories about good practise: how to involve poeple, how to cross the border between the university and the rest of society/community [the differance between this two words is difficult to explain as it turned out today...].)

One of the bigger event was the Heart of Engagement Cafe that tought participants how to use the World Cafe method - how big suprise when a few days later I saw the effects of this workshop during 10th anniversary of REACH (tables covered by paper that poeple used for writting down their ideas, feelings etc.). What I realised during REACH meeting is that here you do not divide problems into more and less important - solving even the smallest helps to tackle with the general one.

During the weekend I visited the second theatre (I guess o.o. has just written about it) and the second time I was in the backstage (that is unbelievable how my experiances here connect with my classes at Warsaw University - the comment for my not-forgotten here lecturers from Section for Theatre and Performance). And on Monday we watched in Film Theatre "The Titfield Tunderbolt" - amusing Ealing commedy from 1953, the great atmosphere of this place. I am still surprised that all of the cultural institutions I visit are "commited to the community" (as it stayed in presentation about REP Theatre).

I still do not remember that "Thank you" does not mean "No" (spoken in a polite way), so my colleagues in CCU are a bit confused with my replies for questions about tea... When will I learn that?


poniedziałek, 4 października 2010

New Vic

The last letter is “j” and it stands for Julianna, so now it’s my turn.
I’ve landed in Liverpool on 20th of September,
so I still had 2 days for sightseeing and to tidy myself up.
In Liverpool I ran into Biennial, so for a whole day I was visiting galleries and talking with artists.
That was a very good start.
In the evening I went to Stoke-on-Trent where I met my lovely landlady. She took me to my beautiful house (I’m speaking like the English, but it’s actually true, my landlady is lovely and my house is beautiful)

For the whole next day I was exploring Newcastle-under-Lyme (that’s my town, here is my Theatre and my home). It’s a very nice, small town with all the facilities (shops, swimming pool, library, promenade, restaurants, pubs etc).
On Wednesday I went to the New Vic Theatre (that’s where I work) where I met two Olas, Sue (my boss and British mum), and Penny (first Ola’s carer). We went all together to the University for an introduction meeting:
10.00am Introduction and introduction to the University . Sharing aspirations and answering
any initial questions
10.15 Registering correct local contact details/ emergency numbers etc and copying police
checks (Susan) General questions about orientation.
10.30 Talking through the aims of the of the programme and the general picture of how it will
10.45 Health and Safety and keeping safe during the placements. Responsibilities of the
individuals and of the placement agencies. (Mark)
11.15 Introduce the individual projects (Penny, Paul, Sue)
11.30. Learning Objectives and recording learning
12.00 Talking through the Joint timetables. Any other organisational issues. Communication Etc
Lots of information, lots of people, but in a good atmosphere, and with a happy end.

We went back to the theatre, where we had lunch. After lunch I went with Charlotte (my new friend from work, Borderlines administrator assistant) round the theatre. I was introduced to all staff members and I saw all workshops, stores, offices, stages. The theatre is on a circular plan so after this trip I felt dizzy.

Next day my work began.
1. preparation of workshop for next week
“OK, so what is your way of working? Give us some warming up games/exercises”...
2. Two workshops with youth theatre.

I was thrown into the deep end, but that’s good. I’m learning fast. No time to hesitate.

On Friday I went to a high school with a group
working on All our daughters  project about forced marriages.
I was helping with lighting and all technical issues.
I saw a very moving performance,
and then I was watching how Borderlines team lead workshops - I’ve learned a lot. 

For the whole next week I was leading workshops
in Newcastle-under-Lyme College with
Chris (Borderline theatre practitioner)
and two volunteers (Sid& Whitney).
It was very hard, but also a very important week.
I learned a lot, I met lots of interesting individuals
and found self-confidence
even though it was the last thing I expected.

singing, parties, snooker, long walks, stilt walking, poi spinning, talking...

As OlaW wrote in the evening we went to see
Desire under the Elms - old school, naturalistic performance
(as my friend said “it was a good, old fashioned, sit back and relax and watch night”) 

niedziela, 3 października 2010

Junction 15

My firsts weeks in Stoke-on-Trent.... very intensive.
Everything is new, exciting and surprising . Town, people, work. I’m  Ola  - the second "o", who is on the scholarship in Junction 15, the company which produces films.

First of all-Stoke on Trent, six rather small towns connected with each other. So you have to use underpasses often, which (what can you see on the photo) aren't grey and terrifying like that one in Warsaw, but are totally  domesticated. Town - not big, but traffic jams here are the same, or even worse than in our city. It is much more easier to go on walk, than to use a car. People - who are always smiling, helpful.

My work in Junction 15 is really near photography, 
because they use camera-Canon D5 to make movies. Work in the company like Junction 15 is connected with waiting and making repeats all the time, with off-specification working time, sometimes really surprising, also with taking part in more than one projects. But I like it very much – I do not have time for boredom. Mostly during this week I helped making the commercial for Faculty of Health at Staffordshire University. I saw how to work with Canon D5, how make the interviews.  I learned also  how to record the voice.
That was interesting how people were prepared to shoots. Sometimes they prepared what they should say on a few sheets of paper.  Besides that we was making shoots by movie camera  (I had chance to do this myself) in a local school, where a teacher showed how prepare healthy food. However the mostly exciting was making the video-movie for the dance school.  A married couple who are in the middle age dancing in underpass or two builders dancing tango on construction intrigued people on the streets. I took part also in the photographic workshop with children with disabilities – this was very difficult for me, but educational as well.

After work we have with girls intensive time too: play “Desire under the Elms”, tour around the backstage in The RepStoke on Trent Repertory Theatre (there was the open day there) and meeting with Loud Mouth Women – it’s only a part of this what we made.