Grupa młodych ludzi rozmawia w parach.
fot. Magda Starowieyska/Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich

Faces of Diversity

The Faces of Diversity project consisted of pro­grammes for adults, mostly young adults, including lectures, meetings, panel discussions, city actions and guided tours, artistic residencies, workshops, various long-term series as well as programmes for people with disabilities.

Activities for adults provided participants with an opportunity to gain knowledge about cultural, ethnic, religious and social diversity, creating space for discussions that addressed prejudice and stereotypes and encouraged in­tercultural dialogue. We wanted to show the rel­evance of the history and culture of Polish Jews for meeting the challenges of the contemporary world, such as building self – other, minority – majority relations and living side by side with di­verse groups. The European Wergeland Centre was our Norwegian partner.

The programme was geared towards adults from Warsaw, in particular young adults, as well as ex­perts from Poland and Norway, activists, NGO staff and civil servants, members of the Muse­um’s home community of Muranów, people with disabilities and, finally, artists from all over the world. Many activities were organised in coop­eration with representatives of various minorities.

The Faces of Diversity programme included the Multicultural Warsaw series of events during which we looked at the city and its multicultur­alism from various perspectives. Meetings, de­bates, urban actions and workshops were com­bined with long-term activities involving local communities. The Warszawa Warsze temporary exhibition dedicated to the Jewish history of the city proved extremely popular. Own – Alien – Other: The Museum and Stereotypes series pro­vided an opportunity to discuss issues related to discrimination, stereotyping, and inter-religious dialogue through a number of anti-discrimina­tion workshops. Thanks to the artistic residen­cy programme The Open Museum – Education in Action we hosted 18 artists from all over the globe who tackled questions of Jewish heritage and multiculturalism in their works. A selection of these works was presented within the framework of the temporary exhibition Presence / Absence / Traces. Contemporary Artists on Jewish Warsaw.

Many events were organised with marginalised groups in mind, and often in cooperation with those groups – e.g. a series of initiatives ad­dressed to people with disabilities as well as na­tional and ethnic minorities. It is imperative for us to relate to contemporary social and cultural challenges, including the in­creasing degree of hate speech in public life or the refugee crisis.

The evaluation study confirmed the high qual­ity and social usefulness of our activities: 75% of people participating in the survey declared the highest or near-highest level of satisfaction with the content of our programme. They assessed that in the course of an activity they had acquired useful skills (4,67), broadened their knowledge (4,40) and deemed that our programme helped build mutual understanding and respect (4,56) [re­sults on a scale of 5; 292 people surveyed].

Supported from the Norway and EEA Grants by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
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