Poland Today: Women’s Rights, Art and Visibility

Join this panel discussion exploring tensions between art, gender and the struggle for reproductive rights in contemporary Poland organised by Calvert 22 Foundation and UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies.

The event runs alongside the conference Impacts of Gender Discourse on Polish Politics, Society & Culture at UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies and Calvert 22 Foundation’s exhibition Family Values: Polish Photography Now.


Agnieszka Graff, University of Warsaw
From ‘Polska’ to ‘Polka’: The Black Protest’s ‘Fighting Polish Woman’ as Subversive Appropriation of National Symbolism

Aneta Stępień, Trinity College
Politics of gender and sexuality in the feminist memes of Marta Frej

Kate Bush, Curator
Introduction to the exhibition Family Values and the work of Zofia Rydet 

Chaired by Urszula Chowaniec

About the speakers

Agnieszka Graff is an associate professor at the American Studies Center, University of Warsaw, where she teaches US culture, literature and film, African American studies and gender studies. She has authored five books of feminist essays in Polish, is an activist and media commentator, a founding member of the Women’s 8th of March Alliance and co-organizer and speaker of Congress of Polish Women.

Aneta Stępień is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at Trinity College Dublin where she lectures on Polish culture and literature, and on gender. She is the author of a comparative study of the literary expressions of shame, Shame, Masculinity and Desire of Belonging. Reading Contemporary Male Writers, published by Peter Lang in 2017.

Hannah Zafiropoulos is Curatorial Assistant at Calvert 22 Foundation and assisted with the exhibition Family Values: Polish Photography Now.

Urszula Chowaniec, Ph.D., is senior teaching fellow and researcher at School of Slavonic and East European Studies University College London.



About the exhibition

Family Values: Polish Photography Now is a unique season of photography and events examining Polish visual culture from the second part of the 20th century and the current creative landscape of a nation with deep historical and emotional links to the UK.

At the centre of the season sits the first exhibition devoted to Polish photography in the UK, which amplifies themes of identity, home and family in the context of social and political change to explore how individual freedoms are found within the confines of the home, and how the domestic serves as a trope for the artistic exploration of different, darker questions concerning identity.

At its heart will be a presentation of the work of Zofia Rydet (1911 – 1997), a photographer much admired in Poland who is now coming to wide international prominence. Her work has never been seen in the UK.

In the exhibition, images by Zofia Rydet will be presented alongside contemporary Polish artists exploring similar topics in their work: Józef Robakowski, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Weronika Gęsicka, Aneta Bartos and Adam Palenta.

Exhibition curated by Kate Bush.

More information on the exhibition here.

Exhibition open to the public:
25 May – 22 Jul 2018
Wed – Sun, 12pm – 6pm
Free entry