– idea –

ShortCut Europe is an international encounter of culture animators, artists, creators and social activists. The conferences are a reflection on the culture in the modern world. They create an international forum for public debate about culture and cultural education and an exchange platform for practical knowledge about cultural strategies and policies.

The first conference ShortCut Europe took place in 1996 in Copenhagen, which was the European Capital of Culture at that time. It was organised by Huse i Danmark in co-operation with the Copenhagen cultural centres. This event gave the culture house staff and volunteers from all over Europe the possibility to exchange knowledge and experiences. The conference resulted in holding of ShortCut Europe – cyclic conferences as a part of the official European Capital of Culture events.

The next conferences were held in Weimar in Germany in 1999 and in Brussels in 2000. The initiative, however, was declined due to luck of resources to carry out ongoing  activities. After few years of work and the reorganisation of the European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC) the next conference has been organised in Berlin in 2006.

The Berlin conference was dedicated to cultural differences on the local, regional and European level. A year later in Copenhagen we discussed the European cultural centres from the perspective of the development of social and cultural development. In 2008 in Pecs the ShortCut conference was held under the theme  „Cultural Vitality – Mapping Europe”. It was dedicated to cultural policies, relations between politics and culture and to creative potential. At the Helsinki conference in 2009 the dependence between culture and civic society was discussed. In 2010 in Dortmund the debate was focused on  cultural policies and social exclusion. The Congress which will be held in 2011 in Warsaw will develop the earlier discussions and this time will focus on the questions: whose culture it is? Who is it for? Who is its creator? Is culture (not) for all?

This year’s congress will take place during the Polish Presidency in the EU and will be held in Warsaw on 16th-18th of November 2011. It will be an international and multicultural encounter, directed to a circle of cultural educators and animators. It will be a forum of exchange of knowledge about culture centres in old and new Europe, and will present the innovative solutions in the field of cultural activity. Finally it will attempt to find a new formula of debate, way of working with good practices and opening to the public, way to move the debate from the boardroom to the living places and to show new joint actions.

Congress will be accompanied by artistic and educational events. It will be preceded as well by the two complex projects: animation and research project “Unrecognized dimensions of cultural development. Shortcut/Cięcie: prologue” and artistic project “Cięcie” which will be creative development of the debate’s topics.

Unrecognized dimensions of cultural development. ShortCut/Cięcie: prologue

The project is a continuation of the 5 –year ethnographic research and animation projects carried out by students, animators and artists in Ostałówek and Broniów near Szydłowiec (high, rural unemployment). The main research question is: how the social/artistic actions stimulate the local potential of cultural creativity? On the one hand project will consist in ethnographic research dedicated, among others, to the informal and social activists as well as self-organised groups. On the other hand it will carry out series of artistic and animation events.

Cięcie (Cut)

„Cut” consists of series of artistic and educational events with the participation of the artists: Paweł Althamer, Artur Żmijewski and collectives  PGR_ART and Vlep(v)net. The inspiration of their artistic activities and workshops is a book by dr Tomasz Rakowski „Łowcy, zbieracze, praktycy niemocy”. The activities will focus on the creative potential of the excluded communities and will discuss with the question of “the center” and “the periphery” of culture. The title „Cut” stands for the opposition to some patterns of speaking about peripheral communities as communities „without culture”, incapable of action and change.


Themes of the Congress’ panels:

  1. The institutions and culture centres towards the system.
  2. Educational „orientate yourself!” In search of lost participant
  3. Culture as a space of freedom and anarchy.
  4. Polish multiculturalism?
  5. Culture and art in a public space.
  6. Development through the culture?
  7. Culture networking.


Project objectives:

  • exchange of knowledge about the institutions and cultural centres in Poland, Europe and rest of the world, including the practices of the countries of the Eastern Partnership, an inspiration for Polish centres and cultural institutions
  • popularisation of good practices in cultural education
  • growth of the competence of the creators of culture, strengthen the participatory potential among the participants in cultural events
  • explore the cultural potential of the excluded and marginalized communities
  • launch a nationwide network of cultural centres
  • developing recommendations on local cultural policy for the organisers of cultural institutions
  • discussion on the possibilities of increasing the competencies of culture institutions’ staff with the use of interdisciplinary tools from the fields of art and science


Target groups:

  • cultural animators, educators, social activists from Poland, the EU, Central and Eastern Europe working in institutions, non-governmental organizations, independent initiatives
  • academic circles interested in cultural education and animation
  • local government, politicians
  • journalists writing on social affairs, culture and art
  • cultural activities’ participants


Project team:

  • Ewa Chomicka – The Mazovia Region Centre of Culture and Arts, coordinator of the project
  • Marcin Śliwa – The Mazovia Region Centre of Culture and Arts
  • Anna Halbersztat
  • Katarzyna Kułakowska


Advisory Board:

  • Prof. Marek Krajewski – Institute of Sociology / Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
  • Dr Tomasz Rakowski – Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology / University of Warsaw
  • Katarzyna Mazurkiewicz – National Centre of Culture
  • Wojciech Ziemilski – performer



  • Magda Materna – Open Art Projects Foundation
  • Monika Weychert-Waluszko – Forum of Culture Creators and Animators in Toruń/TVP Culture/ Foksal Gallery



  • Anna Desponds, Justyna Nowakowska, Weronika Parfianowicz, Magdalena Różycka, Paulina Sobieszuk.


Organisers of the project:

  • The Warsaw City Hall – Culture Department / Leszek Napiontek
  • The Mazovia Region Centre of Culture and Arts / Marcin Śliwa
  • National Centre of Culture  / Katarzyna Mazurkiewicz, Magdalena Kulikowska
  • European Network of Cultural Centres / Andreas Kaempf
  • The Ochota Cultural Centre / Bożena Majewska
  • House of Culture “Dorożkarnia” / Anna Michalak, Maryna Czaplińska



  • The Minister of Culture and National Heritage,
  • The Mayor of the City of Warsaw,
  • Marshall of the Mazovia Region,
  • Polish Presidency in the Council of the European Union

The project is implemented by the financial support by:

  • The Warsaw City Hall
  • The Office of the Marshal of the Mazovia Region
  • National Centre of Culture
  • The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland


Venues and dates of implementation of various modules of the project:

  • Unrecognized dimensions of cultural development / south Mazovia region / July – October 2011,
  • Cięcie / Dudziarska housing estate in Warsaw and Szydłowiec and its surroundings / September – October 2011,
  • Congress / Centralny Basen Artystyczny and Imka Theatre; 6 Konopnicka  Street, Warsaw / 16-18 November 2011.