C5 Poland - a Host


We developed the programme of the event in connection to our chosen methodology: STORY WORK. The aim of our activities as the hosts was to show various uses of story collecting and storytelling in engaging local communities and audiences alike in different cultural formats. We have invited three inspirational women with different experience in creative Story Work to be our Three Muses. At this time we considered them as three potential Change Makers for our organisations.

1. 9- 10.30 a.m. meeting at the Baltic Sea Cultural Centre (BSCC) in Gdansk


Introduction to the visit’s programme

The meeting took place in the venue of the BSCC, the organisation closely connected to River//Cities and co-opertion with it on may projects- e.g. “Baltic Audience Links” in  the past and currently “Memory of Water”.

The participants were introduced to storytelling as the methodology R//C would like to learn/improve during the project and the activities they were going to take part in during their stay in Gdansk as well as to the profiles of our three potential Change Makers.

2.  12-18 p.m. - A Meeting with Iwona Zajac, (the artist and curator )

See Iwona’s profile.

Venue: Museum of Sopot

The Museum’s mission is to gather information and popularise history of Sopot through developing lively relations with the city’s residents (also by collecting their family stories) and through research. Museum of Sopot organises exhibitions,` social and educational projects, and collection devoted to cultural heritage of the city.

The participants were given a guided tour by Iwona  of the exhibition „Sopot’s history told through stories of the things” showing chosen objects of the museum’s vast collection of items donated by Sopot citizens - each object accompanied by its own individual story…

Next, the artist gave - a digital presentation on her artistic projects on stories collected from former shipyard workers (men only) in Gdansk. These stories were then transformed by various artistic means. These processes and their outcomes have been documented by Iwona in the website  “Shipyard on Air ”h

After the presentation, a group discussion followed on how the participants can use the artist’s experience in their work. What was the most important, we all concluded, was the possibility to give voice to common people who are rarely heard in public but whose stories are very important and often very universal.


1. A Shipyard is a Woman, 10.00am – 1 pm

Visiting former Gdansk Shipyard grounds with Iwona Zajac along the route of her artistic practice there. She had shown us, among others, the building which used to accommodate “Colony of Artists”, a group of artists who created their works in the shipyard.

In order to show yet another perspective on this place and its history on the one hand, and to present the use of storytelling by new technologies, we provided our Austrian colleagues with a special app for mobiles developed within the Metropolitanka project: A Shipyard is a Woman. LINK https://metropolitanka.ikm.gda.pl/aplikacja/ It takes you on the route in the post-shipyard area created according to the stories of the retired female shipyard workers.

2. Session with Rita Jankowska, a playwright, actress and director. 2 pm – 7pm  (the BSCC) Blog in Polish. 

In the afternoon our I_Improve team joined Rita Jankowska’s group, during  the drama workshop developed through story collecting/telling. The workshop was to present the methodology Rita usually applies while creating her performances in local communities. She talks to people and listens to their stories. Then she picks up some story lines and builds her rehearsals upon improvisations. We improvised on the topics of water and river and managed to build a micro performance during the workshop.


1. Visit to Lower Town in Gdansk with “Storytellers” 11-am- 1 pm
A walk along the historical waterfronts in the district

Our guide was Elzbieta Woroniecka from „Storytellers Association” It is a group of inhabitants of Lower Town District who for many years have collected stories and mementoes connected to this area. Eventually they have digitalised most of their collection as digital social archive.

2. 2 pm – 3 pm  - Visit to the Incubator of Neighbourhood’s Energy, a local community centre,  and digital presentation on „Storytellers’”activities.

3. 3 pm – 8 pm - Late Afternoon with Avril Meehan (the project’s expert): interviews with particpants collecting feedback on their learning experience.

10-6 p.m.
Work with Avril Meehan– evaluation of the process

This is how the process was described by Avril herself: There was a loose hierarchy between the IE (Informal Educator) and the participants. The role of the IE was  interpreted as a facilitator for reflection and debriefing on ChM session content. This role worked  well within the framework of informal education as the IE did not assume a top-down role by  leading a session, but rather was positioned as a fellow participant who, through dialogue and  questioning, could support the participants in uncovering new knowledge for themselves. The  single session led by the IE, on organisational narratives, was not defined before the C activity but  was chosen in response to the strong thematic focus on storytelling during the time in Gdansk. 

Organisational Narrative of The River//Cities Platform Foundation created as the result of the exercise.

We would like to make a change not only in our neighbourhoods but also in our cities, countries and on a global scale.

10-6 pm


Team work on reflections

In depth reflection with the emphasis on the main changemaker - Iwona Zajac. Working on organisational narrative according to the IE’s suggestions, learning experience of the visit and the research on Story Work done by the River//Cities.

See the article on the process here.

Gdansk hosting Vienna, C5 Activity