Warsaw 2020

Performing the future

Institutions and politics of memory

2 - 5 June 2020
Theatre Institute Warsaw, in collaboration with the University of Warsaw and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews


Performing the future. Institutions and politics of memory

Visiting an archive or a museum always means – whether we want it or not – entering the political field. Institutions in which we gather, organize and disseminate information about the past are powerful tools from the soft power arsenal. Undoubtedly, this also applies to institutions dealing with theatre and performing arts. The accepted rules reflect certain hierarchy and system of values. Some cultural texts, images and voices are privileged while other are marginalized or disappear entirely from the field of vision. In this power game, however, institutions are not solely passive puppets. They can consciously participate in shaping the rules according to which they operate, reveal them, open them for discussion, comment and negotiate them. The way institutions narrate history directly influences the future they design. Stories about the past shape the cultural vocabulary and sensibility of their recipients. The image of the world and values that should be cultivated in it depends on these stories.

Today, when we experience the destabilized foundations of democratic governance and face global crises, focus on the political dimension of institutions responsible for retelling the past and reflection on how we can collaborate to develop democratic open societies seems vital. How can we develop a pluralistic vision of culture, include voices of the excluded, become more open to diversity and dialogue? How can we manage to collectively care for our planet to ensure its safe future?

The 33th SIBMAS Conference will focus on the following issues:

  • Facts, artifacts, narratives – ideas and practices of a narrative museum.
  • Museum as interactive space – how to develop a relationship with visitors and collectively contribute to open society.
  • Museums and the politics of memory – what narratives do we need and what for?
  • Canonical and alternative approaches to archive.
  • Body and archive – documenting of the unpreservable.
  • Performing the past/reviving the narrative – on the collaboration between archives and artists.
  • Practicing care for the Earth – how to do all this without harming our planet.

Ecology will constitute the vital object of the congress’s focus, because no issue is more pressing today. We want to reflect on ecological catalogue of good practice for institutions dealing with researching and documenting theatre. We also commit to organize the 33th SIBMAS World Congress in an Earth-friendly way. We will not use disposable tableware, we will propose eco-friendly food and reduce paper consumption. We hope that we will learn from each other how to contribute to better future.

33th SIBMAS Conference
Theatre Institute, Warsaw 2-5 of June 2020 (PL), in collaboration with the University of Warsaw and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews