Summer School of Dialogue 2012 – archived

The first Summer School of Dialogue took place July 4th -10th, 2012, in Sejny and Krasnogruda, in the Podlaskie region of north eastern Poland, with a wide range of participants from Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine, Poland. Thirty six participants, four workshop leaders, two facilitators of documentation – all working together for seven intense days in three languages, mainly based at the International Centre for Dialogue – over 70 hours of activities, presentations, discussions and sharing of practice.

The 2012 workshop leaders were Chris Baldwin (UK), Krzysztof Czyżewski (Borderland Foundation, Poland), Jean Pierre Deru (Association Marcel Hicter, Belgium) and Anna Danilewicz (Poland). Documentation was facilitated by Brendan Jackson (Laundry, UK) and Marcin Pawlukiewicz (Borderland Foundation, Poland).

The group leaders were Levan Khetaguri, Olexandr Butsenko and Ales Antsipenka.

In the posts below you’ll find our documentation of the week, as they were added day by day. We hope this gives you a useful insight into the summer school.

You can find a summary of the evaluation undertaken by participants here (in English) compiled by Anna Danilewicz. You can view the original evaluation questions here in English language and here in Russian language.

Also, here are some reflections from members of the Ukraine group (in Russian) at this site:


Final sessions

Our final session took place a short walk from the Krasnogruda Manor House, in the early evening. Participants received their certification for completion of the summer school, and Krzysztof and Chris shared their thoughts on the activities of the week.

In the evening, we attended a sold out concert by Orkiestra Klezmerska Teatru Sejneńskiego in Sejny, followed by an after show performance by a core of the Sejny Jazz Collective, who finished the evening with a brisk version of the Johnny Cash song ‘Ring of Fire’ (although the vocalist was losing his voice after several consecutive concerts played this week on the road).

So goodnight everyone, farewell. Build your bridges and networks, and we will see what new collaborations grow from this summer school of dialogue…

Tuesday 10th July

Resistance Leadership

In his introduction to this session, Jean Pierre spoke of how cultural workers can operate in resisting the status quo and in developing strategies to change society. He called upon three individuals to speak of their personal experiences in dealing with the changes in their societies in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Presentations were then made by:

Oleksandr Butsenko
Democracy through Culture Development Centre, Kyiv, Ukraine and

Ales Antisipenka, Head of  Belarusian Collegium

Levan Khetaguri, Director of The Arts Research Institute, Ilia State University.

View an extract from Levan’s presentation here >>>

Following these round table presentations, and consequent discussions and questions, participants undertook evaluation of the previous days activities.


Monday 9th July

Open Space workshops continue. with different combinations of discussion groups spread around the grounds of the Manor House. Some prefer the sun, some prefer the shade.

Here Ania Danilewicz explains some of the ideas behind the exercises. View video here >>> 

The different combinations of groups worked on their ideas and reports, which were then printed and distributed to everyone over lunch.

The  group as a whole reconvened to comment on the reports and Jean Pierre explained the next tasks. View a short video here of the process here >>

Here’s a visual example of what one group presented back – exploring the question “Generation Gap? Leadership in the age diverse (cultural) organisations”.

For the evening presentation, Jean Pierre presented a lecture “Crisis, What Crisis?”, offering his anaylsis of the current European situation in a globalised marketplace, and suggesting ways in which culture in the wider Europe had a crucial role to play in development and resistance. Russian translation of this session was undertaken by Aliaksandr Antsipenka.


Sunday 8th July

Morning presentation by Iuri Mgebrishbili from Arts Research Institute of Ilia State University, Georgia.

In the afternoon, we began the Open Space workshop with Jean Pierre Deru and Anna Danilewicz.

The Open Space workshop consists of different forms of work – from individual reflections, group discussions, thematic sessions where one idea, suggestion or topic collects all the remarks, comments and proposals for action. Jean Pierre describes it this way –  as “a kind of meeting in which the participants create their own programme of self-managed discussion groups, experiential workshops, ideas sessions and planning meetings. Open Space allows diverse groups of people to get together, discuss issues of heartfelt concern, pool their knowledge and develop plans for collaborative action.” Great emphasis is placed on individual responsibility for participating and taking action. There are no invited speakers, simply a facilitator to explain the procedure and facilitate the plenary sessions.

View a brief extract from his introduction here >>>

In the first sessions – described as ‘walk and talk’ – individuals walked around the grounds in pairs to discuss these three questions: 1.  What is your experience of leadership? 2. How would you describe the position of leader? 3. What do you find the most exciting about leadership. They had twenty minutes for this introductory exercise, before reporting back their findings to the full group.

Participants shared some of the following ideas on characteristics of leadership. (This is not an exhaustive list but a quick selection of comments)

–  taking responsibility and acting to share responsibility

–  ability to resolve conflicts

– ability to maintain team spirit

– decisiveness

– listening to people’s opinion but unafraid to take a decision

– charisma is important but not always

– ability to trust the people in your team

– being able to effectively use available resources

– listening to the group and representing the group

– open minded but able to prioritise

– a leader does not have to be authoritarian, but someone you respect and has respect for others

– ability to inspire people

– skilful at communicating with many different people

In these two video clips,  Salome Joglidze from Tblisisi and Roland Zarzycki from Wroclaw share their conversation back with the group, with Aliaksandr Antsipenka translating to Russian.

Watch clip of Salome here >>>

Watch clip of Roland here >>>

Participants were then invited to propose a topic in the framework of the question of leadership – and to negotiate a time and a place for this group on the time line. The groups then spent the next sessions over the two days following these discussion, documenting their proposals and typing it up as a written document to present back.

Watch clip of Ania explaining the process of selecting topics here >>>

You can find some info on Open Space workshops here:

As the first round of Open Space discussions concluded at 20.30 pm, all participants were then invited to an evening of Georgian food, wine and music in the basement of the Manor House.  The food was specially prepared by Ia Iashvili, Salome Joglidze and Maka Kukulava in the kitchen at Gospoda restuarant on the Polish -Lithuanian border. Thankyou to Grażyna Łowiagin for her kitchen staff assistance.

And here’s a small sample of the singing from the evening…