Spotting Treasures in Bełchatów
Zuzanna Zajac Marlene Hübner
This concept for a series of artistic interventions and workshops is to be realized in Bełchatów, a monotown (i.e. a city dependent on a single industry) located in central Poland confronted with a limitation of resources in the close future. The events are directed towards the local youth and aim to challenge and expand the ways that they perceive and use their city.
Bełchatów, a monotown in Poland dependent on the industry of electricity production from lignite coal, is facing imminent regression due to decreasing coal resources and stricter EU climate policies. Bełchatów was artificially created in the 1960s and 70s due to the discovery of coal deposits. With the opening of the mines and later the power station, many Polish workers settled down in this area and thus became labour migrants in their own country, whose initial aim was to have a stable employment (and not to find a new home).
Due to structural changes the city faces a unique opportunity to proactively think of innovative alternatives for their current industry, however that requires a stronger political engagement and sense of imagination of both its administration and its residents. With our project, we are addressing this issue through a series of site-specific events that are based on unique local qualities, directed at the younger generation. Starting with a public exploration together with the Polish artist Joasia Zabielska we offer a new perspective on the familiar urban fabric of Bełchatów. Using local elements in the workshop, like pierogis and the “bar mleczny” (a typical Polish self-service restaurant offering food and non-alcoholic beverages), we invite young citizens to explore and rethink their environment now and in the future in a collective and playful way.
- January 2020
- Zuzanna Zajac Marlene Hübner