Cracow – Sarajevo Where are the girls? Does city hall hear the voices of young women?

Poland has been experiencing the rise of nationalism and fundamentalism in recent years too. Women are increasingly relegated to their former role in society as mothers. Studies show that Polish girls have the lowest self-esteem in all of Europe. In a workshop, researchers, activists and concerned women have identified the main problem: the lack of facilities and cultural offerings for girls. Cracow’s Freiraum question is an indictment of Poland’s policymakers.

The Sarajevo-Crakow tandem’s partners have also opted for the use of film. Sarajevo’s Academy of Dramatic Arts has come up with a very concrete answer to Crakow's question: "Where are the girls?” In their 20-minute documentary Lejla: A Look at the Role of Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the filmmakers accompany a girl during her everyday school life, leisure-time activities and at home. It becomes clear that Lejla, who is soon to come of age, is trapped in normative images of the dual role to which she’ll be assigned in her career and family. The film was premiered at a feminist convention in Cracow in late September.

A team of students from the Jagiellonian University in Crakow, led by sociologist Beata Kowalska, have taken up Sarajevo’s question – "Can a compromise be reached between opposing conceptions of freedom?” – in a half-hour film entitled There Is No Freedom Without Solidarity. Looking back on Poland’s past, the sociology students interviewed former workers from the steel mills in Nowa Huta who went on strike in 1988 to fight for political change. Their remarks on the meaning of freedom to them then and now, 30 years later, vary widely – and are quite moving. The interviewees will be attending the screening in late November in Nowa Huta.

(September 2018)

Our Partner

Beata Kowalska is a sociologist at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. She teaches feminist sociology, gender studies, development studies and postcolonial studies. As a researcher and anti-discrimination activist, Kowalska has studied Muslim feminism and the situation of women in the Middle East. She has lectured at the universities of Cambridge, Vienna, Amman and Buffalo, among others. Freiraum_Kopenhagen_TeaserCopenhagenSkopje How do we make the city a free zone for everyone that safeguards multi-faceted democratic dialogue? Freiraum_Krakau_TeaserKrakowSarajevo Where are the girls? Does city hall hear the voices of young women? Freiraum_Rijeka_TeaserRijekaLuxembourg Have we packed freedom into a container in which we enjoy it ourselves or together with friends, while forgetting, however, that freedom develops in society? Freiraum_Rom_TeaserRomeNicosia How can grass-roots democratic methods of urban development impact neighbourhoods plagued by the Mafia and organized crime? Freiraum_Neapel_TeaserNaplesAmsterdam How does one organize one’s living environment vis-à-vis other people? Freiraum_Luxemburg_TeaserLuxembourgRijeka Where are areas of freedom lacking in Luxembourg? Where and how can they be created? Freiraum_Marseille_TeaserMarseillePrague Will various social strata continue to rub shoulders in the city?