11 stycznia 2017

Summary of the first year of the project

2016 was the first year of Engaged Humanities project – we organised workshops, summer school, filed school, theater play. Faculty of Artes Liberales – University of Warsaw, School of Oriental and African Studies and University of Leiden worked together on strengthening scientific and innovation capacity as well as social impact in the field of participatory action research in linguistic-cultural heritage and revitalization of endangered languages.The first event was the theatre play „Hobbit.  Hejn ȧn cyryk” performed in Polish Theatre in Warsaw on 26th of February. Youth from Wilamowice and Association of Wilamowianie presented performance based upon the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien fully in Wymysorys. They were authors of script, scenography, costumes, it was also directed by themselves. On the same day were prepared to workshops for children: about traditional dance and about Wilamowicean costumes and language.

A few days later, on 7th and 8th of March in Warsaw took place first training session: “Capacity ­building in methodology and theory of transdisciplinary research on cultural and linguistic heritage”. Lectures were given by:
Konrad Rybka (University of Amsterdam)

Julia Sallabank, (SOAS, University of London)

Maarten Jensen & Omar Anguilar Sánchez (University of Leiden)

Nicole Dołowy-­Rybińska (Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Slavic Studies).


Another training session were organised in May:  “Teaching minority languages, methodology and curriculum development. Practical applications, understanding societal and cultural challenges”. For two days knowledge and experience were shared by

Abelardo de La Cruz (IDIEZ) & John Sullivan (UW/IDIEZ)

Olga Frąckiewicz (UAM)
Tomasz Wicherkiewicz  (UAM)

Søren Wichmann, (UniLeiden)

Omar Aguilar, (UniLeiden)

Juan Carlos Reyes Gómez , (UniLeiden)

Kate Bellamy, (UniLeiden)

Ellen Foote, (SOAS, University fo London)

Julia Sallabank (SOAS, University fo London)

Aleksandra Bergier (UW)


June was the month of meeting in London for Summer School hosted by SOAS: Transdisciplinarity in Language Documentation and Revitalisation. Participants were working across disciplines on issues of language and identity, language vitality, language maintenance and revitalisation.

Peter Austin (SOAS)

Tom Castle (SOAS)

Gregory Haimovich (UW)

Tymoteusz Król, (UW)

Justyna Majerska (UW)

Justyna Olko (UW)

Friederike Lüpke  (SOAS)

Dina Mehmedbegovic  (SOAS)

Jennifer Needs  (SOAS)

John Sullivan (UW/IDIEZ)

Abelardo de la Cruz (IDIEZ)

Julia Sallabank (SOAS)

Candide Simard  (SOAS)

Birgul Yilmaz  (SOAS)

September 18–28 staff and students from the from the University of Warsaw faculty of “Artes Liberales”, Leiden University, and School of Oriental and African Studies in London, along with minority language activists from Poland and the UK participated in the EngHum Field School in Wilamowice. Participants took part in structured workshops on audio and video recording, software tools for data processing, and perspectives on cultural-linguistic research and revitalization methodology. All participants also gave presentations about their research and/or motivations for their involvement in the school (see the program here). Perhaps most importantly, all participants joined one of four groups, each of which was assigned a different task related to research and revitalization of minority languages and cultures. The four groups were:

– Museum in Wilamowice

This group was tasked with collaborating with community members in Wilamowice who are working toward the establishment of a local museum. Such a museum would provide space for the expression of the unique cultural heritage of Wilamowice and the surrounding communities, as well as a safe environment for the storage and exibition of valuable local artifacts.

– School group

This group worked together with the local school in Wilamowice to develop didactic materials to improve methodologies for teaching minority languages. The group produced a number of integrated strategies for language teaching, including games, graphic materials, and ideas for various Apps that could be used for language learning.

– Surrounding villages group

This group surveyed the villages surrounding Wilamowice regarding the history of the area, attitudes towar Wymysorys and Wilamowian culture, and the relations between these villages and Wilamowice.

– Hałcnów

Much of the program took place at the hotel „Przystań nad Sołą“ in Bielany, just outside Wilamowice, where participants also stayed, ate together, and socialized. Two important events took place in the town of Wilamowice. On Suday evening, the participants of the field school presented themselves and their groupwork to local community members and were treated to Wilamovian music and dancing, as well as the premiere of „Óf Yer Wełt“, a play in Wymysorys performed by the local theater group. On the final day of the field school, participants had the opportunity to meet and discuss the status of Wymysorys with members of the Commission of National and Ethnic Minorities, a body of the Polish Lower Chamber of Parliament (SEJM).

And just before Holiday break in Collegium Artes Liberales took place third session training led by Prof. Peter K. Austin from SOAS. The title of the workshop was „Engaged Humanities in practice. Community-based language”