Call for papers! International Conference:WOJTYŁA-GROTOWSKI


The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of Karol Wojtyła’s birth – saint and pope John Paul II, theologian and philosopher, politician and patriot, and finally, at the dawn of his spiritual development – the artist. Among many events that will probably take place in connection with this fact, it is worth finding a separate place to remind his poetry and drama, as well as his theatrical ideas. Not just to commemorate and celebrate them, but to rethink them. It is worth using this moment to see in the person of the artist-priest the symptom and the symbol of the phenomenon so much important for Polish culture – the broadly understood connections between modern theater and religion, with Christianity and Catholicism, with other religions, but also with post-secularism and post-religiosity,and various spiritual practices. In this context, it is impossible not to think of another person, equally symbolic and symptomatic, standing next to and opposite to Wojtyła, as a playwright, performer and theoretician, that is, Jerzy Grotowski, an outstanding reformer of world theater, whose creative imagination was derived mostly from the same essentially local, romantic and Christian, inspiration. However, the spiritual space that extends be-tween Wojtyła and Grotowski does not fall in the range set by these two names – neither historically, ideologically or personally – but it opens up to heritage and to continuations,and confrontations as well…That is why:Wojtyła-Grotowski &.

Wojtyła-Grotowski &. Taking advantage of the jubilee opportunity, the The Zbigniew Raszewski Theater Institute in Warsaw organizes an international scientific conference combined with a lively debate and performative workshops. It will be held on November the 12th-14st, 2020, at the Institute’s headquarters. We cordially invite you to participate in it!

We expect the meeting of individualities from around the world to become an opportunity to reveal the broad, supra-lo-cal spiritual context in which theater art and dramaturgy – born of Polish culture – functioned and still function. We invite the-ater and literary scholars, theater practitioners, but also philosophers and theologians. We want comparative approaches, more theoretical than historical; we count on philosophical, theological and religious diagnoses as well as recognitions of the essence of performative arts. Wojtyła and Grotowski did not cooperate with each other, they did not function in the same environments and institutions. Therefore, if we choose these two unique men, it is to see in their attitude two suggestions of modern thinking about theater – in Poland and in the world. Or maybe one should say: the thinking about theater that comes out of Poland into the world. We mean theater as a place for the sacred to be present and to be active, animating people and communities, i.e. the tradition that leads from Gardzienice and Węgajty, from Laboratory and Reduta, to Wyspiański and the romantics to baroque and medieval myste-ries. However, we do not want to limit ourselves to theater as an aesthetic object; we also care about ‚thinking by theater’ as a cognitive metaphor, as it appeared in the 20th’s Century ontology, epistemology and metaphysics. It is significant that our two heroes – Wojtyła and Grotowski – started their life path from the theater to finally leave it. This fact raises questions about the limits of theatricality and about theatre’s surroundings. That is why we put together the shepherd of the Church and the teacher of Performer…

Horizon: religion (theology and religious studies, and para-religious phenomena) philosophy (trends and personalities of the 20th century philosophy) society (sociology and anthropology; community, politics) person (anthropology and psychology, subject, psychotherapy)

Essence:art (autonomy, unity and multiplicity of arts) drama / theater traditions and perspectives (aesthetic and non-artistic) literature and language (theory and pragmatics; poetry, speech) performative techniques (records of workshop work, research by practicing)

Dramatic metaphors: in the 20th century philosophy and theology in psychology and psychotherapy in social sciences in aesthetics and art criticism

Distance and Neighborhood: history / historiography, Polish and foreign interreligious dialogue / conflict common / different artistic traditions folk culture, archaic culture and popular culture

The conference will be accompanied by workshops referring to the “theater of essence”, to the forms of the „poor the-ater”, focused on the human person, on his and her thoughts, on sincere emotions, and on intimate relationships. We believe that these practices lead to unveiling and practically exploring the creative continuation of this trend in the field of contemporary performative arts in Poland.

We are waiting for your abstracts until June the 15th. Please send them to the conference curator, Prof. Artur Grabowski from the Jagiellonian University, Krakow:

The organizer covers the costs of travel and accommodation of the speakers (if their home institutions do not), provides simultaneous translation from English, and intends to collect selected speeches in a book to be published the following year.

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