Project

What kind of magic do we find in cultural difference?
May a souvenir be a memorial?
Can an ethnic group be a toy?
How may an object hurt, and how might it heal?

This project seeks to understand the popularity and meanings of Polish-made figurines depicting Jews, from the perspectives of those who own, sell, make, or otherwise encounter them. The website serves as an interactive archive, a platform for dialogue, and a virtual gallery to view visitors' contributions and comments.

A related exhibition in Krakow's Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in summer 2013 will explore the phenomenon of Poland's Jewish figurines, presenting objects from multiple collections in Poland and abroad. Participatory programming will take place during
Krakow Jewish Culture Festival. Visitor contributions to this website will be integrated
into the gallery.

Jewish figurines have a long history in Polish culture. They have played different roles as Polish culture and society have changed, influenced by politics, economics, history and memory. How do we - and how might we - look at these figurines? What images and experiences do different audiences bring to them?

How do you look at them? This project wants to know.




Souvenir, Talisman, Toy is one of four related exhibitions that form the interdisciplinary research project "Exhibition as Research: Collaborative Curating and Difficult Knowledge."
The Montreal, Canada based research team consists of Dr. Shelley Ruth Butler (McGill University), Prof. Heather Igloliorte (Concordia University), Dr. Erica Lehrer (Concordia University),
and Dr. Monica Patterson (Concordia University).

Dr. Erica Lehrer is the curator and principal investigator on the present exhibition.
she is collaborating with local designers, scholars, culture-brokers, and students, including:

Lucyna & Zdzisław Leś, cultural and logistical consultants
Dr. Ewa Węgrzyn, project manager
Monika Bielak and Malwina Antoniszczak, exhibition designers
Łukasz Roth, web and print designer
Paulina Fiejdasz, media researcher and consultant
Adam Uryniak, video editor and multimedia designer
Dara Bramson & Karolina Chodorowska, dialogue team coordinators
Jagiellonian University students of Judaic Studies and Anthropology

Special thanks to Prof. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Dr. Magdalena Waligórska
for their advisory roles.