TAK association has been operating in Wroclaw since 1999. It brings together people who are interested in the conscious and active participation in communicational processes of the modern world. We specialise in different areas: new media, advertising, television, literature and IT, realizing educational, social and artistic projects. Our activities focus on literature, visual arts and electronic media. Since 2011 TAK has been concentrating on international projects development. Thanks to the financial support from several foreign institutions we have organized events promoting new perspective on Polish culture in Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, Liechtenstein, Hungary, France, Slovakia and Iceland. We have also come up with a grand artistic and social project called Storytelling Lab which will become one of the main points in the Wroclaw Capital of Culture 2016 programme. We produce television programmes, documentaries, print books and literary reviews, write theatrical pieces and film scripts.
TAK belongs to the Anna Lindh Foundation network; we also cooperate with a number of European cultural institutions: Literaturhaus Zurich, Literaturhaus Rostock, ShortStory.EU, Literaturhaus Liechtenstein, Větrné mlýny, Home Théâtre, Hulapa film, Second Collective, Carpe Artem, The Norwegian Festival of Literature, Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature. While working in Poland and Europe we have received financial support from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, National Culture Centre, IMPART 2016 Office, Lower Silesian Marshall Office, Visegrad Fund, European Cultural Foundation, European Commission within the GRUNDTVIG programme, European Economic Area programme, Institut Ramon Llull, Etxepare Institute, Icelandic Literature Centre, NORLA, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Culture Ireland, Instituto Camoes, Goethe Institut, Danish Arts Council.
The most significant artistic event organized by TAK is the International Short Story Festival –a multidimensional celebration of short prose, aiming at the promotion of ambitious books. It concentrates on the unusual presentation of narrative forms, researches the influence of literature on other arts, provokes interactions between authors and audience, at the same time allowing the experience exchange between Polish and foreign artists. The festival actively participates in the discussions on cultural and social transformations of the contemporary world, it also tries to reconstruct the relation between literature and traditional oral narration. At the heart of the festival is the reading of stories by their authors, in original languages, with the translation simultaneously screened behind; each year readings are set in different scenography and in different venues. The festival is accompanied by meetings, workshops for children, exhibitions, concerts, film roundup, best short story and literary translation competitions, creative writing workshops. ISSF is also a publisher of short story collections.
Since 2006 TAK’s Chairman of the Board is Marcin Hamkało.
The Story Lab Project
The Story Lab Project is a long-term, complex, artistic and educational program created for the benefit of storytelling culture, it’s value is based on building and developing social relations through the exchange of existential experiences as well as the expression of individual and collective creativity.
Every memory, anecdote, family legend, the history of a person, of a building or district which is not told or is told ineptly, becomes lost forever. All those private narratives, personal fictions, passing impressions and objective recountings build the identity of a social group, they guarantee the authenticity of communication between people, generations and cultures. Without these stories our material culture tends to be precarious and – eventually – unproductive.
That is why we would like to “tell Wroclaw”, discover its secrets and its past, understand its present. We want to equip the city with the power of a unique, attractive story. We aim at implanting here the common need to narrate stories and to carefully listen to what the others want to tell. In the long run – we would like to build an authentic, exceptional myth of the town.
How we will do it
We will create an editorial board, a data base factory which will become the center of the Wroclaw retrieval. People we will employ will be rummaging through the archives, collecting and recording the stories of the city inhabitants. We will start regular storytelling workshops during which professional storytellers (from Poland and from abroad) will share their knowledge of how to retain the forgotten art of a live story. We plan to establish a literary lab in which we’ll organize courses for those wishing to develop their writing skills. We will send well-prepared researchers to the city archives, talented reporters will visit those Wroclaw citizens who want to tell their story. There will be blogging competitions, The Story Telephone and The Story Box to which everyone will be allowed to put his or her narratives (in any form). We will build and moderate social sites devoted solely to the Wroclaw stories (Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter), as well as live communication channels (GG, GoogleTalk, Skype). We will organize regular audiovisual events to integrate local literary, artistic and film milieus. For primary and secondary schools we will plan new extra-mural activities from which stories (told from a child’s perspective) will be born.
We will also start an integrated scholarship and residence program (writers, playwrights, filmmakers will be invited to live in Wroclaw for a period of time during which they will host workshops and work with our editorial staff).
Gradually, we will build a foundation for the story, a base for the Wroclaw myth. Then we will ask writers, journalists, screenwriters, radio hosts and filmmakers to work on the material we collected. Afterwards the stories will be analyzed by the best editors, and eventually – worked on by translators, directors and actors. This will result in reportage’s, memoirs, journals, comic strips, scripts, feature and documentary films, theatrical plays and librettos which will have to rely strongly on the authentic inspiration with people, places and stories from Wroclaw. We would like this myth to be an archetypal, anthropological one, that gives a real, cultural image of the town. We don’t want to tell stories from nowhere. The unique history of Wroclaw deserves better and allows for more. We have to use its strength on the way to the original, seducing personality of Wroclaw.
In 2016 Wroclaw will explode with stories. Throughout the year we plan to publish several hundred of the best quality narratives in the form of exceptional memoirs, diaries, films, plays, performances, literary reportage’s, anecdotes, feature articles. We hope to publish them not only in Polish, but also in German, English, Czech and Spanish. This is when we plan to show the first theatrical plays based on the Wroclaw stories, as well as the feature and documentary films, publish comics, short story collections and novels.
The Story Laboratory Finale should build aesthetic supremacy: we want to create and make public the cultural deed which will strongly influence the audience. We plan to build a story which will be heard. The narrative co-authored by Wroclaw citizens shall become their collective, a live inheritance they will be proud of.
The narratives born in the Laboratory will also be accessible to the public and commercial media, published by us, but also downloaded (for free but in a controlled way) from our websites and from interactive Wroclaw maps (applications, for example QR-code) to one’s mobile phone or tablets. After we sign partnership agreements with schools, theatres, non-commercial publishers and NGO’s these institutions will gain free access to most of our publications. The material will be prepared without legal defects, with a possibility of assigning the rights without temporal and territorial limits, and available for free sharing in the public domain.
Autumn 2012: preparatory works before the opening of the Lab. Construction of organizational structures, acquiring partners, open discussion about the project during the International Short Story Festival, applications for funding the Lab in 2013.
2013: beginning of the workshop programs (storytelling and creative writing), first competitions for the inhabitants and other programs aiming at collecting narratives; literary lab opening (city archives, documentary works, opening reports in the form of reportage).
2014-2015: subsequent developing of the project, residence program for writers, screenwriters and playwrights.
2016: Program finale as a part of the European Capital of Culture Wroclaw 2016 program “The Memory Aquarium”.
01-06.2017: Summary, publications.
author: Marcin Hamkało, Society of Active Communications