Change and Resistance. An International Conference on Social Transformations and Education

Venue: Gdansk

Location: Gdansk, Poland

Event Date/Time: Dec 02, 2006
Abstract Submission Date: Jan 15, 2007
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Change and Resistance
An International Conference on Social Transformations and Education
Newsletter 1

Change and Resistance: An International Conference on Social Transformations and Education
will be held at the University of Gdansk, Poland, in 15-17 June 2007. The conference will create a forum for debates
on current processes of learning, adaptation and resistance taking place in rapidly changing societies.
We hope for a continuation of debates initiated in previous meetings devoted to social transformations
in post-communist countries in Hangzhou, China, 2004, and Wolverhampton, England, 2005.

The venue of the conference, the City of Gdansk, is a significant place in European history, and
in the recent history of social struggles in particular. It is here that "Solidarno¶æ" movement, which
vastly contributed to the end of oppressive political regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, was initiated.

The problem of current social changes in post-socialist states may be illustrated by the present condition
of the birthplace of "Solidarno¶æ" - the Gdansk Shipyard, whose workers won the battle for dignity
and freedom and lost their jobs in return. The Shipyard still exists and it builds vessels, but it employs
a fraction of its former manpower. Its huge premises have been sold to developers and are to be turned
into a Young Town district. Along with the on-going industrial production, and with planning of the layout
of the new town, the Shipyard is also a place of numerous activities of independent artists who use its
empty halls as exhibition or concert venues. Many of those activities make use of the haunting aura
of the place, where bronze plaques with the head of Lenin can still be found on red-brick walls shaking
in the thuds of rock music, marked with 1980 strikes graffitis; where posh cars park outside yacht docks
and security guards suspiciously watch artists carrying their installations. Skeptics say that when the bids
are over, and when building machines start their work on the streets of the new town, artists are as certain
to disappear from the area as workers are.

During the conference, we are planning a visit to the Gdansk Shipyard with its interactive museum
showing the history of political struggles of Polish workers and intellectuals. If conditions permit,
we may also have a session of the conference in one of the shipyard's halls.

The suggested issues to which the debates will be devoted are as follows:

- Gdansk and other places: local geographies of change
- New social structures, new social divisions
- What and how we learn: meanings of social transformations
- Post-communism as a global condition: The world with no alternatives?
- Populism
- The discourse of post-communism: Who speaks and why?
- The missing language? Marxism and social critique after the fall of Berlin Wall
- Living in post-socialist states: Hope, disillusion, post-communist nostalgia...
- Art and the aura of change
- Representations: insider's and outsider's perspectives on social change