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The Laboratory

The Laboratory for the Study of Knowledge/Creative Practices of Local Cultures at the Department of Performance Studies, established in the academic year 2021/22, was conceived as a space for international, inter-academic, interdepartmental cooperation and a meeting place between the university and the local community, with the aim of conducting research on knowledge-creative practices of local cultures in Poland and abroad.

The study of the knowledge-creative practices of local cultures stems, on the one hand, from the need to consolidate previous research on the theatre and cultural performances of linguistic minorities dispersed in various scientific centres. On the other hand, it is an attempt to respond to the crisis of Western epistemology signalled within decolonial studies, feminist theory of cognition and performance studies, which is based on the universalist Enlightenment paradigm of scientific knowledge. Our response to this crisis is to launch and conduct interdisciplinary research on the knowledge-creative practices, i.e. actions of a artistic and cognitive nature, of such communities that have been subjected in the past and are subjected today to various forms of cognitive annihilation, subordination or exclusion, in order to restore their epistemic potential. To speak of indigene communities (such as Silesians in Poland, Lemkos, Boykos, Hutsuls in Poland and Ukraine, Catalans in Spain), displaced, nomadic communities, ethnic minorities coming from countries threatened by war and poverty, and urban or rural art collectives whose main field of activity is the locally situated cognitive perspective of the excluded. We are convinced that in times of a widespread crisis of universalist models of cognition, extractive policies of global capitalism and the dominance of post-truth, the alternative will be a return to local performative models of cognition through art.

The scope of the laboratory's activities will include the creation of research platforms and teams aimed at initiating and sustaining cooperation between the university and other research centres and units at home and abroad (including the Institute of Cultural Sciences at the University of Silesia, the Centre for Postcolonial-Posttotalitarian Studies at the University of Wrocław, Department of Culture and the Arts at the Ivan Franko National University in Lviv and the Theatre Institute in Barcelona), publishing the results of this research, and popularising knowledge on the knowledge-creative practices of local cultures by organising visiting lectures and workshops for students of first, second and third degree programmes, and acquiring research and teaching grants for the above-mentioned purposes.