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November 10, 2005
November 07, 2005
Solidarnosc conference log update
– Dr. Charles Turner agreed a week and a half ago to be the project's academic sponsor, a ceremonial tutoring role which basically means he gives us technical backing in the course of the event.
– Conference room has been booked.
– A blog address, blogs.warwick.ac.uk/polonia, has been requested and we are awaiting confirmation from the blog administrator. This page will contain news updates running up to the event, background reading (such as interesting articles, bios of our speakers etc), further info (related conferences, for whoever wants to know more) and we will also post this log on it. The diary is meant to give an idea of obstacles we're experiencing and to help us keep track of where we stand in the organisation.
– Marcin will attend the conference "Solidarnosc + 25, Solidarnosc and Britain" at King's College in London this Saturday and he is looking at finding someone to accompany him. Maarten will be unable to attend the conference.
– We're facing problems getting some of the speakers confirmed. This will need to happen soon if we want to get started on informing the university community and beyond about the event. Advertisement cannot start until some of the basics are secured.
End of the update.
October 21, 2005
Second Week of Preparations, a Few Developments
Following up on our meeting with Mike Neary last week Friday, Marcin and me decided to have a weekly meeting about the conference to keep a regular and speedy pace in the organisation. Hopefully this will allow us to stay on top of the situation.
Primarily, we are concerned with financial backing at the moment. This we mostly try to bring about by making some academics in different departments enthusiastic. The history department, after pledging to help us, have now secured us £200.- The Reinvention Centre situated in the Sociology department offers us the big bulk, £1000.-; a fund available for any undergraduate participating in research/academic activity-based learning. To apply for this fund, we need to have the backing of an "academic sponsor". We are currently hoping to attract Dr. Charles Turner for this role. Dr. Turner studied in Warsaw and Cracow for a number of years and speaks fluent Polish, beside already pledging to be interested in the topic of Solidarnosc. At the very least, he will be one of the Conference's speakers, but we are awaiting his response to our request with hope.
Further funds we are still looking into, are potential grants from the Politics department, which department is already providing us with a speaker; the International Office, although we are not sure if they have any budget allocation for such projects; the Centre for Translation, whose director, Dr. Piotr Kuhiwczak, has already declared to be very interested in the conference.
In the meanwhile, Marcin is sorting out the definitive outline of speakers, which is the task he primarily deals with. We are still awaiting replies from a number of high-profile speakers.
End of this week's summary of events.
October 14, 2005
First Week Into the Conference Preparations
Although the conference is planned only for February 2006, we are now (luckily) already starting the preparations full blast.
We have been meeting with dr. Mike Neary of the Reinvention Centre based in the Sociology Department on campus, which has turned out to be a lucky bid. From being a society with no budget for this year, we now have potential access to a one-time £1,000.- grant to organise this event. Although this will probably still not be exactly enough, it will help us a whole way further to get stuff done.
Marcin Stepan, our society's president, is presently busy with finalising the day's programme. Getting the speakers confirmed, appointing chair persons for every plenary session (preferably Warwick persons), having a sense of security about a lecture area to hold the event, all of these points will need to be addressed to give the event a greater sense of tangibility. Once we have a clear outline and vision of what we want, I feel the rest will come naturally… getting into action to organise everything, making a tighter budget, applying for funds, and starting to think about how to reach out to the university community and beyond there. Our idea is, for example, to invite several Polish societies in universities across the UK.
Our interest at the moment also goes out to a conference on "Solidarnosc and Its Influence in the UK". As Lech Walesa, founder of the movement and former Polish president pointed out, Solidarnosc "changed the face of the Earth", and possibly not just as traditionally seen within the bloc of communist countries during the 1980s, but also within the western political spheres. It will be interesting to get a better sense of how Solidarnosc was regarded and how it managed to influence political opinion as well as British foreign policy at the time. The conference is set on 12 November at King's College in London.
October 12, 2005
In Preparation of a Conference
It has been quite a while since I posted anything up on this blog – mostly just for lack of time. A lot of things needed to be sorted out these first few weeks, while I have committed myself to quite a few activities outside of the curriculum. One of them is an exciting initiative by Warwick Polonia to organise a conference on the worker's union Solidarnosc (outside of the Polish-speaking world better known as Solidarity) which this year celebrated its 25th anniversary.
But how does one organise a conference, if he has never done it before? What are the things to look at, to keep in mind, to work toward?
1) Setting a date. Chosing a prefered yet realistic date somewhere in the future by which time the conference can be organised.
2) Content. Decide what you want to talk about. Who gives added value to the chosen topic of debate. What aspects will give an innovative touch to the conference? Who will we invite, what is manageable?
3) Sorting out money. Making a budget, incorporating all financial aspects of point 2).
To be further elaborated (although advice is always welcome) *