A delegation from the Polish city of Lublin has recently visited Bristol – part of the European Union’s “Intercultural Cities Initiative” The aim is to develop a project called Living Together in Europe Tour, with the objective of exchanging experiences and practical visits. At present there are 23 participating cities. Lublin chose to come to Bristol.
The Vice President of Lublin, Włodzimierz Wysocki, who is responsible for culture, sport and education, led the party in Early August. He was accompanied by Mariusz Banach, Michał Karapuda and Rafal Sadownik,all linked to the city’s cultural department.
Asif Khan, the Community Engagement Manager at Bristol Libraries, assisted by Tammi Redman, made the arrangements for the visit. On the first day, there was a meeting at the Council House with Councillor Peter Hammond, deputy leader of Bristol City Council, Dr.Madge Dresser, Rosie Gilmour (University of the West of England), Anne Foot, Danuta Trotman-Dickenson, Anna Jozwiak (Anglo Polish Society), as well as representatives dealing with European affairs,Watershed and radio.
There followed an informative presentation on Lublin, and others on the Bristol Harbour Festival, Creative Learning Partnerships with Warsaw and Ruda Śląska, and Bristol community radio. It was a perfect opportunity for ideas to be exchanged on the development of policies in Lublin and Bristol – on multiculturalism working with non-governmental organisations and universities.
During their visit the delegation had the chance to learn how Bristol ran some of its cultural schemes, as well as the Harbour Festival. It was also an ideal occasion to discuss Bristol’s attempt to become European City of Culture, as Lublin will be a candidate for this title in 2116. There were many chances to meet representatives of the various groups based here – ranging from the Legacy Commission to those having links with other European cities and beyond.
The explorative approach of both Lublin and Bristol was typified by the trip around the harbour on the “Matthew”, the replica of the wooden ship which sailed from this dock to discover Newfoundland.
On the Saturday evening, the visitors joined the Anglo Polish committee for supper at the home of Sir Aubrey and Lady Trortman-Dickenson. Everyone present was delighted to be welcomed to such an historic house. Conversation flowed on wide-ranging topics in English and Polish. It was opportune that nine of the committee, or their spouses, were Polish-speaking. By a happy coincidence, Irena Warne, a committee member, originally came from Lublin! Our guests were most appreciative of the hospitality and we enjoyed their company. We shall look forward to building on this association.