The Year 2014 will be The Oskar Kolberg Year
9 January, 2014
“Kolberg’s output was immense, yet only 8 percent of the Poles surveyed knew who he was. The Kolberg Year is here to change it,” said Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Bogdan Zdrojewski, at a press conference held on 9 January at the Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw. The minister assigned the task of organising the Kolberg Year Celebrations Office to the Institute of Music and Dance. Two inauguration concerts launching the Kolberg Year are to be held on 21 February 2014 in Przysucha and 24 February 2014 in Warsaw.
“The results of the survey are worrying and go to show that raising public awareness on Kolberg’s work, activity and research is a task the state must essentially take upon itself. The fact that 90 percent of Poles could not tell who Kolberg was, wrongly identifying him as a film director, actor and a contemporary figure, reveals considerable deficiencies in our cultural education as a nation. The Kolberg Year is here to bring Kolberg as a person and his work to public attention,” stated the culture minister.
On 6 December 2013, Polish parliament’s lower house, the Sejm, proclaimed 2014 the Year of Oskar Kolberg.
Justifying the decision, the Sejm stated: “Oskar Kolberg’s scientific output and research documenting the folk culture of the 19th century is impressive, both because of the versatility of his interest in folklore and the geography of his research, which included the territories of Poland before her partitions, as well as those of the folk cultures of Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Silesia, South Slavs, Sorbs, Czechs and Slovaks.
Oskar Kolberg published 33 volumes of regional and thematic monographs, along with close to 200 articles on ethnography, folkloristics, linguistics and musicology. His legacy remains an all-important resource for today’s artists and culture researchers.”
The Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, Bogdan Zdrojewski, has given the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw the task of setting up a Kolberg Year celebrations office, and made the institute’s director the Coordinator of the Kolberg Year Celebrations. The minister has also launched a special programme under the name “Kolberg 2014 – Promesa”, meant to stimulate the biggest possible number of events of artistic, academic, educational, documentary and promotional character connected with Oskar Kolberg, his output, and traditional culture and art in general, throughout the year.
In association with the Oskar Kolberg Institute, the Forum of Traditional Music, Polish Ethnological Society, Open-Air Museum of Rural Architecture in Radom, Polish Radio, Folk Artists Association, Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Composers’ Union, and the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, National Audiovisual Institute, a rich programme of concerts, educational, promotional and publishing activities will be put in place in 2014, including the official inauguration of the Kolberg Year in Przysucha and Warsaw, a website dedicated to the folklorist and an interactive guide around Kolberg’s Poland, digitalisation and popularisation of Kolberg’s manuscripts and published works, renovation of his gravestone in Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków, publication of a "Report on traditional music and dance", along with exhibitions devoted to Oskar Kolberg in the context of the history and culture of the 19th century.
At the same time, the Organisers are determined for the Kolberg Year not to focus solely on folk culture, but to be a time when tradition as we experience it in our everyday life is better explored, also in urban communities. Without understanding the roots of our rites, behaviours and gestures we will never fully understand the contemporary world.
You will find regular updates on the Kolberg Year projects on the official website of the celebrations: www.kolberg2014.org.pl.
Also, a special Kolberg Year section has been launched on the website of the Institute of Music and Dance in Warsaw (www.imit.org.pl) – just click on “Anniversaries” in the top menu to find the most important information on the Kolberg Year celebrations and free downloadable materials. You may also visit the official Facebook page of the celebrations: „Rok Kolberga 2014”.
In September 2013 a competition for a design identifying the Kolberg Year was launched. The winning logotype, whose use will be awarded to institutions taking part in the celebrations, was submitted by Wojciech Janicki. The use of the logotype requires a permission of the Celebrations Office.