UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Do the Humanities have a nationality? Polish Researchers in the UK

1 January 2017

From: 10 December 2013

On 30 November SSEES jointly hosted a well-attended and convivial conference entitled ‘Do the Humanities have a nationality? Polish Researchers in the UK’ with the Jagiellonian University’s Polish Research Centre in London. 

On behalf of the SSEES Director, Slavo Radošević, Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski welcomed the Polish consul, Mr Rafał Siemianowski, and other guests, drawing attention to the gathering together not merely of ‘Polish researchers in the UK’ but of Poles from Poland, Britons and others of (part-) Polish descent, and non-Poles, all of whom were linked by a common scholarly interest in Poland.

Richard also raised questions about the extent to which academics in Poland and the UK were engaged in a common scholarly enterprise, and various challenges facing research and higher education in Poland, questions which were taken up later in the afternoon session by representatives from 10 Polish universities.  Dr Anne White (University of Bath) gave a sparkling keynote lecture on researchers of Polish migration to the UK, questioning the divide into ‘Poles’ and ‘non-Poles’, before Professor Arkady Rzegocki of the Jagiellonian University presented a report on the (higher) educational needs of Poles in Great Britain.

It was cheering to discover that a substantial majority of the would-be students surveyed wished to study Humanities and History for the sheer love of learning. Katarzyna Zechenter and Urszula Chowaniec, were joined by colleagues from Glasgow, Dr Elwira Grossman and Dr John Bates, for a panel discussion on the contributions to research on Polish literature and culture made by scholars based in the UK, and its impact among scholars based in Poland. The questions and comments from the floor led to some fruitful exchanges of views.