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Little Polish Ambassador's Day

Project Overview

Highlights the diversity that exists in Poland through the eyes of young Polish children from mixed cultural backgrounds.

Identifying the Problem

The generalization that Poland is a racially, culturally and religiously homogenous country is shared by Poles as well as foreigners. This could not be further from the truth, especially in contemporary Poland, which people of all different backgrounds call home. Yet, even while the country itself is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, it is clear that Poland continues to struggle with a significant level of xenophobia and racism. As the demographics of the country are shifting, the understanding of what it means to be Polish and what a Polish society looks like has been slower to make the change. Sarah and Paulina wanted to create a project that would show a true reflection of contemporary Poland.

Creating A Solution

Sarah and Paulina decided to highlight the new realities of Polish society by producing a short film of interviews with Polish children. These children provide the audience with the purest ideas of what Polish society is, and who belongs in Poland. Sarah and Paulina’s aim was to illustrate the diversity of Poland’s people through the eyes of young Polish children from mixed cultural backgrounds. The film depicts Polish youth in a way that may not always be recognized by Poles or foreigners. Sarah and Paulina wanted to show that the definition of "Polish" identity is changing, and that more and more "Polish" families find their roots and cultural backgrounds in places outside of Poland. 

Sarah and Paulina partnered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland and the International American School of Warsaw to organize an event called “Little Polish Ambassador’s Day,” which was held at La Mama Restaurant.  The event brought together young children who, despite their differences, all shared something very fundamental: a feeling of belonging, openness and tolerance. Not only did the children have the chance to play together, but they also served as young Polish ambassadors. Sarah and Paulina asked the children various questions, including “Where are you from?” “What is Poland?” and “Who is Poland for?” The children’s responses were humorous, insightful and thought-provoking, and the resulting short film is available here.

Lessons Learned

Given the nature of the project, Sarah and Paulina anticipated that it would be relatively easy to find parents willing to consent to have their children interviewed on film. However, this crucial step was more difficult than expected, and Sarah and Paulina found themselves devoting more time than planned to searching for parents willing to have their children participate in the project. Additionally, the team found it difficult to coordinate with schools for the project, and it was not until Sarah and Paulina did some networking and approached a friend of a friend who worked at one of the schools that they were able to partner with a school for the project. 

Funding

Sarah and Paulina did not raise any money for this project. They filmed the interviews using an iPhone, and then edited the footage using iMovie. While they did find that sound and lighting are difficult obstacles when using the iPhone, and that editing the footage was very time consuming, deciding not to purchase any more-expensive equipment or hire professionals kept the cost of this project at a bare minimum. 

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About This Project

HIA Program:

Poland Poland 2012

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