Summary of the 1st edition of WOK Residencies

Process-ing Change. An Artistic and Research Accompaniment. WOK residencies as a form of support for individuals in the process of change.

When co-creating the concept of the residency programme at the Warsaw Observatory of Culture at the turn of 2022 and 2023, my goal was it to create a programme that stood out from other residency initiatives proposed by other organisations. In our team, we recognised that WOK, as a new institution on the cultural map of Warsaw and Poland, has the opportunity to show that it is possible to operate differently, in close relationship with the participants, and to create solutions that will help loosen the current system and allow us to move beyond production-oriented frameworks, putting individuals and processes at the centre. One of the key assumptions was that there was no need to organise events or presenting residency outcomes. We referred to the programme as “tailor-made”, because its flexibility and human dimension, understood as care and support should become the main element in building relationships between the institution and the participants.

For the first edition of the programme, we received 97 applications (86 from individuals and 11 from collectives and duos) from individuals working in various areas: visual arts, choreography, performance, music, theatre, film, social activism, research, curation and journalism. The two-stage selection process resulted in the selection of five women who are professionally engaged in various art forms and currently experiencing change: Agnieszka Glińska (PhD in theatre arts and trainee psychotherapist), Veronika Ivashkevich (an artist whose main medium is painting), Julia Krupa (visual artist who combines herbalism with art), Magdalena Marcinkowska (pioneer of ballroom culture in Poland, educator, choreographer and event producer), Kathryn Zazenski (artist, curator, writer and lecturer). I eagerly awaited the first meetings and the months during which I could be closer to their processes and accompany their reflections.

As part of the programme, the institution provided participants with a stipend paid in four instalments (8,000 PLN) to cover basic needs during the residency and an additional budget (5,000 PLN) to support individual processes and was used to cover fees for expert consultations, coaching support, participation in specialist workshops and the purchase of materials needed for creative exploration, among other things. I felt that by facilitating such collaborations and meetings, the programme could more effectively support the individual development of residency participants and respond to emerging needs in real time. My goal was to create a safe space for transformation and navigating through important changes.

The residents themselves, during meetings and joint evaluations, also pointed out that the programmed flexibility and human dimension of the proposed activities were significant for them – an emphasis on accompanying change, the opportunity to pause and carefully examine the moment in their lives, reflect, and slowly implement changes. They appreciated the fact that nobody expected spectacular results (sometimes additional events were even discouraged), but rather slow and discreet changes, but at a deep level and therefore fundamental.


Words used by residents to describe their residency experience at WOK:




the opportunity to distance oneself,

mindfulness, authenticity,

someone cares,


clear communication,


space to take care of oneself and being visible.

The culmination of the WOK residency involves recording podcasts with each participant. These intimate and inspiring conversations delve into the essence of each residency experience. We invite you to listen.