I PL Study Trip Participants

There are 19 participants of the first Polish study trip around Warsaw and Mazovia region: 6 from the UK, 6 from Lithuania and 7 from Poland. They are all coming prepared to compare written materials and research about the region with its actual context, as well as to discuss the ways to involve communities in all three countries.


Mark Webster

Mark Webster

Mark Webster is the Head of Enterprise and External projects at Staffordshire University as part of this role is also the Director of I-ACT, the applied research centre for the Faculty. His background is in Community Arts and Arts and Health and before coming to work at Staffordshire University he worked for local councils, the National Health service and in the voluntary sector (NGO).  On arriving at Staffordshire University he was involved in setting up the Creative Communities Unit with other colleagues and they went on to develop.  Short course programme, a range of accredited courses in community practice and regeneration as well as a range of Postgraduate Provision including the Masters in Community and Participatory Arts and the Artist Professional Development Programme (Arts For Health).  He has been involved in developing and leading many consultancy and applied research projects for the University and is currently the Chair of Caldmore Village Festival, a multicultural festival in Walsall.


Samantha Rushton

Hello, I am a theatre practitioner and actress.  I specialise in the body, emotions and non-linear text and find it interesting exploring how voice, sound, bodies and actions work as a powerful tool for communication and expression.  I have a keen interest in community arts through working in the Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University and also have strong links with local primary schools, 6th form colleges and amateur theatres and companies throughout Staffordshire.  I also have a strong interest in Contemporary dance and anthropology.

I am 24 (soon to be 25 the week of the trip) and have a BA Hons degree in drama, physical theatre and dance.  I hope to further my studies and practical knowledge in the future and am planning to do a Masters degree in London in a few years time.  I have worked in Primary schools, theatres with youth and adults actors.  I am also a member of a community arts drama organisation.  We plan, write, produce and direct site specific interactive drama stories around parks and encourage the community to get involved.  This is a relatively new project and we have already faced some challenges but also many great successes.

I enjoy sports, running and eating cake!


Roxie Collins

Roxie Collins has worked in community regeneration at Birmingham City Council for the past five years. Her current role in the council is Culture Officer for the Culture Commissioning Service. Her job involves funding participatory arts activities for communities and young people in all art forms across the city. In a voluntary capacity, Roxie also Chairs the small arts organisation ‘Stirchley Happenings’, which provides community cinema screenings and site-specific arts activities such as ‘Stirchley from the Top Deck’ and the ‘Stirchley Thought Exchange’, and supports local artists and crafters through the running of the monthly Community Market, and the Local Arts Forum. Roxie studied Fine Art and History of Art and Architecture BA at Reading University, and is currently in her third year of part-time study for the Community and Participatory Art MA.


Rachel Grant

I am a freelance visual artist specialising in mixed media and textile art. My practice is split between creating art for commercial galleries and projects that are socially engaged, working with people and communities to create artwork and events within non-gallery spaces.

Much of my socially engaged work has been based in Stoke-on-Trent where I live and work. I have developed and been commissioned on projects within regeneration contexts as well as arts and mental health and am currently working as part of a team on a large scale event that will form part of the cultural activities leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

My interests lie in people, places and identities so I am really pleased to have the opportunity to be part of the Localise project and to be able to explore these concepts in relation to Poland.





Ray Thorley

I have a BA Hons in Photography and am a keen community photographer.  I have worked with and, continue to work with young, disadvantaged people at an organization called the YMCA. (Young Mens Christian Association.) I love working with the organisation and enjoy the fact this work gives young people a sense of ownership through the medium of photography and encourages creativity.  I have realised potential through the platform of exhibitions and look forward to learning more from other cultures.

I particularly specialise in Portraiture and Social Documentary.

Currently I am studying with the Creative Communities Unit and am in the middle of a Masters degree in Community and Participatory Arts.

Work in the past has included working abroad in Russia and Lithuania on Safety Case work for nuclear power stations and spent 27 years in the nuclear industry.  I am now a very mature student and enjoy in my spare time local conservation work – planting trees, putting in ‘kissing gates’, laying hedges and building dry stone walls.


Susan Moffat

 I am a Musician, Theatre Practitioner and a Fellow in Holocaust Education of the Imperial War Museum.

I believe that civilisations are understood and expressed through art therefore community art is the essential vehicle through which all members of any given society are able access, engage with and express themselves.

As Director of New Vic Borderlines, I design, develop and deliver a range of participatory programmes and workshops on the Social Agenda with individuals groups and communities. In addition I design and deliver training and conferences for a range of statutory and government agencies including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office and with Housing Associations, Anti-Racist/Fascist groups, Police and Public services, and Statutory Voluntary and Community Organisations.

I believe that the world of Art in a similar way to that of Science is a world which transcends linguistic economic and political divides and can therefore interact and share ideas and passions in a meaningful and ethical fashion, for the benefit of all. I hope this study visit will strengthen and build upon an international artist’s network in order that we can share ideas knowledge experience and ambition



Joanna Kubicka works in the Institute of Polish Culture at the University of Warsaw. The Head of the ‘Cathedral of Culture’ Association, she is also a team member of the Cultural Animation specialisation run by the Institute of Polish Culture. In her everyday work she combines theory and practice by being an academic teacher and a coordinator of various projects for both cultural animators and local communities. Additionally, she works as a coach for young practitioners and an adviser to community workers in small towns and villages.

Ewa Ratynska –involved with Warsaw University at the Institute of Polish Culture (major Culture Animation). She spent last year in Denmark as a participant of two courses at Danish folk highschools. Since 2009 editor of the website promoting culture in Warsaw. Also voluntary worker conected with many film, theatre and art events.

Aleksandra Gajda Culture animator. In my free time I travel a lot. My passion is scuba diving and computer graphics. I am interested in the field of human rights and because of that I have become a member of Tibetan Programme of The Other Space Foundation.

Chryscina (Chrys) Siuchykava Belarusian practitioner involved with Warsaw University. Helped to organize “Sputnik” Russian film festival, LGBT film festival, fashion show of Gavel Grzegórski, performed in V-day Warsaw University. Interested in life of foreigners in Warsaw, active travaler and couchsurfer.

Hanna Ivanova,  Graduate from Belorussian State University , Cultural Studies  specialization “American culture”.    She was a volunteer in cultural organizations.  Interested in modern art, painting, theater and history of Jewish culture, photography.

Irena Madej is a member of two associations – theatrical: Studio Teatralne Koło and the one connected with cultural animation and education: ArtAnimacje. She coordinated cultural and educational projects. She is also a trainee in the National Audiovisual Institute, working on The National Cultural Programme of Polish Presidency 2011 and the European Culture Congress. She is involved with Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw on specialization: Culture Animation.Irena is particularly interested in interdisciplinary activities that discover, change and explore the potential of public spaces. One of her personal aims and dreams is to bring back to life her friend’s old cinema in the small polish town. That is also why she would like to know different ways and methods of the communication and working with local community.

Susan Dolacki

I am involved with culture animation specialisation at the University of Warsaw.

This summer I participated in organizing a big Polish-Ukrainian project “European Stadium of Culture”. It was the first multidimensional project, in which I took part and saw how it was being created and organized from its very beginning.

Some of my free time I spend on learning how to professionally edit films and on Polish-English translations.


Vaidė Legotaitė

–       Bachelor degree of art research

–       Master of creative industries

–       Interested in contemporary art

–       Participated in the first UK study trip with Localise



–       A member of International Films maker association “Freimas”

–       Have some practice in fine art (ceramics)

–       Participated in international projects and workshops

–       Have done a few projects about culture.



–       Creative Industries master

–       Practicing Lithuanian folk music

–       Interested in bookbinding and book arts

–       Working as a guide in The Curonian Spit National Park in summer



–       art history and criticism

–       Volunteer in a lot of festivals which are related with all kinds of art

–       Interesting in cinema and non commercial projects organizing

–       Cares what is the part of art in society and how could use it in different ways

–       Still wondering how many different conformations cultural animation has…



–       PhD at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas

–       research area: heritage of railways

–       fund custodian in Graphic sector at M. Žilinskas Art Gallery

–       lecturer at College in Kaunas



–       PhD student of drama studies

–       Founder and director of NGO “Kultūros kiemas”

–       Coordinator of Theatre club

–       Graduate of sociocultural anthropology

–       Interested in collaboration art and culture animation projects


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