Published: 8 February 2024

Lecturer from the School of Form awarded a scholarship from the Mayor of Wrocław

Author: Magdalena Szczuka

Awards and recognition

We are proud to announce that Paweł Starzec, a documentalist, sociologist, and lecturer at the School of Form, has been honored with the artistic scholarship from the Mayor of Wrocław for the year 2024 in the field of visual arts for his documentary project on the identities of Lower Silesia titled "Anew/Od nowa."

An old brick building in Lower Silesia. A large construction crane stands in front of it, with snow visible all around.
A documentary project on the identity of the Lower Silesia region, entitled "Anew/Od New" | Photo: Paweł Starzec

About the grant

In the milestone tenth edition of the Mayor of Wroclaw's Grants for the Arts, 24 accomplished creators were honored with well-deserved scholarships. The grants were distributed in five categories: film, literature, music, theater and visual arts. In order to qualify for the grant, the participants had to present not only their previous achievements, but also a vision for a project related to Wroclaw. The application required a detailed description of the idea, specifying its purpose and expected results. Among the winners of the grant were well-known personalities such as writer and poet Filip Zawada, Nike Award finalist and writer Joanna Kuciel-Frydryszak, as well as young, promising creators.

About project

Mozaika historii

"Anew/Od nowa" is a documentary project about the contemporary landscape of Lower Silesia.This region, which was incorporated into Poland after the Second World War, has experienced more than a millennium of history and has had to redefine its identity as a result of changes caused by repatriation and migration. Lower Silesia, as the industrial center of Poland, and Wroclaw, its capital, have been the scene of many significant events, from resistance to communist rule to socio-economic transformation. Today, after 75 years, the region is a true mosaic of many historical narratives.
Photo collage. At the top: A photo of old tenements, with a withered, broken tree and construction cranes in the background; at the bottom: a photo of snow-covered railway tracks. In the background are garages with colorful doors, and behind them blocks of flats in equally bright colors.
A documentary project on the identity of the Lower Silesia region, entitled "Anew/Od New" | Photo: Paweł Starzec
The project explores landscape transformations, social changes, labor migrations and cultural heritage of this unique region. Paweł Starzec, born in Lower Silesia, has been documenting these changes for over 10 years, and “Anew/Od nowa” is the result of his extensive work.
Photo collage. At the top: Old bus stop, you can see a coach standing nearby, at the bottom: the bridge in Wroclaw illuminated with numerous lights
A documentary project on the identity of the Lower Silesia region, entitled "Anew/Od New" | Photo: Paweł Starzec

"Anew" is not intended to be a linear documentary. Attempts to divide this story into chapters quickly reveal that each story about this region intersects with another, exposing a network of interrelationships: in the same mountains, three independent religious groups form their isolated community; seekers of the Golden Train dig underground in a town where the decline of mining caused two decades of economic and social decline; grandchildren of pioneers take in war refugees under their roof; a symbol of resistance becomes a commercial souvenir; and a piece of the town literally wiped off the map by industry gives rise to an artificial Wild West village.

Paweł Starzec

Paweł Starzec

Due to the complexity of the subject, the project will ultimately take the form of a publication inspired by the concept of the paragraph novel. Its narrative will be constructed by the audience, independently assembling mosaic pieces into a larger whole. This will be complemented by a presentation based on similar principles. Both forms will be developed in collaboration with curators and designers – Martyna Wyrzykowska and Marian Misiak. The project is expected to be completed in 2025.
Photo collage. From left to right: A photograph of the living room from the set of the iconic Polish series
A documentary project on the identity of the Lower Silesia region, entitled "Anew/Od New" | Photo: Paweł Starzec

Paweł Starzec

Documentalist, photographer, sociologist.

Mainly interested in correlations between space and its context, and in envisioning broader processes through their aftermath and peripherals. Visual sociologist, working in the field of modern iconography and visual narratives. Teacher at School of Form SWPS University of Warsaw. Creator of workshop programs, co-founder of Azimuth Press art/education collective. RATS Agency associate, member of APP platform. Ph. D. candidate at Applied Sociology Department of University of Warsaw, student of Institute of Creative Photography of Silesian University in Opava (MA). Musician and sound artist, currently playing in Mazut, and solo as Industry Standard or Centralia. DIY / zine culture enthusiast.