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The Krystyna Skarbek Anglo-Polish Cultural Exchange

For the first time, the POSK, Ognisko Polskie, and the Polish Cultural Institute of London – the three largest Polish diaspora organizations in the UK – have joined forces to promote the achievements of outstanding Polish immigrants operating in the United Kingdom.

This project is a socio-cultural campaign aimed at emphasizing the great contribution of Poles and people of Polish descent to the development of British culture and society over the last 200 years. Thanks to events and activities celebrating the shared history and cultural heritage between Great Britain and Poland, selected representatives of Polish culture will become more visible in the public space, in the British media, and institutions.

Named after Krystyna Skarbek OBE, GM, the famous Polish agent of the British Special Operations Executive during the Second World War, the Polish-English Culture Forum’s mission is to inspire, intrigue and surprise with the achievements, careers and complicated biographies of heroes of Polish origin.

Among them are counted painters, writers, musicians, actors, dancers and scientists: Joseph Conrad, John Gielgud, Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska and Jorge Lewinski .

The project consists of an online forum (research center and virtual museum) and a year-round program of cultural events in the form of art exhibitions, lectures and conferences.

The social campaign promoting the achievements of outstanding Polish artists from Great Britain is addressed to the general public of the British community together with the entire emigration community. This is why the creators’ assumption Anglo-Polish Cultural Exchange name of Krystyna Skarbek is, that the presented content was equally attractive to the British audience and to Poles living in the UK.

A new project celebrating Poland’s contribution to the UK’s socio-cultural development is named after Churchill’s favorite secret agent. Krystyna Skarbek, operating under the pseudonym Christine Granville, was one of the most outstanding secret agents of World War II. She took part in many risky and successful missions, using her language skills, power of persuasion and incredible courage. Thanks to this, she managed to save many lives and indirectly influence the fate of the war. She was not only the first female secret agent in Britain, but also the longest remaining in the intelligence service.

One of the latest initiatives Anglo-Polish Cultural Exchange name of Krystyna Skarbek is a temporary exhibition organized in the POSK gallery, dedicated to the work of the outstanding Polish painter and draftsman Feliks Topolski. The exhibition is entitled “Punks, Princes and Protests: the Chronicles of Feliks Topolski RA”. Its curators – Dr. Julia Griffin and Lucien Topolski, the artist’s grandson, describe it as a kind of story about Feliks Topolski’s long-standing passion for the disappearing art of impartial reportage. “On the one hand, he was interested in portraying the establishment, ceremonies, and on the other – the widest cross-section of society, showing social inequalities and the entire political spectrum, including those who were not supporters of the monarchy” – explains Julia Griffin. An exhibition of the works of this Polish artist who emigrated to Great Britain in the mid-1930s. of the last century, lived and worked in London all his life, enjoying the recognition and respect of the British elite, can be seen at the Polish Social and Cultural Center until September 10 this year.

Article: Anna Kolczynska