O kobietach w przemyśle Bielska-Białej i Łodzi

Women in Industry in Bielsko-Biała and Łódź

An academic seminar entitled ‘Industrial Herstory across Bielsko-Biała and Łódź’ was held on 18 May in the Beskid Library in Bielsko-Biała. Its theme embraced the past of the textile industry in both cities and the participation of women within it.

‘’We want to reveal the differences between the official history - that which is taught in schools and universities, and recollections and oral history - that which references everyday life. We want to recall the history of the transformation, discuss what it looked like in Łódź and in Bielsko-Biała. We hope that this first meeting launches new research programmes aimed at analysing the role of women in the creation of our city’’ said Dr Joanna Wróblewska-Jachna from the University of Bielsko-Biała.

The topic was introduced by Dr Małgorzata Tkacz-Janik, specialist in intangible cultural heritage at the Wojciech Korfanty Institute and the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Silesia, and Anna Skiendziel from the Szlakiem Kobiet (In the Footsteps of Women) Association.

Dr Izabela Desperak, a sociologist from the University of Łódź, explained that ‘’the textile workers’ strikes in Łódź were not so much forgotten as expunged from political history’’, and that we must now restore their collective memory.

Marta Madejska from the Topography Association talked about the economic and political transformation as experienced by textile workers from Łódź, Leśna and Nowa Sól.

Story lines from the Bielsko-Biała region were presented by Dr Maciej Bujakowski of the University of Bielsko-Biała who has analysed the everyday experiences of women employed in the textile industry in the 19th and 20th centuries. He also explained how women survived the collapse of the textile industry in Bielsko-Biała and in Łódź.

The lecture part of the seminar was concluded with a talk from historian Jacek Kachel who explained what urban factors in Bielsko-Biała had contributed to the resistance to socio-economic disasters.

During a discussion led by Dr Daniela Dzienniak-Pulina and Dr Joanna Wróblewska-Jachna the participants discussed how the industrial heritage of the cities has influenced their present.

The whole event ended with a historical walk led by historian Jakub Krajewski.

The meeting was organised by the Łódź and Katowice branches of the Polish Sociological Association, the City Hall in Bielsko-Biała and Citylabb Laboratory of Social Research and Innovation. Bielsko-Biała City Council was represented at the seminar by councillors Urszula Szabla and Paweł Pajor.

other Themes and Threads