FestivALT is a leading cultural organization in Poland, founded in 2017 in Krakow. It focuses on exploring and representing Jewish culture in the modern Polish context through contemporary art, performance, and activism.
At its core, FestivALT serves as a dynamic platform that promotes civic engagement and encourages critical inquiry. The organisation’s mission is to support a society that is not only inclusive but also fundamentally democratic.
1. Advocacy and Activism: FestivALT works to increase the representation of Jewish voices, particularly within publicly-funded institutions like festivals, museums, and cultural spaces. For example, the collaboration with Krakow’s Ethnographic Museum resulted in the removal or re-contextualization of antisemitic artifacts, fostering ongoing dialogue about Jewish and minority representation.
2. Jewish Heritage and Memory: FestivALT addresses issues of neglect, appropriation, and commodification of Jewish material heritage and memory. The Lucky Jew project challenged the controversial Polish tradition of selling images of Jews for luck, prompting the City of Krakow to address the matter. The initiative reshaped the narrative around these objects in the public sphere with the goal of eventual eradication.
3. Contemporary Jewish Art: FestivALT plays a crucial role in Poland’s experimental Jewish art scene, commissioning and premiering over half of its projects. These initiatives provide a platform for artistic and activist expression, aiming to stimulate civic engagement, foster critical thinking, champion activism, and shape the future of democratic societies.