Impact of War on Polish City Topic of Nov. 28 Colloquium at VIU

A sculpture by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, part of a series entitled “Alterations” c. 1980.

November 24, 2014 - 9:30am

The fascinating resurgence of culture and identity in the city of Wroclaw, Poland in the years following the Second World War will be examined in a Nov. 28 Arts & Humanities Colloquium Series presentation at Vancouver Island University (VIU). The public is invited to attend the free presentation from 10 to 11:30 am in the Malaspina Theatre at VIU.

In their presentation, VIU professors Dr. Justin McGrail and Terri Doughty continue the Series’ fall theme of war and its consequences, in recognition of the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.

McGrail, a professor in Art and Design, and Doughty, an English professor, will focus their presentation on Wroclaw, the city they chose as a field school destination for VIU students in 2012.

As Colloquium attendees have heard and seen in previous talks, war is about death, the horror of battle, and technological change. Doughty and McGrail will examine how war is also about population movements, changing cultures, shifting identities and remaking communities.

 "Borders and transgressions of borders have defined Wroclaw's identity," says Doughty. "Beginning in the 14th century, Wroclaw was ruled in succession by Bohemians, Austrians, and Prussians. It had become a German city, known as Breslau, the largest German city east of Berlin. In August 1939 it had a German population of 190,000 and a Polish population of 17,000."

In the aftermath of World War II, the city and the area became part of Poland, and the city took back its Polish name.

With the fall of the Communist government in Poland in 1989, Polish writers and artists have been recuperating the region's multi-ethnic history, says Doughty.

 In their talk, she and McGrail will explore the artistic recovery of Poland’s multi-ethnic history, with a focus on the architecture of Wroclaw, the sculptures of Magdalena Abakanowicz and the fiction of Olga Tokarczuk.


More information on VIU’s Arts & Humanities Colloquium Series can be found at:


Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E:

Tags: In the Community

Sign up for our VIU news and experts email