Mission

Mission

The International Cultural Centre in Krakow is a national institution of culture specialising in the issues of culture and heritage of Central Europe.

The idea for the Centre was first put forward by the government of Tadeusz Mazowiecki in 1991. It was founded by its long-term director, Professor Jacek Purchla. The institution he developed has from the very beginning concentrated in its research on issues of broadly understood cultural heritage in an active dialogue with Poland’s neighbours and the world.

Thanks to the ICC’s contribution to the international debate on the role of heritage and through maintaining international connections, the Centre realizes the mission of public diplomacy by developing Poland’s position as an important actor within the international community (UNESCO, V4, the Barcelona Process, the Berlin Process), and as a significant partner for cultural and intellectual cooperation.

The ICC undertakes a critical and multidirectional reflection on the notion of cultural heritage using interdisciplinary instruments. In its research and activities, it refers to history, history of art and architecture, memory, cultural heritage protection, as well as all aspects of its management.

The ICC’s activities are geographically focused on Central Europe and its complex history, particularly in the 20th century. The ICC is convinced there is a need for a deeper mutual understanding since it is only in-depth knowledge that can undermine stereotypes and prejudices, and make ground for partnership and collaboration in the region.

Over the last 28 years, the ICC has developed a formula for its activity that combines research projects, addressed to experts and policymakers, with more popular endeavours that introduce the Polish audience to a fascinating world of 20th-century history, culture, and art, as well as contemporary intellectual reflection on heritology with a special focus on Central Europe.

Moreover, among the ICC team and its collaborators are outstanding specialists and intellectuals that develop its research programme and share our system of values. An undisputed asset of the ICC is its venue at Rynek Główny 25 in Krakow, whose harmonious integration of a historic townhouse and modern architecture well exemplifies the institution’s mission.

The ICC was created on the basis of an experimental and original formula developed by Professor Jacek Purchla. It allows the Centre to employ an interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach to analysed problems, and – on the other hand – to present and popularize them in an attractive form.

Over more than two and a half decades since the Centre’s creation it has gained a unique experience as a participant of the political transition in Poland and a witness of its impact on the cultural sector. The Centre is a pioneer of modern approach to culture and heritage, particularly in the context of their management and their use for contemporary goals.

Extensive intellectual achievements of the ICC (e.g. its 5000 publications) allowed the institution to build its brand as a research centre that conducts professional, highest-level research on cultural heritage and issues of Central and Eastern Europe, recognizable by intellectuals, scholars, and practitioners of heritage protection in Poland and beyond.

The ICC’s activities and research projects are assessed by the Programme Board, a team of intellectuals and outstanding specialists from Poland and Central Europe, who support the ICC with their knowledge and prestige.

The ICC is located in the historic “Ravens House” in Krakow’s Main Square, which after several stages of renovation and modernization (from 1998 to 2009) was adapted to house the institution and serve its mission. The venue offers office space for the ICC team, but it is primarily a space for dialogue with the public; it houses a conference room for c. 200 people, smaller seminar rooms (including historic cellars that are also used as exhibition spaces), a modern library with a reading room, and a gallery adapted to museum purposes. The ICC’s venue communicates the institution’s mission as a laboratory of modern approach to heritage – the historic structure was integrated with modern architecture, while the entire building was adapted to the use by the disabled.


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