The Lucky jewathon hosts
Roma Sendyka is a professor at the Department of Anthropology of Literature and Cultural Research of the Faculty of Literature at the Jagiellonian University. She runs the Centre for Research on Cultural Remembrance and sits on the curatorial board. Roma’s academic background is in literary and cultural theory, with a particular focus on visual and memory cultures. She has spent several years developing and implementing activities that commemorate the former KL Płaszów concentration camp.
Rachel Mars is a London-based, multi award-winning performance maker and writer with a background in theatre, live art, and comedy. Her work explores the idiosyncratic cultural and political constructs that inform the way we are together, as people, just trying to figure it all out. She wrestles with female, Jewish and Queer identities and their intersections. Recent work has included YOUR SEXTS ARE SHIT: OLDER BETTER LETTERS (a queer archive of erotic writings); OUR CARNAL HEARTS (an interrogation of envy with a live surround-sound choral score); and ROLLER (a large-scale investigation of female aggression and revolution).
Jakub Nowakowski was born and raised in Kazimierz, the former Jewish district of Krakow. Coming from a non-Jewish family that lived in Kazimierz for generations, from an early age he was compelled to
research the history of his neighbourhood.
In 2007 he graduated from the Department of Jewish Studies at the Jagiellonian University. His interest in Jewish history and Polish Jewish relations led him to become a student volunteer and a member of Polish/American/Jewish Alliance for Youth Action (PAJA). In 2005 Jakub joined the staff of the newly opened Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow. In 2006 he joined the Museum’s Education Department, and in 2008 he became its manager. In 2010, after an international competition, Jakub was appointed the Galicia Jewish Museum’s director. Jakub is the co-author of Museum publications. The exhibitions he has curated have been presented in Poland and internationally. In his roles as Education Director and later Museum Director he has given presentations and lectures in Poland, USA, UK, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Spain, Netherlands, Ukraine, Hungary and South Africa, gaining recognition for his knowledge, passion, and unique insider’s perspective on Polish Jewish relations in contemporary Poland.
Anand Rajaram is an award-winning improviser, actor, playwright, director, musician, teacher, and puppeteer. He is an accomplished theater performer and creator, film and television performer, as well as a voiceover artist for video games and cartoons. He is the artistic director of @N@ f@N@, and is currently creating AR digital content for live streams under the banner of his company, Cardboard Dreams.
Adam Schorin is a writer based in Warsaw, Poland. Originally from New York, he served as a FestivALT co-director from 2018 to 2020. He is also a tour guide and educator with the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland Foundation. He has been a Lucky Jew on several occasions.
Wojtek Ziemilski is a theatre director and visual artist. He works across art forms, rooting himself in the diversity of performance arts. His works have been shown around the world, at events ranging from the Ruhrtriennale to the Prague Quadrennial to the Divine Comedy Festival. Extending the idea of documentary performance, Wojtek’s work is often an inquiry into spectatorship and the possibility for action. He is a lecturer at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw and at Warsaw University.
Robert Piaskowski is Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of Krakow for Culture. He represents Krakow in the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) and leads the Integrated Centre for Krakow Heritage Management, established by the President of Krakow in 2020. For many years, he was programme director at the Krakow Festival Office.
Natalia Chmielarz is a graduate of the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the University of Łódź. She is the coordinator of educational and cultural projects related to Yiddish culture and language at the Yiddish Culture Center in Warsaw. Natalia is an enthusiast for Middle Eastern music and a member of the radio collective Franco-English War under the white and red flag. She likes curiosities, absurdities and quirks. Recently, she has also been interested in psycho-criminalistics.
Michalina Jadczak is a Hebraist and Hebrew teacher, and a project coordinator at the Center for Yiddish Culture in Warsaw. Her scientific interests include the history of Jewish migration; currently she is writing her M.A. thesis about Mizrahi women’s identity in Israeli literature at the Faculty of Oriental Studies (University of Warsaw). She loves Middle Eastern music and she dreams of running a semi-legal business in Morocco. Her laugh can be heard 3 000 kilometres away.
Rebecca Forgasz was Director and CEO of the Jewish Museum of Australia from 2010 to 2019, during which time she led significant organisational development, secured internationally touring blockbuster exhibitions, and oversaw the re-development of the Museum’s flagship exhibition about Australian Jewish history. Previously, she curated five major temporary exhibitions at the Museum and worked at other major cultural institutions in Melbourne. For the past year, Rebecca has been working at the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University as Associate Professor (Practice) of Community Engagement and Intercultural Communication. She is the granddaughter of Polish Holocaust survivors who migrated to Australia after the war.
Jason Francisco is an American Jewish artist and essayist. Joining documentary and conceptual art, his work focuses on the complications of historical memory, and new directions in the art of witness. Jason’s large-scale projects include Alive and Destroyed: A Meditation on the Holocaust in Time (forthcoming from Daylight Books, 2021), The Camp in its Afterlives (2010-2018), An Unfinished Memory (2014-2018), and Far from Zion: Jews, Diaspora, Memory (Stanford University Press, 2006). He is also the author of numerous limited edition photobooks, web-based installations, experimental films, hybrid photo-text writings, reportages, essays, and poems in translation. Jason co-founded FestivALT, and was co-director for its first three seasons; he currently serves FestivALT as a curatorial consultant.
Atalya Laufer is an Israeli-born, London-trained, Berlin-based visual and conceptual artist who works with a range of materials and approaches. The tension between fact and fiction, past and present is an essential aspect of her practice. She is interested in shifting meaning through different media and contexts and often plays with biographies and works of other artists, creating original documents or reproductions by means of collage, montage, and drawing.
Erica Lehrer is a sociocultural anthropologist and curator. She is a Professor in the departments of History and Sociology-Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal, where she is also Founding Director of the Curating and Public Scholarship Lab (CaPSL). She has published numerous articles, and is the author of Jewish Poland Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places (2013). She also co-edited Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions (2016); Jewish Space in Contemporary Poland (2015); and Curating Difficult Knowledge: Violent Pasts in Public Places (2011). In 2013 Erica curated the exhibit Souvenir, Talisman, Toy at the Krakow Ethnographic Museum (MEK), and in 2014 published the accompanying book Lucky Jews and the online exhibit www.luckyjews.com. She is currently working on the collaborative project Awkward Objects of Genocide, which resulted in the exhibition Terribly Close: Polish Vernacular Artists Face the Holocaust at MEK in 2018–19.
Josh “Socalled” Dolgin is a pianist, accordionist, producer, journalist, photographer, filmmaker, magician, cartoonist, and puppet maker based in Montreal, Quebec. For more than ten years, he has been performing, lecturing and leading masterclasses at music festivals around the world—from Moscow to Paris, London to LA, and Krakow to San Francisco. With six solo albums to his name, Josh has appeared at such venues as Carnegie Hall in NYC, the Olympia in Paris, the Apollo Theater in Harlem and the Arsht centre in Miami. His list of collaborators knows no generational, social, cultural nor religious boundaries. Among the many artists he has worked with are Itzhak Perlman, Lhasa, Fred Wesley, Andy Statman, Adam Cohen, Boban Markovic, and Killah Priest. Josh was also the subject of The Socalled Movie, a 2010 feature documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
Michael Rubenfeld is a theatre maker originally from Canada and now living in Poland. For eight years he was the Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Festival in Toronto, where he originated the Progress Festival. In 2017 he also originate CanadaHub for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. As an artist, his work has toured Canada, US, and parts of Europe. In 2017 Michael co-founded FestivALT where he continues to be a co-director.
Betty Q is the first Polish performer and burlesque teacher. She is a body-positive activist, author of choreography for movies, theater and music videos. Director of the Bez Coverki project. When not on stage, she turns into an embroiderer.
Zacharias Szumer is a member of the Fully Automated Luxury Kosher Space Kibbutz, a leftist meme page and music project orbiting themes of Jewish futurism and snarky humour. He also moonlights as an underpaid, freelance writer on climate change, progressive politics and experimental music. One of his grandparents, Adam Zygmunt Szumer, was born in Nieglowice, Poland, and lived through the Holocaust as a child.