SLOT and its Train

Marzena Horyza, who, together with her husband Andrzej, began the Slot Arts Festival 25 years ago, thinks it would be better to think of Slot as a “movement” or a “phenomenon” rather than just a festival. Although it has grown massively in size and scope in that time, it is still rooted in the same 5 values:

  • Meeting
  • Freedom
  • Love
  • Creativity
  • GOD

Once a year in the grounds of a huge former monastery, a little town is constructed from scratch,  home for a few days for 6000 or more people. It is a common space: there are lots of open spaces where people can sit and talk. They can get inspiration from the concerts, lectures, workshops (over 100 different ones), but they are encouraged to explore issues of life and discuss, and seek….. with many participants and volunteers being Christians.

This year, Marzena brought with her to Malenovice  3 young volunteers from Slot – Marta, Ola and Kasia. Marta is the organiser of the seminar programme for the festival; Ola is the new artistic director of Slot, and Kasia runs a weekly cafe in Rzeszow, with a programme of talks, workshops  etc.

This weekly cafe in Rzeszow is part of the “Slot Train”, one of many mini-Slot type gatherings over weekends or odd days in many different parts of Poland, happening throughout the year, and organised on an independent, local basis. The other two most active groups are in Poznan and Gdansk. Thanks to a grant from CEPUK, some training weekends and administrative organisation was put in place earlier this year. As Ola reported:

From earlier diagnoses, we knew that two groups needed support: not only the team leaders of the Slot Art Festival (photo 1), but also the leaders of Slot local groups emerging independently in Poland. Currently, the most active groups (photo 2) operate in the Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot area (Slot Pomorze), Rzeszów (Slot Rzeszów) and Poznań (NEO-Lazarus). Each of them is completely different – the people who create them come from different environments and the teams take on different frequencies of action and methods of financing.

This prompted us to design a “flying” edition of the Slot Train – we wanted to visit each of the local teams, see their places, feel the atmosphere and discern their context. We planned workshops on subjects important for the teams: team building and management, leadership, internal and external communication, relationship building. We also encouraged the team leaders of the Slot Art Festival and members of local teams to visit each other, to travel with us to all places and join the workshops.

As a result, we organized 3 weekends in 3 cities:

Rzeszów 9-11 Feb; Gdynia 16-18 March; Poznań 11-13 May

The summary meeting was held during Saturday workshops in Warsaw on June 2 (most people involved in the Slot Art Festival could not afford to come for the whole weekend to a less accessible place at that time).

Each weekend had its own local coordinator who supported logistics, and members of the local team offered accommodation to visitors, which was an additional opportunity to deepen relationships. The planning of the programme also took place in consultation and cooperation with the local team so as to respond to its current needs as fully as possible.

The grant made it possible to cover the fees for the workshop trainers, buy small refreshments for meetings and cover travel costs for those involved in the organisation of meetings. Members of the work group volunteered their time. The remaining funds were used to organise 8 workshops for over 70 team leaders of the Slot Art Festival, on 30 Sep 2018 in Wrocław.

One of many positive feedback reports afterwards :

As a leader, I gained a new assessment of team leadership and vision for the next season (transition from team building and organising to building individual relationships). For our young team Slot Train was a confirmation that what we do has value and meaning. An external view helped us to see our resources. In turn, looking at other local teams had a huge impact on building the identity of the team.

Kasia Bukała, leader of Slot Rzeszów team after Slot Train in Rzeszow and Warsaw