Project summary

The project’s aim is to increase the level of knowledge about Poland after 1980 and build bridges between Britain, Poland, and other European countries. The project will comprise of an international conference, a lecture, and three seminars at St Antony’s College at Oxford and at the University of Warsaw, as well as ongoing online dissemination. The subjects will include liberal and illiberal democracy, rule of law, inequalities and the migrant crisis in contemporary Poland in a comparative perspective. The audience will include opinion leaders, students, academics and the general public. The outcome will include online publications, video recordings, and a post-conference book. The project partners in Poland include: University of Warsaw, Collegium Civitas, and the Kultura Liberalna Foundation.


Principal Investigator
Professor Timothy Garton Ash, University of Oxford

Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford, Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St Antony’s College and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution Stanford University. Much of his work has been concerned with the late modern and contemporary history of Central and Eastern Europe. He has written about the Communist regimes of that region, their experience with the secret police, the Revolutions of 1989 and the transformation of the former Eastern Bloc states into member states of the European Union. He has examined the role of Europe and the challenge of combining freedom and diversity, especially in relation to free speech. He is the author of ten books including The Polish Revolution: Solidarity. He has been studying and writing about Poland for nearly 40 years.

Dr Karolina Wigura, University of Warsaw

Assistant Professor at the Institute of Sociology, Warsaw University, and Head of the Political Section of Polish political and cultural weekly Kultura Liberalna. She studied at the University of Warsaw and Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich. She is Marshall Memorial Fellowship alumni, and former visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford.

Dr Jaroslaw Kuisz, University of Warsaw

Assistant professor at Faculty of Law and Administration, Warsaw University, Chercheur étranger associé w Institut d’histoire du temps present at CNRS in Paris, and editor-in-chief of the Polish political and cultural weekly Kultura Liberalna. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago, University of Oxford and Columbia University. He is also a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow.

Related News and Events


Educators, Revealers, Abnegators: Emotions as a political strategy

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 12:30pm
Venue: European Studies Centre, Oxford Speaker: Karolina Wigura (Polish Programme, St Antony’s College) Chair: Cesar Colino (Santander Fellow, St Antony’s College)

Legal propaganda in Communist Poland

Tuesday, 7 February 2017 - 12:30pm
Venue: European Studies Centre, Oxford Speaker: Jaroslaw Kuisz (Polish Programme, St Antony’s College, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen) Chair: Lamprini Rori (A.G. Leventis Fellow, St Antony’s College)

Poland’s contested model of economic transformation

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 - 5:00pm

Marek Belka (former Prime Minister of Poland), Jerzy Osiatynski (former Finance Minister of Poland), Timothy Garton Ash (St Antony’s College, University of Oxford)


The radicalisation of the Polish public debate

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 - 5:00pm
Venue: European Studies Centre St Antony's College Speakers: Rafal Pankowski (Collegium Civitas, Warsaw) Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford) Karolina Wigura (St Antony's College & University of Warsaw)

Poland’s experience of migrant crisis

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 - 5:00pm
Venue: European Studies Centre St Antony’s College Speakers: Joanna Fomina (Collegium Civitas, Warsaw) Cathryn Costello (St Antony’s College, COMPAS) Franck Duvell (COMPAS)

Defective Democracies? The case of Poland in European Comparison

Friday, 3 March 2017 - 5:00pm
Venue: Nissan Lecture Theatre, St. Antony's College, Oxford Speakers: Wolfgang Merkel (WZB Berlin Social Science Centre) Timothy Garton Ash (St. Antony’s College)
“Illiberal Democracy”? Poland in a Comparative European Perspective

“Illiberal Democracy”? Poland in a Comparative European Perspective

March 4, 2017

Hilary Term 2017 International Conference
“Illiberal Democracy”? Poland in a Comparative European Perspective
St Antony’s College, University of Oxford


Poland in the European Union

March 7, 2017
Venue: European Studies Centre, Oxford Speakers: Andrzej Zybertowicz (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun. Adviser to the President of Poland Andrzej Duda) Kalypso Nicolaidis (St Antony’s College) Jarosław Kuisz (St Antony’s College)