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Doctoral student Ola Sidorkiewicz has been awarded the BASEES Women’s Forum Postgraduate Paper Prize at the 2024 Annual Conference of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies.

Ola was awarded the prize for a paper, which was part of the Transnationalising Polish Studies panel, on the work of modernist Polish playwright Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz. The panel included MML alumna Dr Kasia Szymańska.

In her paper, Ola investigated Witkiewicz’s writings composed following his journey to Australia in 1914, focusing on his play Tumor Brainiowicz. The play paints a complex picture of Poland’s position within the modern world: although without an explicitly colonial past, Poles appear as complicit in the exclusionary structures which regulate the colonial order, and as eager to reproduce them when given the chance. By centering the notion of racialisation, Ola argued that Witkacy’s previous exposure to the class hierarchies in Poland provided him with the necessary critical apparatus quickly to comprehend the racist logic of colonialism.

In the same month, Ola was also awarded the Leverhulme Study Abroad Studentship, which will take her to Wrocław in the next academic year. She will use this time to write up her thesis and work on a related book project aimed at academic and non-academic readers alike. Its outcome will be a trilingual anthology of writings by Maria Kuncewicz, one of the authors that she considers in her thesis.

Ola said of the good news, ‘I was very honoured to receive this recognition from the BASEES as I prepare the paper for publication.’

‘I am also extremely grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for recognising the importance of my research, and for their generous support.’ 

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Ola Sidorkiewicz