“Promethidion” is the title of a poem by the Polish poet, artist and thinker Cyprian Kamil Norwid. Written in the form of two poetic dialogues, it is dedicated to art and its role in the creation of ‘social all-harmony’. Norwid chose the word Promethidion for the title of his poem – which means a descendant of Prometheus. Prometheus, according to Greek mythology, moulded the first humans from clay; after which he stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. Fire here becomes a symbol of the warmth and light that every human being needs.
In 2004, after the opening of the British borders to new European Union members, there was a great need in Bedford to support workers arriving from Poland and their families struggling with various difficulties in adapting to life in a new country.
I was on maternity leave at the time as an English teacher, and my passion was the work of Cyprian Kamil Norwid. This is the direction I wanted to develop in. However, the influx of people coming to our home for help was constantly growing. The cases were complicated, the situations drastic, and there was no other place where they could get competent help for free. Very quickly, however, there were people who wanted to support me in offering this help. There was a lot of beauty in this selfless dedication and in our joining forces. This beauty brought joy and inspired action.
Norwid’s vision that ‘beauty exists to delight work’ was being fulfilled.
In our activities we followed Norwid even further. In addition to helping people solve problems, learn the language and raise awareness of the laws and rules of life in the UK, we paid significant attention to connecting with culture and the arts.
We ran numerous art workshops, meetings which included singing, music and poetry, and encouraged people to share their artistic skills with others. This was particularly evident at regular events such as Children’s Day, but also at other cultural events, which we were always happy to join. into.
This was needed both for those seeking help and for the volunteers providing help, who were looking for a source of inspiration for action.
An example of this is the inclusive holiday workshop for children in 2007, combining singing, art and theatre. From this connection with the arts came joy, a sense of unity and warmth.
The arts element was simple, requiring no great talents, but a willingness to try and share their expression and creativity with others.
In 2007, just before registering with Companies House, we polled people using our services to choose a name for the developing organisation. “Promethidion” was one of the proposals. Unfortunately, it did not win against the “Polish-British Integration Centre”, which was preferred by most.
Thanks to her musical skills, when Lucynka Ratajczyk became involved in our organisation, we were able to start a children’s song and dance ensemble. ‘Promethidion’ was the natural choice for the name of the group. It encouraged not only people in need of support, volunteers, staff but also funders. In 2008 Barnfield College gave us funds to purchase folk costumes, which the children still perform in today.
This year marks 15 years since the Polish British integration Centre (now PBIC) was officially registered and Promethidion was formed. Since 2010, the group has been working very closely with the John Paul II’s Polish School. We are active in promoting Polish culture, we seek communication on the level of music and song between other nationalities, we want to bring Norwid’s thoughts closer to others, and we give children and their parents the opportunity to be part of an organisation that supports people with many difficulties in order to revive in them the ability to solve problems on their own.
In its current form, in addition to Lucynka Ratajczyk and Małgorzata Brady, Kasia Przybyło is involved in shaping the team.
To join the group, one needs a desire to be a “Promethidion” – bringing light to people who often lack it. A willingness to work in a group, stamina and patience at rehearsals, courage and enthusiasm at performances, openness to learning new texts and melodies, as well as musical aptitude, are all essential for this.
Parents who support the children automatically become PBIC volunteers. For their contribution in bringing the children to rehearsals and performances, supporting them through difficulties and developing an understanding of the social aspect of the ensemble, we are immensely grateful.
~ Mags Brady, CEO of PBIC
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Promethidion performers wear Krakow Folk Costume
The girl’s costume includes a white blouse, a vest that is embroidered and beaded on front and back, a floral full skirt, an apron, a red coral bead necklace, and lace-up boots.
Unmarried women and girls may wear a flower wreath with ribbons while married women wear a white kerchief on their head.
The boys wear a blue waistcoat with embroidery and tassels, striped trousers, a krakuska cap ornamented with ribbons and peacock feathers and metal rings attached to the belt.