ISSN 2451-2966


Dorota Ogrodzka

Returning Bride: Performative Re-creation of Identity and Space


This article is an account of a creative action combining elements of social art and ethnographic study involving female inhabitants of two villages of the Mazovian region, Ostałówek and Broniów. Dorota Ogrodzka conducted in-depth conversations with married, single, widowed and divorced women about their views on marriage, wedding, relationship models and family, and their ideas concerning the role and position of women.  Meetings and conversations were the starting point for performative actions designed to recreate wedding preparations: putting on old wedding dresses, hairstyle modelling and make-up, and selected elements of a wedding. These performative actions became a peculiar ‘performance’, ‘production’ of local knowledge concerning the changing model of marriage and family, gender and related ideas, including beliefs and meanings. 

The author analyses the critical potential of her project as revealed in the process of naming and discussing the situations, notions and categories which in everyday practice are accepted as neutral and non-negotiable. The ethnographic perspective the project assumed enabled appreciation and inclusion of all kinds of experiences as authentic and significant.


action research; animation of culture; engaged art; gender; local community; social performance; performance ethnography; public space; rural community

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Dorota Ogrodzka

researcher, organiser of cultural activities, theatre educator, performer, trainer. She graduated from doctoral programme in the Institute of Polish Culture of the University of Warsaw, and works on a doctoral dissertation on the performative establishing of public space in Poland and worldwide since 1989. She is affiliated with the Polski Theatre in Bydgoszcz, where she founded and conducted the Young Scene; she has directed productions and realised her original projects with amateurs, local inhabitants, creators and teachers. She collaborates with Polish institutional theatres as well as alternative and amateur theatres. She co-created the Theatre Educators Association, organises cultural events for the Association of Creative Initiatives ‘ę’. She co-created the Field Collective which operates on rural areas, small villages and towns, developing the method of ethno-animation and socio-artistic actions. She regularly cooperates with the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw. She is a scholarship holder of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and conducts the Socio-Theatrical Lab as part of this scholarship.