Interview with Karolina Staneczek-Pucher, Marketing Manager, Bytom Festival
By Ewa Zielińska
Ewa Zielińska: How long have you been working with the Modern Dance Conference in Bytom?
Karolina Staneczek-Pucher: That is my second Conference.
E.Z.: What problems concerning the promotion of the Conference do you encounter? What has changed since you became responsible for that?
K.S.-P.: Let me see… In fact, there wasn’t anything particularly difficult for me. I do not think that the form of promoting the Conference has changed, I continue what was started by my predecessor. We try to promote the Conference everywhere: radio, television, the internet, but also other places, such as houses of culture. We want to get to all the places where young people hang out. It is because they are our main target audience. Paradoxically, schools are the hardest nut to crack for us in terms of cooperation and promotion. When we prepare special materials for these institutions, out voluntaries and interns take them to the departments of education. It is the school’s duty to collect them and take care of their distribution – this is where things get tricky. This is the greatest difficulty, because television, the internet, web portals such as, for instance, Interia, know about the event and want to engage themselves in its promotion. For them, it is simply the prestige, for schools, it is just information.
E.Z.: On the one hand, the Conference should not have problems with sponsors or patrons, on the other hand, we are in Silesia, when something does not happen in Warsaw, it is like it did not happen at all. Are there any problems with finding sponsors of the Conference?
K.S.-P.: I deal with patrons, Katarzyna Furmaniuk (assistant director, department of development) deals with sponsors. As far as I know, there are, for sure, the City of Bytom, the Voivodeship, the Mayor of Bytom, and for the first time this year we have joined forces with the Upper Silesain Metropolitan Union. They know the institution, the event, so there is no problem. If it comes to patronages, we have regular collaborators, for example “Gazeta Wyborcza.” They already know that when June comes, we start to talk in terms of what, where, how and when. New patrons are “Didaskalia” and “Slajd.” For many years, we worked with “Ultramaryna”, and this time we have decided to cooperate with a young, rapidly expanding magazine. With patronages, as I have said, there are no problems, this year we succeeded in getting the “Elle” magazine’s patronage. We were awarded, together with Bytom, the Golden Format prize, which was sponsored by, among others, this magazine exactly. A bit more difficult, it is with television, but not the local ones, for them this is an exceptional event, it gets harder with the All-Polish television. This year, the Conference was mentioned in “Teleexpress” (a very popular news show), that was a great success. Nonetheless, Polish media know the event, yet claim that it is not their target because it takes place in Bytom and that is beyond their coverage.
E.Z.: From the perspective of Warsaw, not much is happening in Silesia, but that is where business which could start cooperating with culture is. It is a problem, nevertheless, what does the Silesian Dance Theatre do to convince the stubborn?
K.S.-P.: We inform how does the whole deal look like, we try to establish contact, we emphasise it being the biggest event of that type in Poland, that people from all over the world come here. This year, we have a large group of guests from Hong Kong, who came for the dance workshops organised during the Conference. We say that it is worth coming here. This contact is facilitated by local media, such as the Katowice Television which prepares material and then forwards it to others. To say it simply, we persist in informing that we are here, we cussedly communicate that something is happening here all the time.
E.Z.: Firstly, Bytom is not Warsaw, secondly, Bytom in itself is a difficult city. Even though the officials are very favourably disposed and people know about the Conference, often they just ignore it. How do you think, why does it happen?
K.S.-P.: You are partly right, this year, we carried out surveys which indicate that the least number of applications is, unfortunately, from Bytom. We got them from Gdynia, Sopot, Warsaw, Wrocław, yet here, it is a bit of a lemon. I think that the inhabitants of Bytom are gradually coming to like us, maybe not the workshops, but the performances. What can be seen during the whole year, the artistic season. Then, they come and participate eagerly. If it comes to the Conference, I have my own private theory to explain that – we are in Silesia, and even though many things are happening here, everything changes, people still try to go away during the holiday season.
E.Z.: Still, everything seems to be going for the better. In Silesia, a fashion for industrial scenery is introduced and promoted. We have an ample supply of that here. Coming to the Szombierki CHP Plant for a performance is a stunning experience. Is it another idea for promotion?
K.S.-P.: It seems to me that combining culture and postindustrial setting is a great concept. We offer these buildings a new life. Many people go to performance to see the these spaces. I think that mixing those two elements is brilliant.