Festival of Freedom – 20 years of Poland in the European Union will celebrate the freedoms that come with joining the EU and Polish participation and achievements in the EU and Scotland. The festival is all about creating a valuable, bonding experience for all and will serve as a reminder of the possibilities that the EU brings.

There will be a lively, family-friendly atmosphere created by: great music, dance showcases, exhibition, lectures, workshops, film screenings, outdoor activities, and not forgetting about Eurodisco and karaoke of the greatest European hits! All of this is with the aim of setting the table and inviting everyone and anybody curious to learn more about Polish culture and tuck into the vibrancy and accessibility of Polish contributions towards the Scottish cultural landscape. 

The festival’s programme is created to serve as a refreshing introduction to the European Union freedoms included in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights:

  • right to liberty and security
  • respect for private and family life
  • protection of personal data
  • right to marry and right to found a family
  • freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • freedom of expression and information
  • freedom of assembly and of association
  • freedom of the arts and sciences
  • right to education
  • freedom to choose an occupation and right to engage in work
  • freedom to conduct a business
  • right to property
  • right to asylum
  • protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition
Saturday 11 MayA walk20 km for 20 years10am-4pmOutdoor
A conferenceThe issues and opportunities facing EU citizens in the UK2-5pmSummerhall
Sunday 12 MayTreasure HuntA walk with Klementynafrom 10amEdinburgh outdoor
ScreeningAnimated films for children12pmSSCC
Interactive talkThe Pole Position in Bilingualism12:40pmSSCC
WorkshopLanguage portraits1:30pmSSCC
Interactive talkTanja Bueltmann2:15pmSSCC
TalkPolish Traveler’s Club in Edinburgh2:55pmSSCC
Art projectionCity of Homes4pmSSCC
PanelEuropean Freedoms4:35pmSSCC
DanceSikorski Polonez Group – Polandfrom 5pmSSCC
DanceFolklorny Súbor Lipa – Slovakiafrom 5pmSSCC
DanceHop-Trop, national group – Bulgariafrom 5pmSSCC
MusicProgressive Times, string trio – Ukrainefrom 5pmSSCC
Dance Eurodance Party6:30-8pmSSCC
Tuesday 14 MayJazz concertArtur Dutkiewicz7pmSt Giles’ Cathedral

Saturday, 11 May 2024

A walk: 20 km for 20 years

We invite you to walk together along the Water of Leith in Edinburgh. The route is approximately 20 km long and fits perfectly into the celebration of Poland’s 20th anniversary in the European Union.

This trail is very picturesque and interesting. We will, among others: walk through the beautiful Colinton Tunnel, along the Union Canal, through the aqueduct, enter Dean Village and go under Dean Bridge. With a bit of luck, we will see herons and other birds living by the water.

We will pass several cafes along the way, but it is better to bring your own food and drink. Along the way, as usual, we will make a few stops and a small picnic.


Event organiser: Grupa Turystyczno- Krajoznawcza “Na przełaj” w Edynburgu: LINK

Image credit: Łukasz Mańkowski

VENUE: Outdoor, Water of Leith

LANGUAGE: Polish and English

TIME: 10am – 4pm

FREE: no ticket required, Facebook LINK

CATEGORY: Adult, outdoor, wellbeing, heritage, community

A conference: The issues and opportunities facing EU citizens in the UK

More than six million EU citizens have acquired the right to stay in the UK after Brexit. Some, however, still have difficulty getting their settled status. Others experience problems at the UK Border – some even being refused entry. But it’s not all bad news, EU and other European citizens are making a big positive contribution to the UK’s economy and society.

This free conference looks at the experience of EU and other European citizens in the UK, and Scotland in particular. Topics for discussion will include:

· Continuing problems with the EU settlement scheme

· EU citizens experience in the job market and education

· Discrimination and social exclusion – the EU citizen experience

· The opportunities for EU citizens to participate in the democratic process in Scotland, UK, and Europe

· The positive contributions EU and European citizens make to the UK

We have a great line-up of expert speakers. Speakers will include:

· Pawel Kopec, Outreach and Information Officer, Citizens Rights Project

· Tamara Flanagan, Head of Projects, New Europeans

· Chris Murray, Policy Manager, Migration Unit, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities,

· Kate Botterill, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography and Bozena Sojka, Research Associate, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow

· Typhaine Morillon, Public Relations and Press Officer, European Parliament Liaison Office in UK, London

· Else Kvist, Press and Communications Manager, New Europeans


Event organiser: Citizens Rights Project: LINK

VENUE: Summerhall #1 Newington EH9 1PL


TIME: 2-5pm

FREE: Eventbride: LINK

CATEGORY: Conference, employment, immigration, Brexit, citizenship, rights

Sunday, 12 May 2024

Treasure Hunt – A walk with Klementyna

Polski MOST invites everyone to take part in “Walk with Klementyna” Treasure Hunt.
The aim of the game is to discover more and less known Polish traces in Edinburgh, learn the history of these places, as well as the people associated with them.
Together with our Klementyna, you will walk through the streets of Edinburgh to the points marked on the map and solve the puzzles. You can walk alone or in a group. We’re waiting for you at the finish line with diplomas and prizes! Route: 5.3km. Take your friends or family for an unforgettable Sunday walk around Edinburgh. See you on the trail on May 12th!
START: 33 Warriston Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 5LB, start any time between 10:00-14:00
FINISH: Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9ER, we’re waiting for you until 16:30.

Polski MOST is an independent, supra-political Polish diaspora organization, operating beyond divisions, established to support the Polish diaspora and cooperate with other Polish organizations. LINK


“Walk with Klementyna” Treasure Hunt is an event organized by Polski MOST as part of the Festival of Freedom. 20 years of Poland in the European Union.

VENUE: Outdoor


TIME: 10am-4pm

FREE: Facebook: LINK

CATEGORY: Outdoors, activity, heritage, Polish, Scottish, Edinburgh, family-friendly

Screening: animated films for children

We invite you to watch a charming set of animations for the youngest viewers (preschool age, children from 3 years of age) selected by the O!PLA National Animation Festival. LINK

We will watch 9 short films. You will meet the dog Smiley and his friend the bird Dzióbek, Bobaska and the friendly Teddy Bear, the boy known from the series of books by Bogna Sroka-Mucha, “Czapu Czipu”, and even the Monster Dentist!

Movies without dialogue

1. Smiley and Dzióbek series, Poland 2017, dir. M. Pestka, episode: “Mushroom picking”
2. Bobaski i Miś, Poland, 2020, dir. M. Skrobecki, episode “Dziura”
3. Czapu Czipu, Poland, 2017, dir. Bogna Sroka-Mucha, Tomasz Głodek, episode “What’s so stinging and stomping?”
4. Little Science and some Fiction, Poland, 2015, dir. T. Niedźwiedź, episode “The Flag”
5. Monster Dentist, Poland, 2017, dir. I. Rybak
7. Trousers and iron, Poland 2018, dir. J. Orlik
8. Smiley and Dzióbek series, Poland 2017, dir. M. Pestka, episode “Let’s go skiing”
9. Bobaski and Miś, episode “Day and Night”, Poland, 2020, dir. M. Skrobecki,

Duration: 31 min. 51′

Films kindly provided by O!pla, consider supporting them on patronite: LINK

VENUE: Room 1, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER

TIME: 12.00pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: screening, family-friendly, animated films, Polish

Interactive talk: The Pole Position in Bilingualism

Katarzyna Przybycień, a Director of Bilingualism Matters, will deliver a short interactive talk in Polish. Prof. Antonella Sorace is a Professor of Developmental Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Professor at University College London. 

Bilingualism Matters is a community of organisations and individuals who share the commitment to make the research-based evidence on multilingualism and language learning available and accessible to families, communities, and professionals in education, health or policy.


Event organiser: Katarzyna Przybycien, Prof. Antonella Sorace, Bilingualism Matters : LINK

VENUE: Room 1, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER


TIME: 12.40pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: Interactive talk, Polish, bilingual

Workshop: Language portraits

Dobrochna Futro from the University of Glasgow will engage participants in a creative activity about multilingualism, multicultural identity and speaking one or more languages. Paint and brushes will be in use, everyone is welcome!


Dr Dobrochna Futro, Associate Tutor (School of Education), University of Glasgow: LINK

Image credit: Dobrochna Futro

VENUE:  Room 1, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER

LANGUAGE: Polish and English

TIME: 1.30pm

FREE: no tickets required


CATEGORY: Family-friendly, workshop, art, activity, language

Interactive talk: Tanja Bueltmann

Tanja Bueltmann’s lecture will explore the meaning of freedom of movement for EU citizens in Scotland and Scots in the EU, looking at how it shaped their sense of belonging and identity.

Prof. Tanja Bueltmann is a German-British historian and academic, who holds the chair in International History at the University of Strathclyde. She specialises in the history of migration and diaspora. She is also a citizens’ rights campaigner and founder of the EU Citizens’ Champion campaign.


Event organiser: Prof. Tanja Bueltmann’s, University of Strathclyde: LINK

VENUE: Room 1, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER


TIME: 2.15pm

FREE: no tickets required


CATEGORY: Lecture, research, migration, diaspora, freedom of movement, EU, Scotland, community

Talk: Polish Traveler’s Club in Edinburgh

We invite all those interested in the world to the first meeting of our Edinburgh Traveler’s Club. Thanks to Poland joining the European Union, we have the freedom to travel around Europe, which many of us eagerly take advantage of.

During this meeting, I will show you plenty of photos and talk about my European escapades. You will also learn about our club’s activity plans. We will also introduce groups and individuals with whom you can go on both longer and more local trips around beautiful Scotland. As part of the Traveler’s Club, there will be an exhibition of photos and paintings from the European expeditions of our compatriots living in Scotland at the café.


Event organiser: Łukasz Mańkowski, Polish Traveler’s Club in Edinburgh

Image credit: Łukasz Mańkowski

VENUE:  Room 1, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER


TIME: 2.55pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: Outdoor, travel, history, wellbeing, heritage, community

Art projection: City of Homes

by Rachael Disbury, Director, Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival

Marta Adamowicz and Robert Motyka’s audiovisual artwork, City of Homes, is an outcome of their residency, in which they worked closely with Polish communities in Edinburgh, as part of Culture Collective. Using sound, interviews, animation, collage and video projection, the work explores and presents lived experiences of migration and complex notions of belonging, while questioning the link between the geography of place and the concept of home. 

Adamowicz and Motyka invited participants to make linocuts of buildings that provoked emotions associated with the word ‘home’. The resulting artworks featured vast and diverse responses, which the artists then worked into an audiovisual live performance, with projection-mapped imagery and a soundscape created from fragments of collected interviews. The result was shown in the Southside Community Centre in Edinburgh, and filmed to create this subsequent moving-image work, which features the added layer of the audience we see in the frame – the participants from whose lived experiences these sounds and images take meaning. 

The vocal fragments included in the piece vary in perspective and interpretation, ruminating on which criteria are relevant to solidify where home is, and conjuring the conclusion that home itself is an expanded and dual concept. Several accounts reflect on the idea that home is inside each of us, multiple and diverse. A hopeful thought for communities in Edinburgh, in any city or town, that our places and populations hold so many homes. 

The formal and conceptual qualities, as well as the gently-paced layering of images and fragmented text, speak to the wider themes of the work – the fluidity of home, the concept of plural identities, the vibrantly collaged nature of community. In the centre of City of Homes’s composition is a door. Among the shifting and changing elements which pull us in various directions throughout the piece, the door is our constant anchor, and reveals the fabric of the community centre in which the participants sit, rooted in that moment to this place.

Image credit: Szymon Felkel

VENUE: Main Hall, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER

LANGUAGE: Polish with English subtitles

TIME: 4pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: Multimedia, Audio Art, Projection Mapping, Digital Art, Polish community, migration, belonging

Panel: European Freedoms

The festival’s programme is created to serve as a refreshing introduction to EU’s freedoms included in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: freedom to choose an occupation and right to engage in work, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of the arts and sciences, freedom of expression and information. It will provide the stage for the lively timetable of inspiring and entertaining public events, set against the positive backdrop of Scottish, Polish, and European integration across Scotland. 

VENUE: Main Hall, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER

TIME: 4:35pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: Panel, European Union, freedom, Poland, Ukraine, Slovak, Bulgaria, Germany

Progressive Times, string trio – Ukraine

Progressive time is a string trio. Kateryna Tunina is a cellist from Donetsk, Maria Zhuravleva is a violinist and viola player from Kharkiv, and Bohdan Ilnytskyi is a violinist and a conductor from Lviv.

All fled the war and met for the first time in Glasgow. They had a common idea to represent Ukrainian culture abroad, to play Ukrainian pop, folk and classical music, music that is a lost treasure for the world.

Progressive time has already performed in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen at various events to raise funds for Ukraine. They also jointly organised the Culture code project, where they perform and talk about Ukrainian music. It was the first Ukrainian concert at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.


1. Mykola Lysenko – Rhapsody No. 2 “Thought-Shumka”

2. Ivasyuk – A song among us

3. Hutsul Fantasy

For the visuals during the performance, we will be presenting traditional Ukrainian folk art vytynanki designed and kindly shared with us by Ukrainian contemporary artist Daria Alyoshina. A classically trained monumental and decorative sculptor, Daria Alyoshkina turned to the ancient traditional Ukrainian art of vytynanka after failing to combine the sculptor profession with motherhood. One of her main reasons for choosing the craft of paper cutting was her desire to preserve this magnificent art for the coming generations.

Instagram: LINK

Facebook: LINK

Bottom image credit: Daria Alyoshkina

VENUE: Main Hall, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER

TIME: 5pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: Family-friendly, String trio, classical, folk, Ukrainian music

Dance: Sikorski Polonez Dance Group – Poland

The polonaise is a national Polish dance and global treasure. On 5 December 2023, the polonaise was inscribed on the UNESCO World Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The group was founded in 2016 in Paisley, Scotland and is made up of Poles living in Scotland. Now we are part of the Sikorski Polish Club in Glasgow. The dancers stand out on stage in handmade costumes of Polish nobility from the 16th century and dance the polonaise to classical music.

The idea of ​​the group is to unite communities through dance, because dance does not require words. Over the years, the group has appeared several times in local newspapers, performed in Scottish schools and at various integration events, where it delighted Polish, Scottish and international audiences.

VENUE: Main Hall, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER

TIME: 5pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: Family-friendly, traditional, national Polish dance, community, Glasgow Sikorski Club

Dance: Folklorny Súbor Lipa – Slovakia

The organization was founded in 2019 by folklore lovers and former Slovak folklorists living in Scotland. As the only organization of its kind in Scotland, Súbor is dedicated to cultivating Slovak traditions and folklore, practising and presenting folk dances, music, singing, clothing and musical instruments, and organizing events for the Slovak and Czech communities in Scotland, as well as representing Slovakia in the Scottish community.

The events organized by our team to strengthen national awareness, cultural and linguistic identity of Slovaks living abroad include traditional folk festivals and meetings of natives from Slovakia, but also from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and other nationalities, examples of year-round traditions (e.g. .May building, carnivals, Christmas customs), representing Slovakia at national events in Scotland (e.g. celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Gentle Revolution), craft schools, dance workshops and representing the Scottish Slovak minority at local community events in Scotland and across the UK.


Facebook: LINK

VENUE: Main Hall, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER

TIME: 5pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: Family-friendly, Traditional, folk Slovak dance, community

Dance: Hop-Trop, national group – Bulgaria

Hop-Trop” is an Edinburgh based dance group for Bulgarian Folk Dances.

We dance traditional circle dances called ‘horo’, characterised by diverse steps and intricate vibrant rhythms. We have been around for about 10 years now, having regular classes for all levels, as well as performing around Edinburgh and the UK at various events and festivals such as the Pomegranates Festival, and Fringe festival.

We love dancing and performing just as much we love exploring other cultures and bringing traditional dancing together

VENUE:  Main Hall, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER

TIME: 5pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: Family-friendly, dance group, Folk, Bulgaria, Balkans, Horo, heritage, community

Dance: Eurodance Party

The Dance Party will be full of Euro dance and disco hits, including “Fellicita” by Al Bano and Romina Power, “Dancing Queen” by Abba, “Voyage, voyage” by Desireless, Sabrina “Boys”, Modern Talking “Cheri, Cheri Lady”, Technotronic “Pump up the Jam”, Go_A “Shum” and evergreens such as “Yes Sir I can boogie” by Baccara. We will finish off with Anna Jantar “Nic nie może przecież wiecznie trwać”.

During the party, Robert Motyka will display large scale European themed visuals in the Main Hall of the venue.

VENUE: Main Hall, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson St,  Edinburgh EH8 9ER

TIME: 5pm

FREE: no tickets required

CATEGORY: Family-friendly, Eurodance, Eurodisco, Italo Disco

Tuesday, 14 May 2024

Jazz concert: Artur Dutkiewicz

To highlight the 20th anniversary of Poland’s accession to the European Union and mark the Polish National Day, 3rd May Constitution Day the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh presents a concert by the Polish jazz legend Artur Dutkiewicz.

Artur Dutkiewicz – a pianist and composer, one of the most outstanding Polish jazz musicians, often referred to as the ambassador of Polish jazz.

Dutkiewicz has performed in over one hundred world renowned music festivals in more than 70 countries. One of these was a performance at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin during the World Culture Festival, for which he arranged a piece for 30 pianos and played it with pianists from around the world as an expression of respect for the diversity of cultures and a message of peace to the world.

Artur Dutkiewicz mostly plays improvisations based on modern jazz and contemporary music with Polish folk influences.

He is known for his ImproMazurkas inspired by Fryderyk Chopin, Karol Szymanowski and Bela Bartok. These compositions draw on European improvised music stemming from traditions of classical and contemporary music.


Event in association with The Consulate General of the Republic of Poland: LINK

VENUE: St Giles’ Cathedral, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RE

TIME: 7pm

FREE: book your ticket: LINK

CATEGORY: Polish music, jazz, live