'Testimonies in Practice: Working with Stories of the Self and Others': Exhibition and Workshops with Carmen-Francesca Banciu

12 - 26/11/2019 @ Romanian Cultural Institute

Thirty years ago, the communist regimes in the countries behind the Iron Curtain lost their grip on power. One by one, the monolithic structures of control and oppression succumbed, the freed citizens vacillating between disbelief and immense joy. When in December 1989, the Romanian Revolution started in Timisoara followed by Bucharest and other cities, the whole world was gripped by the stories of sacrifice unfolding on the TV screens.

In an attempt to bring an inside perspective to the crucial events that took place 30 years ago and the reverberating, all-changing effect they have had, the Romanian Cultural Institute in London is honoured to present Romania: Legacies of Courage 89-19’ season, showcasing extraordinary stories and personalities who have shaped our recent history intertwined with personal accounts of the rippling waves which have profoundly transformed the Romanian society.

There is no common denominator for the testimonies comprised in the season, as they come from different vantage points and are articulated in unique creative vernaculars, other than the unambiguous courage which can only be sustained in the pursuit of freedom.

Berlin-based Romanian author Carmen-Francesca Banciu is the writer-in-residence at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London in November. She is an author, journalist, and lecturer who grew up in Romania as the daughter of a high-ranking member of the Communist party. Carmen-Francesca Banciu studied in Bucharest, going on to win the International Short Story Prize in Arnsberg, Germany in 1985, leading to a ban on her works in Romania. Through a series of workshops and an exhibition, Carmen-Francesca Banciu invites you to an exploration of the relationship between writing and history as autobiography.


‘Testimony in Practice' - an innovative and multimedia exhibition based on the life stories of Central and Eastern Europeans living in the UK. Centrala Gallery (Birmingham) has produced a unique exhibition exploring perspectives on life under the communist regime, the importance of 1989 and the revolutions leading to the fall of the Iron Curtain. Two artists worked with the testimonies gathered through the project 'Testimony in Practice', funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and delivered by the University of Birmingham. Maciek Baczyk [PL] from kinoMANUAL focused on analogue sound art and visuals reflecting the nature of memories as voices from the past in the present while Emma Lockey [UK] has created a physical structure to present the testimonies.
12-26 November 2019; Opening: 13 November, 18:00. Please book your seat here.

Writing Stories of the Self and Others: a creative writing workshop for new and emerging writers who want to explore methods and practices of writing personal stories: about themselves and/or about other people. Delivered in collaboration with Emilie Pine.
13 November 2019, 11:00-17:00. Attendance is by application only and the workshop is now full, please contact testimonyinpractice@gmail.com for more information.

Creating the Self: a workshop for young artists between the ages of 18 and 25 who would like to explore the histories of Central and Eastern Europe and how life stories can be a stimulus for art. The workshops will be delivered by the creative practitioners in the Testimony in Practice team. Working with the testimonies gathered in the testimonies campaign, the participants will create short theatre productions, visual art, or creative writing.
17 November 2019; 13.00-18.00. Attendance is free, but places are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To secure your place, email testimonyinpractice@gmail.com with your name, age and preferred art form.

All events take place at the Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave Square, London.

Carmen-Francesca Banciu is a literary author who writes in both Romanian and German and whose work has been widely translated into English. In 2018, she was longlisted for the prestigious German Book Prize for her work ‘Lebt wohl, Ihr Genossen und Geliebten: Tod eines Patrioten’. She has given invited readings and seminars at institutions across Europe and the US. She runs a series of creative writing workshops focusing on writing as a means of exploring the self. In ‘Testimony in Practice’, she is co-author and performer in the documentary theatre production about her life and literature.