INTENTIONS _____________

Stage annual performing art and heritage festival with a program of quality events, exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and community activities that showcase Polish and Scottish artists, historians, performers and simultaneously introduce our audiences to the distinctness of our cultures as well as celebrating our shared cultural and historical links. We want to strengthen the positive image of the Polish community in Aberdeen and Scotland, aid their integration, and influence their cultural and social life. We want to aid cross-national cultural exchange by bringing Aberdeen city and shire communities together and long-term also from outwith geographical region for the cultural, social, and economic benefit of city of Aberdeen and the wider community. Also, we want to engage with the public and create volunteering opportunities.

The Polish-Scottish Mini Festival, organized by Polish Association in Aberdeen,  proves that building a community based on connecting very diverse cultural environments is possible and it is a  remedy for the lack of tolerance,  understanding of a different culture. We support integration and  Polish and  Scottish cross-cultural exchange, what is more, we build local patriotism. We make an impact on the cultural life of the Polish community, and we create and strengthen the positive image of the Polish community.

The roots of the Polish Association Aberdeen trace back to the aftermath of World War II. Thousands of Polish soldiers, part of the Polish Armed Forces fighting alongside the Western Front and allied with the Polish Government in London, found themselves stationed in the United Kingdom. With post-war Poland falling under Soviet domination, many soldiers chose to remain in exile, fearing Stalin’s oppressive regime. Their concerns were well-founded, as those who did return were treated as suspicious elements, often facing trials for alleged collaboration with Western powers, leading to unjust imprisonment, forced labor camps, and exile to Stalinist gulags. Many paid the ultimate price for their homeland. Unsurprisingly, Polish soldiers were reluctant to return.

Scotland was also home to Polish troops, and after demobilization, Poles faced the challenging task of integrating into their new country, particularly during the tough post-war years. Finding employment in a demilitarized economy was difficult, with trade unions opposing the hiring of Poles in many industries. However, some areas, such as mining, construction, quarries, agriculture, and fisheries, welcomed Polish workers without issues.

The life of Polish veterans in Scotland began to take place in a relatively normal mode. They went around Scotland looking for jobs and housing. Many of them ended up in Aberdeen and the surrounding area. Since they were mostly young men, most of them started families, embarrassing themselves with Scots. Probably these mixed Polish-Scottish marriages are one of the most important integration factors that occurred at that time.