‘Emotions of the Royal Łazienki Gardens’. Scientific conference

Staff of the Royal Łazienki Museum in greenhouses which did not survive, ca. 1924, unknown author, from the collections of Maja Abramczyk

The historic residential gardens of the Royal Łazienki are one of the most visited sites in Warsaw. What emotions do they evoke and how are they perceived? Their perception from many perspectives is the topic of an interdisciplinary scientific conference that will take place on 12-13 September 2024 at the Palace on the Isle. We invite representatives of various scientific disciplines to participate. The discussion panel has been expanded to include new issues.

The historic residential gardens of the Royal Łazienki are one of the most visited sites in Warsaw. Numerous visitors return over and over to experience moments of respite, pleasure, contact with nature, art and history. It is a place which connects generations, a setting of major events in Polish history, but also of personal and family stories. Despite the passage of time and civilisation and social changes, the Royal Łazienki have maintained (or perhaps even strengthened) its status of a symbol of Warsaw, while also remaining a strong emotional brand.

We would like to invite you to take part in an interdisciplinary research conference ‘Emotions of the Royal Łazienki Gardens – a Multiplicity of Perspectives’. Its primary purpose is to summarise the development of research on the history and perception of the Royal Łazienki gardens, but also to show them through the prism of individual and social emotions they evoke. The garden is a subject of research studies that can be defined in a variety of ways: as a work of art, a living monument, a cultural heritage site, a public, political and social space, or a place where ‘great history’ and microhistories move on in parallel. We invite representatives of various scientific disciplines, including art history, history, cultural anthropology, literary studies, sociology, psychology, landscape architecture and other technical and engineering disciplines, as well as those concerned with interdisciplinary approaches, to take part in the conference.

The sources of positive perception of the Royal Łazienki can be traced back to its origins, to the decisions of the first owners. They imbued the area of Ujazdów with meanings that were important to them, which proved to be remarkably durable in their essential core despite evolving in subsequent generations. The island, Arcadia, the myth of the ‘golden age’ present in Ovid’s Metamorphoses – are topoi that can be found in the Royal Łazienki. Nowadays, they are reflected in the belief that the Royal Łazienki is the happiest place in Warsaw. Cultural patterns of practice and experience tell us to seek happiness in the gardens of Łazienki, but cultural texts and historical sources suggest that this belief needs to be nuanced. They demonstrate that visits to the Łazienki arouse different emotional states: apart from happiness, also sadness, suffering, fear, patriotic elation, pleasure delight. The type and intensity of these experiences depend on a number of factors: the moment in the history of the world and society, the experience of the individual, and last but not least, the vulnerability to the impact of the garden as the result of work of the designers, who selected the individual elements in such a way as to evoke specific experiences through their work and to convey content that is meaningful to them.

We suggest to consider the following issues during the conference with the purpose of presenting the gardens of the Royal Łazienki from different perspectives:
► the history of the gardens;
► the gardens versus biblical and ancient motifs associated with the return to a state of lost happiness;
► the experience of gardens as recounted in literature and visual arts;
►  experiencing nature in the gardens;
►  designing gardens – designing emotions;
►  the relationship of the garden to architecture;
►  the influence on the visitor;
► garden practices – horticultural practices;
►  memory and emotions: microhistories of gardens;
►  people of the gardens – gardeners;
►  inhabiting the garden: reintegration with nature;
►  Łazienki in the multi-sensory and immersive dimensions.

If you wish to participate in the conference, please send your application by 15 April 2024 to konferencja.ogrody@lazienki-krolewskie.pl

Your application should contain: your forename and surname, the title of the paper, affiliation, an abstract (maximum 1,500 characters including spaces), your telephone number and e-mail address.

We do not charge a conference fee. The languages of the conference are Polish and English. We are planning to prepare a post-conference publication.

By registering for the conference, you accept the GDPR Information Clause as attached to the announcement and published on the website of the Royal Łazienki Museum.