Pawel Leszkowicz

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2016/2017
discipline Art History
Associate Professor, Adam Mickiewicz University

Research project

LGBTQ Art and Rights as Democratic Inclusion: Comparative Perspectives on Central and East European Cultures and Societies


The aim of this project is to explore contemporary LGBTQ art, visual culture and democratic politics in Central and Eastern Europe. I will examine queer art and visual culture, activism, state policy and societal attitudes towards queer rights and participation through the work of individual artists and human rights organizations, selected art projects, visibility campaigns, performative urban actions and themed exhibitions. The differentiated and volatile status of queer rights in post-communist countries in the twenty-first century, including the dramatic situation in Russia, calls for a comparative approach. A new wave of opposition to equality has arisen over the last years in Europe; it also targets LGBTQ rights. Against this new ultraconservative movement, which is particularly strong in Eastern Europe, queer counterculture has been building resistance. My intention is to study the activist and artistic forms of this democratic movement.


This project covers the period beginning in the 1990s following the democratic transition in Central and Eastern Europe, but focuses comparatively on the current situation in both parts of the former Eastern Bloc. My approach combines the contemporaneity and history of sexuality, civil rights and art, concentrating on the questions of freedom of expression, the state of democracy, the representation of desire and love, censorship and homophobia. Dealing with the intersection of visual culture and the politics of emancipation and/or repression, this project is of an interdisciplinary character, drawing on research in art history, queer studies, cultural studies, European studies, history, political philosophy, sociology and law.


The innovative quality of the proposal on queer rights and expression in Eastern Europe is based on my focus on art and both sides of the region, the EU and beyond, which brings current and topical development in Russia into a broader perspective. Yet the intention is not to propose a comprehensive or encyclopaedic overview of queer culture in the entire region, covering all the countries, but to conduct deep contextual interpretations of selected representative case studies, which reflect wider processes. This project will address the pertinent issues that recur throughout, but will concentrate on a few specific yet topical cases, inscribed into the framework of Eastern European democratic studies.




Pawel Leszkowicz is an Academic and a freelance Curator specializing in Contemporary Art and LGBTQ Studies. He works as a reader at the Department of Art History, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. He was the curator of Ars Homo Erotica (2010) exhibition at Warsaw's National Museum. He was a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the University of Sussex in 2011-2012.


Selected publications


'The Male Nude as a Queer Feminist Iconography in Contemporary Polish Art', in A. Jones & E. Silver (eds), Otherwise. Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2016, pp. 185-203.


'Queering the Fine Arts Academy, Through Research, Teaching and Art Curating', in R. Huerta & A. Alonso-Sanz (eds), Educacion artistica y diversidad sexual, Universitat de València, Valencia, 2015, pp. 171-178.


'The Video Art of Female Homoeroticism', in K. Kosmala (ed.), Sexing the Border: Gender, Art and New Media in Central and Eastern Europe, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge, 2014, pp. 153-176.


'The Power of Queer Curating in Central Eastern Europe', in K. Kivimaa (ed.), Working with Feminism: Curating and Exhibitions in Eastern Europe, Tallinn University Press, Tallinn, 2012, pp. 118-152.


The Naked Man: The Male Nude in post-1945 Polish Art, UAM, Poznan, 2012. [in Polish]


Ars Homo Erotica, National Museum, Warsaw, 2010. [in Polish & English]



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
discipline Environmental Science
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
discipline Philosophy
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
discipline Literature
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
discipline Philosophy