Dr Dominika Blachnicka-Ciacek

Visual sociologist (PhD 2016, Goldsmiths, University of London) with an interest in researching relationships between people, spaces and memory in migration and forced migration contexts, with a regional focus on migrants and refugees in the Middle East and Europe. My research to date has been orientated around a concern to understand the ways in which migration is felt, sensed and represented, and how forms of life are shaped and reshaped, through the practice of mobiliIty.

At SWPS University I work as a senior post-doc on Empowerment through liquid Integration of Migrant Youth in vulnerable conditions (MIMY) project funded by Horizon 2020, panel panel: MIGRATION-03-2019.


Affect, memory and migration

Firstly, through empirical depth and conceptual innovation, my research offers a novel account of how (forced) mobility informs memories and affective connections with ancestral homes and homelands, as well as processes of settlement and resettlement.

Inclusion of migrant and refugee communities in urban space

Second, my research has contributed to understanding how public spaces can support conviviality and integration in super-diverse and/or post-conflict urban environments, especially with regard to newly arrived migrant and refugee communities.

Responses to climate change crisis 

Third, I have recently become engaged in researching individual and collective responses to climate change crisis especially the strategies that young people develop to cope, adapt or resist the prospect of changes. To this end, I am the PI of SPWS-funded BST grant in which, using a combination of visual ethnographies, in-depth interviews, and focus groups we examine relationships between awareness, knowledge, and sense of agency among young Polish public as well as climate change activists.

Engaging the public in the pain of (forced) migration using multisensory methods

To date, this commitment has been manifested in experimentations with methods such as ethnographic films, exhibitions, and curatorial programmes such as ‘Beirut – Warsaw. Re-birth’ on the spatial memories, violence, and reconstruction of post-war cities (Warsaw, 2014), and ‘Refugees. Present/Absent’ (Kraków, 2016) which strived to unpack the (mis)representations of the 2015 refugee crisis. I am an advisor on another curatorial project titled ‘Everyday forms of resistance’, currently under production by the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Warsaw.


Peer Reviewed journal articles

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D. (2020) ‘Occupied From Within: Embodied memories of the occupation, resistance and survival among the Palestinian diaspora, Emotion, Space & Society, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emospa.2019.100653 (open access).

Rishbeth, C., Blachnicka-Ciacek, D., Darling, J. (2019) ‘Participation and wellbeing in urban greenspace: ‘curating sociability’ for refugees and asylum seekers’, Geoforum  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2019.07.014 (open access).

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D. (2018) ‘Palestine as “a state of mind”: second- generation Polish and British Palestinians search for home and belonging’, Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies,  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2017.1369868.

Book chapters

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D. (forthcoming 2020) ‘How not to eat human stories: ruts, complicities and methods in visual representations of refugees’ in: Adey, P, Brickell, K., Bowstead, J., Desai, V., Dolton, M., Pinkerton, A., Siddiq. A., The Handbook of Displacement, Palgrave Macmillan.

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D. (2018) ‘The forgotten history of political and cultural exchanges between Communist Poland and the Palestinian Liberation Organization in the age of revolution’ in Past Disquiet. Narratives and Ghosts from International Art Exhibition for Palestine in Beirut, Rasha Salti and Kristine Khrouri (eds.) Warsaw: Museum of Modern Art.

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D. (2016) ‘Uchodźcy Palestyńscy i Prawo do Powrotu’ in: ‘Na Zachodnim Brzegu bez Zmian’, Konrad Pędziwiatr (ed). Polish – language edited volume. Warszawa: Książka i Prasa. ISBN 9788365304148 [‘Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return’ in Nothing Changes in the West Bank.].

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D. (2014) ‘Travelling to Israel with a Map of 1948 Palestine:  How to Face the Absences we Encounter “in the Field”’ in: The Future of Art is Urban: Artistic Research Practices and Methods in Social Sciences, Kata Halasz (ed). London: Goldsmiths, pp. 34-38.

Selected Reports

Rishbeth, C., Blachnicka-Ciacek, D., Bynon, R. and Stapf, T. (2017) #refugeeswelcome in parks: a resource book. Sheffield, The University of Sheffield (https://goo.gl/F71GZa).

‘Education under Occupation’ (2013), co-author of the report for UNICEF on the access to education among students in the Occupied Palestinian Territories https://www.unicef.org/oPt/UNICEF_Under_Occupation_final-SMALL.pdf.

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D. (2008) Najnowsza fala emigracji do Wielkiej Brytanii i Irlandii.  Szansa czy zagrożenie dla modernizacji Polski? Polish – language monograph. Gdańsk: Instutut Badań nad Gospodarką Rynkową [The new wave of the Polish migration to the UK and Ireland: Brain Drain of Brain Gain for Polish Development?].

Selected opinion pieces

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D., Rishbeth, C. (2017) How spending time in city parks helps asylum seekers to feel at home, The Conversation (https://goo.gl/M5vQW8).

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D. (2017) Refugees. Present/Absent. Escaping the traps of refugee (mis)representations,  Refugee Hosts. Local Community Experiences of Displacement From Syria: View From Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Representations of Displacement Series (https://goo.gl/MPQ4Be).

Blachnicka-Ciacek, D. (2013) ‘Dispelling Israeli media’s stereotypes about Poland in the Holocaust’, Haaretz, April 28. (https://goo.gl/ChLAUp).


Since 2012
Founder & Research Director
Culture Tales
Freelance research & strategy consultant for NGO, public sector & business clients.

June 2007- Sept 2011
Clients included: Polish-American Freedom Fund, Chancellery of Polish Prime Minister, Ministry of Social Policy & Welfare, Polityka Insight, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Saatchi& Saatchi London, BAMM London, Project: Poland Foundation, Stefan Batory Foundation, Y&R New York, The Village New York, Alexandria Group Buenos Aires

Strategic Planner & part of Global Research Team
Saatchi & Saatchi Warsaw, Saatchi & Saatchi London (from 2009)
Planning holistic communication strategies in Europe and the Middle East

Jun 2005- June 2007
Research Manager
Obsidian Millwardbrown Poland (now Kantar Public)
Developing & carrying-out research for public & social policy sector in Poland