I wasn’t sure what to expect at Stocznia Gdańska. From the historical images I’d seen of the cranes, the industry and the crowds during the events of the solidarity movement, I could imagine the shouting, the clanging of iron, workers and machines noisily building gigantic ships to travel the globe.

But when I arrived to experience this space in June, I was struck by the silence. The peace and quiet. I sat alone by the Martwa Wisła and all I heard was the buzzing bees on the blue borage flowers. This brownfield site, with the smell of kerosene and motor oil still lingering in the rusty soil, was repairing itself. The big empty warehouses were filling with ivy, secret gardens were springing up in forgotten corners while butterflies danced between the flowers.

I saw this ‘peaceful change’ as a reflection of what I had read about in the museum, when the ripples of the Solidarity movement reached out, changing Europe forever. So we built a space here for change to be seen and talked about, a microcosm to watch the industry decline and nature take over. A place to contemplate seed change and time to imagine a new future.

Mary Conroy