In the 19th century, Lodz was a meaningful centre for the textile industry. Nowadays, the city evokes many negative associations such as poverty or unemployment. For many people, it comes down to one street: Piotrkowska. When wandering around, it is easy to feel the ambience of a great past and a depressive present with many buildings turning into ruins.
We were lucky to meet a group of young, enthusiastic activists who implemented completely new idea in their home town. They transformed the former cotton factory Wi-Ma into a cooperative of more than 40 different projects.
In more than 600m2, you can find film and photographic studios, a theatre, a screen printing workshop, a co-working office, a music incubator and many other initiatives. One of the first outputs by the Wi-Ma community was a video clip on their project Zespolenie "Jedność" (which means unity). The outreach of their activities extends to outside the walls of Wi-Ma. For example, the family business of ecological, freshly squeezed avant-garde juices Owocni.
Many Lodz citizens migrated to other cities because of the difficult living conditions and the high unemployment level. The people of Wi-Ma are determined to revitalise the city into a lively and creative space. Their idea is to build a network of initiatives based on social economy and sustainability.