Join us for a panel discussion on artists at risk, & a marathon reading of Franz Kafka’s The Trial. 

These events are in response to the cancellation of Polish director Krystian Lupa’s adaptation of The Trial, which was scheduled to perform at NYU Skirball on March 7 & 8, 2020. In December 2019, the Polish Cultural Ministry withdrew promised financial support for the production and its 46-person company, making it impossible to travel to New York as planned. As Mr. Lupa states: “The declaration… is clear: Artists who do not sympathize with the current leadership’s cultural policy, who criticize its values, decisions and actions will be treated as enemies of Poland and will not be supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in any form.” Read more about the production, our press release on its cancellation, and the full statement from Mr. Lupa.

NYU Skirball joins with The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, PEN America, CUNY’s Segal Center and the Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies Working Group at NYU to present this special all-day event – in defiance of attempts to silence these artists, and in protest of political corruption, government censorship, and social malevolence.


A panel conversation around Kafka’s The Trial, censorship, artistic freedom, and artists at risk, in relation to the continuing global rise of right-wing and populist politics.

Monika Fabijanska, Former Director of the Polish Cultural Institute in New York
Holly Hughes, Professor at the University of Michigan’s Stamps School of Art and Design
Felix Kaputu, Resident “Writer at Risk” at Fordham University
André Lepecki, NYU Performance Studies Professor and Chairperson
Krystian Lupa, Director
Julie Trébault, Director, Artists at Risk Connection, PEN America

Moderated by Catharine R. Stimpson


The reading will be continuous from 3PM to approximately 9:30/10PM. Stop in anytime; the audience is welcome to come and go throughout the event.

Guest readers include Salman Rushdie, Kathleen Chalfant, and Kwame Anthony Appiah.

If you’re interested in reading, there will be limited spots available the day of the event!

RSVP is recommended but not required.

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These events are made possible in part with the support of Trust for Mutual Understanding.


Monika Fabijanska is a New York-based art historian and independent curator who specializes in women’s and feminist art. Her critically acclaimed exhibition, “The Un-Heroic Act: Representations of Rape in Women’s Contemporary Art in the U.S.” at Shiva Gallery, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY was ranked the fifth best NYC art show in 2018 by Hyperallergic, and reviewed by The New York Times, New Yorker, Artforum, Art in America, and The Brooklyn Rail, among others. The exhibition, motivated in part by her interest in censorship, was accompanied by a catalog and symposium. From 2000-2010, Fabijanska was Poland’s cultural attaché and served as Deputy Director and later Director of the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, where she curated or co-produced more than 600 visual and performing arts projects with the best US cultural presenters. In 2009, she brought Krystian Lupa’s Kalkwerk to Lincoln Center Festival, his first production presented in New York City. Fabijanska’s exhibition Ada Trillo. La Caravana opens on March 26, 2020 at The New School, and the exhibition on ecofeminism – at Thomas Erben Gallery in May 2020.

Holly Hughes is a writer and performer. She launched her career at the WOW Cafe, the Lower East Side’s Petri dish for lesbian and queer culture. Her work has been presented internationally, earning recognition in the form of funding from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation and placing her at the center of the Culture Wars of the 1990s. Books include: “Clit Notes: A Sapphic Sampler,”  “O Solo Homo: The New Queer Performance” (with David Roman), “Animal Acts” (with Una Chaudhuri), and “Memories of the Revolution” (with Carmelita Tropicana and Jill S. Dolan). She is a Professor at the University of Michigan’s Stamps School of Art and Design.

Felix U. Kaputu is a scholar from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, country where he got his first tastes in comparative literature and biblical studies. Professor of English Literature from the
University of Lubumbashi (2000), he is a recipient of a double PhD in Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies from Universiteit Gent and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (2017). He has worked
with Higher Education institutions since 1988 around the world. His research focused on Writing as an Art, comparative literature, religions (shamanism), gender and cultural studies, and identity
construction patterns in global perspectives, while keeping his first love with literature, fiction and poetry.

Fulbright Scholar at the University of California Santa Barbara, he is the recipient of many other awards from the United States, Japan, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He quickly chose University
Pedagogy with new technologies for class communications. He taught at the University of Lubumbashi, Purchase College, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. He was for research at
Harvard University (at the W.E. Dubois Institute). In Europe, he taught at Ghent University, offered modules on African development and security to Helsinki España in Madrid. In Japan, he was at the Christian University of Tokyo, and the international Research Center, Nichibunken in Kyoto.

Presently, he is the “Writer at Risk” at Fordham University in collaboration with PEN America.

André Lepecki is Full Professor and Chairperson at the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. Editor of several anthologies on dance and performance theory including Of the Presence of the Body (2004), Dance (2012), and Points of Convergence (with Marta Dziewanska, 2015). An independent performance curator, he has created projects for HKW-Berlin, MoMA-Warsaw, MoMA PS1, the Hayward Gallery, Haus der Künst-Munich, Sydney Biennial 2016, among others. Selected lectures include the Gauss Seminar at Princeton University, Brown University, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales – Paris, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Freie Universität – Berlin, Universidade de Lisboa, Roehampton University, University of New South Wales, among many others. Author of Exhausting Dance: performance and the politics of movement (2006, translated into thirteen languages), and of Singularities: dance in the age of performance (2016). AICA-US award “Best Performance” 2008 for co-curating and directing the authorized redoing of Allan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 Parts (a commission of Haus der Kunst 2006, performed at PERFORMA 07).

Polish theater director and set designer, Krystian Lupa, is known for his “laboratory rehearsals,” an organic method of working with text and actors. Nowy Teatr was founded in Warsaw in 2008, with Krzysztof Warlikowski as its artistic leader, and a group of his long-term collaborators. It has produced six of Warlikowski’s works, as well as theater productions, lectures, concerts, and exhibitions. In April 2016 the company moved to a refurbished postindustrial hall in the heart of Warsaw.

Julie Trébault is the director of PEN America’s Artists-at-Risk Connection project. A highly respected leader in the arts world, she brings skills, experience, and a network to launch a new support system for artists at risk worldwide. Prior to joining PEN America, she served as director of public programs at the Museum of the City of New York, where she built a robust roster of panel discussions, performances, screenings, and symposia spanning New York City’s arts, culture, and history. She previously was director of public programs at the Center for Architecture. Before moving to New York, she worked at the National Museum of Ethnology in The Netherlands, where she build a network of 116 museums across the globe that shared a virtual collection of masterpieces and developed an innovative array of online and mobile applications and exhibitions to make the collection as widely accessible as possible. From 2004 until 2007, she was Head of Higher Education and Academic Events at the Musée du quai Branly (Paris), where she conceived and implemented a policy for higher education by creating an international network of universities, graduate schools, and research institutes. Trébault holds a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from the Sorbonne University and a Master’s Degree in Archeology from the University of Strasbourg.

Catharine R. Stimpson (moderator), one of the pioneers in the study of women and gender, a founder of feminist criticism, is also known for her role as a public intellectual and her public service, which includes her wide-ranging writing on the humanities, liberal arts, and the university.

She is University Professor at New York University and Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Arts and Science there. She is located as a senior research fellow in the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy, and is an affiliated faculty member of the NYU Law School Faculty, of New York University Abu Dhabi, and of the Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities, Steinhardt School, New York University.   From January, 1994, to October, 1997, she served as Director of the Fellows Program at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Simultaneously, she was on leave from her position as University Professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick, where, from 1986-1992, she was also Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education. Before going to Rutgers, she taught at Barnard College, where she was also the first director of its Women’s Center. Once the editor of a book series for the University of Chicago Press, she was also the founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society from 1974-80. The author of a novel, Class Notes (1979, 1980), the editor of eight books, she has also published over 150 monographs, essays, stories, and reviews in such places as Transatlantic ReviewNationNew York Times Book ReviewCritical Inquiry, and boundary 2. A selection of essays on literature, culture, and education, Where The Meanings Are, appeared in 1988, and was re-issued in 2014. She served as co-editor of the two-volume Library of America edition of the works of Gertrude Stein. Professor Stimpson has lectured at approximately 400 institutions and events in the United States and abroad.

 Her public service has included the chairpersonships of the New York State Council for the Humanities, the National Council for Research on Women, and the Ms.Magazine Board of Scholars. In 1990, she was the President of the Modern Language Association. She is now a member of the board of directors of several educational, philanthropic, and cultural organizations, including Scholars at Risk, whose board she chairs. She is a former member of the board of PBS. From September 2000 through September 2001, she served as the president of the Association of Graduate Schools. She was chair of the board of Creative Capital, the innovative arts organization. As a member of the Editorial Group of Change magazine from 1992 to 1994, she wrote a regular column about education and culture. Born in Bellingham, Washington, she was educated at Bryn Mawr College, Cambridge University, and Columbia University. She holds honorary degrees from Upsala College, Monmouth College, Bates College, Florida International University, the State University of New York at Albany, Hamilton College, the University of Arizona, Wheaton College, Hood College, Union College, Holy Cross College, Santa Clara University, Rutgers University, Emory University, Simmons College (now University), Western Washington University, and the University of Ottawa. She has also won Fulbright and Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships. She was awarded the 2011 Francis A. March Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession from the Modern Language Association.

Stimpson’s most recent book, Critical Terms for the Study of Gender, co-edited with Gilbert Herdt, was published by the University of Chicago Press in Summer 2014, and was named one of the most significant academic titles of 2015 by CHOICE, a magazine of the American Research Library Association.

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Go Beyond


We were all (the team of The Trial, the performance based on Franz Kafka’s novel) immensely happy and excited that


New York, January 13, 2020 – Jay Wegman, Director of NYU Skirball, has announced the cancellation of Polish director Krystian

Prep School: The Trial

Readings, videos, interviews and more.