Reading with Dáša Filípková

Dagmar Filípková (b.1960) is a painter, a theater actress, a cleaner and an art teacher. During the last decade, Filípková has written a collection of autobiographical (unpublished) books, attributed by her as diaries. In the diaries, she vividly describes memories from her childhood in the communist era. Her work offers a rare and crucial piece of unspoken history from the perspective of a woman labeled with a “mental disability”.

Filípková’s writing is remarkably honest. Through focusing on everyday details, she unfolds the story of her family. Each day starts with her father struggling to wake her up. Her mother is apparently attached to the TV screen. The bus seems to be unavoidably late. The school is under an endless reconstruction while a state committee occasionally meets to discuss whether or not Filípková is so-called educable. It is a surreal reality yet Filípková manages to fulfil it with humor and empathy.

Relationships and education are the most prominent themes of the diaries. Since Filípková has her own unique way to learn new things, she often finds herself outcast, punished or simply dismissed. As she pours one anecdote after the other, we are bound to question our formal as well as informal education and care systems. In this sense, Filípková’s writing is truly brilliant.

More information about Dagmar Filípková and her work can be found here:
More information about Artist Statement and Barvolam can be found here:

The podcast is released monthly in Czech language.

Episodes details

Episode 1:

“It was Saturday. I had nothing to do, so I took my talking doll and went outside. Also with my small pram. And maybe to drop by this Mrs. Benáková’s flat, whom we always ran into, with her daughter Maruška. That’s how I started coming to this Mrs. Benáková’s place. But she wasn’t there. Just Mr. Benák who scolded me for ringing like I wanted to wake the dead…“

Episode 2:

”And then the schoolyear was over. And the holidays came and when the holidays came, I went missing. And meanwhile dad was carrying on to the train station with our luggage. And mum wasn’t paying much attention. She was asleep in bed. I was outside. And I needed to go do a number two. I rang my mother. But she didn’t open. So back outside I went. And luckily young Mrs. Kočmídová Jana with her pram and her little Jana were passing by, and Mrs. Vilderová with little Tomáš. They were taking a stroll, they said. So I asked to go along and they answered of course! So with them I went. I should have waited for my dad by the house, but not me, I didn’t listen… Dáša!!! Daddy is looking for you. So home I went. And dad chided me that he was looking for me everywhere…”

Episode 3:

”We were talking about plants and things that are harvested in the autumn. And I wasn’t paying attention in class and Miss Teacher kept chiding me. I was playing with my fingers and rubbing them like I do with my play-doh. And Miss Teacher told me to calm down. And then it was the end of class.”

Episode 4:

“When I attended the Nepomucká special school, Mrs. Mould a social worker came to see me. That was her name, of that social worker. And right away she asked me what my favorite food was. So I said tomcots. They’re these fruity apricots. And then she and Mr. Linc the director examined me how high I could count. That was when Mrs. Mould the social worker asked me questions. And the director picked up a second-grade book. But that was a mistake. So he picked up a first-grade book. And I said I wasn’t naughty or anything. And then it was back to after-school care for me. And that’s how I became uneducable.“


Concept: Dagmar Filípková and Alma Lily Rayner
Written and read by Dagmar Filípková
Recorded by Mr. Wombat
Music and sound: Jonáš Richter
Trailer: Ivan Svoboda

The podcast was created within the project Artist Statement of Barvolam, a nonprofit organization supporting artists labeled with “mental disabilities”.

Supported by the Prague City Council, Municipality Prague 7 and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.