This year the European Year of Cultural Heritage is celebrated throughout Europe. We spoke with Irinа Subotić, the President of the organisation Europa Nostra Serbia and a longtime professor and curator of the National Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade about what is European cultural heritage and how we should raise awareness of it.
It’s not just the Versailles, the Armitage, the Acropolis and the Dečani… Even a small trace of material or immaterial nature, in a remote part of Europe can be considered a part of the European cultural heritage. Provided that it is related to a significant date and it has local tradition, it contributes to a better view of European and global history and culture, it has special characteristics that enrich the European and the global civilisation, and primarily if memory was preserved and value was built around it and meticulously transferred to next generations, that is. This is not a definition of European cultural heritage — it is only what I believe should be taken into consideration so that experience and wealth of personalities, ideas, accomplishments and events throughout the history of Europe could be preserved and protected — especially in the times of novel and rapid global changes.
My previous answer already assumed that on the European level I consider important all periods that left certain characteristic marks on our history as well: no monument is identical, and each has its own peculiarities — unique in Europe and interesting for the sake of comparison with other geographic areas. This is also true of our customs, our cultural regions, and it is certainly true of the oldest, prehistoric and antique locations, but also the medieval heritage created under the influence of the Byzantine Empire, and in numerous encounters with the Western European cultures. It is a shame that a large part of the Ottoman heritage was destroyed and neglected, because today it could attest to the several centuries’ long influence this culture had on our own. Modernisation currents starting from the XVII and XVIII centuries, all the way through XIX and XX centuries, have their own specific traits because the East was connecting with the West in our region, and there were also influences coming from the North and the South. Moreover, the Yugoslavian socialist experiences in the fields of architecture and memorials are being researched in detail globally today. Thus, the Museum of Modern Art in New York will dedicate a big exhibition to this during the current year; a brilliant young architecture historian, Vladimir Kulić PhD, who graduated from the Belgrade Faculty of Architecture, is working on it.
However, due to ideological reasons and certainly out of ignorance and being driven by personal gain, we easily renounce and destroy this heritage — whenever we can. It is not only hostile conquests or bombarding to blame for this — it is also the will of the power, authorities and mundane interests. In Belgrade alone, examples of this are numerous: the demolition of one part of the military headquarters designed by the architect Nikola Dobrović in the Miloša Velikog St, and other buildings from the period of the Socialist Modernism; shopping mall Rajićeva in the middle of the most beautiful city core; planned demolition of the Student Square below which there are unexplored remains of a Roman camp; the announced gondola which will, paired with the construction of the Belgrade Waterfront, distort the historical view of the fortress, eternalised in many drawings and engravings as early as the Middle Ages…Apart from these historical, architectonic, urbanist, aesthetic and professional reasons — we must speak about other problems related to this — social, financial, ecologic… there are many more examples.
We cannot do anything without proper education, upbringing: within a family, in kindergartens and schools. And I mean long-term! However, I don’t mean this should be done through words and strict lessons, but through good examples; certainly not through reality shows on (almost) all TV stations and primitive ads. Debates on this exist for years now, but no one has the will nor strength to change our educational system. The media are not doing any good…
There are numerous artist who brilliantly related their creativity with the culture of remembrance, as if it was about recapitulating the past and a certain anxiety towards inevitable future… I could mention many artists. I’ll use this occasion to highlight only the exquisite works of Marija Dragojlović: she used old family photos, masterfully enlarged by Vladimir Popović, and she breathed in new life into them through her own interventions, preserved them from oblivion and created a fantastic link between the old and the new, especially together with her own black and white photos of Venice — the miraculous city that grew close to her heart and to which she gave her unique sentimental view through the lens.
In this field there are numerous interesting and important projects. I would like to highlight our small crew from Europa Nostra Serbia and Višnja Kisić PhD, the General Secretary gathering co-operators and organising events throughout Serbia regularly, even throughout the region, together with a diverse set of educational workshops related to the awareness of preserving heritage.
Some twenty years ago or so, during the rough times prior to the NATO bombing, an interesting project of the Council of Europe was initiated within the Group 484 that we could have applied as well, even though we were under sanctions. Within the project entitled One school – one monument we collaborated with schools in several Serbian cities, encouraged professors or teachers of history, the Serbian language, visual arts or philosophy — whoever was interested to “approximate” a close by location to their students, the location most frequently having been abandoned or neglected, with the aim of exploring its origin and attempting to preserve it. There were some very nice results because students loved this novel way of education, searching through archives and the media, speaking with elderly locals or specialists in specific fields. For some objects — an old wall, a grave, a chapel, an abandoned warehouse and the like, they provided cleaning and a small restoration, and then they preserved it, wrote about it. In this way, several once unnoticeable monumental marks — of course, on the level of the European heritage! — found their young admirers and in this way, and potentially, secured their longer survival. Unfortunately, this project did not continue, it did not become a part of the educational system in schools. Some other “values” are in power…
I will go back again to extra-curricular education, good examples that should be followed, and there are numerous such examples in Europe. What could be done is holding interesting, popular lectures about our and European most important monuments of all epochs, organising workshops for youth and children and creating a series of exhibitions that would present systems of heritage preservation throughout Europe, the most successful results in this area, how to nurture tradition in different areas of heritage, how to work with audiences, especially the young ones, how locals fight to preserve their environment on the local level, how they participate in decision making on what is most important to them… We could also “adopt” excellent examples of others, so they would become our own as well.
However, in order to do this, it is not sufficient that the civil sector and good will of individuals simply exist. It would take the cultural system in the country being liberated from the negative layers that have built up — from the political party ones, to narrower, frequently personal and lucrative interests, from retrograde, conservative criteria and lack of knowledge to more emphasised primitivism, being self-absorbed and self-sufficient. Our views should be critically directed towards the present and creatively towards the future, rather than being pathetically directed towards a simulated, shining past we are showered with, clogging the free flow of new ideas.
Irina Subotić is the Vice President of Europa Nostra, as well as its board member. For the Serbian branch of Europa Nostra, she is engaged as a chairperson. Having received her PhD in art history, she is teaching at several MA programmes of the University of Arts in Belgrade. For decades she worked as a curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Museum in Belgrade by organising numerous exhibitions of avant-garde and modern art, participating in various conferences and publishing studies and monographs. She is a member of several national and international professional and non-governmental organisations such as AICA and ICOM. Alongside history of contemporary art, her major fields of interest are museum education and engaging the civil sector in the protection and promotion of heritage.
The Culture Desk Serbia will organise an info-day about the Creative Europe programme in cooperation with the Cultural Centre of Novi Pazar on Thursday 22nd February starting at 2:00 p.m. in the Cultural Centre of Novi Pazar.
With the aim of adequately informing the cultural public, the Head of the Desk, Dimitrije Tadić will speak about the sub-programme Culture and advise the interested parties on competition procedure, i.e. the easiest ways of securing financial support from this programme.
Moreover, the discussion will include the topics of what European cooperation can bring to cultural organisations and institutions from Serbia, the experiences of those who received support, and also the ways of finding a European partner.
Factors to consider in successful applying for the Creative Europe programme are a good project idea and being connected with relevant partners, while the process of applying and project management are far less demanding. Activities of the Creative Europe Desk Serbia are directed towards strengthening capacities of domestic institutions and organisations in terms of European cooperation.
Representatives of all cultural institutions and organisations from Novi Pazar and the surrounding localities were invited to participate in the presentation with the hope that there will be first project proposals from this part of Serbia in future competition calls.
– Publication: 2nd week of March 2018
– Deadline for submitting: 2nd week of May 2018
– Results: End of August, beginning of September 2018
Depending on the duration, needs, nature and objectives of the projects, applicants will have to choose to apply between two categories of support:
– Category 1 – Two-year projects
This category of projects consists in the translation and promotion of a package of 3 to 10 eligible works of fiction from and into eligible languages over 2 years.
The specific grant for a project in category 1 shall not exceed EUR 100.000 representing no more than 50 % of the eligible costs.
– Category 2 – Framework partnership agreements – FPA (3-years)
This category of projects, with a maximum duration of 3 years, consists in the translation and promotion of a package of 3 to 10 eligible works of fiction from and into eligible languages per year; In other words FPA holders will have to translate, publish and promote from 9 to 30 books over the 3-year duration of the FPA.
The specific annual grants awarded under the FPA to support the projects shall not exceed EUR 100,000 per year (or 300 000 over the 3-year duration of the FPA representing no more than 50 % of the eligible costs.
The indicative total available budget for the co-financing of projects under this scheme (Category 1 and category 2) is estimated at 3.6 Million.
Eligible applicants for both categories will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:
1. Relevance (40 points): This criterion evaluates how the project will contribute to transnational circulation and diversity of works of European literature and to improving access to it.
2. Quality of the content and activities (25 points): This criterion evaluates how the project is implemented (quality of the works to be translated, the experience of the staff in charge of the project and working arrangements).
3. Promotion and communication within Europe and beyond (20 points): If the application package contains EUPL winning books, special attention is paid to the good promotion of these.
4. Winners of the European Union Prize for Literature (15 points): Extra points are automatically granted to applications containing eligible EUPL winning books (5 points per book for maximum 3 books amounting to a maximum of 15 ‘automatic points’).
Info Days about the Creative Europe programme will be held on 8th February in Leskovac, at the Leskovac Cultural Centre starting at 2 p.m. and on 9th February in Preševo, at the Youth Office starting at 1 p.m.
With the aim of adequately informing the cultural public, Dimitrije Tadić, the Head of Creative Europe Desk Serbia will speak about the programme and the competition procedure, i.e. about the easiest way to secure financial support of this programme.
The presentation is intended for representatives of cultural institutions and organisation from cities and municipalities from Southern Serbia – managers and employees of museums, theatres, libraries, archives, cultural centres and other cultural institutions and civil society organisations.
One of important aims of the Creative Europe Desk Serbia is contributing to demetropolisation of Serbia, which is why activities of the Desk are taking place not only outside of Belgrade, but also outside of major city centres. At the same time, these activities of the Desk are directed towards strengthening capacities of domestic institutions and organisation in the field of international cooperation.
Štrik Publishing House
Maximum Grant Awarded: 59.954,25 €
The project Women’s Decameron: for a new Renaissance in European literature will promote the existing diversity of gender, genres and languages in European literature, Creative Europe programme and essential European values. We will promote literary diversity, transnational connections and circulation on several levels: cultural (ten high quality works by female authors from ten countries; authors visits), linguistic (ten languages, seven lesser used), genre (novels, short-stories, poetry, drama, young adult; four less represented), old and new literary voices in a diverse rendering of one unifying theme – women’s issues.
We want to support a new Renaissance in European literature, until now dominated by men, which would provide equal opportunities for diverse literary voices, themes, genres and languages. We want to show that the production of women’s high quality literature is larger than it used to be, and that women’s literature itself is very diverse genre-wise and equally relevant when written in lesser used languages, all of which enables it to contribute to audience development and create space for equal opportunity and advancement of society in general. We will ensure wide accessibility of the works through our distribution strategy, and enlargement and renewal of reading audiences by using both proven and innovative promotion methods and digital technologies.
Besides books, we will promote translators (we are the only publisher to put translators΄ names on the cover, we will put their biographies in books, on our website, in the project apps, and submit their translations for awards). In short, we will achieve: diversity, transnational mobility and circulation of literature; promotion of high quality women’s literature, EACEA Programme, EULP books, translators, lesser used languages and genres; presentation of old and new generation of renowned female authors; socially responsible behavior and the improvement of the state of gender equality in Serbia.
Heliks Publishing House
Maximum grant awarded: 58.537,12 €
Our principal idea behind the project “Beyond horizons: cross-cultural mosaic of contemporary European fiction” was to enrich Serbian literary space with quality translations of contemporary literature from various European cultures. The project itself includes translation and promotion of ten fiction books written in nine languages (Icelandic, English, Czech, Bulgarian, Swedish, Romanian, Italian, Spanish and Norwegian). The first criterion in choosing the titles was their artistic merit, proven with literary awards their authors have been granted: five of them have won EUPL award, while the others received esteemed prizes, like Swedish August Prize. Such through selection calls for equally careful choice of translators.
Among the skilled, renowned translators we will team up with, some have already been engaged in our other literary EACEA projects. To achieve maximum visibility and attainability of the books, titles will be printed and issued as e-Books. Diverse models of distribution will be carried out through well-established online and traditional networks, with special focus on readership in the neighbouring countries. Greatly significant for our project is promotion segment, based on cooperation with popular web portals, traditional media, and educational and cultural institutions.
The peak of our promotion activities will be authors’ visits and Belgrade Book Fair, the most important regional manifestation of that kind. Each book, being the part of the mosaic this project represents, is defined by its specific style, tone and theme, but only when brought together do they give more comprehensive, layered and opulent picture of the present moment in European literature. An additional objective of the project naturally stems from this: maintaining continuity with previously realised EACEA projects, with giving prominence to the common thread, that of widening the network of transnational literary exchange and intercultural dialogue in Europe of today.
Arete Publishing House
Maximum Grant Awarded: 44.008,15 €
The main idea of the project European Literature Today: Universal Stories оf Personal Revolutions is to explore trough literature relationship between the individual and the history. Turbulent European history – its warfare and reconciliations, migrations and settlements, great people and great events – was always an inexhaustible inspiration for the writers of the Old Continent. Each chosen work, speaks about common people and their personal revolutions against the large social and political issues and events. Project includes works of six authors from six different countries of European Union. Two authors are winners of EUPL. List of selected titles includes one poetry book, two short story collections and three novels.
All authors won significant prizes for their work: renewed Latvian Oswalds Zebris and Tiit Aleksejev from Estonia are winners of EUPL with the novels “Gaiļu kalna ēnā” and “Palveränd”. One of main goals of this project is presenting to Serbian readership entirely unknown literature from small Baltic countries like Latvia and Estonia. Another writer from Baltic region is Polish poet Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki winner of Nike Literary Award and Gdynia Literary Award. His works have been adapted to theatre and played all across Poland. World famous English writer Hilary Mantel is the only woman who has been awarded the Booker Prize twice. Novel “A Place of Greater Safety” represents beginning the one of most exiting carriers in Europe’s contempоrary literarture. Mircea Cãrtãrescu is arguably biggest contemporary Romanian writer and with awarded book “Frumoasele străine” he just proved that. Judit Szaniszló is new literary star from Hungary. With short story collection “Beenged” she already earned the title of the most talented young writer in the country by literary critics: she won György Petri Award in 2015 and Pál Békés Award in 2017. All selected titles will be translated into Serbian language for the first time and published both as book and e-book.
Odiseja Publishing House
Maximum Grant Awarded: 48.638,27 €
Odiseja will translate 8 books from less represented languages, considering each genre’s transnational circulation: i.e. while their literature for adults is well represented in Serbia, there are none Bulgarian or Hungarian children’s books; European YA novels are underrepresented, as well as Maltese and Luxembourgian literature in general. Additionally binding books from the project is their focus on now essential theme of integration, whether they speak of fitting-in, or of establishing social position from female perspective, or of immigrants, or tell the stories of transformed people looking for a redefined place in community.
These works of fiction will be published with highest quality of translation, editing, design, print and disseminated through regular and online bookstores, book fairs and selling exhibitions across Serbo-Croatian language speaking countries, using innovative sale methods. Children’s books promotion will target 2 groups: children (readings & competitions in schools) and influential adults (parents, teachers, librarians) via traditional, online and direct marketing. YA will be reached via social networks and online media, and adult audience via all means available: promotions, book fairs, social networks, online and traditional media. EUPL winners will be additionally promoted during EUPL Festival, and 2 authors during their visits.
Cooperation with public and school libraries, cultural centers, NGO’s will increase project’s visibility. Seminar for children’s book reviews will provide necessary basic skills for initial forming of currently non-existent children’s books’ literary criticism, essential for promotion of children’s literature, development of new audiences and of culture in general. Project will hopefully initiate social debate of immigration and integration, it will raise profiles of translators, of ЕU writers and less known countries, of EUPL, and it’ll help developing new skills and improve position of vulnerable groups.
Maximum Grant Awarded: 59.870,80 €
Within the project Europe – Different Journeys, One Destination we will translate, publish, promote and disseminate 8 books from 7 different countries, written in 7 different languages and 3 different genres. All books will be printed, published as e-books, and poetry collection will also be available as audio-book. All selected books never been translated into Serbian before. The Central topic of the project is JOURNEY. Through centuries it is postulate for civilization to move forward. We never knew what could be the big spark of great changes: massive migrations or just single trip of individual.
Sometimes, the biggest journeys were taken not in space then within one’s soul. Those steps forward were changing face of Europe, making it stronger, reacher, more united and more human place to live. Sometimes Europe was departing point and sometimes it was end destination. That’s why we have carefully chose 8 awarded European authors who wrote books where Journey is also a focal point, central idea around which all other ideas are spinning. All selected authors are renewed writers, multi-awarded for their work. Four of them won EU Prize for Literature: Riku Korhonen and Katri Lipson are leading contemporary writers from Finland, Estonian writer Meelis Friedenthal is selected as a national writer of the year 2012 and Karen Gillece is one of the best fresh voices of contemporary Irish prose.
José Luís Peixoto is recognized as one of the most important writers in Portugal today. He has been translated into more then 20 languages. His work is acclaimed by the literary critics and famous writers such as Saramago, but in same time he is immensely popular among wide audience. Eugenio Montale, Nobel Prize winner, is institution among European poets of XX century, while translation of Peter Wisses’ monumental masterpiece “Die Ästhetik des Widerstands” should be one of the biggest literature events in Serbian publishing in recent years.