Jasna Dimitrijević: Kolarac Foundation in EYCH2018

Jasna Dimitrijević: Kolarac Foundation in EYCH2018


What is European cultural heritage in your opinion?

The shared past and the shared future! Respect of your own and acceptance of other nation’s values. The need to get to know each other. The wealth of cultural diversity.
Language, script, personal archives, memorabilia, family heirloom, customs, memories, monuments, architecture, archaeological sites, museum collections, music, graffiti, clothing culture… Everything we bring with ourselves when emigrating and living in other countries and what we adopt from other cultures and bring back home.

Which historical periods and events from Serbian history are important and interesting for you from the point of view of the shared European cultural space, shared history?

In my travels around European cities, it was especially interesting to analyse the names of the streets on maps and signs as one of a kind stories about the history of a city, a country.

The Medieval period, WWI, WWII – the kingdom, then Partisans and Chetniks. Wars on the territory of former Yugoslavia, dissolution of the country I was born and grew up in…
I have a completely different perception of all these historical events today as opposed to the time when I discovered and learned about this in school… The more I find out by reading history literature, not only the domestic one, the more I am confused. However, reading the works of contemporary literature offers me the capability to have an honest, different, human perception of historical events. Experiences and emotions of people in different historical contexts are recorded and described in all shades in literary works. This always gives me more space to contemplate about the European cultural heritage than cross matching historical facts and artefacts does.

In your opinion, in what ways should awareness be the developed and the feeling of belonging to this shared history and values encouraged?

An opportunity and possibility to travel across Europe is the most important thing in developing awareness of the European cultural heritage. Meeting and spending time with people from other countries. Reading poetry and fiction of European writers, going to the theatre, watching European films, the documentary and the feature ones, visiting galleries and museums. Essentially, developing cultural needs and habits.

Would you highlight a project of contemporary creativity dealing with cultural heritage that you particularly like?

The documentary film “Čija je ovo pesma” (“Whose song is this?”), but also other documentary film productions dealing with ordinary people’s stories from different parts of Europe. The Festival of Feature-length Documentary Film “7 veličanstvenih”, Film Festival “Slobodna zona”. Theatrical play CARSTVO NEBESKO, with its premiere at the Bitef Festival, a co-production of the National Theatre and the Bitef Theatre. The October Salon in Belgrade, the Venice Biennale, the Bemus Festival, the Womex Festival, the Nova Festival in Pančevo, the music festivals in Romania, the TodoMundo Festival, the manifestation Belgrade Days… Literature-literary translations-Thomas Bernhard, Amin Maalouf, Orhan Pamuk, Crnjanski, Andrić, Kiš…

Would you highlight a project in the field of cultural heritage successfully cooperating with other sectors?

The European project on cultural routes where Serbia is participating through activities of the Touristic Organisation of Serbia.
The Danube, Sava… For several years, and maybe even a decade back projects from the field of tourism and culture thematically dealing with the Danube, through activities of Danube Centre offices, are important. Danube as the reason and inspiration to contemplate about history in the European space. In the beginning I perceived thematic projects on the Danube as touristic attractions and manifestations, musical and entertaining ones beside and on the water… And then I realised the Danube is the reason of and an incredible inspiration for confrontation with history, borders and divisions in history from both sides of the river through cultural projects. Customs, tradition, food, everyday habits, life and faith of people beside the Danube, to what extent and whether they are different in historical circumstances they took place in along the banks of the river flowing through the largest part of Europe? Danube as the reason to create a new cultural identity and unity of inhabitants of the Danube river banks.

The second example are industrial heritage and cultural centres established in abandoned factories and military buildings since the end of the eighties, as a one of a kind cultural project in comparison to institutional culture. In fact, the independent cultural scene as a whole since the end of the eighties. The production and work of these independent institutions improved communication and cultural exchange in the lack of these by official institutional systems.

Digitalisation as an especially current topic here is very important in changing the awareness of citizens and institutions of the availability and a new form of communication in all fields of cultural heritage, in the spirit of the digital and virtual world we live in. The need for getting familiar with, sharing and exchanging the application of new technologies is another, bigger opportunity to create and present the European cultural identity.

I would particularly emphasise Europeana project having a great importance in raising awareness of the European cultural heritage. For example, during this year, 2018, Europeana will work on a thematic collection dedicated to migration in, out of and through Europe. Based on documented materials of institutions and individuals about traces of material culture but also personal stories and archives about migrations in Europe throughout several centuries, a story about their influence on science and art of the European cultural space will be presented.

In what way will your institution participate in marking the European year of cultural heritage?

On Kolarac until the beginning of May, in cooperation with the office of the EU Info Centre in Belgrade, an exhibition of photographs is taking place on the occasion of marking the European Year of Cultural Heritage – photographic documents from the Europeana archive.

From the beginning of autumn until the end of the year, in cooperation with the Musicology Institute of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and on the occasion of their jubilee of 70 years of existence, we will organise several lectures about musical cultural heritage and some of the topics will be: Music in the private life of Serbs in the 19th century, Music in Serbian hostage theatres during the Great War, then the International stars on the concert podium of Kolarac from 1932 to 1941, music creativity of our authors globally…and other interesting topics from music history.

This year, the focus is especially the digitalisation of archive material of Kolarac, as a unique history of culture and the music art from 1932 until today. We haven’t acquired the necessary equipment related to the realisation of these activities yet, but we are aware this is our priority and our obligation for the sake of future generations.