Category Archives: Cooperation in the Western Balkans

Some Call Us Balkans


Project Leader: ICSE & CO, Italy

Biennale of Western Balkans, Greece

Kunstrepublik e.v., Germany

Tačka komunikacije – DOTKOM, Serbia

Platform for Civic Engagement through Artistic and Cultural Practices Sociopatch, North Macedonia

RRITU, Kosovo*

TULLA, Albania

Udruženje nezavisnih stvaralaca i aktivista Geto, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Maximum grant awarded: 312,467.00 €

The cultural cooperation project Some Call Us Balkans (SCUB) is a transdisciplinary inquiry. Since 2017 it has explored and mobilized moments of collective imagination, research and multivocal representations of the Western Balkans (WB) beyond borders and nationalisms. Under the umbrella of socially engaged art practice, SCUB implements innovative artistic research practices and an open-ended, dramaturgical and participatory approach to deconstruct prejudices and misleading stereotypes about the region. The goal is to build a common ground for intercultural understanding, cooperation and social cohesion in the WB. Cross- border cooperation and mobility can be ensured when creative and cultural organizations have the support of institutions and necessary resources to run their cultural projects. At the start SCUB provides all partner-organizations with the opportunity to enhance their managerial and leadership capacity.

Initially, all partners will be asked to compile research on common myths and legends of the WB including topics such as: ecology, migration, urban-rural dichotomy, issues of identity and belongingness and intercultural co-existence. After this first phase of research, SCUB organizes a one-month peer-learning capacity building program in Berlin. This program combines immersion into local cultural realities in the city, empowerment and innovation workshops with collaborative work sessions. It is tailored to empower each organization as cultural leaders of positive societal change at a local and international level, as well as to create a solid common ground to work together in both the short and long run. After the month in Berlin, SCUB project partners will launch an open-call to identify one emerging artist or cultural operator for each country involved in the consortium. The group of eight selected emerging artists will take part in an artists residency in Banja Luka (BiH). During this time the artists will be accompanied by curators, internal and external experts to conceptualize and co-create the culminating Ground Tour Journey. This journey is imagined as a travelling theatre piece and a participatory, research-based, multivocal narrative intervention in the cities where the partners are based. The artists will co-create the Open-Script of the Ground Tour Journey and the participatory format of The Mobile Forum accompanying it.

The Mobile Forum is imagined as a platform for questioning, discussing and imagining different narratives of the region, defying the constraints of national borders and ethnic separation. Conceived as a performative public art installation, it functions as a catalyst – a permeable open exhibition space for cultural democracy and a platform for civic participation to foster intercultural dialogue. The multivocal and multilingual narrations of the Balkans collected during The Ground Tour Journey are documented using interactive audio systems, video, individual artistic responses and critical reflections that will be disseminated through paper and digital publishings. In this way, SCUB will promote intercultural dialogue and cross-border cooperation.

Manifesta 14 Prishtina_Co- Producing Common Space and Shaping Formations of Solidarity in the Western Balkans and Beyond


Project Leader: Manifesta foundation, Netherlands

APSS Institut, Montenegro

European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, Germany

Institute of Contemporary Art, Bulgaria

Kosovo Architecture Foundation, Kosovo*

Meydan d.o.o., Serbia

Municipality of Prishtina, Kosovo*

NGO AKTIV, Kosovo*

Qendra Harabel, Albania

Muzej na sovremenata umetnost skopje, North Macedonia

RRITU, Kosovo*

Udruženje za postkonfliktna istraživanja, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Maximum grant awarded: 429,884.00 €

The International Foundation Manifesta (IFM), initiator of Europe’s only nomadic art biennial, is collaborating with the City of Prishtina to develop Manifesta 14 Prishtina, scheduled to take place in 2022. In an effort to demarginalize culture in Kosovo’s public policies, the City of Prishtina has reached out to Manifesta with an invitation to develop a qualitative and sustainable cultural action in close collaboration with regional partners. Organised at the occasion of Manifesta 14, the project M14WB aims at developing a cross-regional collaboration model which will result in the creation of a new cultural institution that researches, stimulates, and promotes processes of reconciliation. The envisioned institution will address cross-community relations and increase access to arts and education with specific attention to minority groups. The project bolsters international alliances and stimulates intercultural solidarity and regional reconciliation. Promoting critical and sustainable strategies of cultural memory and material preservation, the project is aimed at facilitating artistic co-creation among the partners in the Western Balkans. Building on the belief that democratic and pluralistic societies require independent cultural policies that encourage freedom of expression and are free from corruption, this project aims to advance regional co-production processes. Linking architecture, urban planning, human rights, arts and culture, the project animates the development of an interdisciplinary institution, while furthering social, cultural and technological innovation, cocreation, mobility, and cultural solutions. The partners, all with substantial experience in the domains of arts, urbanism, community and peace building, will jointly investigate and determine the role of the new cultural institution in the advancement of regional reconciliation, as well as stimulating innovative, inclusive, and reflective community-building throughout the Western Balkans.

(NON)ALIGNED MOVEMENTS Strengthening contemporary dance in Western Balkans


Project leader: Station Service for contemporary dance, Serbia

Lokomotiva – Centre for New Initiatives in Arts and Culture, North Macedonia

Nomad Dance Academy, Bulgaria

Tanzfabrik, Germany

Nomad Dance Academy, Slovenia

Maximum grant awarded: 499,657.00 €

(Non)Aligned Movements is boosting the creative and collaborative potential of contemporary dance practices in the WB. It reinforces the social impact of Balkan contemporary dance by raising its capacities for action and collaboration, promoting its heritage and inscribing it in future discourses and practices and supporting stronger connections on regional and European levels.

The objectives are (1) to create a positive environment and favorable conditions for Balkan contemporary dance to thrive in the European context; (2) to develop a collective curatorial practice where co-working, co-creation and co-learning drive new organizational models and set an example for collaborative micro-politics; (3) to reinforce the social impact of Balkan contemporary art and culture through dance, peer-to-peer learning, preservation of endangered and unsystematized dance heritage and systematization of knowledge

Three main pillars of the project are (1) Present the past: preservation of dance heritage through research, conceptualization and presentation (exhibitions and digitalisation) enhancing the digitalisation know-how; (2) Reflect the presence: critical discourse and reflection social, cultural and market value of contemporary dance in the Balkan society; (3) Create the future: an eco-responsible way to provide good working conditions for artists and connect them to another context. NAM pays particular attention to the underprivileged communities within the Balkan contemporary dance scene: women, LGBTQI and body diverse artists, practices and experiences are given priority.

CAN for BALKANS – Comics Alliance Networking for Balkans


Project leader: Muzeul Judetean de Istorie Brasov, Romania

Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinee, Belgium

National Historical Museum, Albania

Strip centar na Makedonija, North Macedonia

Association of comic book and written words lovers “Nikola Mitrović Kokan”, Serbia

Maximum grant awarded: 254,705.00 €

Historically, comic books in the Balkans have a past marked by nationalist discourses and Communist propaganda or simply, they do not have a past (the case of Albania). Unfortunately, in many cases sins of the past characterize the present-day comic books in the Balkans, which is why the regional artistic market of historical comic books is scarce, divided and autarchic.

Consortium of partners from Albania, Belgium, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia want to change the perspective and say “YES” to the creation of cross-border cultural network which should make cooperation between artists and experts from the world of historical comic books in the Western Balkans and the European Union easier, in the spirit of the values of the European Union.

In order to reach this aim, the consortium aims to:

  • encourage creative research of history by comic book drawers in order to create new works and contribute to authentic and non-conventional interpretation of European history, especially the history of the Balkans, with influence on the cultural space dominated by cultural heritage with incompatible accents on European Union values, through establishing working tools (digital archive and historical study) of history of historical comic books and through an international call for artists;
  • promote historical comic books through cultural actions such as exhibitions, research projects, online platforms and public debates about cultural and social cliches, and also stereotypes in the Balkans.

Moreover, this project is not only directed to the professional target group (artists, experts, organisations) or comic book lovers, but it also encompasses the wider public and local communities of project partners with the aim of increasing the comic book audience through free access to the most attractive cultural events (travelling exhibition of project in partner countries), and on the Internet (digital platform).

Cooperation in the Western Balkans

Translation in Motion


Project leader: Réseau Européen des Centres Internationaux de Traducteurs Littéraires (RECIT), France

Association pour la Promotion de la Traduction Litteraire, France

Drustvo za izdavanje, promet i uslugi GOTEN GRUP, North Macedonia

Fondacia “Sledvashta Stranica”, Bulgaria

OKF d.o.o., Montenegro

Östersjöns Författar – Och Översättarcentrum (Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators), Sweden

Sabiedriba ar Ierobezotu Atbildibu Starptautiska Rakstnieku un Tulkotaju Maja, Lithuania

Shoqata Poeteka, Albania

Association KROKODIL, Serbia

Maximum grant awarded: 347.468 €

The project “Translation In Motion” represents a contribution to the pool of high quality contemporary translation material in the field of European literature. With the focus on translation to and from the languages of the Western Balkans, within the “Translation in motion” project, in the period of three years, in nine different countries, 32 translation residences will be organized, in order to secure favorable conditions for work, research and interaction within the language are of the target language for literary translators. With the possibility of establishing professional contact, familiarization with the audience, publishers and agents from the host country, one-month translation residences also imply 60 events which will be open for the wider public. Apart from this, numerous workshops with leading experts from this field will be organized. Translators will apply to work on still unpublished translation.

Within the project various genres will be involved, with a special focus on works of children’s literature and youth literature. The final result of the project assumes the minimum of 25 translated books. The aim of the project “Translation in motion” is improving conditions and creating sustainable resources for continuous translation of literary works, and also support to centres for translation residences – leading institutions for internationalization of literary works.

Cooperation in the Western Balkans

Rise of woman in culture in Western Balkans


Project leader: Association Fenomena, Serbia

Association for Development of Culture and Ecology Sensus, North Macedonia

BeoArt Contemporary, Serbia

SPES, Montenegro

Association for Encouraging the Development of Human Potential and Creativity – Prizma, Croatia

Zavod Lokarjeva galerija, Slovenia

Maximum grant awarded: 307.171 €

Imagine what energy a woman carries in herself and what she can do in synergy with more women in a single place. We offer one part of the answer to this question through the project “Rise of woman in culture in Western Balkans”. In order to reach the share goal, emphasizing the role of women in creating reality through art, culture and other social spheres, we, women, artists, extra-institutional curators, experts in the field of digital marketing, research, cultural diplomacy, copyrights and feminist movement have gathered around different activities.

Contemporary age is the age of diversity to which art responds with diversity in expression and the media. Understanding and acceptance are key. Art connects, which will be presented in the visual sense through two exhibitions “A woman about a woman”, in the real and virtual space alike and in a documentary series. Through joint activity of curators and artists we are striving to encourage cooperation and raise awareness about the female point of view and reacting to reality.

Since the project is envisaged as a process, as the essence of creativity is in the process out of which a visible image of reality is born, so is the focus in activities included in the project to research, educate, communicate, collaborate, spend time together, and also adapt to modern digital technologies through VR technologies. Being aware of the necessity of youthful energy and with the desire to encourage it, we created the Residential programme which will gather 30 young artists from the territories of the Western Balkans and Europe, as well as encourage them to further cooperation and exchange. By connecting curators equally from the non-institutional and the institutional sectors, we open the field to connect and encourage future project with a similar topic. Wider visibility of the content we are dealing with, the identity of the woman in contemporary art, culture and society is offered on our website and through recording and broadcasting the documentary series and the final publication.

Great feminist contribution to the entirety of the project is given by the leader of the project Association Fenomena, which has been active in the field of improving human rights, i.e. gender equality, improving the position of women in Serbia, for the past fourteen years. As the project is based on activity and cooperation of NGOs in culture, apart from Fenomena, there are also associations BeoArt Contemporary, Spes, Sensus, Udruga Prizma and Lokrajeva galerija who support the artistic side of the project, and some of them are focused on younger generations.

Therefore, the project is based on 95% participation of women in culture, their gathering and connecting, with the aim of raising awareness of the role of women in culture in the Western Balkans. Project activities, in addition to a series of lectures, educational workshops and a panel with a focus on creativity and the role of the extra-institutional sector in culture, two exhibitions in real and virtual space, research, documentary series, establishing a network of curators and a publication which will encompass all activities in one place. We have chosen the notion of LOVE for our identity, including and linking all mentioned aspects.

Cooperation in the Western Balkans

RE:PLAY – Redesigning playscapes with children in Western Balkans


Project leader: Pazi!Park!, Slovenia

Kreativni krajobrazi, Croatia

Škogled, Serbia

Qendra Marrëdhënie (Relationship Center), Albania

Gradionica, Montenegro

Maximum grant awarded: 424,947.00 €

For centuries, educators and theorists of childhood have stressed that children do not need to be disciplined to learn so much, but rather to be provided with the right environment and tools to pursue their learning themselves. Unstructured play in nature enables children to take risks, explore their curiosity, and cultivate their imagination, independence, and empathy for others – traits that shape their ability to learn throughout life. Yet increasingly, urban childhood is hyper-supervised, tightly scheduled, socially divided and disconnected from the natural world. The last decades of auto-centric planning have drastically reduced children’s ability to move and play independently in the city. Cultural norms surrounding early childhood have become preoccupied with minimizing risk, and this is reflected in the often boring, risk-free brand of play design that treats childhood as a liability that must be managed.

But play is too vital to neglect – it should be recognized as a form of public expression as important as music or art, and should be prioritized by urban design as much as walking or resting. We have a responsibility as cultural practitioners and urbanists to make this so. While design cannot dictate how play takes place, it can create spatial and material conditions for more enriching kinds of play to unfold.

The RE:PLAY project presents a dialogical and collaborative approach to rethinking play as a distinctly human capacity. It highlights the significance of designing spaces for (and with) children to feel free of bounds, particularly in the Western Balkan (WB) context, where urban design is marked by social, political and cultural boundaries that translate to segregated and often privatized playscapes. The RE:PLAY partners will pioneer a co-creative design process involving children as primary collaborators, with the aim of transforming the status quo of play design in the WB and creating more inclusive and exciting infrastructures of play in our cities. The project will enable the exchange of expertise on working with children of different age and from different socio/economic/cultural registers and will result in a regional network leaving behind five collectively designed and build public playgrounds.

Cooperation in the Western Balkans

Immersive Storytelling Driven Cooperation for Cultural Heritage Dissemination in Western Balkans


Project Leader: Association centre for Socialinnovations Blink 42-21, North Macedonia

Arheološki institut, Serbia

Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis, Greece

Balkan Heritage Foundation (Fondatsiya “Balkansko nasledstvo”), Bulgaria

Muzej in galerije mesta Ljubljane, Slovenia

Navipro d.o.o., Slovenia

Nacionalna ustanova za upravuvanje so arheološkiot lokalitet Stobi, North Macedonia

Maximum grant awarded: 338.055 €

Cultural heritage represents an incredible meeting point for collaboration of the cultural and creative sectors. Its value lays in the storytelling potential it offers. Visitors often lack engagement, learning opportunity, as well as shearing the relevant information in a creative and concise manner. General information sharing is problematic on cultural heritage sites in the Western Balkans, since they lack good visual presentation and audience engagement. The needs, as well as the attention span of the audiences are drastically changing so the aforementioned institutions must adapt to the new environment and the contemporary digital shift. The specific needs of these sites, due to their more conservative, historically preconditioned concept of presentation, provide a bigger challenge for innovation and joint collaboration with creative industries. The highly competitive market for attracting audience demands from them to develop new strategies and foster progressive collaboration that allows them to stand out and succeed. This requires creation of an innovative dissemination cooperation, based on the use of advanced technologies and the enhancement of user experience. These challenges are not unique to cultural heritage institutions of a particular country but rather distinctive to the whole Western Balkans. Therefore, a new Storytelling Driven Cooperation designed with the intention to build up capacities of the aforementioned institutions with a final goal to develop more immersive storytelling experiences for the visitors of cultural heritage sites is essential. This project will further extend the cooperation between the project partners and provide a base for development of the capacities of cultural institutions to explore the capabilities of immersive storytelling in creating narratives and experiences that will attract new audiences and disseminate the values of cultural heritage further.

Cooperation in the Western Balkans

The Ways of the Heroes


Project Leader: Macedonian national theatre, North Macedonia

Association for Promotion and Development of Cultural Activities Studio Teatar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Associazione “La Dramaturgie”, Italy

Eho Animato, Serbia

Loop Amke, Greece

Publishing House Gavrosh Dooel, North Macedonia

Studio za raziskavo umetnosti igre, Slovenia

Maximum grant awarded: 395,183.00 €

Social apathy and absence of agency, especially in WB countries, is a shared problem that all partners have recognized. The project will artistically examine this problem and offer ways to deal with it, while focusing on the most concerning issue that needs our immediate action: the environment. Do we need to see the color of the air that we breathe in order to act? Why don’t we react even when our basic survival is at stake?

WB partner countries involved, MK, RS and B&H, are dealing with a burning question of air pollution, but partners from countries with more developed environmental policies: SLO IT, GR are also affected by climate crisis. This will be an impulse to question the responsibility in times of crisis. We will gather the facts: but the question is what do we DO with these facts? How do we ACT as individuals and communities? How do we react politically, socially and emotionally to the crisis?

Good news is that there are heroes among us, and they can show us the ways! There are many individuals acting for the good cause, but they are not visible enough. Inspired by Ibsen’s play “An Enemy of the People” which questions the impact of the individual on the community and vice versa, we will focus on making visible their stories to the audiences through theatre, public space performances, exhibition, illustrated book for children and online campaigns.

We will also analyze how do we, as artists, affect the environment through our work processes. An international team working on the co-production will gather the documentary materials through all project activities and reinterpret the play. By engaging on a multidisciplinary level, we aim to bring dynamics to the public theatre sector and create contemporary theatre that is rooted in the needs of its community. Sense of belonging is important for individual identity. We will share good practice stories to inspire our communities to follow the ways of the heroes.

Cooperation in the Western Balkans

Regional Lab: New Culture Spaces and Networks as drivers of an Innovative and Sustainable Bottom-up Development of Regional Collaboration


Project Leader: Kooperativa – Regionalna platforma za kulturu, Croatia

Alliance Operation City, Croatia

Anibar, Kosovo*

Association independent cultural scene of Serbia, Serbia

Društvo asociacija, Slovenia

JADRO – Association of the Independent Culture Scene Skopje, North Macedonia

Omladinski kulturni centar Abrašević, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Maximum grant awarded: 424.010 €

In the past decade intensive bottom-up developments emerged in the region of West Balkan and South East Europe mostly among the civil sector in culture. The necessity of new models of organizing, working and governing outside traditional institutional framework encouraged regional peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge and experience. This project builds on the existing experiences and collaborations and further develops regional and European exchange, creating dynamic scheme of artistic exchange between cultural centers, creating evidence based knowledge on new participatory models of operation, building capacities and skills of artists and cultural operators to act regionally and internationally and raising visibility of regional collaboration both on local and European level. The project represents an opportunity for actors in the region to create sustainable and stable frame for future development of regional collaboration taking more active role in the processes of transition, reconciliation and mutual support. It will provides up-to-date map and analysis on existing innovative participative arrangements related to program collaboration, management and governance within the civil sector in culture and will articulate this topic on the larger transnational scale maintaining an ownership of bottom-up collaborative processes. The project also provides reliable tools as a common know-how available for further use on European level. Combining peer-to-peer logic of exchange of experiences and skills with expertise approach, within mentorship and twining formats, the project will provide trainings on practical skills needed for successful implementation of transnational cultural programs. Finally, it enables recognition and greater participation of Western Balkan artistic and cultural scene in European cultural ‘ecosystem’, continuing and enhancing efforts of other actors, such as European cultural networks.

Cooperation in the Western Balkans

#synergy: Sharpening the capacities of the classical music industry in the Western Balkans


Project Leader: Don Branko Sbutega Foundation, Montenegro

Centar beogradskih festivala – CEBEF, Serbia

Festival Ljubljana, Slovenia

Dubravacke ljetne igre, Croatia

Kosovo Chopin Association, Kosovo*

Vox Baroque, Albania

Maximum grant awarded: 410,930.00 €

The project #Synergy aims to overcome the obstacles which at present threaten the art music sector in the WB, which are the consequences of small and fragmented art markets, of unequal economic development, and of recent conflicts in the region. The project underlines the need for cooperation between the WB and EU countries in the field of classical contemporary music, which will result in a greater recognition of this important peripheral CCI sector on a European scale.

The title of the project reflects its primary goals: to sharpen the skills of the participants (in classical music, the sign ‘#’ is called ‘sharp’) and to synergize the activities of the project partners. The project connects six relevant art music festivals from the WB and EU (Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo*, Slovenia and Croatia). The festivals will co-commission new pieces by selected mid-career composers (2 composers per festival, 12 in total). Each composer will take part in a residence program in another project country and he/she will write a piece which provides an artistic response to a chosen socially relevant topic. These pieces will be performed by selected emerging classical music performers from all project countries (ca. 40 in total) who will present this new music to audiences throughout WB and in EU project countries. Thus, composers and performers will receive a strong international boost, while the festivals will benefit from the transnational exchange of know-how and resources which is, at the moment, virtually non-existent.

In parallel, the project partners will undertake activities to further develop their own capacities in cultural management. Six workshops will be organized (one per partner) dealing with different relevant issues of the industry, involving participants in peer-learning and experience sharing. The independent expert Research group will work on the policy analysis which will result in a guidebook for classical music industry in the WB and further.

Cooperation in the Western Balkans

Balkan Translation Collider


Project Leader: Fondacia “Sledvashta Stranica”, Bulgaria

Drustvo za izdavanje, promet i uslugi GOTEN GRUP, North Macedonia

Glavni grad Podgorica, Montenegro

Shoqata poeteka, Albania

Srsen Ivan, Croatia

Udruženje ARGH, Serbia

Maximum grant awarded: 324.234 €

The Balkan Translation Collider project is born out of partners’ common commitment – as literary NGOs, associations, small publishing businesses, literary agents, book fairs/ festivals organisers and city authorities – to overcome the barriers to literary cooperation within the Western Balkans and between the region and the EU member states. The project is focused on collaborative capacity building for literary managers and hands-on learning in international setting. It will equip the literary mediators of the future with new professional contacts, new knowledge of the international book markets, motivation and confidence to operate transnationally. The project will also create a platform for dialogue between the independent sector, the cultural industry of publishing and the policy-makers in the Western Balkan countries. On a long run, the project will lead to an increased visibility of Balkan writers and literatures of today across language barriers.

Cooperation in the Western Balkans

ReCulture: Re- branding of Cultural Institutions in Western Balkans


Project Leader: Kulturni centar Trebinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Udruženje “INK Fest”, Serbia

Fakultet dramskih umetnosti, Serbia

Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, France

Fiels OG, Austria

Muzej savremene umjetnosti Republike Srpske, Bosnia and Herzegovina

“Umjetnicka kolonija”Danilovgrad, Montenegro

Maximum grant awarded: 466,852 €

The overall aim of the ReCulture project is establishing a basis for improved visibility and modernized appearance of Western Balkan cultural institutions by supporting the inter-sectoral linking and cooperation between cultural and creative industries within the Western Balkans and EU Member States. Specific project objectives are: 1) Capacity building of cultural institutions from Western Balkans through reconstructing their visual identities and developing new skills in strategic approach towards audience development and communication practices; 2) Gaining new professional experiences and expertise of young WB designers through fostering cooperation within WB and acquiring and practising new designing skills shared by EU and WB design professionals and 3) Promoting new marketing and audience development approaches and testing new models of revenue of WB cultural institutions through education on new business skills, production of limited series of souvenirs and development of on-line souvenir shops. Four WB cultural institutions (BIH, MN, RS) will familiarize with best EU practices in modern communication and audience development, get new visual identity and skills to strategically develop and maintain new communication and audience development approaches. Group of young WB designers will acquire wide range of experiences and skills and use them to, under mentoring of recognized EU and WB professionals, work on re-branding of four WB cultural institutions and thus improve their professional portfolios and employability. The process will be based on strategic participatory analyses of the work of WB cultural institutions followed with production and dissemination of set of documents with recommendations both for designers and institutions. Artistic and cultural events in BIH, MN and RS including Novi Sad EcoC 2022, will ensure learning between EU and WB institutions and professionals, and promotion of project outputs and outcomes.