The REPORT on how we connected the cultural and creative sectors beyond horizons

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During five-day study study visit to Slovenia, 23 representatives of the cultural sector from Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine got to know more than 60 Slovenian organisations and visited 21 cultural spaces or venues. In addition to the capital city, the guests were also introduced to the cultural scenes in the eastern (Maribor) and western (Vipava, Nova Gorica, Šempas and Osek) parts of Slovenia.

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From 10 to 14 April 2017, Motovila, Centre for the Promotion of Cooperation in the Cultural and Creative Sectors, hosted a study visit for a group of cultural managers, artists and curators from Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, four of the six countries of the EU-Eastern Partnership. The intensive five-day programme, aimed at strengthening cross-border cooperation among cultural operators from Slovenia and the visiting countries, encompassed individual and group meetings with more than 60 local representatives of the sector, lectures, two field trips outside of Ljubljana to visit local cultural scenes and plenty of opportunities for networking and exchanging experiences and of course a chance to present and promote local cultural events.

The study visit, entitled, “Beyond Horizons: Connecting Cultural and Creative Sectors” was carried out in cooperation with the regional programme of the EU-Eastern Partnership for Culture and Creativity as well as a number of professional and local partners, among them Bunker Institute, Poligon Creative Centre, Vetrinje Mansion – Narodni dom Maribor, Academy of Arts of the University of Nova Gorica (UNG AU), Kulturni dom Nova Gorica (Nova Gorica City Gallery) and the European Union House – European Parliament Information Office in Slovenia and European Commission Representation in the Republic of Slovenia.

Who were the participants?

Twenty-three representatives of the cultural sectors, including directors and managers of cultural institutions from different disciplines, visited Slovenia. They were joined by Ragnar Siil and Anastasia Shcherbin, representatives of the regional EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme headquarters in Kyiv, and the journalists Alina Girnet from Moldova and Oksana Mamchenko from Ukraine. Another participant of the study visit was Luiza Arakelyan, representative of the Ministry of Culture from Armenia, which is setting up a national Creative Europe Desk.

The participants of the visit, carefully chosen on a highly competitive selection call of the regional programme, came from the countries that are already members of the EU Creative Europe programme (with the exception of Armenia, which is expected to enter the programme in January 2018). They had the opportunity to get to know representatives from more than 60 Slovenian organisations, thus we are looking forward to new international projects that will include partners from Slovenia and the visiting countries.

Whom did they meet?

LJUBLJANA (10, 12 and 14 April 2017)
We kicked-off the study visit at the European Union House with a debate on the importance of the cultural and creative sectors. Ragnar Siil, international strategist on the field of cultural policies and creative industries spoke with Luka Piškorič from Poligon Creative Centre and discussed the current situation in the cultural scenes of the Eastern Partnership countries and highlighted the activities that the EU-Eastern Partnership for Culture and Creativity Programme is carrying out in the region with the aim of encouraging the formation of new cooperation strategies in the cultural and creative sectors.

During the evening reception at Old Power Station (hosted in cooperation with Bunker Institute) the guests were joined by representatives from the Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Ljubljana and diplomatic delegates from Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine as well as a number of representatives from Ljubljana cultural organisations. DJ Borka provided excellent music to create a super atmosphere.

The study visit programme was rounded off in Ljubljana with a day at Poligon Creative Centre, where we first listened to an inspiring lecture by Luka Piškorič about “Creative Communities”. Following a networking lunch were round tables moderated by Alma R. Selimović (performing arts), Dušan Dovč (visual and intermedia arts), Tanja Hladnik (cultural education) and Luka Piškoriča (coworking and urban spaces), in which the foreign guests were joined by approximately 20 representatives of (mostly) Ljubljana-based organisations.

In Ljubljana, the guests also visited Metelkova mesto Autonomous Cultural Zone, Mini teater, Glej Theatre, Match Gallery, City Museum of Ljubljana and Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture. In addition, guests had a chance to meet one-on-one with the representatives of the cultural scene in Ljubljana as well as to visit museums and galleries.

Participating Slovenian organisations: Poligon Creative Centre, Bunker Institute, MG+MSUM, Prostorož Cultural Association, Nomad Dance Academy Slovenia, SCCA–Ljubljana Institute, City Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, National Museum of Contemporary History, Forum Ljubljana/Stripcore, SVŠGL Art Grammar School Ljubljana, Aksioma – Insitute for Contemporary Arts, Studio TipoRenesansa, Slovenian Animated Film Association, AVA Academy of Visual Arts, Kinodvor, Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture, CONA Institute for Contemporary Art Processing, Mladinsko Theatre/Festival Bobri (Beavers), Otok Cultural Insitute, Vodnik Homestead Šiška, Projekt ATOL Institute, Mini teater, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, Slovene Ethnographic Museum, Metelkova mesto/Alkatraz Gallery, Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Animateka Festival, ITD – Institute for Transmedia Design, Beletrina Publishing House, City of Women, Museum of Architecture and Design, SLOGI – Slovenian Theatre Institute, Pekinpah Association …

MARIBOR (11 April 2017)
The study visit of the Maribor cultural scene was led by Marko Brumen (Vetrinje Mansion – Narodni dom Maribor). Participants visited the Pekarna cultural center, Maribor Puppet Theatre, the Salon of Applied Arts Maribor, GT22, MMC Kibla and Kibla Portal gallery. In Vetrinje Mansion they got an overview of the programme of the Maribor – European Capital of Culture 2012 (Marko Brumen), the Creative Europe programme of the EU (Mateja Lazar and Sabina Briški) and the international projects that are currently being carried with support of the Creative Europe programme by Koroška Gallery of Fine Arts (Andreja Hribernik) and MMC Kibla (Peter Tomaž Dobrila). Networking continued in the relaxed atmosphere of Wetrinsky club where using the Flask Talk format under the baton of Marko Brumen the guests and close to a dozen representatives from the Maribor arts and cultural scene presented themselves.

Participating Slovenian organisations: Vetrinje Mansion – Narodni dom Maribor, Pekarna Magdalena Network, MKC Maribor Youth Culture Centre, Salon of Applied Arts Maribor, GT 22, Koroška Gallery of Fine Arts, MMC Kibla, Mars Institute, Maribor Art Gallery, Guest Room Maribor, Hiša!/House! Society for People and Spaces, Slovene National Theatre Maribor, Mini teater (Ljubljana), Maribor Puppet Theatre, the National Liberation Museum and Film Factory.

VIPAVA – NOVA GORICA – ŠEMPAS – OSEK (13 April 2017)
The host of the study visit in the western part of Slovenia known as the Gorizia region (Northern Littoral) was Peter Purg (UNG AU). He first welcomed us at the Lanthieri Manor in Vipava and presented the international projects and activities of the Academy of Arts. Next we visited the Nova Gorica City Gallery, where our guests from abroad were greeted by the Mayor of Nova Gorica, Mr Matej Arčon, and Ms Barbara Poša Belingar from the Kulturni dom Nova Gorica.

Following the welcome addresses, to the rhythms of his drum, Peter Purg led the participants in an extraordinarily dynamic series of presentations from the guests and over a dozen representatives of the Goriška arts and cultural scene. After a quick networking lunch and one-on-one conversations, we visited the Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica (Marko Bratuš). On the way back to Ljubljana we stopped for an inspiring visit in Šempas to meet the BridA artist collective in their studio and artist residence space before having dinner in Vitovlje. Then we visited the Učilna Gallery in the village of Osek. We finished off our study visit of the Gorizia region in Osek in the splendid company of the village inhabitants (accompanied of course by the delicious Lepa Vida wine) in the Kulturni dom “Farovž”, an important venue of the international project “PAIC – Participatory Art for Invisible Communities”, a project funded by the EU Creative Europe programme, in which the Academy of Arts, University of Nova Gorica is a partner.

Participating Slovenian organisations: Academy of Arts of the University of Nova Gorica, Nova Gorica City Gallery (Kulturni dom Nova Gorica), Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica, BridA artist collective, Arctur, Kino Kašča, Teater na konfini, Pilon Gallery Ajdovščina, Sajeta Creative Camp (Tolmin Union of Youth Associations), Nova Gorica Grammar School, Carinarnica (Goriška Humanist Association) and MN Dance Company.

Honorary guests of the study visit

We were very pleased that the participants of our visit were warmly welcomed by a number of dignitaries and delegates from the visiting countries as well as from key state and local institutions. The first was Ms Ulla Hudina, Deputy Director of the European Commission Representation in the Republic of Slovenia, who greeted the local and foreign guests at the European Union House. We were also graced on 10 April at the kick-off debate in European Union House and at the evening reception at the Old Power Station by His Excellency, Mr Zurab Bekaia, the Ambassador of Georgia, and His Excellency Mr Mykhailo F. Brodovych, the Ambassador of Ukraine, the First Secretary of the Ambassador of Ukraine, Mr Vladyslav Solotva and the Honorary Consul of Ukraine, Ms Marijana Žak and the Honorary Consul of Armenia, Ms Sara Stepanjan.

At the Old Power Station also the Minister of Culture, Mr Anton Peršak, and the Head of the Department for Culture at the Municipality of Ljubljana, Ms Mateja Demšič, joined us and greeted our guests; at Ljubljana’s Poligon Creative Centre the attendees of the event were addressed by Mr Igor Teršar, the Director-General of the Creativity Directorate from the Ministry of Culture.

In Nova Gorica, we were joined briefly by the Mayor of Nova Gorica, Mr Matej Arčon, who informed us of Nova Gorica’s forthcoming candidacy for the European Capital of Culture 2025 and saluted intensive cross-border networking and cooperation.