REPORT on how we connected Ukrainian and Slovenian cultural operators

During the weeklong study visit to Slovenia, 10 representatives of the cultural sector from Ukraine got to know more than 40 Slovenian organisations and visited more than 20 cultural spaces or venues. In addition to residing in the capital city, the guests were also introduced to the cultural scene in the eastern part of Slovenia (Maribor).

From 15 to 19 October 2018 Motovila, Centre for the Promotion of Cooperation in the Cultural and Creative Sectors hosted the study visit for a group of cultural managers, artists and curators from Ukraine. The intensive weeklong programme aimed at strengthening cross-border cooperation among cultural operators from Slovenia and Ukraine encompassed individual and group meetings with local CCSs representatives, an international conference, seminars, trainings, one field trip to visit local cultural scene and plenty of opportunities for networking and exchanging experiences. The participants also had a chance to attend and experience local cultural/artistic events.

The study visit, titled Beyond Horizons. In focus: Ukraine, was implemented under the Culture Bridges Programme. Culture Bridges is funded by the EU and managed by the British Council in partnership with the EUNIC network in Ukraine. The project was carried out with a number of professional and local partners among them: Center for Creativity (MAO), DobraVaga / Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture, SCCA-Ljubljana Centre for Contemporary Arts, Big Institute, Marko Brumen, Simon Žlahtič, House! Society for People and Spaces, DOKUDOC Festival & Mitra, GT22 & IFCA Festival, StopTrik Festival & Pekarna Magdalena Network, Narodni dom Maribor & Vetrinje Mansion, Lent Festival, Festival Maribor; Maribor Puppet Theatre, Maribor Theatre Festival, KIBLA Multimedia Centre, European Union House – European Parliament Information Office in Slovenia and European Commission Representation in the Republic of Slovenia, En-Knap Productions, Bunker Institute, Mini Theatre, Jewish Cultural Centre Ljubljana and National Museum of Contemporary History.

Who were the participants?

Ten Ukrainian representatives of the cultural sector from different disciplines visited Slovenia. They were joined by Daria Moskalevych from the British Council Ukraine, Anna Izmailova and Ganna Turlo from the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation which also hosts the Creative Europe Desk Ukraine.

The participants of the visit were carefully chosen on a highly competitive selection call of the Culture Bridges programme. They had the opportunity to get to know representatives from more than 40 Slovenian organisations, thus we are looking forward to new international projects that will include partners from Slovenia and Ukraine.

What was the programme?

We kicked-off the study visit at the Museum of architecture and design in Ljubljana where participants attended the international conference and workshop Beyond the Cultural Model (see report & video). The conference was organized by Motovila in cooperation with the Center for Creativity on October 16, 2018. Julie Aldridge (United Kingdom), José Rodríguez (Sweden) and Edgar Garcia Casellas (Spain/Catalonia) presented various theoretical and practical approaches in the development of business models in culture. We were very pleased that the participants of our visit were warmly greeted by Mr Andrii Borodenkov, Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of Ukraine to the Republic of Slovenia and Mrs Nataša Prah, Ambassador, Acting Head of the Department for Public Diplomacy and International Cooperation in Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia.
After the conference, the Ukrainian guests visited Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture where they had a guided tour of the Max Grau: Love & Work [floating] exhibition. The participants rounded up the day by attending the Month of Design 2018 opening.

In Maribor, the Ukrainian guests attended the Seminar on Innovative Communication Approaches in Cultural and Creative Sectors (October 17, 2018) at the Center for Creativity. José Rodríguez focused on communication strategies, tools and principles that enable organisations from fields of culture and arts a more sustainable operation. Jana Renée Wilcoxen explained how to use a practical approach to improve storytelling skills. Besides the seminar, our guests visited the Osebno / Personal exhibition in KIBLA Portal and several venues, e.g. Union hall at Narodni dom Maribor, Vetrinje Mansion, GT22, Salon of Applied Arts, Lent (the oldest part of Maribor), Maribor Puppet Theatre. The venues were part of the guided tour through the Maribor cultural scene titled “Urban Safari: Raw Concrete & Festivals, #MashUp Edition” and led by local expert Marko Brumen and architect Simon Žlahtič. We have closed the day with the “The Pea” dance-theatre show at the Maribor Theatre Festival.

On October 18, 2018, we took our guests to the EU House for the Creative Europe seminar. The first part of the seminar was dedicated to the European Capital of Culture (ECOC). We heard the success story of Linz ECOC 2009 by Simon Lachner. Urška Zupanec from the Ministry of Culture presented the procedure and the timeline of the competition for the Slovenian ECOC 2025 title. The session concluded with the moderated talk by Mr Lachner with coordinators of future ECOC 2025 candidate cities Ljubljana (Mateja Demšič), Nova Gorica (Neda Rusjan Bric), Lendava (Dejan Süč) and Kranj (Toni Cahunek).
Part two was dedicated to Culture sub-programme cooperation projects scheme that has brought above-average results to Slovenia. Alma R. Selimović (Bunker Institute), Tanja Hladnik (Otok Institute), Janez Janša (Aksioma Institute) and Peter Purg (School of Arts, University of Nova Gorica) shared their valuable experiences.
The Ukrainian guests rounded up the seminar with the workshop on project impact assessment performed by Neža Pajnič, Head of the Erasmus+ programme (CMEPIUS). The day ended with the dance/theatre show “Pursuit of happiness” by EnKnap Production in Španski borci Culture Centre.

On the last day of the study visit (October 19, 2018) our guests had the morning guided tour of the Old Power Station that is run by the Bunker Institute, one of the most successful Slovenian organization in the Creative Europe Culture sub-programme. The programme continued with the farewell brunch and one-on-one conversations with a dozen representatives of Slovene CCSs in DobraVaga. Next we visited Mini Theater and Jewish Cultural Centre where our official programme ended. Some of the Ukrainian guests headed for a meeting to the National Museum of Contemporary History, the Poligon Creative Centre and Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (MSUM) or they just got lost in the autumnally Ljubljana.

Photo ©Motovila by Katja Goljat (conference and seminar in Ljubljana) and Janez Klenovšek (seminar in Maribor).