Imago Sloveniae project

Where
Slovenia
When
2020
Who
Imago Sloveniae Institution – The image of Slovenia
This measure was reported by civil society.
Describe the main features of the measure/initiative: 
Over the 30 years of its existence, Imago Sloveniae has evolved into one of the biggest NGO cultural projects in Slovenia. Every year, over 100 concerts and other cultural events take place where some of the best musicians from all over the world are presented. In the frame of Imago Sloveniae, there are five different, but complementary international festivals and concert cycles that cover three programme lines: classical music, jazz and world music, which enables the project to address a broad audience. The project connects 25 towns and over 30 venues throughout the country and abroad. A wide cultural network enables Imago Sloveniae to bring high quality cultural events also to smaller, remote places (decentralisation), where it offers local co-organisers not only programme consulting, but also capacity building with its event management know-how. A significant aspect of all Imago Sloveniae projects is their reach. All concerts and cultural events are well covered by all mainstream media, and admission is free, therefore highly accessible to all social groups. There are over 80,000 visitors every year. National Radio and Television Slovenia regularly records and broadcasts Imago Sloveniae concerts. Imago regularly cooperates with renowned cultural institutions and many distinguished individuals in the field of culture. The seat of the organisation is located in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, which represents a geographical and historical crossroads of cultures. The project’s main priorities have always included transnational mobility, intercultural dialogue and the promotion of a diversity of cultural expressions. Over the last few years, Imago has further strengthened the already existing wide cultural network by forming a new international project, supported by Creative Europe, called Voices of Minorities (VoM), which has specifically addressed these goals based on the current refugee crisis, the general public's attitude towards it and the process of the integration of refugees into a new living environment. On the basis of intercultural dialogue, through education and awareness-raising, as well as by connecting representatives of different ethnic minorities and the general public, VoM stimulates reflection on these issues and on the possible positive effects of the integration of ethnic minorities into society, thereby bridging cultural differences, underlining the common European cultural space, and contributing to the openness of society to differences in the long term. The main idea of the project is the exchange of musicians and groups whose music reflects the effects of ethnic minorities among the four participating partners: Slovenian Imago Sloveniae as the leading partner cooperated with the organisation of the Nights in Old Ljubljana Town International Festival, Belgian Trefpunt with the Trefpunt Festival in Ghent, Italian Musicastrada with the eponymous festival in Tuscany, and Hungarian Hagyományok Háza with the Budapest Folk Fest. They created an online artist base, where each partner offers several bands, representing the music of ethnic minorities in their country, in exchange. The project has given minority musicians the experience of performing at distinguished foreign festivals. Collaborating partners have attended meetings at each other’s festivals, where they share positive and negative experiences, good practices, administrative solutions, international contacts and insights into the cultural scenes of their home countries. Some meetings were also attended by other cultural professionals, which gave the participants the opportunity to establish new contacts and connections, thus also offering them an excellent starting point for potential new collaborations. Artist exchanges, however, represent only a part of the festival programme, which has hosted numerous minority musicians from the Third World and musicians whose music reflects minority influences. Among them, a concert by Gulaza was staged, an Israeli ensemble that performs Arab music, more specifically Yemeni women songs, with the aim of raising awareness of women's rights. As part of the Voices of Minorities project, 56 concerts took place, featuring 312 musicians from 30 different countries. Imago Sloveniae also stages new productions and organises international collaborations, such as concerts by the Argentinian Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies, which revives the indigenous traditions of both Americas, by the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, or by a newly constituted jazz quartet (Ex Yu Quartet) comprising some of the best musicians from ex-Yugoslav countries who migrated to Slovenia. An important part of the Imago Sloveniae project is audience development, cultural education and connecting culture and science. For many years they have been collaborating with the world leading association of ethnomusicologists and ethnocoreologists ICTM (International Council for Traditional Music) and the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts on the organisation of international multidisciplinary symposiums in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which more than 50 experts from all over the world attend each year. The themes of the symposiums are always linked to the programme themes of the Nights in Old Ljubljana Town festival. The last two symposiums, “Sounds of Minorities in National Contexts” and “Sound, Song and Politics”, offered scientific reflection on the problem of the integration of refugees into their new living environment and the impact of minorities on art in the European cultural space (they were attended by 83 experts from 29 different countries). The Nights in Old Ljubljana Town International Festival is also an important showcase that presents a colourful diversity of cultural expression from all parts of the world to the attending music business professionals (musicologists, international partners and the professional public). In order to keep up with the international cultural scene and gain new / strengthen existing international connections, the Imago Sloveniae team regularly attends the main showcase festivals throughout Europe.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the measure/initiative?: 
Over the 30 years of its existence, Imago Sloveniae has evolved into one of the biggest NGO cultural projects in Slovenia. Over the last 4 years, 280 concerts have taken place, where 3,017 musicians from over 40 different countries have been presented. The broad programme framework (five different, but complementary, international festivals and concert cycles that cover three programme lines: classical music, jazz and world music) has reached a broad audience of over 270,000 visitors. The extensive cultural network (the project connects 25 towns and over 30 venues throughout the country and abroad) has enabled it to bring high quality cultural events also to smaller, remote places (decentralisation), where it provides local co-organisers not only programme consulting, but also capacity building through its event management know-how. Imago Sloveniae, as an established brand, ensures good public visibility and media coverage of all its events (2,131 posts in all main media), its website had over 360,000 views. National Radio and Television Slovenia regularly records and broadcasts concerts (Radio 40, Television 6). An important aspect is also accessibility, as all the concerts are admission free, and therefore highly accessible to all social groups. The project’s main priorities have always included transnational mobility, intercultural dialogue and the promotion of a diversity of cultural expressions. Over the last few years, Imago has further strengthened the already existing wide cultural network by forming a new international project, supported by Creative Europe, called Voices of Minorities (VoM), which has specifically addressed these goals based on the current refugee crisis, the general public's attitude towards it and the process of the integration of refugees into a new living environment. On the basis of intercultural dialogue, through education and awareness-raising, as well as by connecting representatives of different ethnic minorities and the general public, VoM stimulates reflection on these issues and on the possible positive effects of the integration of ethnic minorities into society, thereby bridging cultural differences, underlining the common European cultural space, and contributing to the openness of society to differences in the long term. The project has encouraged new international connections and collaborations between four distinguished festivals (the Nights in Old Ljubljana Town International Festival by Imago Sloveniae, the Belgian Trefpunt Festival in Ghent, the Italian Musicastrada festival in Tuscany, and the Hungarian Hagyományok Háza with the Budapest Folk Fest), numerous cultural professionals and artists. The project partners have created an online artist base, which they continue to use for international artist exchanges. It has enabled minority musicians to experience touring and performing at distinguished foreign festivals. At meetings at their festivals, the VoM project partners gain new knowledge, perspectives and insight into the cultural scenes of each other’s home countries. Some meetings are also attended by other cultural professionals, which has given the participants an opportunity to establish new contacts and connections, thus also offering them an excellent starting point for potential new collaborations, which are already starting. Artist exchanges, however, represent only a part of the festival programme, which has hosted numerous minority musicians from the Third World and musicians whose music reflects minority influences. As part of the Voices of Minorities project, 56 concerts took place, featuring 312 musicians from 30 different countries. Through new international productions, Imago Sloveniae creates new connections, collaborations and opportunities for musicians. The publicly displayed intercultural dialogue has contributed to greater tolerance of diversity. An important part of the Imago Sloveniae project is also audience development, cultural education and connecting culture and science. Long-tern collaboration with the world’s leading association of ethnomusicologists and ethnocoreologists, ICTM (International Council for Traditional Music), and the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts on the organisation of international multidisciplinary symposiums in Ljubljana, Slovenia (“Sounds and Visions: Current Directions in Audiovisual Ethnomusicology” – 2016, “Music in the Stone Age” – 2017, “Sounds of Minorities in National Contexts” – 2018, and “Sound, Song and Politics” – 2019) brought together more than 200 leading experts from all over the world. The last two symposiums, which offered scientific reflection on the problem of the integration of refugees into their new living environment and the impact of minorities on art in the European cultural space, had a significant awareness-raising impact and influence on the bridging of cultural differences. The international visibility of the Imago Sloveniae project has helped put Slovenia, as a small and relatively unknown country, on the map. Its cultural activity represents an important contribution to the development of cultural tourism. There has also been noticeable growth in the interest of foreign artists and cultural professionals in visiting and collaborating with Slovenia.