Describe the main features of the measure/initiative:
The goal of the independent culture festival “Self-Propelled” is to promote dealing with the current and socially relevant issues through art and culture, especially in smaller places. We believe that art and culture are the most fruitful media for speaking about vulnerable issues, that they are the most direct channel for including vulnerable and marginalized groups, and that they contribute to the social and economic development of individuals and society as a whole by encouraging creativity and an open relationship to one’s life and environment. The importance and power of independent cultural initiatives in local communities (in Serbia and the region) are based on a large number of creative and experienced nongovernmental organizations, independent art organizations, non-formal groups, and individuals with developed capacities, many of whom implement a large number of international, regional, and local programs or participate in them as individuals or groups. The festival’s extensive program highlights the independent cultural scene’s diversity, expansiveness, and immense potential, as well as the necessity of cooperation and solidarity, while simultaneously drawing attention to the difficulties it faces and possible solutions in the field of cultural policy. Each festival’s initial idea is to highlight cooperation and connection in order to promote and reach new audiences and associates who are involved in similar practices but lack the tools to connect and collaborate. To escape the classical form of festivals and the contemporary festivalization of culture, “Self-Propelled” delivers comprehensive geographic/spatial, time and program dispersiveness, as well as a call to participation. Association ICSS encourages this type of decentralization, not just in the organizational sense, but also through mini-grants and internal calls for members to apply for cooperation or the implementation of independent programs. Every year, as part of the Association, an independent body—a three-membered commission—is formed to assess the quality of the applications received using pre-defined indicators and parameters. Each of the organizations-members has the right to apply along with one or more members, and to include new cultural entities from local scenes that are potential candidates for new members of the Association. This measure also represents the increase of the local cultural scene’s program capacities, while also working on increasing the visibility of the member’s work, as well as the number of new members each year.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the measure/initiative?:
The Festival’s programs have taken place in over 30 cities and places in Serbia, with about 20 partnerships formed between organizations-members, as well as with other individuals outside the network, and organizations and decision-makers at the local level. The creation of local scenes is one of the most significant achievements of this ICSS activity. Some of the aforementioned collaborations not only launched long-term projects but also considerably increased the visibility of these organizations’ work on a local or regional level. The festival “Self-Propelled” has been supported for years by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the RS.