Support to Collaborative Platforms in Contemporary Art Production and Cultural Industries
Enabling environment for mobility, networking, creative new generations of artists, and strengthening cooperation between civil, private and public sector.
Several collaborative platforms in cultural industries were created. At the moment, five of them have a very active role: "Nova Iskra" - Design Incubator, "Design Center Čajetina", "Designed. RS" platform, "Belgrade Fashion Week" and "Independent Cultural Scene of Serbia".
"Nova Iskra" - Design Incubator is a type of "rent-a-desk" business incubator intended for creation of conditions for joint work and promotion of young designers. It started its operation in December 2012, and the Belgrade City Municipality of Savski Venac, where it is located, supported its work. The incubator has 48 members (young architects, designers, costume designers, photographers, etc). One of the roles of the "Nova Iskra" platform is to provide work space through the "DESIGNERS LAB" platform for creative young people, and provide them a work space according to the “rent-a-desk” principle at an economical price, as well as an extensive professional improvement program. Usage of the space is performed according to the “co-working” model, by announcing a public call for creative young people from 22 to 35. Apart from this, there is also a "Creative Hub" network within the Design Incubator, made of young asserted and non-asserted designers of industrial design, architecture, interior design, graphic design, as well as other creative people, and an INDUSTRY HUB, gathering small and medium-sized companies that need creative-professional services. This is how the network of partners is established, both at the side of economy and in the cultural industries domain. Until it officially started, "Nova iskra" was focused on advocacy activities, promotion of young creators and providing them high quality education.
Design Centre in Čajetina was made through the project "The Old Crafts for the New Age" designed for strengthening and networking of socially vulnerable women in order to their better involvement into the local life in the South-West Serbia. The project was implemented at the territory of three municipalities of the Zlatibor region that supported the project: Čajetina, Prijepolje and Nova Varoš. The project included creation and networking of associations for manufacturing, promotion and sales of manually crafted souvenirs, connecting rural and urban creative industries and establishing better ties between traditional crafts and cultural industries in order to create a modern ethno products. Design Center in Čajetina and training centers in the municipalities of Prijepolje and Nova Varoš provided women trainings in manufacturing, packaging, promotion and management of fashion works and textile souvenirs. Over 70 women from Zlatibor region were trained and employed due to the project. Through cooperation with famous fashion designers, members of the Association produced accessories, clothing and decorations from natural and organic materials by applying the following techniques: knitting, gold embroidery, silver embroidery, weaving and crochet. Apart from this, the special fashion lines were designed, which include 20 fashion products specially designed within this project. Fashion works were presented at the "Amstel Fashion Week", the Fair of Tourism (in cooperation with the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade), the "Belgrade Fashion Week", etc.
"Designed. RS" is a collaborative virtual platform for young designers and visual artists. Its objective is to establish better communication between the design community and to create a space for the exchange of ideas and information in the area of design and to contribute to its broader visibility. The platform has 4,000 registered members at the portal and 11,000 members on Facebook. "Designed. RS" provides information to design community on new achievements in the area of design and business offers. The significant project of this platform is "PACTIVITY", the first national competition for selection and awarding for the best designed packages in Serbia, which contributes to the quality valorisation of design and its visibility. This award is realized in cooperation with SIEPA. The award ceremony is being held together with "PACTIVITY" conference intended for professionalization of designers and making them capable for inclusion into economy operations. From 2009 to 2012 the platform organized 38 events and presentations where Serbian design was promoted, and about 16 workshops focused at professionalization of designers; the database of 200 young non-asserted designers was created and they promoted their works through the "High5" directory. Since it was established, the "Designed. RS" platform supported or as a partner participated in all relevant events and projects in the filed of creative industries, among which is "Graphical Designer: Author or Universal Soldier" and in projects of "Nova Iskra".
"Belgrade Fashion Week" is a collaborative platform in the area of fashion design. This platform is primarily focused on the promotion of fashion scene, networking of young fashion designers and costume designers, and their encouraging of market expansion for the designers’ fashion. It connects domestic fashion scenes with the neighboring regional markets and leading global fashion centers. In the end of 2008, the "Balkan Fashion Week" was initiated in order to designers’ fashion in this region become sustainable in future. This resulted in the occurrence of project "Zona 45" that symbolizes the regional fashion scene marked by the 45th geographical meridian passing through Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, countries currently involved within the project. From 2009 to 2012, 117 independent designers were presented, 17 joint fashion shows were organized, mainly of students from the Faculty of Applied Arts, and 56 young nonasserted fashion designers and costume designers were promoted. In the same period 202 collections were presented in total, each year visited by about 20,000 visitors. Apart from the fashion shows, other activities also were organized, such as: lecture of Stefan Siegel, one of the founders of the largest fashion platform "Not just a label" on the topic of networking of designers into an online shops (2012), presentations of the fashion collection "Svetlost" within the celebration of the jubilee of 150 years since the birth of the scientist Nikola Tesla, presentation of Serbian designers within the exhibition "Impossible" at the "London Fashion Week" (2012), Children’s art workshops of fashion design (2012), exhibition "Zubun - 2010 Serbian folklore in the modern design" (2010 in cooperation with the Ethnographic Museum).
MIKSER is a multidisciplinary platform which centers on the affirmation of cultural industry of the SEE and the organization of the biggest regional festival of creative arts. It gathers together professionals and enthusiasts who, through their different transcultural projects, support the development of national and regional creative economy, and who facilitate a dialogue between contemporary global trends and domestic, as well as regional practice. Projects such as “Ghost Project” – the international showcase of young industrial designers, for small wooden objects, and “Young Balkan Designers” – a selection of the best product designs of the region, which MIKSER proudly displays at Italy Milan’s furniture fair (I Saloni) – the world’s largest design expo. The Soundtrack Call, in which over 80 bands from the region taking part, and the Literary competition for new and unpublished stories about the Savamala and Savska padina quarters of Belgrade, conducted in cooperation with the Arhipelag publishing company, are completed at the festival. One of the Mikser's activities is urban regeneration of the Belgrade quarter called Savamala, one of the oldest parts of the Belgrade city, placed near the Danube river. In the past, this was very important and central part of the city, but nowdays is rather marginalized. The Mikser ”Urban Lab” program gathering some of the key players for the future of Savamala (representatives of the municipality, city, local community, urban planners and small businessmen), who are trying to find a model for its development at a round table, and show that progress is possible without grandiose state investments and private investments worth millions. The visual segment of the program, is democratizing the field of visual arts through the program entitled “Curating: A Moving Experience”. Young artists are, in equal cooperation with their more experienced colleagues curators, present their vision of life and experience of Belgrade, in accordance with the festival's topic - “Transit”, and to make the whole thing more impressive and dynamic, the artists will use trucks as a means of conveying their message.
All this exemplifies MIKSER’s philosophy, which is based on the nurture of young talents, not only from the sphere of design, but also from various other creative disciplines. With the creation of its own, unique platform for interaction between designers, architects, artists, companies, independent organizations, public institutions and the media, the Mikser organization has set-up and now manages its own festival of creative industry, simply known as MIKSER. Through a number of multidisciplinary projects within the festival – competitions, workshops, installations and performances that are organized in cooperation with a large number of experts and artists – the Mikser organization continue the process of urban transformation.
The central place of the festival is the new permanent city content, a conceptual institution of culture – Mikser House, which is transformed during the festival into a specific agora for exchanging opinions and experiences. A diverse program take place here – from workshops, exhibitions, lectures and round tables to music contents. After the event, Mikser House is sublimate all the programs that are promoted by the festival itself, from high culture contents, through education from the field of contemporary creative disciplines, to a market with a wide range of innovative designer products including furniture, fashion, publishing, gastronomy, etc.
"The Independent Cultural Scene of Serbia" has 78 members from 20 cities and municipalities of Serbia and it gathers over 2,500 artists and managers in culture. Each year it produces between 1,200 and 1,500 programs, among which the large number of significant exhibitions from the area of contemporary visual production. The objectives of these platforms are the development of innovative, critical and experimental artistic and cultural production, the development of international cultural cooperation, especially cultural cooperation in the region of South-East Europe, improvement of cooperation between public and civil sectors, the development of inter-cultural dialogue and nourishment of cultural diversity, strengthening of capacities of civil society participants. The programs of this platform are examples of innovative and socially engaged cultural production in Serbia. One of the most significant initiatives of this network is launching of the "MANEK" magazine in the form of fanzine in order to improve visibility of the independent cultural organizations and to promote its activities and services (programs and trainings).
Challenges identified in the implementation of this measure: There is still no adequate strong partnership between civil, private and public sectors and that kind of cooperation has not been explore in full capacity. Because of that, collaborative platforms in cultural industries are still not well structured and not achieved wished synergy. Collaboration are mostly established at an "ad hock" basis /project oriented, instead of having developing nature and long-term framework.
Support was given to different projects/programs focused on culture as such or designed to have direct effect on cultural expressions of individuals, groups, societies including the creation, production, dissemination, distribution of and access to cultural activities, goods and services.
Through existing collaborative platforms support was given to over 400 individual projects/programs and activities (meetings, workshops, trainings), that networked more than 435 artists and creators. The visibility of artists of different profiles was also enabled.