Continuing the activities started during the first two months of work, the members of the Novi Sad 2021 Foundation have implemented great number of activities on establishing rules of conduct, as well as a significant number of activities in the field of participation, international cooperation, art programmes, and marketing and promotion.
These two months are especially important because of the crucial meetings with representatives of the national and international cultural scene, and because of the preparations for the first conference that the Foundation organises, entitled ‘For New Bridges’. The conference will be held on 9 May, symbolically linking the Victory Day with the goal of building bridges, as well as with the Foundation as a bridge that connects artists and the IT sector, the young and the old, and leads towards 2021, the year when Novi Sad will hold the ECoC title. ‘For New Bridges’ conference will be a great chance for presentation of the work plan of the Foundation and announcement of projects for 2017.
During March, the team of the Foundation in charge of participation, inclusion and education activities worked intensively on the strategy that included revision of plans for infrastructure projects as a support for realisation of the participation programme. The programmes that have been elaborated are: Cultural Stations, Urban Pockets, and Satellites (programmes in local communities). Furthermore, preliminary meetings were held with teams that showed interest in participating in preparation and realisation of programmes: Ravničar, Stražilovo Mountaineering-Ski Association, Novo Kulturno Naselje, DANS, researchers from the Gender Knowledge Hub, Kuda.org NGO. During April, the Foundation started preparing documents for the open call entitled Pantry for Project Ideas.
The Novi Sad 2021 team presented the work concept for this year within the presentation of the Creative Europe programme to all interested visitors at the Education Fair, held at Novi Sad Fair.
Representatives of the Foundation visited Rijeka in order to develop project called LAB for European Project Making. The meeting was attended by representatives of Matera 2019, Plovdiv 2019, Timișoara 2021 and Eleusis 2021. The goal of the project is to train and educate young producers and to enable them networking on the European level. The main project holders are Rijeka 2020, Timișoara 2021, and Novi Sad 2021. This is one of the most important joint projects for education that will educate at least 30 new cultural managers that will be trained by ten most important European experts from the field of cultural management, marketing, and communication.
In early April, we organised the presentation of the Plants – Artists in Residence programme, which is within the ECoC project, at the Petrovaradin Fortress. Presentation was attended by Petr Šimon, manager for cooperation of artists, and Berenika Nikodemska, manager of the residential programme within Wrocław 2016. The conference was also attended by around 60 artists and representatives of the cultural sector in Novi Sad, who expressed their willingness to participate in the project and connect with our team. The sector for international cooperation develops activities within the field of residential programmes in order to strengthen local capacities, i.e. to offer financial and expert support to local organisations that have experience in realisation of residential programmes. These activities are realised with the idea to reach self-sustainability and continue working on realisation of residential programmes beyond 2021. The work meeting gathered representatives of the organisations that have had experience with realisation of residential programmes: Kulturanova, Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, Bel Art gallery, Milan Petrović Special Education School, Art boks, ULUV and Cultural Centre of Novi Sad. The communication was also established with the NGOs Kuda.org and Balkankult, which have also expressed their willingness to participate in the realisation of the project in a limited capacity.
In order to establish cooperation and present plans for this year, the team of the Foundation prepared presentation for the EUNIC Serbia cluster, which comprises cultural and language international centres. The meeting was attended by eight representatives from the Österreichische Kulturforum, Institut français de Serbie, Goethe-Institut, and Embassy of Sweden in Belgrade. During this meeting, the agreement on cooperation was achieved, and projects that would be interesting for international cooperation were presented. The focus was on the Plant A.i.R. programme. After the meeting, the guests from EUNIC Serbia, accompanied by the members of the Foundation, visited the space of the Chinese Quarter, the place of the future Youth Creative Polis, a unique youth and creative centre in this part of Europe.
Representatives of the Foundation were invited by the Ministry of Culture of Lower Austria to visit Sankt Pölten and Linz, and they met with representatives of 10 cultural institutions. The Novi Sad 2021 project was also presented in Pécs during the panel dedicated to expertise and experiences of the previous European Capitals of Culture. The CEO of the Foundation attended celebration of the City Day of Banjaluka, the city that plans to candidate for the ECoC in 2024. During this event, CEO and his associates met with representatives of the Banjaluka cultural scene in order to share experiences of Novi Sad on its road towards winning the title.
During this period, expert teams of the Sector for International Cooperation and EU Funds participated in connection, communication, and submission of applications for five international projects dedicated, among other things, to protection of cultural heritage, direct involvement of citizens in solving social problems in the city, creation and coordination of creative clusters for creative industries along the Danube River.
It is important to mention that during March and April, numerous guests from abroad visited Novi Sad and held series of meetings with members of the Novi Sad 2021 team, as well as with artists, organisations and cultural institutions from Novi Sad. Among them are foreign consultants Márton Méhes, Petr Šimon, Berenika Nikodemska, and Christian Potiron. Stefan Stojanov, deputy Mayor of Plovdiv and one of the leaders of the Plovdiv 2019 project, visited Novi Sad. During his visit, an implementation of the joint project with five ECoC cities from Central and Eastern Europe, with the idea to offer support for European integrations of Serbia during the EXIT festival, was discussed. Tanja Petković Jeremić, Head of the Sector for Culture of Wellington, city in New Zealand, visited Novi Sad in order to inform about the Novi Sad 2021 project, and discussed the possibilities for future cooperation.