Project „Novi Sad 2021“ has launched a number of questions, and certainly one of the most important is to define the status of the independent cultural scene. Numerous cultural organizations, including the several representative associations have been unhappy for years with the relationship with the city administration. Several segments in the functioning of these organizations has been brought into question, such as the cost of rental, but also financing projects that often receive financial support from European funds but not at the competitions submitted by the city to co-finance projects in the field of culture.
The team for the European Capital of Culture over the past few months has worked on a dialogue between the independent culture scene, cooperation of all stakeholders in the cultural scene of the city – and the independent scene, NGO sector and official institutions of culture in the city. Project „KulturLica„, prepared by Novi Sad 2021 Team in collaboration with the Academy of Arts, had a great respond from all invited individuals from the cultural life of Novi Sad and for this program, which will be broadcast daily on Novosadska television from August this year, said their opinion on culture in the city and on the city’s candidacy for European Capital of Culture. The project will show how the people from the field of culture agree that this decades-long project of the European Union is very important for our city.
The famous painter from Novi Sad, Danijel Babic, a representative of the independent culture scene, became a member of the Arts Council of the ECoC 2021, so that these non-profit organizations and associations actively participate in the work of the team for preparation of the nomination. In addition, last week, after several years of non-cooperation, the first meeting between representatives of the city authorities and representatives of the independent scene was held.
At a meeting in the City Hall, city representatives and independent cultural scene discussed the problems and clear solutions of the same, and made the first step in finding ways of defining the status of independent artists. New models and methods of communication are the first step in creating a high quality, sustainable and supporting independent cultural scene in the process of creating quality program content, and this meeting made those steps possible.
The independent culture scene in Novi Sad has so far held four joint meetings to articulate the majority of the problems they face in their work, and for the first time they have a unified appearance in public in order to come to a constructive solutions to vital problems. The fact is that for the first time they encountered a very rapid response of the city administration, which resulted in an appointment that ran in the direction of mutual respect, with concrete proposals for the solution of problems and with the conclusion that these meetings should be held continuously in order to come to concrete solutions that would allow continues functioning of the independent culture scene in the city.
– At the moment when I got the call from the Initiatives of the Independent Culture Scene in Novi Sad, I immediately reacted and organized a joint meeting. Today we have had comprehensive talks aimed at finding common solutions to the current issues from the department of culture, and the meeting spawned numerous suggestions, ideas and, most importantly, the potential solutions to the decades-old problems that cultural scene has been facing. What I can say is that the conclusion of this meeting is a mutual desire to continue to communicate and to build t a solid path towards a common goal. The goal we seek is to raise the quality of the cultural scene of Novi Sad, with the aim to obtain the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture in 2021 – said Mr.Dalibor Rozic, a Member of the City Council for Culture.
On behalf of the Initiative of Independent Culture Scene in Novi Sad, Zoran Gajic from the Group for Conceptual Politics expressed satisfaction that their suggestions for improving the working conditions of cultural workers from the independent scene of the city, encountered a lot of understanding of the City Department of Culture.
– This is a new way of cooperation and communication with the city in terms of culture, which is based on negotiations, but we agreed that the meetings should continue in the future. We believe that the creation of a public space for dialogue and discussion about what is today’s state of culture and its independent scene is important for the campaign of Novi Sad 2021. Although we encountered legal limits related to one of our problems, at the same time we have encountered a good will from the City to come up with a common negotiating way to solve it – said Zoran Gajic.
Also, one of the conclusions from the meeting was that the representatives of the Initiative of the Independent Culture Scene in Novi Sad should engage in a public debate on the Strategy of Cultural Development of the City of Novi Sad, as representatives of the initiatives have already planned and first discussion on this subject is scheduled during the public hearing of 30 days, that is until August15th this year.
The European Capital of Culture Team, „Novi Sad 2021“, will actively follow and support all cultural processes aimed at strengthening the cultural scene of Novi Sad and its willingness to respond to the growing challenges that lie ahead.