Piet Forger in Karlovac and Dubrovnik
As part of “Knowledge exchange and capacity building” activity within the “Approaches to Participatory Governance of Cultural Institutions” project, Piet Forger and representatives of Kultura Nova Foundation held meetings with representatives of cities of Karlovac and Dubrovnik, on 01/12/2016 and 02/12/2016.
Distinguished Belgian cultural professional presented traditional models of socio-cultural institutions in Belgium, initiated by local government, and also the “bottom up” initiatives of artists and/or citizens that led to creation of new models of cultural institutions. Forger, who is the Head of the Department for culture of the City of Leuven since 2014, also talked about a number of realized or ongoing projects in his city: the OPEK center (governed by independent artistic organizations), De Hoorn creative incubator and Vaartopia urban plan, all of which significantly contributed to the revival of neglected industrial heritage and implementation of new values and dynamics into the city fabric. Forger spoke about the challenges in realization of those projects and gave references for decision makers wishing to upgrade local chances for sustainable development of culture and the city.
In Karlovac, on 01/12/2016, Martina Furdek Hajdin, Head of Administrative department for city planning, construction and environment, presented the project of revitalization of “Hrvatski dom” (Croatian home), developed by City of Karlovac with civil society organizations and local community. After a series of workshops designed to detect the needs of organizations and local community, the City made the analysis of building’s present state and the project of its revitalization. The reconstruction is planned in phases, so the reconstructed parts of the building can be used as self-contained functional entities. The project and feasibility study contains three potential scenarios: the first one being constructive recovery of the building; the second one recovery, adaptation and necessary upgrade, while the third one predicts implementation of both afore mentioned outcomes along with the construction of eastern and western annex of the building. With the presentation of this project and following discussion, City of Karlovac has emphasized the importance given to inclusion of civil society organizations and local community in planning and using the facilities of “Hrvatski dom”.
A day later, in Dubrovnik, Jelena Brbora, representative of City of Dubrovnik Development Agency, presented the project of revitalization of Gučetić-Lazarević mansion. The City plans to convert the mansion into a production space for art projects by civil society organizations, while Lazareti, whose management plan the City recently approved, would become a presentational venue for art, as well as production space. The City of Dubrovnik announced the plan of restructuring industry facilities in Komolac, which would be also administrated to civil society organizations and local community. After presentation of Belgian and local experiences, a discussion about the challenges Dubrovnik faces and opportunities to enhance sustainable development of local community with heritage revitalization projects for cultural purposes started. Within the discussion, the subject of finding the most appropriate way to govern those new models of cultural institutions arose, considering ownership structure and including civil society organizations and local community in decision making and programming.