Regional cooperation in SEE

In 2004, Clubture Network began gathering independent cultural organizations from former Yugoslavia which jointly initiated first a pilot-project and later the long-term program Clubture’s Regional Initiative. Through various meetings, joint work and program exchange this initiative connected more than 100 organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia.

From 2005 to 2007 it prepared and implemented the pilot-project of program exchange and collaboration in the SEE region resulting in the creation of the informal collaborative platform based on the same principles as the Clubture Network in Croatia. The pilot phase included 19 organizations in 8 collaborative projects resulting in 33 public events in all mentioned countries. With this, Clubture Network initiated connecting independent cultural scenes in the region into an informal collaborative platform.

From 2008 Clubture has focused on joint actions directed at decision makers and advocating positive changes and the development of sustainable models of collaboration on the independent cultural scene in the region and towards the EU. From 2009 to 2011 a public consultative process named Exit Europe was conducted. The central event of this process was the international conference Exit Europe – new geographies of culture held in Zagreb in November 2009. It was preceded by two pre-conference events organized in Sarajevo and Skopje in October 2009. The events offered a platform for comprehensive critical reflection on parallel processes of defining European cultural policies and EU enlargement to the Balkan region from the perspective of independent cultural scene. The tangible result of the joint efforts was the creation of the Position paper with policy recommendations which were advocated toward decision makers in culture on the EU, national and local levels. In the recommendations the independent cultural scene pointed out the need for measures which would encourage cultural development of the countries in the region and contribute to their reintegration in the common European space. Also, the recommendations contained a number of concrete suggestions whose implementation would provide the development of independent culture and encourage implementation of collaboration projects as well as permanent partnerships among organizations in the region and their counterparts in the rest of Europe. In November 2011 we published the multilingual publication Exit Europe – New Geographies of Culture, a book which positions the independent cultural scene in a wider cultural and social context. It contains an overview of the development of the independent cultural scenes in five countries as well as a wider view of the development of the regional cultural cooperation among independent organizations.               

In 2012, following the initiative of Clubture Network and other members of the informal collaboration platform, it was established Kooperativa – Regional platform for culture (Kooperativa  - Regionalna platforma za kulturu)

Kooperativa was jointly founded by 21 independent cultural organizations from the countries in the region: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia, active in all areas of contemporary cultural and artistic practice.

Kooperativa platform was founded with the purpose of creating a long-term and sustainable framework for cooperation and development of independent cultural organizations in South-Eastern Europe. In line with the basic purpose of its establishment, Kooperativa works on strengthening the capacity of independent cultural organizations through transferring good practice and knowledge; empowering the actors that contribute to the development of cultural policies in the region; and creating conditions for continuous implementation of collaborative projects between independent cultural organizations operating in different countries of South-Easter Europe.

Kooperativa has been functioning as a registered platform since 2012, and its establishment and activity are the result of a long-lasting cooperation of independent culture organizations active in this area. Partners gathered around Kooperativa have been closely cooperating since 2005, and together they have implemented a number of activities: collaborative projects within the exchange and collaboration programmes; bringing together and networking the advocates of independent culture; information and educational activities. Besides, Kooperativa and its participants have also been active in advocating for cultural policy measures that would systematically improve the international cultural cooperation and enable its long-term sustainability.

The main objectives of the Platform are:

  • to ensure the framework for long-term and sustainable project cooperation and programme exchange between the advocates of independent culture in the region
  • strengthen the capacities of organizations through the transfer of good practice and knowledge
  • empower the actors that can contribute to the development of cultural and other policies that will introduce significant changes in cultural systems of the countries of the region