The closing event of the three-year project “Balkan Initiative for Cultural Cooperation, Exchange and Development”, BICCED, started on Thursday in Belgrade's Youth Centre.
At the conference “Balkan Cultural Policies - What Is (to be) Done”, culture experts and speakers from the region review the cultural policies implemented in the Balkans over the past three years based on more than 300 analytical pieces produced as part of the project.
BIRN's regional director Gordana Igric opened the conference by saying that BICCED has raised interest among the journalists and that now after three years there are 50 journalists in the group from the region that are interested in cultural polices.
"We have planted a seed and all should know that cultural policy is important because it reflex national identities in the Balkans but also financial power of the states themselves".
The director of SEEcult.org and project partner Vesna Milosavljevic explained that the name of the conference is taken over revolutionary novel by Nikolay Chernyshevsky -What Is to Be Done? "This is an open call for all of us to think what should be done, so the situation in the cultural field would have change."
"For three years BICCED journalists achieved much in realising the context of cultural polices in the Balkans. With the help of the experts and cultural workers journalists have managed to analyse and investigate topics that weren’t in the focus of the society. The articles dealt with laws on culture and its influence on various areas of arts. More than 300 hundred pieces were produced", said Nemanja Cabric, BIRN Culture Watch project coordinator.
BICCED has aimed to map the main problems and tendencies in the field of culture in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia, and to present them to decision-makers and the public, thus contributing to finding solutions for problems and initiating needed reforms.
BICCED was implemented by the Balkan Investigative Regional Reporting Network, BIRN, and by SEEcult.org, and was funded by the Swiss Cultural Programme in the Western Balkans (SCP).
The conference brings together representatives of cultural institutions and media from the region, including journalists trained during the project.
In the first part of the conference Jelena Knežević, executive director of BITEF from Belgrade; Lutfi Dervishi, executive director of Transparency International in Albania and media lecturer at the University in Tirana; Nihad Kreševljaković, director of SARTR theatre from Sarajevo; and Robert Alagjozovski, independent cultural consultant, art and culture critic from Skopje, gave an overview of cultural policies in the region and the main problems faced by cultural organisations and institutions over the past three years.
In the afternoon session, the focus of the work during three panel discussions will be on the financial crisis and its consequences, new networks and initiatives in independent cultural scenes and the lack of space for culture in the media and possibilities for improving this situation.
Panelists and participants in the event include Lola Joksimović (Cultural Contact Point Serbia, Belgrade), Amila Ramović (Ars Aevi, Sarajevo), Josif Papagjoni (Center for Art Studies, Tirana), Dimitrije Vujadinović (Balkankult Foundation, Belgrade), Sašo Stanojković (artist, Skopje), Albert Heta (Stacion - Center for Contemporary Arts, Pristina), Milica Pekić (Kiosk/Kooperativa, Belgrade), Darka Radosavljević Vasiljević (Remont/ Independent Culture Scene of Serbia, Belgrade), Iskra Gešoska (Kontrapunkt/Jadro Assotiation, Skopje), Dražen Crnomat (UNSA Geto, Banja Luka), Marija Đorđević (Politika, Beograd), Janja Sesar (Kurziv/Kulturpunkt, Zagreb), Jasmin Duraković (Depo.ba, Sarajevo), Nebojša Ilijevski (Center for Media Activities, Skopje), Ben Andoni (Gazeta Shiptare, Tirana) and Nataša Novaković (blogger, Banja Luka).
The sessions will be moderated by Aleksandar Brkić (University of Arts, Belgrade), Gordana Igrić (BIRN) and Vesna Milosavljević (SEEcult.org), and will be followed by questions from the floor and discussion.
The conclusions of the conference and its panel discussions will be used for a common appeal and recommendation letter to all decision-makers and other relevant stakeholders in the region, as well as for the BICCED project follow up.
The end of the conference will include a presentation of the Culture Watch Award, established by the BICCED project with the aim of promoting an investigative and analytical approach to journalism in culture.
BIRN Serbia and Pro Concept held their fifth national budget forum at the National Assembly in Belgrade on 27 November, where panelists and participants offered their opinions and debated the proposed 2014 budget and the projected outcomes of the Serbian administration’s budgetary policy.
Journalists received bespoke investigative training as they prepared major cross-border stories into crime and corruption in the Balkans.
BIRN’s “Life in Kosovo” has been recognized for reporting on women in a TV programme.
Bardh Shkreli, a journalist for BIRN Kosovo, has won a third-place award in November from the German Society for International Cooperation, GIZ and the Association of Professional Journalists of Kosovo for education reporting.
Romania’s national journalistic competition Superscrieri has given awards to Elena Stancu and Vlad Odobescu, both fellows this year of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
Eight journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, BIH, Croatia, and Serbia participated in a weeklong study visit to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, in October. The Tribunal's Outreach Programme organised the visit in cooperation with BIRN BiH.
BIRN Macedonia announces a call for journalists for an upcoming training session for investigative journalists.
Participants in this year’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence will meet for their final seminar and awards ceremony in Zagreb, Croatia from December 11-14.
During its EU membership negotiations, Serbia will be assessed on how well it has dealt with war crimes cases, European Commission official Pierre Mirel told a BIRN conference.