Culture for All

Culture for All

February 29, 2016, 11:13 am

 

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TAGS-CULTURE-FOR-ALL

Title of the project: Culture for All

 

Please describe your action/project

Initiated in May 2010, the “Culture for all” is an EU funded project managed by the European Union Office in Kosovo which aims to contribute to the cultural and socio-economic development of Kosovo by strengthening the cultural sector in Kosovo, through the promotion of cultural activities for all communities and by promoting inclusive educational and recreational activities through increased interaction between children form different communities and backgrounds.

The specific objectives of the project include the following:

▶ To enhance the development of the cultural sector, by providing assistance to public and private cultural operators which are expected to contribute to the overall economic and social development in Kosovo.
▶ To strengthen the cultural sector as a vector of creativity and social innovation, enhance cultural diversity and inter-cultural dialogue in Kosovo and to develop cultural industry as an asset for Kosovo’s economy and competitiveness.
▶ To support notably female artists and cultural operators in the strengthening of their capacities and visibility in the cultural scene of Kosovo.
▶ To increase inclusive educational and recreational activities in Kosovo, fostering interaction between children from different communities and backgrounds and to support, as appropriate, the Ministry of Education Science and Technology and education stakeholders in the development of the new curriculum related to the arts.

The project is structured in 3 phases. The 1st phase (pilot phase) of the project, implemented from May 2010 to October 2012, focused on supporting the civil society organisations and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport of Kosovo (MCYS) by providing assistance to different cultural activities including film, theatre, fashion festivals and small scale cultural activities throughout the country.
During this phase, the first assessment report on creative industries in Kosovo was produced. The 2nd phase of the project, initiated in April 2013 and finalised in April 2015, continued providing support to cultural operators (public and private) and to existing and new cultural events organised in the main cities in Kosovo as well as to activities fostering inter-community cultural cooperation and exchange. For instance, during this this phase two calls for applications to support local cultural initiatives were launched; study visits for Kosovo’s cultural operators to Napoli Teatro Festival in Italy in June 2013 and “Maison et Objet” in Paris in September 2014 were carried out; Women’s regional festival “Femmes fatales” involving
participants from Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, FYROM and Turkey was organised in May 2014; and “Creative Economy” workshop was held in September 2014, among other activities. The first two phases were implemented by ARS Progetti – Ambiente Risorse e Sviluppo.
The 3rd phase of the project, implemented by Interarts Foundation for International Cultural Cooperation (INTERARTS), in consortium with ARCS-Arci Cultura e Sviluppo and Culture Action Europe (CAE) and currently ongoing, aims to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the previous actions as well as to provide a long-term oriented strategic support to the cultural sector in Kosovo. It also includes aspects related to culture and education by supporting educational and recreational activities, fostering interaction between children from different backgrounds and communities, and promoting the inclusion of culture as a subject within the Kosovo’s education system. The 3rd phase of the “Culture for all” project officially started on 3 November and will run until the 2 November 2016.

Tell us something more about your project/activity:

The ongoing 3rd phase of the project is structured into IV Components:
Component I: Support to cultural operators (public and private, university, media and civil society) and to cultural events organised in Kosovo

a. Support to at least 10 annual existing and/or new cultural events in main towns in Kosovo
b. Organisation of at least 10 annual inter-ethnic cultural activities and/or activities involving vulnerable groups
c. Production of at least 3 documentaries and/or short artistic films
d. Organisation of an exhibition in the main towns in Kosovo
e. Support to annual activities to mark World Book Day on 23 April, Pristina open music night and/or fashion design activities

Component II: Promotion of cross-border/regional cultural activities and exchange including networking activities and support to mobility of cultural actors in and out of Kosovo

a. Organisation of at least 10 study visits for 20 participants to EU Member States and IPA countries to enable artists and journalists from Kosovo to actively participate and cooperate in European and/or regional cultural events/activities and ensure related media coverage in Kosovo
b. Organisation of at least two regional activities to bring together up to 30 cultural actors from Kosovo and neighbouring countries in order to foster cross-border cultural exchange and enhance inter-cultural dialogue and understanding/ Organisation of one regional conference in order to foster cross-border cultural exchange and enhance inter-cultural dialogue and understanding

Component III: Raise the international cultural profile of Kosovo, build the skills and capacities of respective institutions, cultural operators and cultural civil society organisations and develop the cultural industry as an asset for Kosovo’s
economy and competitiveness

a. Support to relevant cultural, youth and sport institutions overseen by MCYS and relevant departments in municipalities, in matters related to cultural policies and the development of cultural industries
b. Continuation and sustainability of interactive web portal is ensured and sustainability ensured through a local partner
c. Organisation of at least 5 training sessions to strengthen the capacities of cultural operators with regard to different cultural/artistic skills and techniques, but also with regard to project management, fund raising, and knowledge on EU
programmes

Component IV: Organise two editions of an annual Kosovo-wide Children Festival focusing on educational activities for students to learn about the European Union, to develop creativity and imagination, and promote increased cultural education
and learning.

a. Organise a school completion promoting innovative cultural activities, such as music, chorus, theatre, computers, creative design, etc., including the involvement of students in the final event program and prize for winners is
organised under each edition of the Festival
b. Organise two editions of an annual one-week Children Festival, which include workshops and activities taking place throughout Kosovo, encouraging playful learning about the European Union, and through that promoting creativity,
innovation, interest in science, culture, etc.
c. Conduct a situation analysis of culture as a subject within the education system, produce an assessment report including realistic and feasible recommendations and the identification of quick-impact and long-term measures to promote increased cultural education and awareness. Organise a workshop on culture and art education by involving relevant stakeholders to explore innovative activities linked to culture and education.

Duration (from May 2010 – ongoing)
Location Kosovo
Field/discipline Culture

Tell us something about who did it: individual(s), organization(s), formal, informal, their numbers, their role/skills, etc.

The project has had 3 phases. The first two phases were implemented by ARS Progetti – Ambiente Risorse e Sviluppo (http://www.arsprogetti.com/index.asp), a consulting firm working all over the world in areas related to institutional strengthening, governance and civil society, culture and cultural heritage, architecture, infrastructure and environment.
The third phase of the project is implemented by the Interarts Foundation for International Cultural Cooperation (INTERARTS), in consortium with ARCS-Arci Cultura e Sviluppo and Culture Action Europe (CAE).
INTERARTS (http://www.interarts.net/) is an international centre, based in Barcelona (Spain), which promotes knowledge about the cultural sector, its policies and its contribution to human development at local, regional and international levels. INTERARTS is particularly committed to combining research activities with the management and of international cooperation projects, in order to stimulate cultural knowledge, dialogue, professional development and networking. Applied research on cultural policies and European and international cultural cooperation have been at the core of Interarts’ work since the organisation was set up in 1995.
ARCS – ARCI Cultura e Sviluppo (http://www.arcsculturesolidali.org/) is an international non-governmental organisation of the ARCI Association (Italy) – a national association established in 1957 whose mission is to foster social and cultural promotion. With over 5,600 clubs and 1,100,000 members, ARCI is committed to the promotion and development of associations as a factor for social cohesion, as places for civil and democratic participation, to assert peace and the rights of citizenship as well as to fight any form of exclusion and discrimination. In their international solidarity and cooperation activities both ARCS and ARCI foster decentralized cooperation, a fundamental principle for all proposed interventions, in which culture is understood as the tool to foster respect for cultural diversity and to facilitate both integration in and access to society.
CAE (http://cultureactioneurope.org/) is the leading European network in the field of culture that brings together individuals and legal entities around the following objectives: i) To put culture at the heart of the public debate and decision-making at every level – both local and European – as an essential component for sustainable societies based upon respect for universal human rights and to the benefit of present and future generations; ii) To encourage the democratic development of the European Union, as the first and most ambitious attempt to establish a new form of democracy based on respect for human rights and the will to organize cultural life around a complex identity and not the hegemony of a single language, culture or religion.

Tell us something about the people who in your view received the most significant impact: who were they? How many of them?

The main actors involved in the field of culture and education to which the project is addressed to can be summarised as follows:

▶ Cultural operators form the public and private sector, developing their activities in Kosovo and/or “neighbouring countries”.
▶ National, regional and local governments, including ministries, departments or municipal directorates in charge of culture, youth and education policies in particular, as well as other relevant areas (e.g. departments or municipal
directorates in charge of regional development, economy and innovation, industry support and entrepreneurship, gender, European integration, etc.) in general. It is worth underlying that thought the three project phases close collaboration especially with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) as well as the Municipality of Pristina has been established.
►Civil society organisations such as associations, NGOs, networks, groupings of professionals and amateurs and organisations active in the field of culture and arts (independent cultural scene), education, youth, children’s rights, human rights, ethnic minority groups, women, etc. as well as protection of children with disabilities, promotion of social services and fight against discrimination. Civil society organisations are also key actors of extra-curricular youth and children activities in the country. For instance, through the project’s annual open calls over 71 cultural projects and projects inter-community and intra-community initiatives have been supported. These projects were implemented by the main cultural organisations operating in Kosovo such as DOKFEST, Kosovo Architecture Foundation, SKENA UP, Anibar, ODA Theatre, Qendra Multimedia, 7 ARTE, Stacion Centre for Contemporary Art Prishtina, etc. Moreover, 10 film projects developed by local filmmakers and production companies have also been supported.
▶ Individual artists and journalists covering cultural activities at national and international level. During the third phase and in the context of the study visit activities, over 34 individual artists and cultural professionals have had an opportunity to participate and promote their work in international events such as Classical NEXT, WOMEX and MEDIMEX music markets, Sarajevo Film Festival and La Biennale di Venezia 56th International Art Exhibition.
▶ Locally relevant cultural and education structures, including cultural centres, libraries, concert halls, theatres, opera, art galleries, exhibition halls, schools, vocation training centres, recreational centres, universities and other.
▶ Citizens as the ultimate beneficiaries of the cultural initiatives developed both by governmental and public institutions and by civil society cultural operators.

Was the impact planned from the start?

For each project’s phase the planned impact was different. The 1st phase sought to enhance cultural diversity and inter-cultural dialogue, the strengthening of the cultural sector as a vector of creativity and social innovation and the development
of cultural and creative industries as an asset for Kosovo’s economy and competitiveness. The 2nd phase continued the support provided to local operators by establishing a source of predictable funding for the Kosovo’s cultural sector. By supporting small-scale cultural events and initiatives all through Kosovo, the project sought to reaches out to a grass-root level, promoting cultural diversity, innovation and creativity. The 2nd phase also planned to raise the international cultural profile of Kosovo and promote cross-border/regional exchange, including networking and mobility of cultural actors in and out of Kosovo. Finally, the 3rd phase initiated in November 2014 and implemented by INTERARTS in consortium with ARCS-Arci Cultura e Sviluppo and Culture Action Europe, aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the previous actions as well as providing more long-term oriented strategic support to the cultural sector. For instance, it seeks to establish better partnership and collaboration with local authorities such as the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Municipality of Pristina in order to ensure the continuity of the main activities
implemented by the project beyond its life span.

Tell us something about the context: recent history, social, economic and cultural features

Kosovo’s territory is land-locked and small, a little over 10,908 km2. The resident population, according to the final results published, in 2012, by the Kosovo Agency of Statistic following a population and housing census, is estimated to range around 1.8-2.2 million. At present, Kosovo has the youngest population in Europe; the population density is close to 200 per square kilometre which is considered one of the highest in Europe as well. Over 88% of the population is Albanian. The Serb minority represents 7% whilst the remaining 5% belong to other ethnic groups, including Bosniaks, Gorani, Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians (RAE) and Turks. A large Kosovar diaspora lives in the EU and beyond.
On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. To date, Kosovo has been recognised by a number of countries worldwide, including 23 EU Member States. It has also fully accepted the obligations contained in the comprehensive proposal for the Kosovo status settlement (“Ahtisaari proposal”).
Yet the unresolved status issue remains the key obstacle to attaining the country’s overarching objectives of political integration and socio-economic development. Besides the challenges it faces in its struggle for international recognition and the status of its ethnic minorities Kosovo faces other daunting challenges. Poverty, unemployment, trade deficit and a lack of economic opportunities are serious problems in Kosovo. In fact, Kosovo is one of Europe’s poorest countries, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2,721 Euro per capita in 2012. According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS), about 34.5% of Kosovo’s population is poor, with an income level of 43 Euro per month, or less. About 12.1% of the population is very poor, and has trouble meeting its basic nutritional needs and poverty is particularly severe in rural areas as well as among Roma and other ethnic minorities.
The country has little large-scale industry and few exports. However, the existence of significant deposits of metals and lignite led to a sharp increase in exports in 2010 from this sector. Kosovo’s tie to the Euro has helped keep inflation low,
although recently it picked due to higher world market prices for food and oil. In general, Kosovo’s macro-economic policies over the past few years can be defined as stable, with a positive growth rate of average 4.5%1. Since 1999 the European Union has been an integral and active party to the international efforts to build a new future for Kosovo.

The EU has reiterated, ( Data obtained from the World Bank report on Kosovo. For further information see http://
www.worldbank.org/en/country/kosovo/overview December 2010 European Council), that Kosovo has a clear European perspective in line with the European approach for the Western Balkan region. Moreover, in 2013 Kosovo’s candidacy for the EU was given a perspective, following the European Commission’s Feasibility Study, according to which in June 2013 the Council of Europe opened the negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Kosovo. The EU remains also committed, through a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) mission for the rule of law and its Special Representative, to play a leading role in ensuring the country’s political stability.
Culture is not considered a priority policy sector by the Kosovo government and only a limited number of donors and initiatives are active in the country in support of the cultural sector. Predictable funding is lacking from both government and donor side, since culture is frequently one of the first areas which suffer following economic austerity and budget cuts. This actually means that the potential of this field as a fundamental vector of economic and social development as well as of reconciliation – as already proven in many international post-conflict areas – has not been, until now, fully exploited. However, effective collaboration with the MCYS and other donors in this field has led to both successful creative production and to interesting cultural events being promoted throughout Kosovo.
The MCYS remains the key stakeholder, with a specific department in charge of culture. In addition, each municipality comprises a directorate in charge of cultural affairs with a very low budget allocated to the sector. Within the University of Pristina, the Faculty of Arts offers arts and culture related curricula in three fields: drama, music and figurative art. There are a number of non-governmental organisations active in the cultural sector which makes an important contribution to the development of an active and lively independent cultural scene in Kosovo. The largest NGOs are based in Pristina and are mostly active in the field of theatre, music (jazz, classical music, etc.), architecture and the visual arts but their activities and projects reach out to the main cities in Kosovo.
The well-established network of cultural artistic associations also includes amateur culture and minority groups. Indeed, amateurism has a long tradition in the country and makes an essential and important contribution to the cultural and artistic life in Kosovo. Also, as regards the national minority groups, there are a considerable number of minority and multi-ethnic associations active in the field of  culture. Nevertheless, financial sustainability and development of these cultural associations depends mainly on public funds through, for instance, direct financing (MCYS) and/or different local and international funding sources.
In this respect, factors and obstacles affecting the sustainable development of cultural organisations and associations in Kosovo include, among other factors, limited financial resources, a fragile national policy for culture, the absence of cultural networks, a framework for the decentralisation processes of cultural activities at municipal level, the lack of partnership and close collaboration between existing state-funded public institutions and the independent cultural scene, insufficient offer provided by cultural centres for the performance, production, research and incubation of innovative and multidisciplinary arts (capacity-building), etc. There is also crucial need for independent institutions to engage with cultural rights, the promotion of networking intra Kosovo and internationally, and of regional cooperation that can ensure the future development and sustainability of cultural associations and advocate for open and practice based communities in the country.

Tell us what were your expected results and the actual ones

As the “Culture for all” project is still ongoing, the actual results will be assessed when the 3rd phase is concluded. Nevertheless, it is important to underline that the project has managed to activate the local cultural sector. In this regard, the financial support provided by the “Culture for all” project has been particularly important for Kosovo’s cultural operators (especially for the private sector) in order to implement their artistic projects and ideas. The great interested in the funding provided by “Culture for all” has also made visible the lack of financial resources and well-established support schemes for the local cultural operators in Kosovo.
Given that culture is not considered a priority policy sector by the Kosovo government, the “Culture for all” project aims at raising the awareness of the MCYS on the potential of the culture as a fundamental vector of economic and social development as well as of reconciliation and inter-cultural and inter-ethnic dialogue. Throughout all three phases the project has established a close collaboration with the Ministry in order to support the development of better oriented and sustainable national policy for culture; a concrete result in this respect still has to be achieved.
Another expected result of the “Culture for all” project is to raise the international cultural profile of Kosovo, to promote cross-border/regional cultural collaboration and exchange and the mobility of cultural actors in and out of Kosovo. In order to achieve this result, the project has supported different activities (conferences, workshops, discussions, art and theatre performances, exhibitions, etc.) which brought together artists and cultural operators from the Balkan region. On the other hand, the participation of Kosovo’s artists in international events (fairs, markets and festivals) on music, film, visuals arts, etc. has been supported with the aim to raise the visibility of Kosovo’s culture and artistic production at the EU and international levels as well as build partnerships and collaborations between artists, promoters, distributers and operators from Kosovo and other countries.
However, to be able to reach efficient results, there should be a permanent support or a well-established structure such as a national agency to export and promote artists and cultural operators abroad implemented by the MCYS.
Finally, the project seeks to promote the increased cultural education and awareness as well as the inclusion of culture as a subject within the education system. The “Culture for all” project has successfully implemented two cultural events for children – School-Quiz / Arts Talent Show involving 24 pupils from 8 schools and the Children Festival with the participation of 262 pupils and 13 schools. At the policy level, it is expected to prepare a report on the situation of
culture as a subject within the education system in Kosovo, including realistic and feasible recommendations and the identification of quick-impact and long-term measures to promote increased cultural education and awareness.

Tell us something about the most relevant resource inputs of your project/action: human, financial, organization, time

Each “Culture for all” project’s phase involved one Team Leader (general coordinator), Senior and Junior experts as well as other associated experts and professionals. The local office in Pristina, with all necessary equipment and office
material, was set up and the Office Manager/administrator was hired. The project also foresaw the back-stopping facilities at the home bases, including the identification of the Project Director and the organisation of all administrative and
communication issues related to the project’s implementation. The 1st phase of the project was initiated on 4 May 2010 and finalised on 22 October 2012. The 2nd phase started on 16 April 2013 and ended on 16 April 2015. Finally, the 3rd phase officially started on 3 November 2014 and will run until 2 November 2016.

Tell us how you have attained the main change: challenges, innovation, obstacles, brilliant solutions, turning points, quantum leaps, etc.

As to the main challenges of the “Culture for all” project, the following elements can be mentioned:

►Active commitment by national and local authorities (the ministries, municipalities and their cultural departments and institutions) in all the stages of the project, from its detailed design to the implementation of the foreseen activities. This commitment should be understood not only in the form of content development but, especially, in terms of the strategic choices to be made and the possibility of identifying long-term policy and financial measures to be set up, in due course, to guarantee the sustainability of those activities that are not implemented on a one-off basis but are understood, rather, as having the potential for continuity. As the culture is not considered a priority policy by the Kosovo government, the participation of the MCYS and MEST has been one of the major challenges in the implementation of the project. With the support and assistance provided by the EU Office in Kosovo, the involvement of both Ministries in some of the activities organised by the project has been achieved, nevertheless a real commitment and any strategic change with a long-term impact still hast to be reached.
►The participation of the Kosovar public and private cultural sector; their active contribution to the definition of the project’s activities in order that all the activities correspond to actual on-the-ground needs and are designed to correspond to current context and trends development. It has been important to that the cultural operators see the “Culture for all” project not only as a provider of funding, but also as a strategic partner for the development of the cultural sector in Kosovo.

Tell us the main area of impact of your project, i.e. a permanent or long lasting change in attitudes, awareness, behavior, conditions, economic status, income, occupation, perception, practice, quality of life, self-esteem, skills, social relations, etc. and for whom.

The “Culture for all” project has managed to become the main initiative that promotes and supports the cultural sector in Kosovo; it has become a reference to both public institutions and private organisations operating in the cultural and arts field in the country. Through the funding provided, the project has improved the economic situation of many cultural organisations. The ad hoc support and guidance to the selected projects has improved their quality, especially on the management level. The project has also raised the visibility of the Kosovar artists and cultural operators in the international cultural context and strengthened their competencies to promote and distribute their cultural productions abroad. It has encouraged better networking among the cultural operators in Kosovo and supported the establishment of representative professional and trade associations to develop policies, promote legislation for the protection of the rights of the
workers in the cultural sub-sector.

Which is the Big Idea behind your project/action?

The “Culture for all” project seeks to contribute to the cultural and socio-economic development of Kosovo by strengthening the cultural sector in the country.
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