(from a festival call out)
In the recent years, Serbia has turned from a country of transit for
undocumented migrants into a country where migrants are stuck for
increasingly longer periods of time. Under the pressure of approaching the
EU membership, Serbia has developed its independent asylum system and
reinforced border controls and deportation mechanism on the border with
Macedonia. It has also obediently cooperated with the EU's efforts to keep
migrants out of EU -- it has signed the readmission agreement with the EU
and developed the cooperation with Frontex, the EU agency for the
management and operational cooperation on the external borders of the EU.
The result of this is the increased repression of migrants in Serbia.
Hundreds of undocumented migrants living in make-shift jungles close to
the Schengen border with Hungary (especially in Subotica) are daily
persecuted by the police and fear violence, arrest, detention and
Unfortunately there is a complete lack of migrant solidarity
mobilisations, and a relative lack of a discourse, critical of the
repressive EU policies and their externalisation in Serbia.
That's why one of the focuses of the ZAF – the Zrenjanin Antifascist
Festival – this year will be the resistance against the border system in
the Serbian context and the critique of the EU migration politics.
If you are interested in attending the festival, or participating in the
program, especially if you need accommodation in Zrenjanin, please let us
know that you are coming in advance. Please note that accomodation places
are very limited, so providing your own sleeping arangements would be
great. Please get in touch with the organizers to consult the options of
If you come by car, it would be great if you could bring blankets,
sleeping bags and other warm stuff that the undocumented migrants, stuck
in Subotica on their way towards the EU, will be in need of, as the colder
söndag 30 september 2012
fredag 28 september 2012
I am writing to draw your attention to the crisis of cultural institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and would like to invite you to join the platform CULTURESHUTDOWN.NET, initiated by a group of international academics, artists, librarians and cultural activists seeking solutions for this crisis. Seven of the main national cultural institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- most notably, the National Museum, the National and University Library, and the National Art Gallery in Sarajevo, symbols of the still disputed state of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- are about to be closed down due to a lack of funds. The underlying cause for this crisis is the unresolved ethnic conflict after the 1990s war, and the local government's failure to ensure operations through the clarification of these institutions' legal status and the design of adequate funding mechanisms. Notwithstanding that the functioning and programing these institutions need to be analyzed/revised/developed, the painful result of their current status is that now the most important cultural artifacts from Bosnia-Herzegovina’s past and present are not only to become invisible to locals and visitors alike, but are severely threatened by decay and looting.
The platform CULTURESHUTDOWN.NET connects artists, museologists, librarians, historians, and activists living in Bosnia and across the globe interested in researching, analyzing and intervening in this crisis. Operating on a voluntary basis, CULTURESHUTDOWN.NET is unconnected to a government or political party. Our aim is to raise worldwide awareness about the problem though a variety of instruments and media, ranging from the provision of real-time information online to collaborative art projects and the drafting of cultural policy recommendations.
What we have done so far
- We set up a website that serves as a platform for exchange of news, ideas and reports
- We completed a survey of the status quo, conducting interviews with representatives of the respective institutions; you can read the summary of institutions' problems here
- We contacted over 80 cultural producers in Bosnia-Herzegovina, including all ethnic groups and all spheres of public life/institutions that are related to this concern, asking for their critical reflections, which we are currently posting online, as they come in
- We have been translating all relevant news and material from BHS into English, and vice versa, to enable a better communication among people interested in this concern worldwide
- Publicize the crisis and our platform internationally, though both academic networks/publications and mass media
- Issue a public call "Ideas for Solutions", creating a collective document that would summarize results of the call
- Try to impose pressure on Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly to take on this concern into their agenda (so far, the local politics' strategy was to completely ignore this problem, or provide temporary funding solutions that helped them survive for a few months), though political channels of EU and USA
- Fundraise and commission experts' reports: 1. A legal analysis of the Bosnian Constitution and the Dayton Peace Accord in regard to the cultural policy in BH; 2. A comparative study/analysis of funding structures of national museums, galleries, archives and libraries worldwide; 3. International trends in programing of national institutions, such as museums, galleries, archives
- Start drafting policy recommendations that can be useful for Bosnian politicians in resolving the crisis
- Write a text that we can post online, reacting either on the situation of these institutions in Bosnia with a site-specific critical reflection, or a more general text highlighting the role and importance of culture and cultural institutions more broadly
- Send us your ideas on how this crisis could be revolved
- Send us tips about fundraising, if you know any sources that could help us cover the operational costs of our platform (translations, website admin, commissioned reports, etc.) and short-term funding sources that could help remedy the crisis
- Connect us / recommend us to your eventual links in the political circles of the EU and the USA
- If you have/know of a project / a class / an article related that can be helpful for finding solutions to this crisis, please share it with us
- Join our list of supporters, by sending us your portrait that we can post on the list of supporters and contributors
- Help us raise awareness about this concern, by forwarding this email to your colleagues and academic networks
I attach our Press Release at the end of this email, which will give you more information about the problem and its background.