Describe the main features of the policy/measure:
Since the project “Novi Sad 2021—European Capital of Culture” was announced in January 2017, the Government of Serbia has been actively supporting it. The Decision on Declaring the Project “Novi Sad 2021—European Capital of Culture” a Cultural Project of National Importance for the Republic of Serbia was agreed at the Government session on December 29, 2016, stressing the strategic importance of this European title. Setting aside a significant amount of the Republic of Serbia's budget demonstrates the government's strong commitment to supporting this endeavor. According to the above-mentioned Government Decision, finances for the project “Novi Sad 2021—European Capital of Culture” will be provided from all levels, i.e. the republican, provincial, and the City of Novi Sad’s local budget. Aside from financial assistance, significant organizational and technical assistance was provided to ensure that the planned project activities were carried out as smoothly as possible. The official opening is scheduled for the beginning of 2022. The project was envisioned as a platform for the development of Novi Sad’s cultural and creative potentials, to enhance the city’s cultural vitality, urban regeneration, and contribute to long-term development through structural changes, as well as improve the city’s and Serbia’s international image. The program of the project “Novi Sad—European Capital of Culture” is inspired by the slogan “For New Bridges,” which embodies the idea of building new bridges of cooperation and exchange between artists and organizations from Novi Sad and Serbia, and the European cultural scene. Four programs "bridges" were established, each symbolically named after Novi Sad’s bridges, i.e., values that the city wishes to promote in the context of European integration, as well as beliefs that it has and aspires to share with all Europeans: Freedom, Rainbow, Hope, and Love. The "Rainbow Bridge" focuses on migration and peace policies, the "Love Bridge" celebrates the city's multiculturalism, the "Freedom Bridge" advocates for a better position for women and increased youth activism, and the "Hope Bridge" aspires toward decentralization and strengthening human and space resources.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?:
Just some of the greatest achievements so far: • “Project 33” directed to strengthening the capacities of cultural institutions in Novi Sad for strategic planning, resulting in all almost cultural institutions adopting five-year development plans. • “Cultural Stations Network”—the creation of this network was another important project, as it increases the city’s spatial capacities to serve art and culture. So far, eight cultural stations were opened, which are crucial in decentralizing culture and implementing cultural programs in local communities, especially during the pandemic. Some of the cultural stations catered to specific audiences: youth, children, ethnic communities. • The call "Artists. Now!" was launched to strengthen the cultural scene in Novi Sad by establishing a network of cultural stations, decentralizing culture, and expanding the audience. As a result of this call, funds were awarded for 42 projects, implemented in Novi Sad and the surrounding areas. The program call, issued at the end of 2020, was the pinnacle of all processes aimed at bringing new projects for the cultural capital year, with many of them aimed at various levels of audience involvement. • A Novi Sad volunteer service was opened as part of the project, participating in the first two years of work in more than 145 activities. • “Kaleidoscope of Culture” aims to encourage citizens’ participation and promote a culture of togetherness. Every year, the program begins with an open call for artists, with more than half of the programs held in the city’s outskirts, where volunteers play an important role. • Support to artists’ mobility was achieved through the program “Kizuna,” which has been implemented since 2017 in collaboration with the organization EU-Japan Fest from Tokyo. Calls for artists and cultural professionals are launched several times a year. The chosen ones participate in an exchange program in Japan. The program served 29 artists and professionals from 2017 to 2020. Besides the mentioned activities, the project includes many other activities, carried out by all cultural parties in Novi Sad and many organizations and institutions outside Novi Sad.
Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD:
Around 75 million EUR (around 90 million USD) were invested into implementing the project “Novi Sad 2021—European Capital of Culture” from all sources of finance (City of Novi Sad, Republic, Province, sponsors, EU).
Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure:
|Name of partner|
All city, provincial, and republican cultural institutions, around 200 associations of citizens involved in culture and the creative industries, EUNIC Cluster Serbia, embassies from numerous countries, EU Japan Fest, etc.
Has the implementation of the policy/measure been evaluated?:
If yes, what are the main conclusions/recommendations?:
Because the “European Capital of Culture” is a project of the European Commission, this institution is in charge of evaluating it, i.e. its panel of ten independent professionals from various disciplines of culture and art. The main findings reveal that the European Capital of Culture project is being carried out on time and in a high-quality manner, by the plans and strategies, and following the highest European cultural policy standards. So far, two monitoring cycles have been completed, in 2017 and 2019. As a result, two reports have been published regarding the progress of project implementation, as well as recommendations for further improvement. The main conclusions from 2019 show that: • the program narrative, imagined as connecting four bridges, is well-structured; • the strategic framework for implementing the European Capital of Culture is strong and professional; • the activities of building capacities of local public cultural institutions and non-governmental organizations are going on well; • there is strong political support at all levels; • external collaboration and the associated capacity-building programs are well-developed. Both have the potential to have a good impact on the European Capital of Culture heritage in Novi Sad. The main recommendations of the evaluator are to include more artists and improve the program’s artistic vision, to include more vulnerable groups as producers and audience members, and to take a more strategic approach to audience development in general. Since 2020, the Foundation's team, as the project implementer, has been committed to adhering to these recommendations.