flow – networking festival uses cultural differences for a project platform in the Danube area
From May 29 to 31, about 80 creative artists and scientists will meet for the inaugural flow, the “Festival of Conversation for Culture and Science” in the Serbian city of Novi Sad. The 20- to 35-year-old participants will commonly develop projects in the course of an open-ended, sustainable process. flow targets culture and knowledge producers from ten Danube countries that are shortly before their breakthroughs. It offers an independent platform enabling participants to cooperate sustainably. Novi Sad, being the first site of the three-day festival, stands for the concept’s multicultural variety. The initiative of the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs in cooperation with ERSTE Foundation deliberately links different European realms of experience in order to tap the creative potential of the upcoming cultural scenes. From now on, flow is supposed to take place yearly at changing locations in the Danube area.
Within the framework of flow, Serbia’s first open space event will take place in Novi Sad. "Open Space" is an internationally approved working environment that allows equal discussion among 50 to 500 participants. This method enables the attendees to come to practical results within the shortest period of time. Open Space can produce a full range of concrete measures. Preliminary courses of action can be questioned, horizons of thinking processes can be extended and new paths of action can be found. The elementary criteria of this method are freedom and self-responsibility. The participants stay in a group just as long as they consider it meaningful. Different participation levels are possible: some can delve into a topic while others build bridges by often changing their groups.
Competencies from ten Danube countries
The participants were selected on the recommendation of the eleven members of flow’s advisory board. The attendees will not incur any costs as arrival, board and lodging as well as possibly accruing visa fees are covered by the initiators and sponsors. The advisory board is one key element of flow. Consisting of creative artists and scientists from all participating countries, it expressly couples the projects to local unifying figures. Each country is represented by one member. As flow’s first host country, Serbia is represented by two advisory board members: the artist Zoran Pantelić and the curator Milan Vracar.
Local expeditions as part of the supporting programme Vracar also produces the performance which launches flow’s supporting programme. This dance and music concept that has been developed especially for the festival by AAC kulturanova in Novi Sad artistically takes up the symbolism of proximity and distance, familiar and strange, the flow and bridge building. On the last day of flow, the participants will undertake a real bridge building exercise during the tours guided by Pantelić and Vracar. Pantelić, who engages himself mainly with the social impacts of the new media, will guide the participants to the interdisciplinary media centre "kuda_org”, via the utopian artists’ project “Art Klinika”, to a youth centre that promotes public, opinion-forming events. Vracar sets off on a ramble to the traditional culture institutions. Involved are “Radio 021”, which made a name for itself due to its independence at the end of the regime of Milošević, the Serbian national theatre and the gallery quarter, where the oldest Serbian culture institution – Matica Srpska – can be found. Vracar summarises the significance of flow for the participating countries: “Art should always go before and further than politics. For us in Serbia flow is very important as the country is establishing links to the other Danube countries again. That often is a time-consuming process. I wish that the artists and scientists who come together for flow will develop ideas and projects in order to overcome the obstacles. For creative artists from structurally disadvantaged countries – of which Serbia still is one – the project offers the possibility to establish contacts with neighbouring European partners.”
ERSTE Foundation is involved in flow
flow was able to win ERSTE Foundation as a co-founder. Being the main shareholder of Erste Bank Group, it is active in Central and Southeast Europe and one of the biggest foundations rooted in the region. Independently and together with partners, ERSTE Foundation develops projects that deepen the social, cultural and European integration. “An Open Space event is a new form of communication for the region and the addressed producers of culture and knowledge,” says Boris Marte, Managing Director of ERSTE Foundation. “With our commitment, we want to actively contribute to the networking of contemporary culture’s key players and locations and to making the knowledge accessible that has been developed in the region for twenty years.”
flow. Festival of Conversation for Culture and Science
An initiative by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs in cooperation with ERSTE Foundation
Festival Director: Robert Punkenhofer, E: email@example.com
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