4th Sarajevo World Café – Our Expectations: Future of Culture and Arts in Bosnia and Herzegovina

After returning from the 68th European Forum Alpbach, members of the Initiative Group Alpbach ih Sarajevo organized the 4th Sarajevo World Café on September 26th at the School of Economics and Business. The main theme of the latest World Café was Our Expectations: Future of Culture and Arts in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In focus were discussions about the future of culture and art in our country, as well as about the role of all relevant institutions (non-government and government) in improving the culture and arts in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Patron of the event was Austrian Ambassador in Sarajevo, H.E. Donatus Köck, and leading the discussions were Dr Claudia Schmeid, Austrian Federal Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Mr Wolfgang Petritsch and Mr Wagner Gottfried.

This was a great opportunity for all participants to share their thoughts and their perspectives on the topic. Some of the participants were Haris Čalkić (association URBAN, Sarajevo), Dobrila Govedarica (Open Society Fund), Petra Bischof (Prohelvetia, Sarajevo), Ena Đozo (Sarajevo Film Festival), Hana Stojić (TRADUKI) and many others.

During the three discussion sessions and the closing panel, participants exchanged ideas on the opportunities for international cultural cooperation, as well as on uniqueness of BH art and the challenges the non-profits from art and culture face in their everyday work.

Furthermore, it was pointed out that BH arts during past 15 years had noticeable war and post-war flavour. Local artists managed to create a series of successful movies, exhibitions and other projects, but all those were mostly the result of the individuals’ motivation rather than outcome of a systematic and strategic approach of the ministries in charge.

The actual situation in this realm is also illustrated by closing of several museums and libraries in our country. What we have to do is to educate youth about the culture, but also try not to have a focus on culture only during the festivals and other major events. There is a space for improvement and international cooperation is a huge potential: our audience can see the culture of other countries and consequently appreciate uniqueness of the local art even more. Remarkable illustration of the investment in culture comes from Austria, where more of the financial means is allocated annually to culture, than to the military.

Minister Schmied summed up the discussion with the local representatives of art, culture and non-governmental organizations pointing out the importance of a stable financial support to the culture and arts. She added that society needs to appreciate the art, promote it and buy it. She also stressed the importance of developing educational programs on culture and arts in schools. But, even with (ideally) strong support by the government, above all artists need to remain independent.

One of the conclusions was that the international networking of the arts and culture representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina will have a huge role in the progress of our country.

The organizer of the event was Initiative Group Alpbach in Sarajevo (IGAS), the event patrons were Austrian Embassy in Sarajevo and Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. The event was kindly supported by the Student Parliament University of Sarajevo (SPUS) and the School of Economics and Business in Sarajevo.

Source: http://igas.ba/

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