29 Jun Cultural Network Danube
Why not have a richer cultural life in the neighborhood? It was an issue that has bothered us for a long time and motivated us to do something in the local community. For the first time we developed an idea, wrote it with a lot of confusion and applied for funding, believing it was great and that it would be great to be realized. The idea was recognized by the donor and was supported with great support from the partners. “Culture, For Real”, as we called it, was made up of sets of educational workshops that took place in Stari Banovci in the park next to the Danube, to the general satisfaction of both us and the participants. The realization allowed us to see the importance and strength of association, as well as the benefits of knowledge sharing. After the completed action we also realized that it is necessary to officially register and continue to engage in civic activism.
Over the years, through the organization of various workshops for different audiences, we have matured, and so have our ideas. The result of this development is the project “Cultural Heritage of Fisherman”, which we realized in cooperation with the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade, which received financial support from the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia in the competition for financing and co-financing projects in the field of cultural heritage in the Republic of Serbia in 2016. The aim of this project is to show that museums, as state institutions of national importance, can more effectively engage in the construction and improvement of civil society. Their functioning in cooperation with civil society organizations can encourage improvements in the quality of interpretation of heritage to visitors. Since civil society organizations mostly represent an informal type of learning, it influences the acquisition of knowledge in the long run. The museum thus approaches its audience in a new way, responding to their needs and interests, representing places where visitors can see the exhibits, which increases their curiosity and interest. By introducing a museum object into life, it contributes to the stimulation of the process of learning, and the Museum approaches its audience by modernizing the interpretation of heritage by various techniques used in non-formal education. Considering the established practice of recommended visits to museums in the curriculum for elementary school education system of the Republic of Serbia, special programs are created for the work with children in museums adapted to a certain school age. The “Cultural Heritage of Fisherman” project not only supports this concept, but also responds to the needs of teaching subjects.
The national tradition was introduced after the alarming reports of researchers (ethnolinguists, ethnologists, folklorists, ethnomusicologists) who warned of the rapid extinction of many important elements of traditional culture and their disappearance from practice and, finally, from life itself. This project supports the theory and implementation of activities that directly introduce the youngest generations through an appropriate theme aimed at revitalizing tradition. This is one of the ways that the extinction of these important elements of traditional culture and their disappearance from practice is prevented or at least postponed. By realizing the project, students can not only learn the basics of museum activities and understand the importance of museums as institutions, but through fun also learn about the importance of cultural heritage for one country, people or a group of people.
The project supported raising and cultivating awareness of cultural values and also strengthened the opportunities for them to continue to last. Upon completion of the project, we think that the joint activities of various museums and state institutions and CSOs contribute to the understanding of heritage and other social constructs from a wider perspective. With this type of project, it is possible to establish a stable cooperation with civil society organizations and support the creation of space for project planning of specific contents and activities that in different ways elaborate and harmonize the work of state institutions with community development strategies.
Over time, we have learned a lot and we still have more to learn, so we are still motivated to continue to be active, because activism itself is an inexhaustible source of knowledge.
This story is a part of the aspirations of the TACSO Serbia and TACSO by Civic Initiatives to promote good practices of civil society organizations in Serbia and motivate other organizations that invest on daily basis their energy and efforts in creating a better society for all citizens of Serbia.