International Migrants Day is celebrated on 18 December.

For Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture this date is important for several reasons. Migrations, along with water and work, are the main themes of the Rijeka – ECOC programme, as they are the main features of the city both historically and in contemporary times. We have thus dedicated the Kitchen flagship specifically to migrations.

The Kitchen flagship actively deals with the modern phenomena of people seeking a better life abroad, as well as other people coming to our city to find a better life for themselves.

Therefore, we are celebrating International Migrants Day with a discourse programme (public discussion), cultural-artistic programme (the fantastic Mimika Orchestra), and gastronomical programme, which will all take place on 18 December in the Palach Youth Cultural Centre.

The programme touches upon several aspects of migrations and migrant labour. Through the presentation of research and personal experiences, as well as the production of artistic and gastronomical collectives, we are going to discuss what bothers us here and now, as women and youth as workers, outside of the binary paradigm “us” and “them”, with the aim of imagining different policies and practices.


Public discussion: diapers, busses and Guiness

The public discussions focuses on a “local” topic – economic migrations of women who move to Western Europe to work as caretakers, and young people who are more often looking to make a better living somewhere else. The discussion will attempt to provide solutions for this permanent crisis with the help of sociologist Jelena Ostojić and Slovenian unionist Goran Lukić.

Jelena Ostojić is a member of the Organization for Labor Initiatives and Democratization and a sociologist dealing with employment policies, social rights and labour marker inequalities. She is going to talk about the migrations of young people in the context of national (and European) policies dedicated to reducing unemployment among youth.

Goran Lukić is an acknowledged Slovenian union activist and the former secretary of the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia where his job involved dealing with employment issues, links to other social subjects and migrant issues. Today he is the president of “Delavska svetovalnica”, which deals with organising migrant labourers in trade unions.


Gastro: Taste of Home

The Taste of Home association for intercultural cooperation is presenting their work and preparing Middle-Eastern specialties for the event attendees.

Taste of Home employs migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, i.e. vulnerable social groups who have difficulties finding their place in the reduced Croatian labour market. The association finds solutions to integrate migrants and refugees, and promotes social entrepreneurship and their economic emancipation.


Concert: Mimika Orchestra

Mimika is an orchestra with a rich international history which combines jazz, world and artistic expressions. It was founded in London in 2010 by composer and multi-instrumentalist Mak Murtić and has since then grown to become on the most creative, trans-idiomatic orchestras which takes the audience on an adventure where jazz meets other musical genres and art forms. The sixteen member orchestra is composed of vocals, brass and wooden wind instruments, a rhythmic section and live electronics. The sound produced is a unique combination influenced by classical, traditional, jazz and contemporary music.

The orchestra will present compositions from their album “Divinities of the Earth and the Waters”, imagined as a funeral ceremony taking place in the pre-industrial Balkans.

Mimika performed at the London Jazz Festival in 2012, 2014 and 2015, Love Supreme Jazz Festival in 2014, Latitude Festival in 2014, Olympic Festival 2012, as well as renowned clubs in London such as The Vortex Jazz Club, RichMix, The Forge, Union Chapel and Courtyard Theatre, and they have performed on radio stations including BBC and Jazz FM.


The public discussion begins at 6 PM, the kitchen opens at 7:30, and the concert will take place at 9 PM.

And all of that for free!


The International Migrants Day celebration in Rijeka is supported by the Council of Europe’s Intercultural Cities Network, a network of cities which promote openness, cultural diversity and inclusivity, of which Rijeka is a member.