Classroom, an education programme and flagship of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project devised to build new and enhance existing knowledge and skills among cultural professionals, was announced on Friday, 4 October, in Varaždin. The Rijeka 2020 company, which is tasked with the implementation of the European Capital of Culture 2020 programme, and the City of Varaždin have signed an agreement to collaborate in the exchange of the programme for enhancing capacity in cultural production that was devised as part of the Classroom programme.
The entire Classroom programme was envisioned as a coherent unit of research, educational and auxiliary activities that includes active design, developmental activities, interventions, motivational processes and the transformation of community potential into productive, efficient and long-term human and cultural capital. A total of 1455 citizens of Rijeka and other cities and towns have attended the education programmes organised by Rijeka 2020 in the past period.
The City of Varaždin has acknowledged the results of the Classroom education programme and will adopt a similar model for organising and implementing educational activities, which, as a candidate for the 2022 European Youth Capital, it sees as an opportunity to enhance community capacity. The programme created by the Classroom, in accordance with practices from Rijeka, will primarily focus on the successful continuous implementation of education programmes with regard to the needs of the cultural sector in the city of Varaždin.
Sandra Malenica, Deputy Mayor of Varaždin, points out that the Rijeka 2020 Classroom programme, which will be specially adapted for Varaždin, will enhance the capacities of all future users and participants in cultural events in Varaždin. Ms. Malenica also noted that “culture and art are not a mere decoration for society, but activities of engagement, if approached as such. Rijeka has made a huge leap forward in that regard and I hope that a morsel of that atmosphere spreads to Varaždin and that as many residents of Varaždin as possible will attend the opening ceremony of the European Capital of Culture, as well as all the other programmes prepared by Rijeka 2020 for next year.”
The Classroom programme prepares Rijeka for 2020 and shines a path for the future development of culture in Rijeka
Since 2017, there have been 15 workshops, 8 seminars, pre-conference programmes and conferences, 6 continuous education programmes comprising 32 workshops and 312 mentoring hours, and 3 international projects provided for the 1455 attendees and participants of the Classroom programme. As part of the Classroom programme, 122 national and international keynote speakers have given lectures and seven training course material books have been compiled to aid in seminars, workshops and the pre-conference programme.
The themes and content of the activities held thus far and the number of citizens and cultural workers involved prove that the Classroom programme contributes to the growth of the entire cultural sector in Rijeka and the region and enhances the growth of the creative industries. The aforementioned education programmes have touched upon a variety of topics pertinent to the implementation of the European Capital of Culture project. The Classroom programme also proves that coveted titles provide an opportunity to significantly contribute to the personal and professional growth of individuals participating in the programmes and to enhance the organisations implementing the programmes.
Irena Kregar Šegota, Director of Partnerships and Communications of Rijeka 2020, pointed out that Rijeka approached the preparation of the European Capital of Culture project and the candidacy by taking into account three basic aspects. The first was the building of a cultural infrastructure that Rijeka had lacked, the second was the organisation of the culture and arts programme for 2020, while the third, and probably the most important in the long run, was investment in the education of people, audience development and the enhancement of the cultural sector in order to resume implementing cultural programmes even after holding the title in 2020.
The Classroom also devised and conducted the Apprenticeship in Culture training course in the second semester of the 2018/2019 academic year in cooperation with the University of Rijeka. Apprenticeships in the form of volunteering at international and national cultural events in June of this year have been organised as part of the continuous education regarding Cultural production for all attendees who completed all the modules and received their course completion certificates.
Also being prepared is the International Development of Cultural Projects – University of Rijeka lifelong learning programme in partnership with Sciences Po Bordeaux. The programme is currently being developed and should be implemented in the summer of 2020.
The Classroom education programmes draw attention to the needs of the audience and increased chances for employment in the labour market
Four continuous education programmes have been at the forefront of the Classroom’s activities. “Applause Please” is a programme aimed at cultural workers with the goal of achieving a better understanding of the audience and their needs and improve the cooperation between various cultural organisations. The “Organisation Development” programme, which deals with acquiring useful knowledge required for drafting project proposals for EU funding, channelling funds for the implementation of programmes, project management etc. has been conducted in cooperation with the SMART association. “Production in Culture” is an educational programme that has reached out to, among others, unemployed people by enabling them to acquire skills and competencies necessary for improving one’s position in the labour market and entering the world of entrepreneurship. “Technical Productions of Culture and Art Events” is an education programme aimed at gaining knowledge pertaining to the technical aspects of event production such as: safety, exhibition and scenic installation, stage design, structure installation, basics of stage lighting etc.
A virtual library holding all the Classroom training course material books
Seven training course material books from the seminars and conferences that have taken place have been released as part of the Classroom programme. These course material books will be available in the Virtual Library that is being developed and will contain educational material and documents, as well as all the video material created during the education programmes. The titles of the Classroom programme publications echo the names of individual education programmes: How to Communicate the ECoC?, Applause Please!, New Models of Cultural Resource Management, Community Involvement / Socially Committed Art Practices, Business 2 Culture, Cultural Event Organisation and Cultural Branding.
The Classroom programme contributed to establishing partnerships with international organisations, such as the IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts, Tandem Cultural Capitals, Trans Europe Halles and the Cultural Diplomacy platform.
Rijeka will host the central plenary session of the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM).
From 24 to 27 October, Rijeka will host the central plenary session of the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM), which focuses on the relationship between the audience and the artist. Almost 500 artists, performers, cultural professionals, producers and cultural managers from around the globe are expected to come to Rijeka. Rijeka thus proudly joins such cities as Berlin, Sofia, Budapest, Glasgow, Krakow and Copenhagen, which have hosted the International network for contemporary performing arts, whose continuous aims include international co-productions, collaborative projects and processes, artist mobility and the exchange of professional knowledge. The central topic of the IETM plenary session in Rijeka is the audience, the involvement of communities with the aim of fostering a new understanding of audience development and extending existing concepts related to audience development.
The Classroom’s upcoming plans regarding the institutionalisation of action carry a positive message for the future of culture in Rijeka. Upon completion of the Classroom’s education programmes, Rijeka will gain more experts in cultural production and event organisation, which provides important assurance for the period after holding the title in 2020.
In the weeks ahead, the European Capital of Culture will continue the announcements of the extensive cultural programme that will be taking place in Rijeka during 2020 and that will continue until the end of September and well into October of this year. With its programme, Rijeka 2020 – the European Capital of Culture joins the celebration of European cultural diversity next year. The values embedded in the programme concept and reflected in the programme itself are courage, uniqueness, progressiveness and ambition. All these values are the building blocks of Rijeka’s “Port of Diversity” to be experienced by Croatian and international audiences in an extensive art programme that will take place during 2020.