In the past year, 9500 volunteers have participated in activities pertaining to RiHub, with more than 200 public events taking place at its premises!

A year ago, the City of Rijeka completed the project of renovating the Ex-Bernardi, which was given a fresh look and a social purpose. For over a year, the RiHub premises have been a hub for stimulating civic activism and providing information about the European Capital of Culture project, with the organisation of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture Press Centre scheduled for 2020.

RiHub was also the second facility, after the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, to be renovated as part of the European Capital of Culture project. A number of citizens and citizens’ associations have participated in the ECoC flagships – Classroom, Civil Initiatives, the Green Wave, Citizens’ Council and Volunteers. In the past year, RIJEKA 2020 and other European Capital of Culture project partners have organised over 200 public events and various activities with approximately 9500 visitors and participants, while more than 230 users have signed up for the free co-working space, which they have used temporarily, occasionally or regularly.

Ivan Šarar, Head of the City of Rijeka Culture Department, pointed out that training programmes has taken place at RiHub, with lectures given by some of the most prominent European culture event organisers, who shared their know-how with the “small” Rijeka, courtesy of the ECoC project. Šarar also noted that Rijeka, imbued with the newly acquired know-how and skills, will continue to grow, while stressing that the ECoC project had not been conceived as a year-long celebration in 2020 and that from the start, the goal has been to leave a lasting impression on the citizens of Rijeka and the region and to provide and activate models of involvement in order for the period after 2020 to remain interesting.


Left to right: Nenad Antolović, Marija Katalinić, Ivan Šarar, Irena Kregar Šegota and Bernard Koludrović

One of the most important segments of the RIJEKA 2020 – European Capital of Culture project is the programmes for involving citizens: About a thousand citizens have been involved in the participatory programmes of the European Capital of Culture as part of RiHub’s activities. It should be borne in mind that in both of the Participate campaigns, citizens were invited to submit ideas for a better, more beautiful and cleaner city as part of the Civil Initiatives and Green Wave programmes and to decide on the submitted ideas by joining the Citizens’ Council, as well as to sign up as volunteers in the project. The Civil Initiatives were aimed at projects that enhance the local community with socio-cultural and art campaigns, while the projects submitted as part of the Green Wave programme sought to create greener and tidier public spaces and to encourage fellow citizens to be more environmentally friendly.

“The programmes taking place at RiHub have shown that the European Capital of Culture is not merely an elite art programme for a narrow target audience, but a project that serves as a gateway for the citizens to become involved in the project and to realise their vision of creating a better city for a better future”, said Irena Kregar Šegota, Partnership and Communication Director of RIJEKA 2020.

A total of 141 projects have been submitted as part of the Participate! campaign. Individual support for the project ranged from HRK 10,000 to HRK 30,000, with the Civil Initiatives and Green Wave programmes receiving HRK 150,000 each.

The projects submitted as part of both of the Civil Initiatives campaigns have proved to be quite interesting to the citizens, who frequently attend the events, Marija Katalinić, the Head of the Rijeka 2020, noted, singling out the project “Make the Dream Real by Cooking Your Own Meal!”, which was initiated by the Rijeka Pensioner Association and whose goal is to teach elderly people living alone without any cooking skills how to make a variety of healthy meals. As part of the “Ri Urban Inclusive Walking 2020! Inclusive and Sustainable Rijeka” project, the Research and Support Society will organise Nordic walking classes for young people with developmental disabilities. Another wonderful initiative undertaken by the citizens for elderly townspeople are the Dance Evenings in Rijeka for Pensioners and the Elderly. Pensioners have shown great interest in the dance evenings taking place twice a month, which proves that they want to socialise and actively participate in city life. The greening of the city centre, the redevelopment of urban gardens, nurseries and a sensory garden with a composting plant or the beautification of the green roundabout are just some of the projects that were approved in the first round of the public call for submissions as part of the Green Wave project, Katalinić pointed out.

The Classroom programme, which is also a part of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project, took place at RiHub with the aim of increasing the number and quality of experts in cultural production and event organisation, which is important for the period after 2020. Over 1455 attendees have acquired knowledge and skills related to culture and cultural policy by participating in more than 60 Classroom activities, Until August of 2019, 32 programmes were held as part of the Classroom, with the training programmes covering a plethora of diverse topics across three thematic segments; space and technology, cultural management and leadership, audience development and community involvement. The three-day “Cultural Branding” conference and the two-day international conference “International Cultural Relations of the EU – Europe, World, Croatia” were held in 2019 as part of the Classroom programme. A leadership school was also organised in April by the citizens and artists from trans-Europe Halles in cooperation with the European Network of Cultural Centres.

The Classroom activities have led to the preparation of the International Development of Cultural Projects – University of Rijeka lifelong learning programme in partnership with Sciences Po Bordeaux, which should be implemented in 2020.

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, which has been given the honour of hosting this gathering that takes place in a different city each year.

The architects Ida Križaj Leko and Ana Boljar received the Bernardo Bernardi Annual Award given by the Croatian Architects’ Association for the interior design of RiHub, which will continue to operate following the conclusion of the European Capital of Culture project, said Mr. Šarar, Head of the Rijeka Cultural Department. RiHub has been designed as an open co-working platform comprising seven spatial segments: the living room, cafe, passageway, floor, gallery, classroom and basement, which overlap and are mutually complementary.