ZKDS – Slovenia

AMATEO MEMBER: Zveza kulturnih društev Slovenije / Association of Cultural Societies of Slovenia

Member country: Slovenia
Contact person: Dr. Sara Špelec, Secretary


The association ZKDS is a non-governmental organization based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, uniting municipal and regional societies of cultural associations and sectoral associations. As part of civil society, it represents the interests of amateur culture on a national level and is, as such, the original and direct voice of the people who work in cultural associations and formulate the proposals and requirements for further operation and development of amateur culture.

The association is the successor to the nation-wide cultural organization in Slovenia which – with its activities in the 19th and 20th centuries – significantly contributed to the formation of national identity and the creation of an independent state in 1991.


The main task of the association is to advocate for the field, i.e. to be involved in all phases of development and adoption of strategic acts, national programs and other development documents of the country, as well as to set uniform standards for working conditions and funding, all in the field of amateur culture. ZKDS are a direct representative of amateur culture in Slovenia, and act as a negotiator with the authorities and holders of certain rights (copyright, business, tourism, education), which are the basis for the implementation of our programs, and present a bridge that connects us with professional associations.

The association ZKDS supports:

  • a multitude of amateur cultural creations,
  • diversity of areas of amateur cultural creation (maintaining tradition and enabling modern forms of activity),
  • quality of amateur creativity,
  • professional culture – reciprocity of cooperation
  • works hand-in-hand with other associations, maintaining at the same time an autonomous position.

In performing all these tasks, close cooperation with the state Public Fund for Cultural Activities – JSKD (also a member of Amateo), which is the main operational implementer of the adopted cultural policy and programs in this field, is essential to ZKDS.

Why Amateo?

ZKDS joined the Amateo network because of the opportunity to learn about experiences and good practices of both neighbouring and distant cultures and to subsequently try to apply them in our environment, but also because of the opportunity to meet new people – our colleagues with whom we share the love of art and culture, and many times a similar worldview as well. Conversely, we want to bring our own good practices closer to foreign cultures, which may then imitate an approach or a way of working of ours – those belonging to a tiny country, but with a well-established tradition of amateur culture, which is practically anchored in the ‘national gene’.

Importance of international connections?

We are aware of the fact that cultural participation of people, the opportunity to develop their talents, enabled by the universality of art and culture, is one of the most important elements of preserving humanity, which is indispensable for the improvement of both individual lives and nations in general. Europe has already done a plethora of good deeds in this regard but also in the fields of environment.  It can also help other environments and at the same time take its own creativity to a new level by incorporating elements of other cultures into its own. If we do this together, we will be more successful.

Future hopes?

We believe that Amateo will strengthen its role and gradually attract to its activities other organizations, not only from Europe but from all over the world. That would be a success and a huge benefit for all of us. Now more than ever, culture must be a link between different nations and peoples who believe in the sense and the beauty of human existence.

If you want to read more about ZKDS, please visit their web page!

Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!

Postcards from Home Workshop – December



From Galway, European Capital of Culture 2020 to future European Capital of Culture Kaunas (2022), create the ‘Garde’ design using Lithuanian straw to construct your own ‘sodas’ (a garden). This hour-long online workshop led by Violeta Dabrilienė and Kūrybos ir užimtumo stuba, VšĮ (House of activity and creativity) will share some of the history behind the craft and guide you in creating your own. The first participants to register will be sent a kit of the Lithuanian rye straw, thread and needle traditionally used. Alternative materials can also be used.

Having shared postcard one ‘Home is…’, we encourage you to move to postcard two ‘Home was…’ looking at the different memories or sensations that evoke home. This workshop shares the traditional Lithuanian craft of ‘Sodai’, which could be something you apply in your card or sharing traditional crafts that have meaning for you. Visit the Postcards from Home project page.

Annual Stakeholder Survey

Amateo is committed to reflection and learning, so we have commissioned an external evaluator to work alongside Amateo’s Arts Take Part project.

We use this annual survey to seek the views of anyone that has been in touch with Amateo in the past year and to see how we can better support our members and improve our services.

It only takes ten minutes to complete and you are entered into a lucky draw to win a €50 voucher.

This survey has been commissioned by Amateo and is being carried out by independent research organisation Ruthless Research. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Ruth.

Postcards from Home – Launch weekend



Join the Amateo, Galway 2020 and Create Ireland teams for a discussion to launch the Postcards from Home project. Find out more about the postcard exchange, different ways to participate and the workshops scheduled as part of the project, culminating in the CONNECT event in Maribor, Slovenia in 2021.



Join Galway-based visual artist Jennifer Cunningham for this workshop focussing on self portraiture and how to represent aspects of the self and home. The session will include instruction on how to use different media, with guidance around techniques and tonal range and the chance to share artwork and receive feedback.
[Image: ‘Telling Stories’ by Jennifer Cunningham. See more examples of Jennifer’s work]



Join Galway-based textile artist Kathy Ross, sharing her techniques of ‘painting with wool, drawing with thread’. Participants will receive a sketch template from Kathy of a Galway scene and list of materials needed. The workshop will guide you through the embroidery and needle felting techniques required to complete the scene.
[Image: ‘Rasai Na Hucieri’ by Kathy Ross. See more examples of Kathy’s landscape work]



Join bookbinder Cassandra Barron, to learn how to collect and bind your Postcards from Home ideas in a cut and fold book, a simple pamphlet stitch book and a Japanese stab book.
Postcards from Home invites you to create and exchange three postcards and participate in workshops that inspire your creativity at home. This workshop will help you create a sketch journal to develop and gather your ideas.

Many people, one voice

By Arts Take Part coordinator, Jim Tough

We were happy to be one of the 110 pan European networks who signed the recent letter from Culture Action Europe which was sent to people of power and influence across Europe. As the world deals with the pandemic and its’ consequences our plea is for the creative and cultural aspects of our lives to be recognized, supported and valued. This isn’t simply about the money. Its about how we understand the importance of our creative lives to our well-being as individuals and as communities.

American author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. captured this sentiment well:
The arts are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or how badly. Is a way to make your soul grow.’

Each of us has coped with the impact of the pandemic in our own way. It appears for many tapping into our creativity has been important both for ourselves and for our connection to others. Many of you may recall the spontaneous balcony choirs in Italy thanking their health workers. One of the hardest aspects of lockdown for my wife and I was not being able to see our young grandchildren.

Our antidote was to create some small books for them, stories about them and about us. A limited edition of 2. One for Alba and one for Seumas!

It made us feel better, more connected.

It’s the same spirit that inspires our new Postcards from Home project. This power of creativity and connection is at the heart of what Amateo believes in. We want to share that belief, we want to have the wonderful work of our member organizations become more visible, become increasingly valued and yes, be supported by the European and national funders.

As we approach the final year of our Arts Take Part project we plan an advocacy campaign in support of the work of our members and the citizens that they represent. We hope that next year you will join us in that chorus of celebration!

Make culture central in EU recovery

Open letters campaign for 2% of recovery budgets to support culture

Amateo has co-signed two letters, alongside Culture Action Europe and 108 other networks and associations from across Europe, asking the European Commission and national governments to commit to allocating at least 2% of national Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) budgets to culture and creative sectors.

Amateo believes that culture and creativity is essential to the functioning of our society and will require support now and in the future, to ensure that the infrastructure and opportunities will be available for everyone in Europe to participate fully in cultural life, in line with Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We are pleased that the European Parliament asked for similar levels of support for culture in the recent Cultural Recovery of Europe resolution and we look forward to working with our members and partners all across Europe to ensure that this remains central to our recovery efforts in the coming months and years.

Read the open letters below (via Culture Action Europe’s website):

Postcards from Home

Join our European exchange and connect across the continent

From NoVember 2020 – MaY 2021
Amateo invites citizens from across Europe to take part and connect, through the creative exchange of ‘Postcards from Home‘.

The first postcard: ‘Home is…’
November 2020

Sharing what home has meant for you currently through words and images

The second postcard: ‘Home was…’
January 2021

Sharing a memory of home (an image, story, smell that brings back a person or place that meant home to you) in the past

The third postcard: ‘Home will be…’
March 2021

Sharing your vision of home for the future

Take Part

Step 1

Post your first postcard to Galway, Ireland – European Capital of Culture 2020 before 15 November 2020
Download instructions template
(See terms)

Step 2

Receive a package from Galway including your postal partners first postcard with their address + a gift from one of the local creative workshops in Galway.

Step 3

Continue your exchange of postcards.

Join the creative workshops online (see below and register for updates)

Share your postcards with us pioneers@amateo.org via Facebook

Join Postcards from Home creative workshops online

26-30 November 2020

Join the LAUNCH conversation and THREE workshops including Lockdown landscapes, Postcard Journal Bookbinding and Portraiture in textile and mixed media broadcast live from Galway (Ireland), European Capital of Culture 2020


Online Creative Workshop, 3-4pm, 15 December: Traditional Lithuanian ‘Sodai’ craft


Online Creative Workshop: Miniaturist painting


Online Creative Workshop: Visual poetry techniques 1


Online Creative Workshop: Digital to analogue capture


Online Creative Workshop: Visual poetry techniques 2


CONNECT meeting prior to live event

JUNE 2021

Online creative sessions linked to the live event ‘CONNECT The Unexpected‘ in Maribor (Slovenia).

The words and images created by everyone taking part in the Postcards from Home project, across Europe, will inspire new collaborative participatory creative works that blend the art-forms and themes shared between November and May.

Find out more about the live programme and register for the CONNECT the Unexpected creative residency May 2021

Postcards from Home project is supported by funding from Culture of Solidarity programme led by European Cultural Foundation

Art-fact (Netherlands)


Member country: Netherlands
Contact person: Judith Ensel, director


Art-fact is a platform, fund and intermediary for arts in leisure time. We work for the city government of Tilburg, the Netherlands. We represent and support amateur and community arts in our municipality.


We support and facilitate amateur and community arts with funds. We connect artists and organizations and make artists and their work visible through our platform, on and offline.

Why Amateo?

Because we have the same goal: facilitating Active Participation in Cultural Activities and to see what happens on a more international level in this area of the arts.

Why international connections?

By doing so we can exchange knowledge and ideas. We can inspire others and be inspired by them and we can show that arts have not been limited by international boundaries.

Future hopes?

That despite of Corona and other complicating matters, we can keep doing what we love and have to do: make art and culture available for everyone, because art can be the answer to come to a better understanding between people and helps us to find out what is really important in this world.

If you want to read much more about Art-Fact, please visit their web page!

Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!

Postcards from Home – Terms


  • There will be no exchange of money or items of financial value
  • Public sharing of postcards sent to Amateo will be anonymised unless attribution is requested
  • Amateo cannot guarantee information shared within your creative exchange is not personally identifiable, this remains the responsibility of the sender. Stories and images shared should not contain personal or sensitive information that you wish to remain confidential.


  • Postcards sent to the project may inspire new creative works. Attribution is by request only, under Creative Commons terms, excluding NoDerivs (see creativecommons.org)
  • Creative outcomes in the postcards that you share remain your own work
  • Postcards will not be returned to you unless agreed with your partner. Amateo can take no responsibility (please keep a personal record or send copies).

IG Kultur (Austria)

AMATEO MEMBER: IG Kultur Österreich

Member country: Austria
Contact person: Yvonne Gimpel, Managing Director


IG Kultur Österreich, located in Vienna, Austria, is the association, voice and network of more than 800 independent cultural initiatives in Austria. Focusing on contemporary cultural expressions and community-driven initiatives our main goal is to improve the working conditions for those working in the field of contemporary arts and culture – from culture professionals to volunteers.


IG Kultur Österreich pursues advocacy activities, pushes for legislative improvements and regulatory measures to create an enabling environment, for example ensuring structural safety of cultural initiatives, stable financing conditions, fair pay and social security for those involved in cultural work.

In addition to mediating between cultural initiatives and public authorities, IG Kultur Österreich provides hands-on advice to its members on all matters related to everyday cultural work, such as financing, tax and social security, legal requirements, networking, mobility, etc. In addition we offer workshops and seminars to strengthen the professional development of the sector. Regarding communication we strive to fill the gap in the traditional media discourse on cultural policy issues as well as cultural practices through our public relations work, our magazine and website. We attempt to change the perceptions of cultural work, it’s contribution and relevance for today’s society in constant transformation. 

Why join Amateo?

The emancipatory potential of participation in arts and culture has yet to be fully unleashed and recognized – a quest which cannot be confined to the national level, but is a true European agenda. This entails working and thinking beyond national borders –  in terms of cultural practices, networking and exchange as well as in terms of advocacy and public relations.   

Amateo enables connecting the dots between those working in similar settings – no matter in which country they’re based.

Future hopes?

  • Creating possibilities for networking, exchange and collaboration between culture professionals in the field of participatory arts
  • Lifting the learning curve through cross-border exchange on developments, good as well as failed practices, and project collaboration
  • Contribute to the recognition of participatory cultural work, its contribution and relevance for today’s society – beyond added value legitimisation discourses

If you want to read more about IG Kultur, please visit their web page!

Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!