Kulturanova – Serbia

AMATEO MEMBER: Asocijacija Kulturanova / Association Kulturanova

Member country: Serbia
Contact person: Milan Vračar, CEO


Association Kulturanova is an NGO founded in May 2001 in Novi Sad, Serbia. The organization was founded as an “umbrella” association of various non-formal independent art groups, individuals and young artists from Novi Sad.

Kulturanova initiates intercultural and intersectoral dialogue in society, fostering youth creativity through art education, production of cultural content and promotion of public policies in the field of culture and youth. Our main values are: interculturalism, intersectoral, peace-building, equality and participation.

What kind of work do you normally do?

  1. Festivals and events
  2. Production of theater and contemporary dance performances, film and music
  3. Lectures and conferences
  4. Workshops, seminars, trainings

Why Amateo?

Kulturanova shares Amateo’s values; we believe that active participation in the arts is an important part of establishing free, open and democratic society. Through our activities, we empower people to express themselves in an artistic way, showing that art practices aren’t exclusively reserved for professional artists. We believe that Amateo helps us broaden our experience and knowledge related to the topic of active participation in the arts.

Importance of international cooperation?

Kulturanova represents the opinion that international networking is one of the key elements for a successful CCI (Culture & Creative Industry) organization. It helps us to meet with new points of view and new approaches to the certain social or other issues, which often results with innovative ideas for new projects. Networking is the best way to promote trans-national skills and to strengthen sector’s capacity.

Future hopes?

We would certainly like to network and collaborate with Amateo and its members on some of our future projects. In Amateo, we see the opportunity to educate our employees through common projects or training, but also to share our experience and knowledge with other members, and thus to strengthen our cross-border contact.

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

Conference: Resetting the Stage

Amateo Online Conference | Friday January 22nd 2021 

Cultural budgets are coming under more and more pressure. On top of that, the cultural and creative sectors themselves are among the most seriously damaged by the effects of the pandemic. Many cultural activities are being halted, millions of jobs are frozen or wiped out, micro and small businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy and many talents are forced to leave the sector altogether.

In response to the current pandemic situation, a pan-European community of 110 networks and associations called on the European Commission to encourage Member States to fully integrate culture in their national recovery and resilience plans, allocating at the very least 2% of the RRF budgets to the culture and creative sectors, as called for by the European Parliament in its recent resolution on the “Cultural Recovery of Europe”. Now it is of course important to support the cultural and creative sectors in these difficult times, it is perhaps even more important to give this sector an active role in the national recovery and resilience plans of their respective countries.

Coronavirus is not the only crisis we find ourselves in, but also the decline in biodiversity, the climate crisis and the energy transition. These are major issues that we now have to tackle! It takes imagination, and a creative process to change things. The culture and creative sectors can do that. It is increasingly recognized that art and culture have a special function as accelerators of change – through the ability to reach people at the level of emotions and beliefs, provide new ways to see problems and develop creative solutions.

How can we stimulate collaboration between the participatory arts and other sectors/domains (like health & wellbeing / Sustainable Development Goals / biodiversity / agriculture / shrinkage areas)? And how can local/regional government authorities become cooperation partners of organisations in the voluntary and amateur arts?

By means of Best Practices, we want to explore new opportunities and inspire practitioners and organisers of participatory arts, politicians, etc. Together we will assess ways to collaborate and Reset the Stage by means of some examples that go beyond art for art’s sake, they make art for our sake.

Contact: Jan-Willem van Kruyssen, jw@vankruyssen.eu, +31 (0)631665582

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!


One of the good things we discovered during reCONNECT (the online alternative for CONNECT2020, originally planned in Brussels), was it was relatively simple to meet by Zoom. We had participants that would not have been able to come to Brussels physically, who now joined the event. At the end of this experimental week, we agreed to follow up.

And so we did; Thursday November 12th we had an open Zoom session for all former participants of the CONNECT events of the last three years. Fifteen people joined the session. Some of them were participants of the very first CONNECT (Deventer, NL, 2018), some had planned to come to Brussels, but could not join reCONNECT, and some of them were new Amateo members.

It was good to see everyone, and hear the stories about pioneer projects that started without a grant (4ID), and are still meeting, and working on further collaboration. Also the three projects that received grants in 2020 are preparing their projects. Of course, COVID-19 delays things, and makes things uncertain, but that doesn’t stop us being creative, and finding solutions for these project ideas.

The next rereCONNECT Zoom meeting is planned for Thursday January 28th 2021, at 16.00 hrs CET. If you would like to join this, please send an email to pioneers@amateo.org

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



If you missed the Postcards from Home project launch you can send any questions 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 to the Pioneer Projects team, join Amateo and Connect on Facebook and register for project updates.


Galway-based visual artist Jennifer Cunningham leading a workshop on self portraiture, using collage to represent aspects of the self and home. Find out more
[Image: ‘Telling Stories’ by Jennifer Cunningham. See more examples of Jennifer’s work]


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


Bookbinder Cassandra Barron, guiding the process for a cut and fold book, a simple pamphlet stitch book and a Japanese stab book that you can use to collect and bind your Postcards from Home 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

LAUNCH conversation and THREE workshops including Lockdown Portraiture, Textile Landscapes and Postcard Journal Bookbinding broadcast live from Galway (Ireland), European Capital of Culture 2020


Online Creative Workshop, 15 December: Traditional Lithuanian ‘Sodai’ craft


Re-re-CONNECT: Join pioneer projects sharing their activity


Online Creative Workshop, 28 January: Picture Sonnets


Cut-out Animation: Animate postcards with a smart-phone or tablet


Online Creative Workshop, 1 March: Indo-persian Miniature Painting


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

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