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Culture-driven revitalization of rural communities | Civic Europe
Arts and cultural activities, Education and research

Culture-driven revitalization of rural communities

Integration of Cultural residency Podlog pod Bohorjem (Slovenia) as a catalyst for empowering the sustainable socio-economic resilience of rural communities


Who is behind this?

Matic Gajsek

Cultural residency Podlog pod Bohorjem, Institute for cultural activities (Kulturna rezidenca Podlog pod Bohorjem, zavod za kulturne aktivnosti)


Who is joining forces?

KS Planina pri Sevnici, občina Šentjur (Local constituency of Planina pri Sevnici, municipality of Šentjur)


Complementarium Institute – an Institute for research of nature and development of environmental technologies



Idea pitch

Cultural residency Podlog pod Bohorjem aims at facilitating communal vitality in the rural Kozjansko region, which has historically suffered from depopulation due to negative economic and rural-discriminatory policies. Through integration of artistic residency and think-tank, project aims to engage and empower local community through dialogue with international artists and furthermore offering variety of capacity building activities focussed on sustainable entrepreneurial practices.

Where will your project idea take place?

Podlog pod Bohorjem, municipality of Šentjur (region of Kozjansko - Kozjanski park, Natura 2000)

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Project of Cultural residency Podlog pod Bohorjem will address the challenge of lack of know-how and competencies, in two action areas – artistic residence and think-tank. Firstly, external artistic intervention will create a stronger inter-cultural dialogue between artists and community, who would work in the environment and through range of workshops co-create with the community. Secondly, through think-tank program with international guest experts a variety of lectures, capacity building workshops and masterclasses will be provided, building on the present know-how. Such a rounded approach will facilitate community’s social cohesion and socio-economic prosperity, by contributing towards the existing community resources (both natural and culture-historic), creativity and meanings.

Who are you doing it for?

At the core of our project are youth (14 – 19) and young adults (20 – 30), with specific reasoning that the region has a negative historic trend of depopulation, which furthermore fuels the decrease of active civic society. The target group of youth and young adults is on the other hand the key segment of population that has, with adequate support, capacity to create a long-lasting impact within and beyond the local community.
Connecting the reasoning also to the vision of the institute, building capacity and broadening the horizons to youth and young adults will furthermore enable creativity and stimulate innovation, creating impact on community’s sustainability in socio-economic terms.

How do you plan to get there?

Project initiation (April 2021 – June 2021)
• Finalization of Advisory board for Artistic residence
• Further development of financing and partnerships
Project planning (July 2021 – September 2021)
• Planning of capacity building workshops (October 2021–April 2022)
• International call for resident artists and selection of artists
• Official invitation to local community for introductory workshop and call for further ideas
Execution (October 2021 – August 2022)
• Capacity building lectures and supporting workshops on topic of community building, sustainable tourism, cultural heritage and innovation, creative placemaking in rural context, etc. (October 2021–April 2022)
• Start of Artistic residence program: 5 international artists living and working at the residency for 1 month, facilitating co-creation workshops, dialogue sessions (March 2021–August 2021)
Monitoring (November 2021 – August 2022)
• Evaluation of results and impact of capacity building activities
• Evaluation of results and impact of artistic residence
• Evaluation of broader community impact of project
Project closing (August 2022 – September 2022)
• Project report based on executed activities and evaluations from experts, guest artists and local community
• Further dissemination of project insights and implementation into PhD research project of Matic Gajsek

What are the expected results?

The project of Cultural residency presents an innovative format, where concept of creative intervention is being applied in the rural setting as a catalyst for increasing social cohesiveness and stimulator of socio-economic development. We hope to see a strong engagement of local community in the project, an increase in competencies and know-how that is furthermore also translated in several other initiatives and projects. Ultimately, creating a momentum on the importance of such practices in the rural setting, both in regional or national and international level, supporting the need for a less rural-discriminatory policies.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The project is actively working towards strengthening the local community and equipping them with the range of skills, know-how and perspectives that would enable themselves taking the actions further, creating new meanings and lifting the potential of natural and cultural capital of the community and region. There is great need for advocacy in change of the rural discriminatory urban-centric policies in multiple areas, including civic society and culture. Probably the most important element of project, yet most difficult to measure is the range of interaction opportunities with international artists and experts in the project and facilitated discussion points, through which local community can devise on their own identity.

Why is this idea important to you?

Matic Gajšek is internatioanlly active cultural manager, with experiences in cultural entrepreneuriship, strategic projects intertwining culture and innovation, public diplomacy and audience development. After successful tenutes at Audiences Norway, European Union Youth Orchestra and Hestia Arts, he is now connecting the project of Cultural residency Podlog pod Bohorjem to his PhD research at Tilburg University.
"Despite the farm belonging to my grandfather for almost half a century, I have not seen the property until after his death. Visiting today’s Cultural residency for the first time, the location, truly untouched nature, specific local community aspects and even the old, barely standing house have made such an impression on me that I said yes, I want to bring it to life again".

€ 30000,-

Total budget

€ 27000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Capacity building:
8 x Expert fee– 8000 EUR

Artistic residency:
5 x artist fee – 6000 EUR
5 x artist material – 2500 EUR
5 x travel allowance (artists) – 1500 EUR

Project expenses:
Project facilitation – 4000 EUR
Project coordination – 3000 EUR
Facility (residency) rental – 3000 EUR
Travel, accommodation, per diems – 2000 EUR




Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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