Croatian islands are detached from civic education as much as from the land. Lack of it makes citizenship on islands mostly non-existent, depriving them of active participants in decision-making processes. This then opens up space for corruption, devastation of resources, depopulation... We will empower islanders through participatory civic education - guiding them through the process of understanding the problem, researching solutions and implementing them, all with a high dose of independence.
Project takes place on two islands - Rab (population of 9480) and Brač (population of 14434).
Both islands share some of the same issues which stem from their insularity and limited resources as well as depopulation, mass tourism, and low quality of life throughout the year. The key issue is the inactivity of the islanders, which are then excluded from the development of their own surroundings for a couple of reasons: lack of funding for civic education & opportunities to explore alternatives, attain tools for implementing changes, etc. This all creates a vicious cycle - islanders have issues but no tools to solve them, usually choosing to move to urban areas, leaving islands to fend for themselves, making them even more attractive for different interventions which change the face of the island permanently, with little appreciation for local culture, tradition, history, and people.
Creating opportunities for knowledge transfer and development of problem-solving tools will, in long term, result in changing one’s position from that of clicktivist (one who is very active and opinionated via social media, but very little actively involved in creating real-life solutions offline) to one of observing participant (one who participates in community organizing and development, while being able to observe the process and one’s own position and interest critically). The latter stems from applied anthropology, ANTROPOP’s area of interest, which uses anthropological tools to bring positive changes to communities we research. Idea enhances engagement and participation through three modes of knowledge transfer: civic education, participatory budgeting, and cultural interventions.
Our primary target group is young islanders aged 15 to 30. They will be educated and given the tools, techniques, and logistics to consider local problems, to participate in the problem-solving process, and to create movement toward the solutions. The secondary target is the local community itself which will be informed about the project through its outcomes. By producing the local magazine in 1000 copies, at least 500 individuals will read it, at each island. By translating local problems into art interventions, communities will be faced with it in a new way throughout different forms. Art interventions usually make the community discuss its object, so a rough estimate is that around 200 people will see and discuss each intervention.
The project will be carried out through the following phases:
1. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING (identifying community stakeholders, storytelling, community assessment)
2. ISSUES SELECTION (problems we’d like to solve, issues we’d like to address, the world as it is as opposed to the world as it should be)
3. ISSUE RESEARCH (implementing traditional, experimental and relational methods of research)
4. STUDY VISIT (to inspire action, show alternatives, and possible solutions)
5. TAKING ACTION (developing strategies, creating public actions in terms of publicizing a community magazine, artistic and cultural interventions, and participatory budgeting and/or other)
6. REFLECTION AND EVALUATION (critical reflection which leads to assessing the new situation and future plans of action)
Tangible (and measurable) results of this project would be as following:
2 island magazines published, a total of 500 copies of each (two on Brač, two on Rab)
10 projects implemented via participatory budgeting (5 on each island)
At least 30 young people involved in the activities
At least 4 cultural and artistic interventions
1 study visit to island Hvar and village Velo Grablje
A community that is well informed and engaged is more likely to participate in democratic processes, especially if it is able to see the positive outcomes of such participation. Since this project will coincide with the local election process in Croatia, it will provide a perfect stepping stone to understanding how politics work, how policies are created, and most importantly, how inactivity on a small scale has an impact on a large one. As we stated in the beginning, inactivity is mostly a result of insularity and lack of opportunity for civic education on islands. This project aims to offer that exact opportunity to two of the many Croatian islands, hoping to create transferable results.
Valovičić spent 6 years managing cultural projects. Her scientific & career interest lies in exploring ways to overcome systematic inactivity, through the understanding of the dialectical relationship of culture, labor, and politics. By interweaving cultural anthropology knowledge with practical organizational skills and techniques, she aims to create a participatory model of civic education that will be based on local needs and problems. Šabić is currently writing a PhD thesis on applying anthropology for sustainable development of Croatian islands and is a member of the local council in Pučišća, Brač, exploring different ways of engaging with local development. This project would offer unmatchable insight and access to communities willing to test new tools and methods of problem-solving.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Project manager #1 - 5.000,00€
Project manager #2 - 5.000,00€
Study visit - 2.000,00€
Publications & printing - 2.000,00€
Design - 1.500,00€
Budget for community projects initiated by youth - 20.000,00€
Budget for workshop materials & other costs (lecturers, space renting, etc.) - 11.500,00€
Promotional costs (online campaigns, etc.) - 1.000,00€
Accountancy - 2.000,00€
We would greatly appreciate hearing experience from other practitioners, working on civic education in small, closed-off communities, especially in dealing with delicate topics, such as traumas, conflicts, etc.