Documenta - Center for dealing with the past
Center for peace, nonviolence and human rights - Osijek
Youth center Grabrik – Karlovac
Center for support and development of civil society Delfin - Pakrac
Our other 2 partners are: Europe House Vukovar - Vukovar https://edvu.hr/english/ History Association - Požega https://www.facebook.com/pdpozega/
Why are most of the Croatian cities “male”? We want to provoke young people in small towns to reconsider and research the role of women in their local history. Based on the research findings, a graphic designer will create posters. They will be the basis for an exhibition, an open discussion, and a civic intervention in each town. Students and their mentors will prepare a proposal to local authorities to name more streets after women or to put signs explaining the contribution each woman made.
Karlovac, Osijek-Baranja, Požega-Slavonia and Vukovar-Srijem Counties
The 4 counties are all marked by unfinished dealing with trauma from the 1990s war in Croatia. Now they face a demographic crisis confining young people to shrinking cities. In the context of failing social cohesion, poor economics and growing social divisions along ethnic, religious and political lines, it is a challenge for young people to play a role in their local communities. With the number of deceased surpassing the number of newborns and their buildings still damaged from the war, Karlovac, Osijek-Baranja, Požega-Slavonia and Vukovar-Srijem Counties don’t offer many opportunities for civic education and celebrating women’s contribution. Partner organizations liaising with local schools, libraries and museums in rural areas can engage youth and encourage inter-generational exchange.
By provoking interest in the neglected topic of the role women had in their local history, we want to empower young people to detect and solve problems in their local communities. Highschool students from Karlovac, Osijek-Baranja, Požega-Slavonia and Vukovar-Srijem Counties will carry out a research on the topic and then lead civic interventions to spread awareness about the under-representation of women. Active citizenship will be nourished through a proposal to local authorities to name more streets after women. By opening a channel of communication between young people and local decision-makers while challenging the predominant male perspective of history, we want to empower young people to give a new impulse to the social conversation about the place women hold in smaller communities.
Target group 1 – highschool students from Karlovac, Osijek-Baranja, Požega-Slavonia and Vukovar-Srijem Counties who will implement the research.
Target group 2 – local authorities who will be directly addressed by the students. The dynamics between the first two target groups secure encouragement of active citizenship and a vast range of opinions.
Target group 3 – libraries, museums and broader audience of citizens in each town that will be invited to the exhibitions, open discussions, and civic interventions.
Target group 4 – general audience outside the local communities that will follow the project via an online campaign and media reports, and will be invited to the final discussion and exhibition in Zagreb.
Phase 1) 2-day preparation seminar in each town developed by a trainer from Documenta to introduce the idea
Phase 2) students do the research with the help of their local organization's mentors
Phase 3) 2-day creative exchange seminar where students in each town present the results and prepare a draft proposal to local authorities. A graphic designer creates posters
Phase 4)opening of an exhibition in each town in cooperation with a local library/museum along with an open discussion and a civic intervention
Phase 5) local authorities are presented with the results of the research and the proposal to name streets after women of historical importance
Phase 6) closing exhibition and final discussion in Zagreb where the results of the project are presented to the general public and media
As an intangible result, we will empower young people to be active members of their communities and engage them in a conversation with local decision-makers. Youth will be further motivated to participate in similar initiatives advocating active citizenship and democracy. Highschool students will sensitize peers/fellow citizens about the exclusion of women from the historical/social narrative. They will give a new impulse to the social conversation on women’s role in community development. Local teams will be created in cooperation with libraries and museums to commemorate distinguished women. Our actions will open a path for similar activities in new counties with partners from Sisak-Moslavina and Primorje-Gorski kotar Counties. Tangible results include posters and final publication.
Street naming in urban and rural spaces is an important part of community life, of creating collective memory and imagining (a different) future. However, in the towns involved in the project not even 2% of the streets are named after women. If the cities’ and villages’ identity is “male”, as it is in the case of Croatia, where is the place (and when will time come) for women? By not remembering women, local authorities indirectly communicate to the youth that the place for a woman is not public, social or political. With this action, we want to oppose this perspective, by remembering important women from the past, the role they had in the development of the community and by giving to the young participants the possibility to advocate for their representation in the urban and rural memory.
Documenta is working on the topics of the culture of memory with the idea of developing inclusive remembrance practices, reflecting experiences of all social groups, also minorities and marginalized groups. After many years of field research and recording personal memories, published in the Croatian Memories collection, we are convinced of the importance of women’s perspective in local communities. This motivates us to develop our idea into a model to be applied in different regions to secure sustainability. We believe it is a topic that needs to be brought up continuously in Croatia. The fact that some of the most remarkable women in Croatian history still aren’t recognized with a street or a square named after them motivates us further to dedicate our time and efforts to this idea.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Management: 10 400 euro
Trainer: 2000 euro
Partner organizations: 10 000 euro
Graphic designer: 2500 euro
5 Seminars – phase 1 - 3070 euro
5 Seminars – phase 3 - 3070 euro
5 local exhibitions – phase 4 - 3802 eurо
Printing of the booklet: 1000 euro
Translation of materials in English: 1 000 euro
Social media campaign: 1000 euro
Printing of the posters: 1350 euro
Final exhibition and discussion in Zagreb: 2994 euro
Office expenses: 2400 euro
Tell us what you think about our idea! If you have thoughts on how to stimulate the public conversation about the role of women in small towns and rural communities, please do not hesitate to leave a comment. Do you have a similar problem in your country? What projects and methods are targeting it?