From 9th to 13th of September 2022 we held our joint-staff-meeting in Novi Sad (Serbia) in the frame of our project „Emerging communities“
After very successfull meetings in Athens in March, and Mantova in May, we have held our joint-staff-meeting in Novi Sad middle of September 2022. Meeting was hosted by our dear friends from the association Grupa za konceptualnu politiku (Group for conceptual politics).
Project „Emerging Communities: Empowerment for social engagement, self-organization and development of local solutions“ gathers 8 partners from 6 European countries: INWOLE (Potsdam, Germany), Im Wandel (Berlin, Germany), Ethos NGO (Odensee, Denmark), Communitism (Athens, Greece), GKP (Novi Sad, Serbia), Italia che Cambia (Torino, Italy), Open cultural center (Barcelona, Spain) and Ethos – Thessaloniki (Thessaloniki, Greece).
At the core of our project is empowerment for social engagement and citizens participation in relation to the development of sustainable communities, neighborhood initiatives and local spaces and networks. This includes the ability to take active roles in the political, social and urban-development processes relevant for the local community, develop cooperative models of social welfare and housing and solidary economy designs that generate income and financial sustainability, as well as to find solutions relevant in the sense of ecological sustainability.
Within 4 days of programme in Novi Sad, we had an opportunity to be introduced with the work of GKP – their topics, goals and problems they are facing, target groups and methods, as well as solutions they developed, their partnerships and networks.
One important part of this introduction was to bring us closer to understanding of the local, national and regional social-political context, influenced by various experiences from the recent passt, from self-management socialism, over armed conflicts and war-crimes of the 1990s, up to controversial urban development plans, environmental issues and most recent ever-more authoritarian political developments in Serbia.
Our host is a civic association founded to achieve the interest in the area of development of self-management, democracy and new politics of citizens' associationsin Serbia and beyond. GKP seeks to actualize the self-management politicsin terms of encouraging citizens to autonomous political self-organization and to directly participate in governance and decision-making in matters of common and public interest in local communities.
Especially appreciated were many opportunities to discuss diverse aspects in detail with other participants and members of the host organization, compare experiences and good practices, and possibilities for further development of our concepts and their impact on other stakeholders, both in civil society and beyond.
We have used this opportunity to visit some of local stakeholders, such as the very inspiring protest camp against urban and environmental destruction „Sodros Survivor camp“, youth cultural and social center CK13 (Black house 13) and Novi Sad Bicycle initiative.
Meeting in Novi Sad was also a great opportunity for all of us to get better insight into one specific philosophic-anthropological approach applied by the GKP, which originates from french anthropologist Sylvain Lazarus, as well as to have more informal, but very intensive exchanges and transfer of knowledge, skills and good practices.
Everyone´s feeling, we´re witnessing one true „organic development“ of our partnership, which we discussed during our exchange in Mantova, once more became very obvious during this meeting! So we´re very much ready to start working on various follow-up projects!
It´s really great to be part of this story!
Project activities continue in November 2022: Next time we meet in Barcelona, Spain!
Photos: Lorena di Maria, Slobodan Stosic, Branka Curcic