Jasna Dimitrijević, Manager Of Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment:

Clear Vision Of Present And Future

It is a professional challenge and honour for every manager in the domain of culture to have the opportunity to manage a cultural/ educational institution, and in particular the Kolarac National University, which started operating in Belgrade 86 years ago

This institution is special in terms of its continuity and tradition. Its unique concept of additional lifelong learning available to everyone, regardless of generation, social class and educational level, as well as the promotion of artistic music, which represent a special feature of the Kolarac Endowment. The promotion of a knowledge society in all areas of natural and humanities sciences, classical music concerts in the most adequate concert hall in this part of Europe, foreign language courses, the Fine Art Gallery with an adequate gallery space – these represent only part of the programme areas that this unique culture centre has dealt with since its founding.Added to this should certainly be the significant spatial and production activities implemented in the last three years to create room for young people, in the form of the modern Open University and the spirit of the times in which we live: Art Cinema Kolarac, KOLAB Gallery, as a space for the promotion of the new media art scene, activities of the Youth Council via the ‘Take Over’ project, under the auspices of the Creative Europe international programme, numerous workshops in the field of music, film, literature, conferences, fairs etc.

The link between tradition and continuity in programming activities and the new values of contemporary society, contemporary art practises, as the future tradition of this institution, financial stability through the encouraging among sponsors and donors of the idea that investing in the activities and development of Kolarac means investing in the enduring values of our society – these were the goals I set for myself personally when I took over the helm of Kolarac.

In managing the culture institutions where I’ve worked, I always started from the application of knowhow in the field of culture management, acquired at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts’ direction for Theatre production and knowledge acquired additionally, applying them maximally in the job.

Openness to ideas and youth projects, the development of new audiences and the application of new digital communication platforms in promoting the programmes of the institution are imperative in positioning for the future

In the almost three decades prior to arriving at Kolarac, I was a producer at Avala Film, an organiser, editor and director of the Belgrade Youth Centre, then director of the Sava Centre and the Tourist Organisation of Belgrade. In all of these institutions I tried, through the creation of a management model, to ensure respect for the continuity of the existing programme, but also to add my personal seal to improve programme initiatives and innovations. For example, part of the new programme, such as “New Initiatives”, ensures different and better visibility of the institution, highlights the need for change in communication and organisation, and impacts positively on more successful financial results. New initiatives are the projects of authors, groups of authors or organisations in culture and art, who – in terms of topics, presentation of promotion methods and a creative act – present new thematic, production content within the existing concept of the institution.

Openness to ideas and youth projects, the development of new audiences and the application of digital communication platforms in promoting programmes are imperative in positioning for the future. This project and cooperation with young people bring the required currentness and “rejuvenate” Kolarac through new artistic practises, highlighting completely new communication models with existing and potential audiences.

Apart from the basic principles of management in culture, there has always been a special place for a clear vision of the present and the future. It seems to me that it is easier to achieve major goals and plans than those small ones… Thus, after Kolarac’s activities related to the procuring of a new concert piano, which we conducted from 2014-2017, we bought a new piano with funds collected by donations from individuals, organisations, companies in the country and abroad and, finally, the majority of funds were secured through applying to the public competition of the Ministry of Justice for projects of general interest in culture and education. This goal initially seemed financially unattainable. But then the vision of Kolarac and our concert hall in the future, following the purchase of the piano, encouraged us to move forward persistently and boldly.