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Jelena Medaković,, Director Of The Belgrade City Museum

Prioritising Community Wellbeing

The wellbeing of the community must be a priority and goal for all of us, especially in the public sector. It is with this in mind that I always look to the wider interests and can subordinate the personal to the collective

Since my earliest childhood and my first interests, it was clear that my path would be in art and creativity. Exceptional professors and my mentors had a great professional influence on me and, in a way, developed within me the desire and obligation to work with younger people and devote a good part of my time to young creators.

The Faculty of Technical Sciences brought me new knowledge, new people and a sense of certainty that I could follow through on my projects from idea to implementation, with confidence in my creative potential, but also my technical skills. Professional exams passed and licenses of conservators-restorers provide knowledge essential to the work I do now.

I started to receive my first engagements on larger projects of spatial design, with conservation works in Kosovo, in Arilje, and later throughout our region. Longer stays in Canada and Greece, as well as multi-year engagements in France, helped me build my professional pathway. Permanent jobs in Slovenia on the designing of large fair events and exhibition activities, as well as working with companies that were then just arriving on our market, provided me with an opportunity to shift away from a purely academic environment, and that’s something I now consider as having been my best decision. A practical working environment and constant competition on the market develops discipline and working condition, and it’s in that way that I also developed myself. I learned through practice and don’t recall a single period without engagement, and I’m able to feel a real sense satisfaction after achieving results. Various business engagements taught me to function in a team. I’m always aware of the value of making the right choice when it comes to associates, with the honest and diligent people who are around me.

The work process is important for every good result, and I only consider that process as being the correct one if it yielded a successful result. The human characteristic that I don’t understand is laziness and a narrow focus on self-interest. I always think of my grandfather, who says “Laziness is the worst disease”, and I believe that to be true.

As we’re approaching the start of major reconstruction works on our central building 120 years after the Museum’s establishment, I’m increasingly researching and working on the organisation of the future large museum.

The Belgrade City Museum, as a large and complex system, is a challenge for me. The current state of affairs, the situation with the absence of a central building, the absence of a permanent exhibition, facilities in the composition at a huge number of addresses, some of which have been closed to the public for decades, represent a special problem the solving of which is more than encouraging. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work at an institution that’s celebrating a great anniversary this year, to contribute to resolving a problem that dates back a century and to set new boundaries – for the Museum, and primarily for myself.

As we’re approaching the start of major reconstruction works on our central building 120 years after the Museum’s establishment, I’m increasingly researching and working on the organisation of the future large museum. Interpreting heritage, with a logical, precise and innovative setting, these are large and demanding projects that haven’t been done in these lands in more recent times.

A museum that’s dynamic, lively, packed with visitors; a museum with all the accompanying contents, and primarily a museum where people want to spend time; where all those who visit Belgrade will come to learn about our rich heritage, but also about current trends in the work of Serbian authors.

A museum where conservators-restorers will have the best working conditions; a museum where school pupils and university students from Serbia and around the world will come for clear-cut schooling… this is just a brief outline of what the completion of the building must achieve. I look forward to the near future in which we will bear witness to the spectacular fact that Belgrade, like the world’s greatest metropolises, has a space where we can see, in one place, everything that unfolded from prehistoric times to the present day. All the testimonies of the importance of these lands, top creative ranges, the most important individuals and families, the most beautiful examples and most important artefacts from our history, will all be in one place, arranged chronologically and thematically, representing the pride of our people.

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