On Tuesday the 10th April 2018, the Centre for Cultural Decontamination (CzKD) looked at Europe from a Serbian perspective, critically assessing the EU’s expressed objectives for the region of former Yugoslavia.
If Europe can be considered to be an institution “whose foundations are neither to be found in a transcendent revelation nor in some eternal natural rights, but purely in the action[s] of those human beings who jointly apply their diversity to its constitution” 1, then we can say that people on its periphery see this institution as a new horizon and as the possibility of a different future.
Yet, a common thesis about the EU’s prioritisation of “stability” in the region of former Yugoslavia is that it holds the critical public in this region hostage, blocking and diminishing democratic institutions and freedoms. With a long history of discourse on European values and their origins in dissent, critical thinking and the Enlightenment, the CzKD thus invited sociologists, cultural thinkers and media and civil society representatives to explore the consequences of a reductive communication of EU values and to show how this can lead to a conceptual misunderstanding of Europe.
Miloš Ćirić studied in the Department of International Relations at the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Political Sciences. At the start of of his studies, he began to work for civil society organisations, such as the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and the Peščanik Citizens’ Association. His connection to the Peščanik Citizens’ Association endured and he went on to work as a journalist and a deputy editor of the association’s online magazine.
Miloš continued his studies at the University of Art in Belgrade and at Université Lyon 2 before becoming a media studies graduate of New York’s State University. During his studies in New York, he worked as an assistant lecturer on the following courses: History, Memory and Media; Death and Media; Documentary: Its Art and History; Media Design; Media Theory; and Understanding Emotional Structure: Screenplay. After completing his studies in New York, he received a position as a teaching fellow and lectured on the subject of understanding media studies for students taking the first year of their master’s degrees.
In addition to working in New York, Miloš continues to publish in Serbian and regional media and works on projects focusing on youth education for human rights and reconciliation in the region.
Marijana Cvetković is an art historian, curator and activist in the field of contemporary culture. She has worked with a number of organisations and is a co-founder of the Station centre for contemporary dance and the Nomad Dance Academy, which is a platform for the development of contemporary dance and performing arts in the Balkans.
Since its inception, Marijana has worked at the independent Magacin cultural centre in Kraljevića Marka. She teaches on UNESCO’s master’s courses in studies of cultural policy and management at the University of Art in Belgrade and conducts lectures and workshops on various topics related to self-organisation, independent cultural scenes, contemporary dance, museum development and networking.
Marijana has organised and prepared international conferences and exhibitions at a number of renowned centres (the Georges Pompidou Centre, Belgrade’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the FLU Gallery amongst others) and is also a curator of the Kondenz Festival of contemporary dance and performance. Additionally, she has edited several books and published numerous articles in various magazines and books (in Serbian, English, Italian, Polish, German, Swedish and French).
Daša Duhaček is a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade. She has also taught at a number of other higher education establishments, including Rutgers University, the New York State University and the Central European University (CEU), Budapest.
Daša is the founder and a member of the Council of Women’s Studies Centre in Belgrade, a coordinator of the one-year MA Programme of Gender Studies at Belgrade University’s Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and the director of the that same faculty’s Centre for Gender and Politics.
Daša’s research fields encompass feminist theory, political philosophy and Hannah Arendt and her most significant publications include “Hannah Arendt on Politics” in Arendt, H., On Freedom and Authority (Belgrade, 1995), The Prisoners of Evil: The Legacy of Hannah Arendt (co-editor, Belgrade, 2002), “The Making of Political Responsibility: The Case of Serbia” in Women and Citizenship in Central and Eastern Europe (Burlington, 2006), “Burden of the Ages: Responsibility and Reasoning” in Hannah Arendt (Belgrade, 2011), “Classic Liberal Feminism and Gender and Identity” in Introduction to Gender Theories (Novi Sad, 2011).
Ivan Medenica is a full professor at Belgrade’s Faculty of Dramatic Arts, where he teaches world drama and theatre studies. His MA and PhD theses focused on classical drama and he has held lectures on Serbian theatre and drama at the Yale School of Drama and at the Freie and Humbolt universities in Berlin. Ivan has also written numerous academic papers for national and international periodicals and can look back on a list of publications in French, English, German, Hungarian, Spanish, Polish, Slovak, Romanian and Czech.
In addition to his pedagogical and scientific work, Ivan works as a theatre critic and has written articles in this capacity for Politika, Vreme, NIN and Teatron. Due to the high quality of his critique, he has been awarded the Sterija Award six times (in 1999, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2017). He is also the winner of the Tanjug Golden Feather Award for the best critique of performances at the BITEF (2008) – whose art director he was later became in 2015 – and he has worked as an editor of Teatron and as a director and caster for the Sterija Theatre.
Ivan is the Serbian translator of Maria-Bernardo Koltes’s play, In the Solitude of Cotton Fields, as well as of a comprehensive study of the dramatic works of this French playwright. A former member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Theatre Critics, Ivan also spent several terms as the conference director of this association.
His book, The Tragedy of Initiation or the Inconstant Prince (2016, CLIO, FDU), received Serbia’s Sterija Award for Theatrology in 2017. And, in that same year, he was nominated by Vreme as a Person of the Year for his promotion of the BITEF festival institution, was honoured by the French Ministry and Culture as a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres and was elected to be a member of the jury for awarding the highest European prize for work in theatre, the Premio Europa per il Teatro. Medenica speaks French and English and currently lives in Belgrade.
Borka Pavićević graduated in dramaturgy in 1971 and, in 1976, she completed her master’s degree at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade with the thesis, The Unrealistic Drama in Serbia between the Two Wars. She was a dramatist at Atelje 212 for 10 years and at BITEF for 20 years. She also worked as a dramatist at theatres in Zenica, Split, Skopje, Ljubljana, Subotica and Belgrade between 1978-91, founding the New Feeling theatre in 1981 before working as part of the PGT Movement from 1984-91.
In the early 90s, she was the director of the Belgrade Theatre until she was replaced as a result of her public and political action. She is a member of the Belgrade Circle (an association of independent intellectuals) and she is the founder and director of the Centre for Cultural Decontamination in Belgrade (since 1994).
She has published two collections of essays, Fashion (Belgrade, 1994) and On ex–Post-Deyton Fashion (Novi Pazar, 1998), as well as numerous articles in magazines and both daily and weekly newspapers. Her Head in a Bag collection of articles was released in 2017.
She was awarded the Hiroshima Award by the Peace and Culture Foundation in 2004, the Achievement of Freedom Award by the Maja Maršićević Tasić Fund in 2005, the National Order of the Legion of Honour of the Republic of France in 2002 and the Ruts Award of the European Cultural Foundation in 2009.
Igor Štiks is a Leverhulme Trust early career fellow. In April 2014, he joined the Edinburgh Faculty of Art in order to work on the Citizen-Artist: Creative Citizenship in Occupied Areas research project, in which he explores the interaction of occupied public spaces, inventive forms of self-government and artistic expression.
He is the author of “Monographs, Nations and Citizens” in Yugoslavia and the Post-Yugoslav States: One Hundred Years of Citizenship, (Bloomsbury, 2015) and was a co-editor of the following collections: Citizenship After Yugoslavia (with J. Shaw, Routledge, 2013), Citizenship Rights (with J. Shaw, Ashgate, 2013) and Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism: Radical Politics after Yugoslavia (with S. Horvat, Verso, 2015). His publications have appeared in leading academic journals, such as: Citizenship Studies, Studies in Europe-Asia, Global Studies, South East Europe and Black Sea Studies.
While a scientific associate of CITSEE, he initiated and edited their online magazine, Citizenship in Southeast Europe. He has also produced four animated films and eight short documentary films.
Additionally, Ivan is the author of two award-winning novels, A Castle in Romagna and Elijah’s Chair, which have won numerous awards and been translated into a dozen European languages. The play based on Elijah’s Chair won the Grand Prize of the Belgrade International Theatre Festival (BITEF) in 2011.
Tamara Skrozza is a journalist and editor with twenty years experience of reporting for numerous news magazines, radio shows, weeklies and web portals in Serbia and the Western Balkans. She is also a human rights activist and has combined activism & journalism in a number of projects, such as, for example, in FoNet’s Catch 23 series on gender equality.
Tamara originally studied history of art, at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, before subsequently honing her journalistic skills at Serbian and Danish schools of journalism in 2004.
Tamara is also a recipient of the following awards: JUG GRIZELJ’s prize for excellence in journalism (2016); OSCE’s Person of the Year Award (2016); and the Maja Maršićević Tasić Achievement of Freedom Award for activism and the fight for human rights (2017).
Dobrica Veselinović is a graduate of Belgrade’s Faculty of Political Sciences. For the last ten years, he has been active in the civil sector and, more recently, he has also started to dedicate his time to the fight for public spaces and the greater participation of citizens in decision-making processes related to urban development.
His areas of interest are political theory, ecology and urban development and anti-cultural movements. Dobrica has held a large number of lectures and presentations and is a co-founder of the Collective Ministry of Space and the citizens initiative, Don’t Let Belgrade D(r)own.
Dejan Anastasijević is a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC‘s Serbian Service. Before joining the BBC, he spent many years working as a journalist for the Belgrade weekly newspaper, Vreme (1993-2011) and as a Brussels correspondent for the national press agency of Serbia, TANJUG (2011 to 2016). His texts have also been published in numerous aditional domestic and foreign publications.
During the Balkan wars in the 1990s, Dejan reported on war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, and, in November 1998, the regime of Slobodan Milošević accused him of propagating terrorism with his texts about Kosovo, leading to a period of exile abroad.
Dejan Anastasijević was the first Serbian journalist to testify against Slobodan Milošević at the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. In 2007, he survived an assassination attempt with a hand grenade. The perpetrators were never found.
For his work, Dejan has received numerous domestic and foreign awards, including a Niman Scholarship from Harvard, OXFAM/PEN‘s Award for Journalistic Courage in 2008 and the Dušan Bogavac Award in 2007.
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This debate is part of a series of debates which have looked at important EU topics from a variety of perspectives as part of an international project entitled Trans-European Debates on the European Parliament (TEDEP).
These TEDEP debates have taken place with the support of the European Parliament and have been organised by the Time to Talk members, The Centre for Cultural Decontamination (Belgrade), deBuren (Brussels) and The Red House (Sofia).
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