RRA LUR presents good practices in the promotion of cultural and creative sector development to Croatian creatives
At the beginning of March the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region hosted representatives of the Istria region of Croatia and presented examples of good practice and activities aimed at promoting the development of the creative and cultural sector in the region, with an emphasis on bringing together key actors from different fields and interdisciplinary activity.
Representatives of the Istrian Cultural Agency, the Istria County Department of Culture, the Istrian Development Agency, the Department of Culture of the City of Pula, the Croatian Association of Interdisciplinary Artists and numerous other creative and cultural organisations were particularly interested in different models of interconnection among key stakeholders for the purpose of forming creative and cultural industry clusters and opportunities to exploit the creative potential of Istria.
RRA LUR director Lilijana Madjar began by introducing the Central Slovenia region, where most knowledge and creative potential is concentrated, particularly in the capital, Ljubljana, where the majority of key state, scientific, research, educational, economic and cultural institutions are located. She emphasised that the interdisciplinary connection of key stakeholders, particularly the connection of educational and scientific institutions with the traditional industrial and creative sectors, represents an important development potential for the region. Only through the development of new products and services based on knowledge, innovation and creativity is it possible to achieve competitiveness and improved quality of life in the region. RRA LUR recognised the importance of involving creatives from the creative industries and experts from other fields in development processes for the successful development of services and products back in 2012, when as part of the EU Creative Cities project it established the Regional Creative Economy Centre (RCKE), which provided a suitable environment for the development of innovation and creativity. Through its activities, the Centre has comprehensively addressed the development of the creative economy in various fields – from promoting the creative use of empty spaces, the design of products with high added value (business chains), healthcare and other services for a better quality of life, to running various workshops, training sessions and events and participating in policymaking.
The visitors then had the opportunity to find out more about some of the successful projects realised via the RCKE, which were presented by RCKE project manager Tina Pezdirc Nograšek. The RCKE has realised numerous successful projects in a variety of fields via bottom-up initiatives. These include: A set of parlour games for elderly dementia sufferers, developed with the aim of strengthening memory and stimulating mental connections via associations and storytelling; “A to B: Ljubljana”, a free, simple-to-use app that offers users the optimal (sustainable) option for short journeys by public transport (BicikeLJ, bus) or on foot; the Library of Things – a “library” where instead of books members borrow a variety of useful items (sharing economy); the Ping Pong creative centre – a co-working space offering free use of premises, office equipment and internet access; and the “Connecting Design and Industry” business chain, via which the RCKE has connected young designers with furniture companies to collaborate on the design of new furniture products. Significant attention was paid to CREA, a network of free summer academies aimed at improving entrepreneurship and innovative sectors, in the context of which participants, guided by experienced mentors, obtain practical knowledge in the fields of design, entrepreneurship, user experience, information and communication technologies, pitching and teambuilding and develop their own ideas and transform them into products and services. The knowledge and experience obtained also serve as the basis for the potential development of a start-up company. Participants also showed considerable interest in the CRE:HUB project, in which activities are currently taking place that could contribute to improving the implementation of regional development policies and programmes supporting SMEs in the cultural and creative industries in all phases of their life-cycle. Workshops for establishing an action plan included all key actors, both representatives of the creative sector and decision-makers at the local and national levels.
The examples of good practices presented at the workshop gave participants the opportunity to get to know a range of successful models and methods of interdisciplinary connection. At the conclusion of the event, the leader of the Croatian delegation Aleksandra Vinkerlić (director of the Istrian Cultural Agency) stated that the information obtained and the insight gained into the activities of RRA LUR and the RCKE will undoubtedly help them lay the groundwork to stimulate development of the cultural and creative industries in Istria.