Student Centre in Zagreb, University of Zagreb – Cultural Department / Culture of Change

Studentski centar u Zagrebu, Sveučilište u Zagrebu – Odjel za kulturu / Kultura promjene

At this conference the Student Center is represented by Nataša Rajković, Head of the Center’s Cultural Department.

Savska cesta 25, Zagreb, Croatia
www.sczg.hr
Contact: kultura at sczg dot hr

multidisciplinary venue (various activities in art and culture, but also other fields)
Student Centre is a non-profit public institution (governed by public law), established in 1957 by local government and later part of the University of Zagreb
Culture of Change (Kultura promjene) as an informal structure was introduced to the SC in November 2004, by a group of professional artists

As Zagreb University’s centre for arts, the Student Center is committed to being a progressive and creative meeting point of the University, the city, and the international arts and academic scene. To fulfill this mission, it strives to promote, develop, and improve civil society values with a special emphasis on stimulating artistic creation and creating new forms of interdisciplinary collaborations, initiating new cultural practices and policies, and organizing practical educational programs which are missing from the general academic curriculum.

The Center advocates the idea that its program has to be accessible to the widest public, especially students. Since it is not primarily guided by profit, it is able to maintain the lowest ticket prices in the city and region for the quality its programs offer.

Since 2004, the program of the Center has been nominally and conceptually defined as Culture of Change, following the Center’s very essence, as being a cultural, social, and international meeting point for students and young artists which is characterized by a generational shift. Each generation has its own interests and needs and must have the possibility to realize them.

The Culture of Change strives to establish new aesthetics of artistic creation and contemporary production models; networks with international institutions, associations, and individuals from the fields of culture, science, civil society, education, technology, creating new models of co-production; produces artistic and interdisciplinary projects; encourages the exchange of cultural workers and cultural products and organizes artistic residencies; encourages the development of young and not yet affirmed artists; stimulates interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary artistic creation; organizes non-academic educational programs in the fields of culture, arts, and science; promotes and develops new media practices; strengthens the independent cultural scene and participates in creating cultural policy; works on developing civil society and on the sustainable development of the cultural nonprofit sector.

SC / Culture of Change, Tinderstics, concert in SC cinema

Decision-making: Formally, the decision-making process is determined by the Student Center’s broader organizational framework, in which ultimate decisions are taken by the general manager who is legally responsible for the institution. The program and decisions related to cultural programming are made by the assistant manager for culture and her/his collaborators, who present them as general plans and in other forms to the general manager.

Organizational openness: The ability to adapt to a specific project. In order to achieve the necessary organizational flexibility for such an approach, over the last five years Culture of Change has introduced various models to the Center. We have since found that (as in most other public institutions) the Center’s formal organizational and institutional structure is too rigid and therefore can not respond adequately to the changing needs and demands of contemporary art forms and cultural activities. Informally, Culture of Change is constantly introducing and experimenting with new organizational models. Ultimately, the goal of Culture of Change is to convince the owner and others responsible for the Center’s management to formally introduce a more flexible organizational structure in order to maintain the institution’s openness.

Venue/s / resources:
Student Center’s premises include:

  • 5 performing spaces in &TD Theatre: (1) The Great Hall = 14 m depth, 8 m wide, 230 seats; (2.) Semi-Round Hall = 120 seats; (3.) Black Room = lounge, bar & performance venue; 70 seats; (4) &TD Foyer= 100 seats; (5) SEK = Student Experimental Theatre= 60 seats)
  • Multimedia Center (150 seats, but accommodates up to 300 people);
  • SC Gallery (200 m2 in size, 100 seats, 350 people);
  • PU Gallery (700 m2 in size, 2000 people);
  • SC Cinema (1038 seats, the biggest cinema in Croatia);
  • SC Club (800 people);
  • Forum Theatre (300 seats),
  • PAUK Club (2000 people);
  • Visual Arts Atelier, 10 m2 gallery,
  • Kiosk Gallery,
  • Happy House.

The Cultural Department of the Student Center employs a total of 50 people (including technical, organizational, and production staff). We cooperate with a further 300 associates or more on an annual basis.

SC / Culture of Change - Theater &TD, foyer

Budget: more than €500,000.

Co-productions: A large number of the Center’s events are co-productions. Forms of co-productions depend on various elements, such as: whether the project is commercial/profitable or free to attend; the nature of the target audience; the potential artistic and social value; and so on. Culture of Change therefore approaches each project differently, taking into consideration the institution’s mission and goals and prioritizing projects created by students or younger artists.

Hosting: The same principles as in co-production apply to hosting programs and events. Commercial charges and costs are applied to clearly commercial projects while nonprofit events are usually hosted free of charge or for minimal prices to cover running costs.

Services: The Center, when possible, gives work space for rehearsals and other artistic work or social activities to groups and individuals that are not directly linked to its cultural program or, for instance, provides accommodation, catering, or publishing and promoting space for events organized in other institutions or spaces. The criteria for such services are similar to the above criteria for co-productions and hosting.

SC / Culture of Change - SC Gallery

International collaboration: One of Culture of Change’s main goals is to link the Center as much as possible to other international institutions. It is systematically seeking new international collaborations, particularly at a regional and European level. A significant part of the program realized by Culture of Change involves international artists from all fields of culture. In theatre, for example, international collaborations consist mainly of co-productions.

Participation: Depends on the project; also the work should communicate by itself

Gathering citizens: Depends on the project

Neighborhood: Depends on the project

Municipality: Our relations with local government are marked by incomprehension and a lack of communication. Because local and national government have no clear long-term cultural strategy, there is no systematic monitoring of nor interest in what we produce and what that offers to society

Advocacy / activism: Depends on the project; but activism in its own right is a cultural praxis

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