Domino Network/Opera Circus/TCFT/Unique Youth Organisation/Portagora
Meeting 5th-10th October 2016,
In 2014 at the end of the pilot of The Complete Freedom of Truth at Bryanston School in Dorset UK , Ljubisa Surlan had an idea that some of the people involved in TCFT, and particularly those from BiH, should encourage young people in some other Bosnian towns to develop their own cultural and arts activities. In many parts of Bosnia the young people have even less opportunities than those in Srebrenica.
In 2015, working with Milena Nikolic and others from Srebrenica, Ljubisa contacted youth organisations and young people in Visegrad and Jelah. The plan was to spend 10 days in both towns with young people along with artists from Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the UK developing arts activities, festivals and inviting a group from each town to join TCFT in Srebrenica.
For those who have never seen the documentary about the residency in Srebrenica here it is, made by Robert Golden.
From this Domino Youth Network began. Young people from Tuzla, Sarajevo, Srebrenica, Bratunac, Visegrad and Jelah began to explore a collaboration. It’s a challenge but the collaboration continues, visiting each others towns, working with children through the arts, debating and discussing activism, creating performances, music, theatre and poetry events.
Currently Sandra Djuric, who manages Domino, is applying for NGO status. Funds to establish the registration were raised by participants at TCFT in Bournemouth, UK this year.
As a result of a successful application to Mozaik in BiH by the Unique Youth Organisation in Jelah, funding was found for two 5 day events. The first happened in Jelah in September and was highly successful bringing new young people into the organisation and creating a whole series of events, activities and performances.
Now the group are in Srebrenica. On the first day 14 young people have been discussing project ideas, theatre and working with children with art and activism. There are performances planned, a variety of workshops, skills sharing and debates. Rada Savic-Alic, the Director of the Youth Centre, is the key organiser of the residency with Almir Ramic from Jelah and Sandra Djuric from Visigrad.
The young people involved are the role models for the future and are highly educated and trained. Amongst them they hold BA and MA degrees and skills in Mathematics and Physics, Psychology, Graphic and Web Design, Sports, multiple languages including excellent English, film making, Fine Arts, Music, Forum Theatre and performance, Literature and Language. Education and Rehabilitation, teacher training and Business Management. They are an highly creative and active group with great passion to encourage positive change for young people in BiH.
A refreshing example of the uses of the children’s art yesterday is a pop up art exhibition around Srebrenica, where their paintings were put up on walls, over torn posters and in places where people could see this symbol of an alternative way of looking at the world. Small but powerful.
Their aim is to support each other and each other’s towns and cities through arts, cultural and social activities and to give opportunities to children and other young people. Through their activism they have travelled abroad, taken part in projects both in the Balkans, Europe and the UK and have had opportunities to develop themselves and their communities. It’s a challenging role to take on as with the current Global crisis in most countries, the very specific and difficult situation in BiH and with the general apathy and hopelessness amongst many young people, there is a huge amount of work to do.
Tina Ellen Lee from Opera Circus is with the group to listen and discuss ideas for the future of TCFT as well as supporting the youth leaders in Srebrenica in their ideas for the future development of their town for young people.
During the first day’s discussions we found that many of the young people in Srebrenica had similar ideas for the town. One of the hardest aspects of any projects is good communication and establishing a system of sharing and team work. The second one of course is raising the funding, getting support from your Municipality and other local and national organisations. A representative from the European Commission in Sarajevo will be attending some of the meetings on the weekend and to participate in a discussion about the benefits and problems of EU membership for young people in BiH.
Prisca Van der Mullen, representing the NGO Portagora from Tilborg in the Netherlands, is supporting youth leaders in Srebrenica to develop the arts festival, Srebrenica Wave amongst other activities to benefit the social economy. Opera Circus/TCFT and Srebrenica Wave are looking forward to working together and supporting the young people’s aims to improve opportunities in the region. The vision is a Cultural Centre for Youth, a Rock School and eventually, who knows, a Faculty of Music and the Creative Arts. You have to have a dream.
More information on Domino Network’s page on this web site soon.