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Boris Beja, Pionirski Dom (Slovenia) – Partner Interview

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Author Jo Mcleish - The Media Room

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Tell us about your organisation?

So, Pionirski Dom has been in existence for 55 years. We are right in the centre of Slovenia and we work across three locations. We offer a range of artistic offers from workshops, programming of festivals, music, fine art, contemporary dance and theatre. In addition to established programmes, we also provide training for school teachers and so we are also in contact with institutional education. We build a bridge between non-formal education and experience, and with the formal growing up of the individual.

Pionirski Dom (which translates into English as ‘The Pioneer Home’) was established during the time of the common state of Yugoslavia. Politics was then aware of how important culture is and how it can build a common future with a visual image, especially architecture.

The City of Ljubljana still supports our institution and, above all, builds a large artistic contribution to the public alongside state institutions. The city supports galleries, museums, theatres and most importantly builds and restores new tangible as well as intangible infrastructures.

What do you bring to the LIBERTY EU project?

I believe Pionirski Dom showcases the good work that we do and what we achieve to our project partners, and at the same time, we are inspired by others work too. We will be playing our part in building our artistic community and cementing what it means to be part of the European Union, and in turn creating a legacy and a heritage for future years.

In three years, we will be building three of our festivals with the LIBERTY EU project. The art result has already been presented, the film festival is this year, and next year we will start dancing. Thus, we are constantly involved in the project and are looking for new ways and artists for the good realisation of projects.

We work with such a range of diverse topics across a real mix of specialisms. We operate like a sponge a combination of many things all under one roof.  With Vesna Tripković as our lead, we have the vision and artistic capacity to add real value to the LIBERTY EU project.

What do you hope LIBERTY EU will achieve for artists in your country?

Slovenia is a small country we are young, innocent, and actually quite new (when you consider our history). In terms of what this project will achieve for our artists I think it’s a range of things finding ways into quite a closed industry, creating connections and dialogue with others, helping their ideas come alive, and also give them the opportunity to be part of a big production.

Why is LIBERTY EU important right now?

Because it gives us a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ moment.  It shows that we have a strong community building together. It’s also really important to be producing something new, especially in a year like the one that we have all experienced.  We have to find new and innovative ways to keep our work going, when so much around us is proving difficult to accomplish. This project is helping us all to stay active with a real aim to produce something special.

Where do you think LIBERTY EU will achieve most impact?

For me, I think it will be about the opportunities to build new relationships between everyone working on the project.  To build strong and meaningful connections, full of new possibilities going forward. These links that we create can only help to create a solid legacy.

What are you most excited about delivering as part of LIBERTY EU?

Hmm… Dance! The Freedom Festival and the workshops. I am just so pleased that we are able to engage with refugees, just for one week we can make their lives better and more fulfilled- by offering them the chance to engage in something creative.

Why are the arts so important for young people?

Because art can show you what others cannot. It helps you discover yourself, what makes you sad and what surprises you.  It’s that amazing process of making something no matter how big or small or how lovely and be able to say, “I made this” or “I did this”.

By creating, young people also learn to perform in public and learn about reflection, in particular taking on the views of others and being able to look at oneself and your artistic creations. I think Pionirski Dom has a great heritage, and we are building a bright future on it in the present. For many, not least for us who create our programmes.

Has Brexit impacted on European Artistic relationships?

Well, I have lived experience of a country that breaks away and changes its identity. Will the same be said of the UK? Who knows… I wish the UK would stay in the EU, but we have to remember that we are working in the field of culture and with that comes open minded and non-judgmental people, so that will continue, regardless of politics and geography.

Images of Boris Beja and colleague Vesna Tripković at LIKfest exhibition launch and Boris Beja at Altonale partner meeting’s tour of Hamburg.


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