What is new in cultural management in Slovakia?
We invite the professional and lay public to the third edition of the Antena Conference on strategies and trends in culture, dedicated to expert reflection on management practices in independent and established culture and also to finding solutions to survive the bad times ahead.
When: Wednesday 26 October 2022, 9.30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Múzeum mesta Bratislavy / Apponyiho palác (Faustova sieň) / Radničná 577, Bratislava
How culture changes urban communities - we will reflect on the social and material dimension of grass-root cultural initiatives. In an international comparison, we will explore the conditions in which they manage to follow through with their plans to change cities.
The question of legal forms - we will contribute to the current debate on the merits of different legal forms of cultural organisations in relation to the quality of their governance (governance), the flexibility of their management (management) and the possibilities for funding (fundraising).
ECoC candidacy as a "crash-test" of cultural management at the municipal level - we will talk to the unsuccessful finalists about how they plan to translate the cultural strategies prepared as part of the European Capital of Culture candidacy into practice in the usual conditions without the coveted investments associated with the title.
How to survive in the crisis - inflation, low wages, rising energy prices, or changes in audience behaviour after the pandemic bring problems that we have to face individually, but also at the sector level. We will discuss what to do and how to face difficult challenges in order to survive.
9:30 - 10:00 Arrival, registration, refreshments
10.00 - 11.15 key note lecture (in English)
Francesco Campagnari is an Italian urban planner and researcher. He is currently based at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris and is also a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow of the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (EF-ST). His research focuses on innovation and processes of institutionalization of grass-root initiatives and on the relations between management practices, plans and public policies in culture. In the field, he has researched Italian, French and Slovak cases.
In this talk, he will present the results of his research on how independent cultural initiatives change the cities in which they emerge. He will bring a broader international overview based on both data and personal knowledge of the stories behind the scenes.
11.15 -11.30 break
11.30 - 12.30 panel discussion
Is greater management autonomy in the cultural sector a value worth striving for? Comparison of legal forms and associated governance models in relation to the potential for institutional development. Reflection on the trend of transformation of cultural institutions in the field of 'established culture'.
Matúš Bieščad, Director General of the Institute of Cultural Policy, Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic
Zuzana Hekel, Director of the J. Palárik Theatre in Trnava, member of the Board of DPOH n.o.
Zuzana Ivašková, Head of the Culture Department, Bratislava City Hall
Vladimír Randa, Vice-Mayor of Žilina
- Moderated by Fedor Blaščák
In Slovakia, a distinction has been made between established and non-established culture, which classifies the cultural sector according to legal forms into "independent" non-governmental organizations versus "dependent" contributory and budgetary organizations of local governments. The different legal forms have a major impact on key aspects of organisational development: funding, management methods and their flexibility, and sustainability.
Recently, we have seen a trend of transformation of 'dependent' contributory organisations into non-profit organisations established by local governments, such as the recent transformation of the P.O. Hviezdoslav Theatre in Bratislava. In Žilina, on the other hand, they are currently planning to establish a new umbrella organisation, the Žilina Cultural and Creative Centre, as a contributory organisation. Together with representatives of these municipalities and entities we want to contribute to the discussion on the advantages of different legal forms of cultural organisations.
If cultural organisations established by local governments become non-profit organisations, does this mean that they automatically become entities of "independent culture"? It appears that if the lines between established and non-established culture are blurred on the basis of legal forms, this original distinction will lose its meaning. What impact will this have on the status and funding of what was originally an independent culture? And how to overcome the limits of its funding, when project-related resources do not allow for capacity development and professionalisation of management in independent centres?
12:45 - 13:30 lunch
13.30 - 14.45 panel discussion
We will talk with the unsuccessful finalists about how they plan to move on the cultural strategies prepared in the framework of the ECoC candidature into practice in the usual conditions without the coveted investments associated with the title.
Peter Fiabáne, Mayor of Žilina
Marek Hattas, Mayor of Nitra
Christian Potiron, head of the ECoC Žilina 2026 team
Marián Tesák, Head of the ECoC Nitra 2026 team
Jozef Kovalčík, member of the ECoC 2026 jury (online entry)
- Moderator: Bohdan Smieška
In 2026 Slovakia will host the European "Cultural Olympiad" for the second time. In the period 2020-2022, eight Slovak cities have joined the candidacy process. Nitra, Žilina and Trenčín were shortlisted for the title.
Preparing an ECOC candidacy in Slovak conditions is a unique experience. It was a complex process, which involved the creation of important strategic documents, a detailed artistic programme offer and a wide international network of partners. In the context of cultural management at city level, this process has left behind extremely valuable and specific know-how.
What is left after two years of efforts to win the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture? The aim of the discussion with the mayors and heads of the preparation teams is also a broader assessment of the experience of the preparation of the ECOC applications as a kind of discursive manual and a lesson for the future.
14:45 - 15:00 break
15:00 - 16:00 Round table
Inflation, low wages, rising energy prices, or changes in audience behaviour after a pandemic bring challenges that we have to face individually, but also at the sector level. At the roundtable we will discuss what to do and how to face the difficult challenges in order to survive. The discussion will include members of Antenna, representatives of similar rooftop platforms and invited experts.
Based on data collection among cultural operators, we can estimate that 30 per cent of music clubs, independent cultural centres, non-established theatres, cinemas and other cultural institutions will close down if there is no help from the government on energy prices.
In this regard, 11 umbrella platforms of cultural organisations came together in September 2022 and sent an open letter to the Prime Minister with demands and proposals to address the crisis situation. What is the response from the government and what will be the next steps?
Antenna - Network for Independent Culture
Bystriny, Bratislava City Museum
Thank you for your support:
Bratislava City Foundation