“We envision the Green Culture community as an awakened, switched on community of collaborators with their hearts in this mission, serving as an inspiration and example for the rest of the world.”
~ Vesna Sokolovska ~
The Green Culture events are organized by the international cultural organization Krug (International Centre for Sustainable Cultural Collaboration), which was founded by me, Vesna Sokolovska Jovicevic. NGO Krug is dedicated to promoting the Arts and Culture of the Western Balkans through local and international collaboration. Through pioneering cultural events, NGO Krug fosters intercultural awareness and provides a platform for cross-border and cross-cultural collaboration. NGO Krug has been awarded for its efforts in introducing new and innovative events and promotional activities for the sustainable creative sector.
Briefly, NGO Krug, International Centre for Sustainable Cultural Collaboration is based in London, UK, and has branches in Skopje, Macedonia, Podgorica, Montenegro. The aims of KRUG reflect my biggest wish when I was creating the concept: to bring renowned international experts to former Yugoslav countries, now referred to as the Western Balkans, and help make them more sustainable and eco-friendly, setting an example to the wider global community.
I’ve been promoting the Western Balkans culture in the UK for over 11 years. As someone who has their home roots very close to her heart, I wanted to contribute to the sustainable growth of my home region, which has severely regressed on many levels over the last 25 years. Back in 2008, at one of the conferences I attended in London, I came across the concept of “the environmental creative sector” set up by the industry leaders Julie’s Bicycle, and I connected with them for advice and mentorship. It is worth mentioning here that the creative industries at this point were not very clearly defined in the Western Balkans, and were also labeled as “non-profitable” and therefore undervalued for further developing, certainly not as much as the Economy, Law, Social Sciences and other sectors. The economic situation was also creating priorities that were put in front of the development of the creative sector.
Being aware of this fact, I realized that there was huge potential to develop the Creative Industries in a new way. Several things needed to be done immediately: assist cultural organisations and artists to recognise themselves as part of the creative sector and to also acknowledge their role as members of the most influential sector in the society. When it came specifically to the ex-Yu region, it also meant that I could help bring awareness to the job opportunities there are surrounding the crucial issue of climate change, opening the door to even more new possibilities. And that is how Green Culture was born.
So, Green Culture was initially conceived as an idea to put the creative sector at the heart of the environmental campaign, and subsequently merge a few other crucial sectors together for a greater impact, with the creative sector as its catalyst. I’ve conceptualised a four-pillar innovative approach to the challenge: to take artists, scientists, business people and the spiritual community out of their silos in order to interact, explore together and make collective conclusions and decisions on the urgency of the state of our planet. Merging the 4 pillars: Green Creative sector, Green Business, Green Science and Green Philosophy, gives us a holistic approach to the climate change challenge. It is an eco-system whose parts are interdependent and need to interrelate in order to function properly.
Why did we start in Montenegro? Well, Montenegro proclaimed itself as the first ecological country in the world, and its first article of the Constitution clearly states that. Having this in mind, we thought that this small Mediterranean, still unspoilt natural gem would be the perfect place to start our quest.
I’ve realised, however, that we have a very complex task ahead of us and there have been no examples to follow or local experts on this matter to consult. What we’ve learned from our mentors has been invaluable, however, difficult to implement in the given conditions in the Western Balkans, particularly Montenegro.
As trailblazers we could only do this on a non-existent budget, with lots of great enthusiasm and wonderful people around the project, and all with this big vision in front of us – that Montenegro could one day be an example of an awakened, switched on, eco-friendly society.
Our only home is at stake and we’ve recognised the creative sector as the best vehicle to convey the message: “Let’s roll our sleeves up and do something tangible to protect and preserve our home!”. What we are trying to achieve, as I said before, is pretty complex, and we’ve completely dedicated everything that we’ve had to it. But we can only go this far without collective effort, without you. So we need all of you on board, our partners and collaborators, past and present speakers, supporters and enthusiasts.
That is why we invite you to join us! Send us an email and tell us what aspect of the climate change fight you are passionate about? What is the biggest environmental issue in your country? How would you like to contribute? Which part of our mission resonates with you? What can we do together if we join forces? We are always happy to assist you and welcome you with open arms.