Neda Knežević, MA, Director of the Museum of Yugoslavia, Belgrade: Communication and recognition are the most important features of modern museums

Neda Knežević, MA, Director of the Museum of Yugoslavia, Belgrade

Although the pandemic was ongoing in 2021, it seems that we are slowly coming out of the crisis. What has been the overall impact of the pandemic and Covid-19 crisis on culture? How much have the cultural institutions adapted and recovered?

Cultural institutions have adapted well during the pandemic. It was important to keep in touch with the audiences, which was mostly done online. Teams from cultural institutions in Serbia have prepared a series of campaigns and projects to provide a cultural programme relevant to the new environment, but also to awaken a sense of connection with the local community. In times of crisis, the role of public cultural institutions is especially important and their contribution is that they provide space for interaction and integration of people. On the one hand, they are there to educate and lead a dialogue with the visitors, and on the other, to pacify them with their unique atmosphere and help them to awaken harmony and satisfaction through the offered programmes.

The pandemic has led to cultural institutions becoming more adaptable, the interconnectedness is much greater, and the programme we had last year was enviable. To mark the 60th anniversary of the First Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade, ten cultural institutions had a rich and diverse programme, which included exhibitions, conferences, lectures, discussions, presentations of professional publications on the Movement and film screenings.

More substantial investments in culture have been announced for this year. What do we need to do to have even bigger investments in culture, but also to attract more audiences to cultural events?

Open institutions that present their content in an attractive, imaginative, bold and, if necessary, provocative way attract the audience. Today, provocation is necessary to get a reaction from visitors. A quality programme and trending topics attract visitors and arouse the interest, especially of young people, in culture. Also, greater visibility attracts the corporate sector thanks to the services that cultural institutions can offer, as well as sponsors. We have great examples where some institutions have been trying to increase their budgets by applying to various funds. In the last year or so, the Ministry of Culture has been working hard on setting up a system in culture by passing relevant laws and bylaws, which also facilitates better operations of cultural institutions.

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