BDN releases new publication: Nurturing design in the Balkans

The intention of this publication is both to raise the questions about the state of current design practices from a designer’s point of view, but also to give practical insights to companies on how to begin to collaborate more closely with designers.

This publication offers an insight into the activities of the Balkan Design Network in the past year, since its formal foundation. In rather informal ways, the relevant organisations and their representatives from the Balkans have already been establishing a solid network of exchange programs for years, with a focus on education, design development and design promotion, through lectures, exhibitions, workshops, regional competitions for young designers and collaborations with local productions. So the framework of the Balkan Design Network can be seen as an extension of already established activities, rather than a newly proposed model which will suddenly put things in the arena of Balkan design in order. However, due to the fact that individual countries’ national policies on design, as a consequence of historical discontinuity and current unstable political situations, are either non-existent or quite far from understanding and establishing design as a relevant strategic shaping tool of other aspects of our societies’ realities, it seems like the initiatives such as the Balkan Design Network, which gathers members from cultural, creative, economic, educational and many other sectors with which design intersects, are needed.

The publication starts with a number of short inter­views with some of the relevant representatives of the design organisations, educational institutions and independent ex­perts of the Balkan design scene, in an attempt to detect the common focal points of design movements in the Balkans to­day, offer some insights into the status of design as a profession in the region and raise the questions about the future of region­al cooperation and networking.

The second part of the publication directly documents one of the core activities of the Balkan Design Network, organised so far by the three regional organisations: the Cro­atian Designers Association from Zagreb, the Mikser organi­sation from Belgrade and the Public Room from Skopje.

Special attention in the publication is given to last year’s edi­tion of YBD, under the theme Common Grounds, which was a breaking point in establishing intense collaborations of nine participants of the YBD 2015 edition with production industries in Croatia (Prostoria, Regeneracija, Spin Valis), Macedonia (Dizajn DN, Urum, We and Nature) and Serbia (GIR, Metalac).

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The project is supported by European Union programme Creative Europe and co-financed by the Office for Cooperation with NGOs by the Government of  the Republic of Croatia and Ministries of culture of Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia.