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Accepted Paper:

Holding the Serbian Ministry of Culture to account: contemporary dance communities intervene  
Alexandra Baybutt (Middlesex University)

Paper short abstract:

How do arts organisations nurture artists in less well-resourced contexts? In 2016, several organisations for dance in Serbia lodged a court case against the Ministry of Culture. This paper explores ways in which alliances can form a conversation with state structures to change conditions of work.

Paper long abstract:

This paper presents an example from fieldwork conducted in Serbia, and in the former Yugoslav space, between 2016-2018. Artists, cultural workers and NGOs in Serbia have been experiencing diminishing support from international community funds and foundations since their context is no longer considered a post-conflict hot-spot. But their efforts have been hampered by persistent semi-functionality of the state itself. The artistic communities regularly contest the grounds on which practice should operate, and the unpredictable financial arrangements affecting long-term planning. Many believe in the importance of the Ministry of Culture's role in distributing public funding, with art considered a public good, and that they have the right to work. Several groups connected to ballet and contemporary dance, unwilling to accept the procedures of the Ministry of Culture that were further compromising working conditions, self-organised in 2016 to lodge a court case against the Ministry. This action constituted this them as citizens who had the potential to impact upon state instruments, rather than being recipients of rights already enshrined and in practice. But seeing the barriers and attempting to change the situation was also a risk, for it placed the groups in an adversarial position, causing some to be ostracized. In 2019, the results of the case were announced, in favour of the alliance. I present this example to explore ways in which those operating in the transnational field of contemporary dance face conditions of abandonment at the local level, and can mobilise to change their context.

Panel A09
'Left behind places': unequal social trajectories of progress
  Session 1 Wednesday 4 September, 2019, -