JAZZ VIBES MAKE CULTURAL SPACES BREATHE AGAIN
Music initiatives born during the pandemic thrive with EU support.
When the young people of Peja/ Peć, in western Kosovo, were challenged to start new events to engage more citizens culturally, they improvised with what they had: an old cinema building, renowned artists, and volunteerism. Indeed, the initiative led by the NGO Anibar focused on a genre of music that has its foundations in improvisation – jazz. To add even more uncertainty to the initiative, their series of jazz concerts was planned to kick off in late 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite all the obstacles, Peja Jazz, the latest cultural activity in town, was born.
“I have always told myself that only through cultural events would I go back to Peja.”
Dardan Selimaj, Peja Jazz
“The fact that Peja Jazz is organised under the auspices of Anibar will be in its favour for its sustainability, both from an organisational point of view and for inspiring future performers.”
Dardan Selimaj, Peja Jazz
Investing in organisations, not individuals, for healthy cultural events
Starting a musical event impacts the cultural life of a small town like Peja/ Peć in many ways. Firstly, hosting Peja Jazz in the only cinema in town helped preserve the iconic building from potential interventions. Secondly, it opened the city to other cross-cutting benefits such as increased tourism and cultural exchanges. Most importantly, it became an opportunity for transforming younger generations by making them more aware of their potential through exposing themselves to renowned artists.
“The fact that Peja Jazz is organised under the auspices of Anibar will be in its favour for its sustainability, both from an organisational point of view and for inspiring future performers,” says Dardan who is happy to transfer his knowledge of management to volunteers around the music events. He refers to the successes that Anibar has demonstrated in the field of animation where young people have evolved from learning the basics to getting their animations screened at the annual festival. Anibar is building on its experience of introducing new cultural activities in towns like Peja/ Peć, and has now partnered with other organisations across Kosovo and beyond to improve the current state of cultural spaces. With EU funding, their goal is to be better prepared as cultural actors in the management of public infrastructure, as well as to increase cooperation with local governments for the sustainable use of public infrastructure, policies and finance.
About the project
The Civic-Public Partnership for the Innovative Governance of Public Infrastructure in Peja/ Peć, Prizren and Mitrovica project aims to improve the current state of cultural spaces as well as to create new ones across Kosovo. Among other things, the project serves as a significant intervention in the democratisation of cultural and urban policies in Kosovo, but also helps in enabling more citizen participation in public life.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.