ERA – Seven Grants awarded for LGBTQ+ Arts Projects

ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey in cooperation with member organizations - Da Se Zna! and Come Out, as well as with Stichting Art 1 from the Netherlands, within the project “Youth Artivists for Change” awarded seven grants for LGBTI Arts projects.

ERA awarded seven grants to the young LGBTI people from Serbia, whom are expressing their activism through specific activities, as well as through the LGBTI arts and culture project and initiatives. All awarded projects are related to the film production, podcasts, storytelling, theater performance, DRAG culture and other art forms that candidates founded interesting and relevant.

Apart from distributing seven grants for LGBTI Arts projects, ERA will provide awarded grantees with a safe working space (IdeaLab in Belgrade and in Novi Sad) which is equipped for audio and video recording, as well as for montage and editing programmes and tools. Beside equipment all awarded grantees will be provided with mentoring during the preparation and implementation process of the projects.

The project “Youth Artivists for Change” is a creative alliance of five countries, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, the Netherlands and Serbia, and targets young people, aged 15-24, in the fields of film-making, storytelling, podcasting, youth advocacy, theatre and art in general. The alliance gathers 17 organisations and networks working in the fields of arts, culture, human/LGBTI rights, gender equality and youth work. The project, is an idea of Dutch organisation Stichting Art 1 and is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The implementing organisations for Serbia are ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey, Da Se Zna and Come Out. ERA’s member organisations CEL KosovoLGBTI Support Center MacedoniaSubversive Front MacedoniaWomen's Alliance in Macedonia and Open Mind Spectrum Albania are also partners for this project in the other three countries.


Case Study - Serbia 2018

1. Background

This case study was prepared in the framework of the project “Youth Artists for Change” funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Creative Twining scheme. The main goal of the project is to utilize film, theatre, podcast and storytelling activities as powerful awareness raising and advocacy tools with primary focus on young people (14-24 years old). The project takes place in four countries of the Western Balkans: Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia through the alliance of seventeen organisations working with arts, culture, gender equality and LGBTI+ rights. We are very happy to point out that many ERA members from all these countries are involved in the project and are cooperating with Stichting Art 1. This alliance connects young people of different cultural backgrounds through activities such as launch of LGBTI+ film fesivals, photo exhibitions, debates and multiplier events to disseminate the results of the project.

2. Overall Objective and Case Study Questions

The overall purpose of the case study paper is to understand the rights of LGBTI persons situation in Serbia as of 2018 and the main developments during 2018, by making an overview of the political, legal and social context as well as the cultural and arts scene currently existing in the country. The study will have final recommendations and conclusions and will serve as a mechanism to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of the project “Youth Activists for Change”to be implemented in Serbia in 2019-2020.


Training on Storytelling, Podcasting and Filmmaking targeting Youth in Serbia

In the last two months, ERA in cooperation with its two member organisations in Serbia, Da Se Zna! and Come Out as well as Dutch organisation Stichting art.1 have hosted three capacity building trainings on filmmaking, storytelling and radio/podcasting, aiming to utilise different forms of art, media and technologies as tools for advancing the rights of LGBTI+ people. The main beneficiaries of these trainings were young people (aged 15-24 years old).

The trainings were hosted by Da Se Zna! on filmmaking (Belgrade 27-31 March), by Come Out on storytelling (Novi Sad 1-6 April) and again by Come Out on Radio and Podcasting (Novi Sad 29 May to 1 June). All trainings were facilitated by experts coming to Serbia from the Netherlands thanks to Stichting Art 1.

The film-making training provided knowledge on cameras and basic film techniques, writing techniques, practical film exercises, discussing concrete film ideas, editing, utilization of Adobe Premiere and storytelling theory. At the end of the training, participants managed to combine all the knowledge accumulated and created a short film together which was also premiered at the end of the training. Participants at the training (as well as other young people in Serbia) are in the meantime bein provided with assistance in creating short films. A mentor has been appointed who is guiding them on the process, meawhile the Rainbow House in Belgrade has now an IdeaLab corner where young film-makers can edit their materials and work.

The storytelling training in Novi Sad provided young people with more knowledge on this particular art. The training was delivered by Fouad Lakbir from the Storytelling Center in Amsterdam. During the training they had the chance to work on their personal stories, to develop them and prepare them to be presented, using the techniques of storytelling. By the end of the training, all participants shared their stories with the group, based on their experience of being a part of the LGBTI community in Serbia. During the last day of the training - train of the trainers - the participants learned how to use the knowledge they've obtained and how to transfer it to their peers and the community. Stories made in the training can be used as a part of the performance by the end of the year, organized in Novi Sad or Belgrade.

The training on radio and podcast was delivered by Lotte van Gaalen and Salim Salameh from Amsterdam, experienced in producing radio and podcast content in the Netherlands. The total of 8 participants learned the basics of creating the story usable as the radio or podcast content. They had the chance to learn how to use the professional voice recorders and voice editing programs. Each of the participants had the time to write their stories, record them and then edit them in the way they like. By the end of the training, all of them presented the recorder stories, powerful personal stories of discrimination, self identification, insecurities, everyday fears, etc. Group COME OUT will organize the exhibition of their stories in Novi Sad by the end of the year, in order to increase the visibility and the voice of the oppressed in the society. The last day of the training, the participants learned how to use the knowledge and skills in order to transfer them to their peers and the community, from a role of a trainer.

All three trainings have been conducted in the framework of the project "Youth Artivists for Change" which is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Creative Twining scheme. Art 1 is the main applicant of the project, which focuses on participation of young people (15-24 years old) in film, theater, podcast and storytelling activities. The main goal is to provide them with the tools that will empower them to speak up about social awareness on LGBTI+ rights and human rights in general as well as gender equality through the arts.

The project is taking place in four countries of the ERA region: Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia through the engagement of 17 organisations working within arts, culture, gender equality and LGBTI+ rights. We are very happy to point out that many ERA members from all these countries are involved in the project and are cooperating with Stichting Art 1. This alliance connects young people of different cultural backgrounds through activities such as launch of LGBTI+ film fesivals, photo exhibitions, debates and multiplier events to disseminate the results of the project.

Co-Authors: Amarildo Fecanji and Filip Kocevski

Additional sources: http://stichtingart1.nl/2019/06/07/youth-artivists-for-change-balkan/


Storytelling training in Novi Sad, Serbia

The first YAC storytelling training in Serbia took place between the 2nd and the 6th of April, in Novi Sad. The training was given by Fouad Lakbir, on behalf of Stichting  International Storytelling Centre and it consisted of a four-day workshop for the youth and a one-day of a Train the Trainers workshop. 

The group of participants comprised six people who, on the first day, began getting to know each other through teambuilding and trust exercises, alongside a short introduction to storytelling.  The following sessions were spent alternating between storytelling theory and human rights discussions. Great conversations and personal stories came out of questions such as “Was there a moment where you thought about leaving Serbia?” and “Can you tell me about a time when you felt discriminated and a time when you felt validated?” 

When everyone had come up with their own story to work with, the time was dedicated to crafting their stories and coaching the participants on the structure and imaginary telling. 

The 4th day was an important day: after working on their presentation skills, everyone presented the stories to each other and to a small audience. The results were beautiful and really touching and we could wrap up the workshop with the distribution of the certificates and a nice drink together.

The very last day was a bit different: it consisted of training the group in the use of storytelling training methods and tools, so that they can be the ones applying it in their communities in the future.