Mind the complexity, be flexible and constantly enhance your knowledge: A snapshot interview with Sanjin Dragojevic

Blog: Voices and Viewpoints
Author: Lidia Varbanova - Date: 19 Sep 2010, 20:34


Sanjin Dragojević, is a Professor in Sociology of culture and Sociology of mass communication as well as in Cultural policy and Media policy at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb. He also works as consultant to a number of international organizations in the area of cultural policy, cultural management, and informational system in culture (UNESCO, Council of Europe, European Cultural Foundation, etc). He is a member of the Executive board of the Culturelink network and was previously in the Board of CIRCLE network. He is lecturing a number of international courses (in Vienna, Belgrade, Dubrovnik, etc.). He has published a number of publications in this domain and his work is translated into 14 languages.

1. Considering your own experience, what would be your main advice to the young researches who plan to pursue a career in the field of cultural policy?

It  is of utmost importance to be flexibile and to take part in different aspects of the field. The first is research. This enables young beginer in the field to understand the complexity of the area. She or he taking this activity has to consult numerous sources taking into accout different interconected areas like philosophy, sociology of culture, research in cultural policy, management in arts and culture etc.

It is also important to work in public administration domain to know aspects of this important domain. Legislation in culture, decisssion making process, cooperation among three sectors - public, pivate, independent or civil - can be fully understand in the best manner to be an „inside player“. It reqest involment of all dinamic process of financing cultural projects, respecting the democratic procedures, opinion of the key players in processes, lobbing and advocacy mechanisms.

Further on, we have to mention the importance of undertaking constant education and codification of knowledge. Maybe this type of activity is the most important. It ensures an up to date inclusion in the most valuabe theorethical and practical aspects of cultural policies. It reffers to the most important procedural aspects of decission-making process, key players in the cultural domain, respecting of autonomuos nature of cultural field, role od different independent bodies like councils, commisions, boards etc. The role of young researcher is to constantly make different kinds of research in the area of culture and arts, as well as to make results available to the public space. That ensure constant evalutaion process of reseraches and their results.

Young researcher has also to be invited to different seminar, courses, peer group training in order to interlink different generations of researchers and practioneers, as well as to rise up the level of skills and prcticies in the area. They have to also be motivated to organise themselves local and international gathering of all kinds for such a generation bridging.  

2. What was the the worst professional advice which you might have heard throughout your career?

It is good if advice is not over ambitiones regarding the standing point of institution or individual in the process of advancing. The worst such proposition was to establish foundation or fund when the legislation was not in favour of such initatives. Namely, in Croatia was passed a Law on Foundations and Funds which precises that in setting up such initiatives it is neccessary to have a relatively big initial fund. It is not strange that even now the number of such instituions in Croatia is largely behind, in comparison for example to Poland or Hungary.

3. Who (or what) has motivated you the most in your research work?

Within Croatian circumstances, there is a relatively numerous research comminity in the field of cultural policy. It can be said that the intergenerational links and transfer of knowledge in this field has been successful as well as inclusion of different reseraches in the field. There is even a Zagreb school of research with varios  aspects of culture and arts. For the young researher, it is of utmost importance to possibility discuss and relate their results with the same or similar type of researh work in the past. At the same time, connections with colleagues from abroad give also unique opportunities to exchange the knowledge and stanpoints in the Europeal level or level from other countries which have research in the field of cultural policy.

4. What is the motivation factor which still keeps you in the cultural research field?

At the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb I teach cultural policy, and this very fact gives me an opportunity but also an obligation to undertake research in the field. Some of researches I finnished in collaboration with my students. Quite often, in coopetaion with them, I have the priviledge to test the rusults from previous research works. It brings a fresh type of thinking and involvment of young researhers in the domain.

 5. What are you current research projects and what's next?

At the moment I am finnishing two papers for the regional conference in Southeasten Europe that will take place in Skopje, Macedonia under the title Re-thinking local cultural policy: new identity and new paradigm. It is intention of the Organizer – Multimedia, Skopje -  to gather researchers and practioneears involved in this matter. This conference will bring interestin possibility to see which shifts are resultated from the efforts in the region to enforce local initiatives focused on local cultural development.

The next is to make a field research on Cultural comodification and culture of consumerism in Croatia. We are witnessing the change in the social behaviour of individuals, families, and grups thanks to the opening of new shoping molles oll over the Croatian cities and particularly in Zagreb. At the same time, there is a new Museum of Contemporary Arts n the Craoatian capitol, which substantialy enriched and transformed the cultural life and habits in the city. In which manner and how this transformation has been linked to every days living of citizens: this will be studed in this new research, which I planed to acomplish.




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