A festival welcoming a new EU member
What we set out to do
We stated that we wanted through the festival to show Croatia as a place with “a history and culture going back thousands of years”, but also “a place where exciting new things happen”. We said we wanted to ‘put Croatia on the map’, and we saw the lead up to EU accession as a good time to try to do so.
What we achieved
The festival consisted of some 30 events over the 6 months leading up to Croatia’s accession to the EU on 1st July 2013. Many people attended our receptions, openings, conferences and talks, and many more came to our exhibitions, the London Book Fair stand, read ‘Mapping Croatia in United Kingdom Collections’, heard the BBC music programme, or engaged with the festival through Facebook and Twitter.
How did this come about?
On 25th February 2011 the British-Croatian Society invited people to a meeting at the Croatian Embassy to discuss the possibility of holding a Croatian cultural festival. The Croatian ambassador welcomed the group and Sir John Ramsden, as the Chair, explained that the proposal was to create a cultural event or festival to celebrate Croatia’s accession to the EU.
A committee met monthly from early 2012 to provide direction for the festival and to ensure coherence and quality. The committee consisted of representatives of AMAC, the International Trust for Croatian Monuments, the Croatian Embassy, the British Croatian Chamber of Commerce, and the British-Croatian Society. The committee coordinated the input of our many partners and supporters. We are grateful to the Friends of Welcome Croatia for their financial support and to many other organizations and individuals who helped in one way or another.
What did we do?
7 – 27: Launch of the Welcome Croatia festival by the Croatian Minister of Culture, Dr Andrea Zlatar Violić, at the Shared Innovation exhbition, British Council Gallery
2: Dalmatian Music of the 16th – 18th Centuries, with Bojan Bujić, BBC3 Early Music Show
5 – 18: Croatia through the lens, photographic exhibition, Croatian Embassy
20 – 16 March: Trace (Mirna Krešić) art exhibition, ArtEco
25: ‘Croatian Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer as Art Collector’, Wallace Collection
25: Launch of ‘Mapping Croatia in United Kingdom Collections’, Wallace Collection
26: Presentation with HE Dr Boris Vujčić, Governor of the Bank of Croatia, INCE
13: S.DRESS, Croatian fashion, at Mooi
18: ‘Urban Planning of Trogir in the Early Renaissance’, Dr Radoslav Buzančić, Croatian Embassy
28: Žar ptica cbildrens’ theatre company present ‘The Magic World of Numbers’ at the Academy of Live & Recorded Arts
11: ‘Croatia and EU legislation’, Croatian Embassy
15 – 17: Croatian national stand at the London Book Fair, Earls Court
15 – 17: Short Shrift – Season of Contemporary Croatian Drama, RADA
16: ‘Meet the voices of modern Croatian Literature’, Keats House
17: ‘Contemporary Croatian Literature: Inside & Out’, Europe House
19: Aestas Musica Baroque Ensemble concert, Grosvenor Chapel
20 & 21: The Mozatinne Girls Choir concerts, St Vincente de Paul and Sacred Heart churches
7, 14, 21 & 28: ‘Jupiter seducing Callisto’, National Gallery
10: Sir Arthur Evans in Dalmatia, Ashmolean Museum
23-25: Croatian Products & Service Fair and gala dinner, Battersea Arts Centre
30: ‘Croatian Money and Medals in the British Museum’, British Museum
3: ‘Croatian Latin Heritage’, Dr Neven Jovanović, British Library
7 – 27: Croatian contribution to the Atlas of the Unbuilt World, London Festival of Architecture, The Bartlett School of Architecture
10 – 21: ‘Continuity of the Modernity’, Croatian architecture exhibition, 160 Tooley Street (London Festival of Architecture)
10 – 26: building a kažun, Peak District National Park (launch 5 July)
18 – 25: ‘Croatian Archaeological Heritage’, exhibition, Europe House
21: Launch of ‘The Sweet Taste of a Dalmatian Love Affair”, Croatian cookery book, Keats House
24 – 25: Croatia at the Crossroads archaeology conference, Europe House
25: Srdjan Bulat guitar concert and reception, Europe House
30: Quarter peal of bells, Christchurch in Hampstead to mark the end of the festival and Croatia’s accession to the EU
Support for the festival included:
Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs
Croatian Ministry of Culture
Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport
Croatian Embassy, London
The British Council (Croatia and London)
Europe House (EU Delegation)
Friends of Welcome Croatia
Peak District National Park
ALRA (Academy of Live and recorded Arts)
British Croatian Chamber of Commerce
International Trust for Croatian Monuments
British Croatian Business Club
Dr Ivan Grdešić, the Croatian Ambassador, deserves special thanks for his commitment to the Festival without which many events would not have happened.
Many people gave their time and professional expertise, notably:
as well as members of the festival committee – Sir John Ramsden (Chair), David Davison, Mira Malović-Yeeles, Nenad Bičanić, Flora Turner, Ana-Marija Žuvan, Tony Suchy, Jadranka Beresford-Peirse, Tihana Borovčak (Press and Public relations), Peter Elborn (Secretary).