The new book “Cultural Diplomacy: Arts, Festivals and Geopolitics” edited by my great colleague the prominent cultural policy and management expert and passionate educator Prof. Milena Dragićević Šešić, in collaboration with Ljiljana Rogač Mijatović and Nina Mihaljinac, shakes up our current understanding of what “cultural diplomacy” means. This well written and thoroughly selected collection of texts is a valuable reading for scholars, academia, policy-makers, students and practitioners.

The texts in the book, divided logically into five chapters, result from two projects: the conference BITEF and Cultural Diplomacy: Teatre and Geopolitics, and the Creative Europe Desk Serbia research project about the state of the art in international and regional cultural collaboration in Serbia.

Emphasizing primarily on performing arts festivals and networks, the book tends to answer to burning and important questions, among them: What are the roles and responsibilities of cultural agents from the three sectors-public, private and nonprofit? What are the principles and practice of cultural diplomacy that has to reflect on values such as: equality, collaboration, humanity, solidarity, responsible citizenship? Can we introduce special indicators of community benefit and cultural added value? How do we care about the “invisible audiences” when organizing a cultural event? How can diverse stakeholders combine efforts to make cultural diplomacy possible through diverse projects and joined initiatives? Is this a mission impossible, or possible, in the era of globalization, economic crisis and rigorous public policies which we face in many countries? What are the challenges and perspectives of European and international cultural cooperation in Serbia?

Together with prominent scholars, professors, practitioners and activists from Serbia, international renowned colleagues also raise their voices and share valuable opinions – among them are: Serhan Ada, Monika Mokre, Hugo de Greef, Biljana Tanurovska Kjulakovski, Ana Žuvela, and many more.

The book proves that it is about the time to demand at all levels a new framework and new bottom-up agenda for the future of the international cultural cooperation that should be very different from the standard cultural diplomacy actions resulting from geopolitical interests and officially set up foreign policies.

Book chapters:

  • Part I: Cultural diplomacy: soft power or fair cooperation
  • Part II: Teatre festivals in cultural diplomacy
  • Part III: Paradiplomacy and bottom-up cultural diplomacy
  • Part IV: Serbia – challenges and perspectives of international cultural cooperation
  • Part V: Cultural cooperation data – statistical annex

The book is co-published by the Creative Europe Desk Serbia, the Ministry of Culture and Media of Republic of Serbia, the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, and the Institute for Teatre Film Radio and Television.

The authors and supporting institutions are generous enough to offer the book free for download! Many thanks indeed, on behalf of the readers:

See videos from the conference BITEF and Cultural Diplomacy: Theatre and Geopolitics (October 2016), a collaborative project of the BITEF Festival and UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management of the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia.

More videos and livestreaming:

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