Between 8 and 13 May “China-CEEC Arts Cooperation Forum” between China and Central and Eastern European countries (members of Initiative 16+1) was hosted in Beijing. More than 300 renowned artists and representatives of cultural institutions from China and 16 European countries attended the event, along with the Slovenian delegation. At the Forum participants set goals and formed concrete proposals for cooperation in 2017.
The Forum brought together culture professionals and artists from the fields of visual and performing arts as well as dance and music. At the invitation of the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China Slovenia was represented by Sanja Neskovic Peršin, artistic director of SNG Opera and Ballet Ljubljana, Alenka Gregorič, artistic director and curator at the City Art Gallery Ljubljana and KC Tobačna 001, Nikola Sekulović, musician and freelancer in the field of culture, and Nataša Zavolovšek, director and producer of the Exodos Ljubljana Institute as a coordinator of the group. Rok Golob, composer, conductor and versatile musician, also participated at the Composers‘ Camp.
Through several discussions participants have presented characteristics of the individual cultural markets, explored options and models for cooperation and realization of concrete projects, and formed individual networks or platforms for cultural season 2017. SNG Opera and Ballet Ljubljana and Exodos Ljubljana Institute became co-founders of the China-CEEC Dance Union established at the occasion for the purpose of the long-term cooperation in this field.
Participants were thrilled with an excellent organization of the Forum by Chinese hosts, and visits of Beijing‘s cultural institutions: National Centre for the Performing Arts, the Academy of Ballet and Dance, the National Theatre, the Academy of Fine Arts and the CAFA Museum, the National Museum, the University of Minzu and the Central Conservatory for Music.
Slovenia is a member of the Initiative 16 + 1 established as a platform for strengthening political and economic cooperation of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries. Part of the initiative is also a cultural exchange, which aims to promote good relations between countries and people, and to strengthen public support for cooperation in various fields. “New Silk Road” is becoming one of the central foreign policy and geo-economic development projects for the new generation of Chinese leadership, which seeks to revive intercontinental trade and cultural routes between China, Central Asia and Europe.
However clearly expressed interest of Slovenia for cooperation with China and duly signed interstate agreements are obviously not enough to ensure actual shifts in collaboration. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia has due to the lack of funding decided not to support Slovenian cultural delegation. Despite such decision Nikola Sekulović and Nataša Zavolovšek, leading the first project under this initiative, aChina-CEEC Summer Dance Camp, were chosen by the Chinese hosts for the moderators of the final events at forum.
Even without the support of the relevant Ministry the cultural cooperation between the two countries will be continued with the visit of the Chinese cultural delegation in Slovenia starting at June 10. During short stay in Slovenia the representatives of key Chinese cultural institutions and associations will visit several events and meet with selected representatives of Slovenian cultural institutions and stakeholders of cultural scene. This will be probably also the last chance for the systemic inclusion of Slovenia in the process of this arts cooperation.