An open call for community-based artworks

Invisible Barriers – Visible Shifts

Fishing in the framework of the pilot project From the Citizens to Their City; photo by Tanja Kanazir

From the Citizens to Their City announces an open call for production of artworks that will be carried out in collaboration with the community of Sušak neighborhood in Rijeka (see map, and the topic is Invisible Barriers – Visible Shifts.The selected works will be created in the period from April to November 2018, and they will be presented in November as part of the second edition of Think Community festival.   

From the Citizens to Their City (GSG) is a new initiative in the city of Rijeka that gathers many protagonists from the world of arts & culture. In its programs and activities, the initiative examines the ideas of togetherness and participation. The location of the initiative, Križanićeva Street in Sušak neighborhood, with its plaque that bears the inscription From the Citizens to Their City / Rijeka 1983, is an embodiment of the above mentioned idea. The plaque, which stands at both ends of the street, speaks about the voluntary engagement of men and women in the creation of common good and its message has become the guiding principle of the initiative.

With its first open call for community-based artworks, which is geographically focused on the center of Sušak neighborhood, GSG wants to strengthen its activities in its closest environment and make an attempt of responding to some of the specific needs of the communities that occupy this environment.  

Sušak is nowadays considered to belong to Rijeka’s city center. Older local residents remember it as it used to be before the war: a busy place rich with urban amenities. Even today, it gives an impression of being a dynamic part of the town with densely packed multi-storey residential buildings (mostly historicist style) and roads that access the center from the north and east. However, this is the area with fewer amenities than could be expected, considering its vicinity to the city center and its historic value. Its daily rhythm is defined by elementary and secondary schools, Employment Service, two hotels (Kontinental and Neboder), Croatian Cultural Center Sušak, a few restaurants and several shops. Kont is a legendary spot where generations and generations of youth have been gathering to spend their spare hours both at daytime and at night. In case of rain the get-together shifts under the arcades of a nearby Križanićeva street. Besides Kont, there are quite a few clubs and cafes along the banks of the Rječina river, the hub of alternative lifestyle of Rijeka’s citizens. Still, the overall impression of the whole area (which may not be a contradiction in itself) is one of empty business premises, rundown facades and public areas in disuse. What might have contributed to such deterioration? The policy of management of business premises, nonexistence of private initiatives, general standards, age structure, torn social bonds and forgotten habits, logics of urban planning, dynamics of everyday life … or all of these together? This query will remain a subject of some future sociological study.

In the memory of the city this area used to be important in the main stages of its historic development and urban growth: from the first built piers at the estuary of the Rječina in Illyrian and antique periods, to the new identities of Rijeka, marked by the construction of vital roads such as Karolina, Lujzijana and Dorotea, all of which come together at Sušak, the industrial development (mills on the Rječina, the first manufacturing businesses and industrial plants by the river) and the Trsat stairway that leads from Sušak to the oldest Marian pilgrimage center at Trsat. Between the two world wars, the city was divided between two kingdoms and the border went straight through Sušak. Nowadays at the site, there is a bridge symbolising the post-war unification of the city into a single urban and administrative whole.

Such intriguing historical complexity of Sušak and the challenges it faces today gives room for thought-provoking interpretation of its residential, working and transit communities; communities that have stayed at Sušak for longer or shorter periods, working, resting, having fun, or just passing through and leaving no trace. The theme of the open call Invisible Barriers – Visible Progress presents itself as an incentive for possible interpretations / interventions / actions in the context of dualities: visible – invisible, private – public, center – periphery etc. GSG invites authors and artist collectives to propose a project that will be carried out in close cooperation with some of the Sušak “communities”,  whether the most visible ones, such as the youth at Kont, or those that for some reason remain out of sight.  We expect proposals from those who are well acquainted with the local setting or from those who have extensive experience in community arts and wish to transfer their knowledge to the locality of Sušak.

A note for applicants

  • The open call is intended for individuals and collectives who work in arts and culture. The proposals of applicants who are able communicate with the community directly, without the need for interpreters, are especially welcomed.
  • The applicants can submit one proposal for the production of a new work, in any medium.
  • The application form can be downloaded here.
  • Apart from the application form, which has to include information about the applicant, proposed work, time frame and estimated costs of the project, the applicants should submit other documentation (a sketch, photo, video, etc.) that offers an insight into the proposed work.
  • The author’s fee per project is HRK 3,500.00
  • The production of one project could reach up to HRK 7,000.00, while the selection committee may select a work whose production requires a larger sum .
  • GSG will cover travel and accommodation expenses of the author(s) and it will provide the working space and production support.
  • For the purposes of research and preparation, the authors may receive a two-week residence in Rijeka, according to predefined terms and conditions.
  • The applications are sent by email, to the following address:, with ‘For open call’ in subject line.

Selection criteria

  • Inclusion of a community from Sušak
  • Respect for local specificities
  • Relevance in terms of topic
  • Relevance for the local community
  • Emphasis on the process, including a form of public presentation
  • Potential for the project to continue in the future

Apart from these criteria, the selection of the works will also be influenced by the relationship of the received proposals in terms of their content. The number of the selected works will depend on technical and human resources.   

The open call closes on 20 March 2018.

The applications will be considered by a five-member committee: Selma Banich (artist), Dragan Protić (Škart art collective), Jolanda Todorović (art historian and coordinator of Kortil Live project), Iva Kovač (artist and GSG coordinator), Milijana Babić (artist and GSG coordinator).

The decision about selected proposals will be reached by 10 April 2018, and the applicants will be personally notified by email.