Magacin Open Calendar

Category: Alternative Economies

Community Member: Magacin Cultural Centre (Serbia)

Type of grant: Rethink [ 5.000 € ]

Year: 2018

1. Who they are

Magacin Cultural Centre is a cultural and social centre and it is a resource managed by the community of users according to the commonly established rules. Magacin is not defined by a rigid program or curatorial concept but nourishes and supports a wide range of contemporary creation programs, as well as socially responsible initiatives that act in the public interest. Art organizations, associations, informal art groups and individuals (regardless of age), acting in accordance with the Magacin’s values and conditions of use can use Magacin’s resources not only for working and realizing their programmes in the field of contemporary art and culture but also for a wider range of social practices. Magacin is available to hundreds of users on a daily basis through the open calendar model, free of charge. The open calendar allows all potential users (no matter whether they have the status of regular or new and occasional users) to have the same rights and conditions to use the space. Although primarily oriented towards the independent and informal scene, Magacin is also open for cooperation with institutions. With the implementation of a previous FundAction Renew grant in 2018/2019, the resource of Magacin became even more functional and thus enabled additional individuals and associations to carry out their programmes but also new types of usages (coworking, more complex workshops etc.) which further increased the complexity of the invisible practices of running the space.

2. What they did

The structural change contributes to the preservation and improvement of the space, by having more people involved in the day-to-day tasks and also making the space more visible and significant. Nevertheless, it also brought challenges and revealed the weaknesses in some aspects of managing the space. For these reasons, the need to improve the model was perceived at the end of 2018, and in early 2019, through the help of a Rethink FundAction grant a working group was formed to design a new model of managing and using the space.

3. Why is this relevant to the FundAction community?

All the interested users of the space joined the working group and, with the aid of two experts, started a four-month-long work on improving the model. The work on the model implied a clear definition and a kind of formalization of the existing practices and structures, having been established organically for years, but it turned out they, in the form of unwritten rules, were too fragile in the situation of the sudden expansion of the collective. This resulted in detailed written governance and organizational model which was adopted on the assembly of all users of Magacin culture centre and in a publication “Magacin – a model for a self-organized cultural centre” which focuses on the specific elements that make up this model and provides an insight into them, but also tries to put this way of managing and using resources in a wider context and enable the application of this knowledge and experience on other models based on similar or same ambitions.

The new model of Magacin and the publication were discussed at the focused conference “Make it till you make it” with guests from cultural centres from Moldova, Berlin, Dresden, Novi Sad and Pula – some of the participants were also members of FundAction where we had an open call for participation. The public panel “Building something out of something” included panelists that presented not only Magacin, but also the centres Rojc from Pula, Zentralwerk from Dresden, ZK/U from Berlin and the Trans Europa Halles network of cultural centres.