The issue of social cohesion is primarily dealt with in the context of ensuring that all social groups, including all minorities, have equal access to public services such as education, social security, health protection, media, culture etc. As they develop, NGOs and other civil society organisations invest increasing efforts in the promotion of social cohesion, by supporting or organising festivals, exhibitions, cultural events etc. mostly at the local level. The National Foundation for the Promotion of Civil Society supported a number of NGOs and their programmes targeted at the promotion of social cohesion. The existing network of community cultural centres (pučka otvorena učilišta, domovi kulture, centri za kulturu) assists in bringing cultural programmes and projects closer to vulnerable communities and helps to balance the often unequal cultural offer which is mostly concentrated in larger urban centres. During the last ten years, different initiatives have served to further improve existing cultural centres and develop new models oriented to opening of new types of socio-cultural centres based on participatory governance. One such initiative was a two-year project “Approaches to Participatory Governance of Cultural Institutions” (2016 – 2018) implemented by the Kultura Nova Foundation with the support of the UNESCO International Fund for Cultural Diversity. The project focused on the existing and emerging models of innovative cultural institutions which are arising from sharing creative spaces based on the principles of participatory governance. By looking into relevant stakeholders (public authorities and bodies, civil society organisations and NGOs, creative industries and local community representatives), the project specifically focused on investigating their active involvement in planning, decision-making, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programming of innovative institutions. The implementation of the project resulted in strengthening the evidence-based policy development and good governance in cultural and creative industries through different activities including capacity building and knowledge sharing for relevant stakeholders done through a number of workshops and events; a participatory governance guidebook for innovative models of cultural institutions was published as part of the project; “Participatory Governance in Culture: Exploring Practices, Theories and Policies. DO IT TOGETHER” conference, which gathered relevant researchers, policy makers and practitioners.
The Kultura Nova Foundation advocates on the national level about the importance of sharing responsibility in usage and governance of cultural resources, active engagement of the local community in governing, programming and production of the cultural and artistic contents. This work contributed to the Open Call ‘Culture in the Centre – Support to the civil-public partnership development in culture’ initiated by the Ministry of Culture and Media within the framework of Efficient Human Resources Operational Programme and supported by the European Social Fund. The Kultura Nova Foundation was actively involved in the programming stage of the project and participated in the Working group – advisory body of experts formed by the Ministry of Culture involved in co-creating the Open Call. The Call was closed in 2018 and 34 projects were selected and supported with a total funding of 50 million HRK (6 666 666 EUR).