The Center for the Empirical Cultural Studies of South-East Europe (CESK) is an independent research institution which deals with the study of the influences of global trends (globalization, neoliberal politics, the economic crisis, post-socialist transformations) on the societies of South-East Europe.
The Center for the Empirical Cultural Studies of South-East Europe closely collaborates with over 40 researchers in the region of South-East Europe, but its core is made up of eight members, seven of which are teachers and associates of the University of Niš, Belgrade and Novi Sad. The active members of CESK include seven individuals with a doctoral degree (five in the field of sociology, one in the field of management in culture, one in the field of art history).
Since it was founded in 2010, the Center for the Empirical Cultural Studies of South-East Europe has realized more than 20 research projects.
The Center is currently realizing the Horizon 2020 project 693537 “Closing the Gap between Formal and Informal institutions in the Balkans” (2016 – 2019) as part of a consortium of nine organizations in which is headed by the University College London, UCL, www.ucl.ac.uk/ssees/, (UK) . Its partner organizations on the project include the Riga Stradinš University, www.rsu.lv, (Letonija), University of Maribor, www.um.si, (Slovenia), Institute for Democracy Societas Civilis Skopje, IDSCS, www.idscs.org.mk, Social Research Kosova, www.srk-ks.com, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, www.ief.hr, (Croatia), Center for Intradisciplinary Social Applied Research CISAR, www.cisar.ba, (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Center for Historical and Anthropological Research QKHA (Albania).
In addition, in 2015 and 2016 it carried out the research “The Socio-economic Status and the Lifestyle/Workstyle of the Employed/Engaged in the Civic Cultural Sector of South-East European Societies” financed within the program of the Regional platform for culture (2016, in association with the Association of Independent Culture Scene Serbia); “Culture, art, children – the possibility of children participating in contemporary cultural and artistic production” (2016, in association with the POINT foundation); “Out of the Margins – Research and Policy-Making on Independent Cultural Scenes in South-East European Societies“ (2015, as part of the Balkan Arts and Culture program, with the financial support of the European Cultural Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)).
From 2014 – 2016 it carried out the project “Life Strategies and Survival Strategies of Households and Individuals in South-East European Societies in the Period of Economic Crisis” in collaboration with the University of Zurich www.uzh.ch, the Institute for Social Sciences “Ivo Pilar” from Split www.pilar.hr/2008/10/podruni-centar-split, the University of Maribor and the Economic Institute from Sarajevo, eis.ba, with the financial support of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
In 2012 and 2013, CESK was involved in research into the resistance of socio-economic changes within the framework of the regional research “Resistance to Socio-Economic Changes in Western Balkan Societies“ (2012-2013) along with its partners from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and from Kosovo; in 2012 it carried out the project “Fields of Symbolic Contestation in Serbia“, and in 2011 the research “Social and Cultural Capital in Serbia”. These last three research projects were financed within the Regional Research Promotion Program in the Western Balkans (RRPP) which is headed by the University of Freiburg (Switzerland).
At the same time, the members of CESК were involved in a series of smaller-scale studies and actively took part in the design of the cultural development of some cities in Serbia and Montenegro (Niš, Novi Sad, Vranje, Novi Pazar, Кotor, Tivat, Herceg Novog); they were moderators of the strategic planning of cultural institutions in South-East Serbia (The Gallery of modern arts in Niš, the Cultural center in Leskovac, the Cultural center in Pirot, the National museum in Vranje and the National museum in Zaječar); worked on the research and design of recommendations for the improvement of the status of social sciences in Serbia; on research into financial sustainability of the organizations of civic societies in culture in Serbia and the plans for their improvement; and as evaluators for the local and international projects in the field of culture.