The aim of the project “Out of the Margins – Research and Policy-Making on Independent Culture Scenes in South-East European Societies” is to conduct comprehensive research of the independent culture scenes in the SEE region (in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia) and to create evidence-based policy measures which would help them surpass their marginal position in the fields of cultural production.

The objectives of the project are related to diagnosis and therapy: creation of policies which would raise the capacities of the independent culture scenes in South-East European societies based on evidence resulting from comprehensive research of independent culture scene partakers and the fields of cultural production in these societies.

Data have been collected using on-line surveys and focus groups; in addition, secondary analysis of statistical data and legal documents have been undertaken. The process of surveying started in all six societies in April 2015 and lasted until June 2016. In this period, 176 organisations which were a part of the independent cultural scenes in the region of South-East Europe, were surveyed: 59 in Serbia, 28 in Montenegro, 14 in FYR Macedonia, 29 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 20 in Kosovo and 26 in Albania.

Also, as foreseen in the project proposal, eight focus groups were organised – two in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Serbia, respectively, and one in each of the other countries included in the research – with more than 90 participants from 75 organisations. Focus groups were conducted in order to collect the necessary information about the most important problems the participants of independent scenes have been facing; about relationships with other participants in the field of cultural production (national cultural institutions, local cultural institutions, organisations belonging to creative industries, small private profitable organisations in the field) and relationships with other stakeholders who affect their work (state institutions, private and state companies, donors, media, other organisations of the civil society).

The collected data will be used: 1) to form a database which will contain data on more than 150 organizations, networks and informal art groups from six countries in the region; 2) to publish a research study which will locate partakers of independent culture scene in the fields of cultural production in their societies; 3) to prepare six policy papers with measures for the improvement of the status of independent culture scenes in SEE societies which will be delivered to the national Ministries of Culture in targeted countries and to international organizations and institutions which have influence on the cultural policies in the region.

The project is realized by the Centre for Empirical Cultural Studies of South-East Europe from Niš, Center for Research and Gender Policy from Priština, Pine Street Foundation from Tirana and Association Analysis-Design-Transformation from Sarajevo.

The project “Out of the Margins – Research and Policy-Making on Independent Culture Scenes in South-East European Societies” is funded by Balkan Arts and Culture Fund BAC.

BAC is supported by the Swiss Government through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the European Cultural Foundation (ECF).