Youth Center organizations
The Youth Center is a place where high quality contemporary and progressive urban art and culture takes place, away from the mainstream, all thanks to organizations operating through the Center. Each organization is unique in its own way, as are their programs.
Welcome to Youth Center’s Web! Here you can find info about who’s working here, what programs and activities you can find here, but also how you can engage.
HISTORY OF THE BUILDING AND ITS USERS
The construction of the Youth Center began in 1974 — before the Mediterranean Games in Split in 1979 — but was discontinued and the building remained empty and without content for the next 15 years. The turning point came in 1994, when the Center was occupied by alternative artists with the “Art Squat” project, following a previous three-month clean-up volunteer operation joined by 50 young people. The initiative ignited an organized struggle to transform this building into a space for independent culture. The New Croatian Art Association (nowadays known as Uzgon) put together a program which featured several alternative bands and DJs, 15 visual artists and there was also a panel on how to use the space and producing cultural content. According to the original plan, this was supposed to be a three-day program, but extended to seven days and then lasted for three months.
The City of Split established the Cultural Center for Youth in 1997, a public institution for creativity and performance in culture, technical culture and the arts, which operated as the governing body of the Youth Center until 2005. The name of the institution clearly indicated the institutional formalization and inconsistency with Art Squat’s original program and self-managing ambitions. However, the self-organized process of conquering space for independent scene activities was still ongoing, which is why the Coalition of Youth Associations (KUM) was established in May 2001 — the first of its kind in Croatia. Following the civic campaign “Youth Center to the Youth”, in June 2001, the City Council of Split gave KUM access to the unregulated concrete basement of the building, without any installations or infrastructure. Through the efforts of the associations, the space was gradually equipped for concert, exhibition, performance, workshop and reading activities, and has continued to operate until today, carrying the name Klub Kocka.
After the Youth Cultural Center was shut down in 2005, the Multimedia Cultural Centre Split (proxy for the City of Split) took over the management of the building today. This change of the governing body made the first step towards the public-civil partnership as it exists today in the management of the Youth Center and its use, as well as the beginning of rendering parts of the building that were completely unusable.
All these years, the premises of the building have been used by independent associations and arts organizations, although the building has never been completed. Long-term efforts of various organizations and associations — with the aim of furnishing the space in the Youth Center, and at the same time designing the contents within them — was guided by the slogan “construction is not necessary if you have no one to do it for”, which would mean that the organizations were simultaneously renovating the space with programs and attracting and creating new users. Over the years, depending on the will of the local government and financial resources, the premises have been gradually redecorated in order to achieve minimum technical conditions for operating, but the landscaping has never been completed. A crucial step for the Youth Center came in 2012, when six associations (initially as an informal initiative) applied for a competition for the advocacy platforms of the newly founded Kultura nova Foundation. At that moment, the cooperation of arts organizations and associations in the field of independent culture was necessary, because only through a joint initiative could a problem in local cultural policy be identified and in that way they could agree on how and by what activities to tackle them.
With the change of government, the Ministry of Culture announced that year that it was investing with European funds and that it would finally finish the Youth Center. Although the Ministry of Culture positioned itself as a project partner from the beginning, the City of Split and the County of Split-Dalmatia did the same in spring 2013, when the project of renovation of the Youth Center was submitted to the competition of the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union Funds, which gave it the status of regional development project.
Since 2015, Platforma Doma mladih has been acting as a formal association – a union of associations for the independent cultural scene and the youth sector. It sees the Youth Center as a space where contemporary art, cultural, critical social practices and activities will be developed and presented. PDM is advocating for a change in the governance model of the space, as it seeks a more democratic governance model and a more intensive involvement of citizens who should participate equally in decision-making processes and share responsibility. PDM, together with the cultural institution and the City of Split, (through the model of civil-public partnership) would (co) manage the space. Within this model, responsibility for space is the same for everyone, the programs and goals of the Youth Center are jointly planned, and neither party has power over the other when it comes to planning and decision-making. It is the only concept that allows citizens to participate in the planning of cultural content in such spaces. Namely, if the City of Split or an institution manages the aforementioned premises and the contents realized within them, citizens have no access there except as passive users.
When it comes to financing program activities planned for realization within the Youth Center, PDM implements the project “Gradimo Dom zajedno”, in partnership with the City of Split, Multimedia Cultural Centre – MKC, Cluster for Eco-Social Innovation and Development – CEDRA Split, Coalition of Youth Associations – KUM and the Mediterranean Film Festival Split — FMFS, funded by the European Social Fund through a call for grant “Culture at the Center – Supporting the Development of Public-Civic Partnership in Culture”.
In August 2019, a project was applied for the Youth Center, aiming to finance counseling and information activities, implementation of non-formal education programs — leading to the acquisition of relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes by young people — activities aimed at organizing leisure activities and activities aimed at supporting youth initiatives.
MISSION AND VISION
The mission of the Youth Center is to provide a spatial, organizational, program and financial platform for the creation, participation, use and experience of contemporary and advanced art and culture and social processes related to them. The vision of the Youth Center is to establish itself as a production and presentation center of contemporary culture and art, with high-quality art production, wide impact on the cultural sphere of the city and the region, and to become a contributor in the international scene of advanced cultural centers. The general objective is to develop cultural infrastructure, improve the working conditions of cultural institutions and non-profit organizations for the purpose of evaluating and fostering cultural creativity with a particular focus / focus on contemporary forms of cultural creativity, as well as encouraging lifelong education and social inclusion. Ultimately, all of these general and specific goals are in the service of a final result. The completed process of reconstruction, arrangement and equipping of an exceptional public resource for the purpose of development and improvement of new tourist facilities, culture scene and youth programs is considered as the final result. The achievement of the final result will set an innovative culture model for a wide audience and users, which represents a great contribution to the whole region. At the same time, it will become an example for the development of similar centers and their networking at program and organization levels.