FUŽINE – European Cultural City Rijeka 2020

First Excursion to Fužine


As part of the European Capital of Culture Rijeka 2020 within a program of 27 Neighborhoods in collaboration with the University of Applied Arts Vienna, first year and second year MA students from Art and Science Department had a first 2-week residence in the neighborhood Fužine, Gorski Kotar County in Croatia. Together with the local community – various informants, stakeholders and young adults and children, we have created activities and new plans for building the future friendships within the project



Research in (multispecies) conviviality.
The first “field trip” of the program took place beginning of November 2019 and started an inquiry that aims at the creation of relationships between humans, animals, nature, weather, music, art and science. Exploringthe village of Fužine, and its smaller parts Lič, Vrata, and Vrelo, we were navigating between somewhere and elsewhere reflecting on matters of concern that could make us think. Small villages in the valley surrounded by the forest, with cold winds coming from the mountains and warm fronts from the sea, colliding, and thereby creating a heavy and omnipresent rain. Water - abundant and sometimes dangerous source of life in socks and shoes
Attentive awareness regarding the crucial questions that this rural community is facing: depopulation and exodus of young people from the county, searching for better lifes in bigger cities or foreign economically maybe more promising countries. This situation represents a trend that can be observed in many countries. So, one dominant question was and is, of course: is a good life possible in these “Elsewheres and Somewheres” that many of us try to avoid. For addressing this question the group of students visited several places and tried to expose itself to “everydayness” in Fužine. The driving force behind many activities that are arranged together with children and young adults by representatives of the community is therefore centering around the goal to make a future in the region more attractive and instigate a bond with Gorski Kotar. Children and young adult’s positions are considered an important and most valuable resource for developing a social perspective which, so the expectation, could revive this region that slowly is dying. By talking to people of the village it became more and more clear that inventing initiatives that could help to make the younger generation participate in the reflection on possible futures would be highly welcomed.

In communication with a local team of informants, the group visited Primary School Ivanka Trohar in Fužine and Primary School Lič. Meetings and workshops were placed in the classrooms where younger students were supposed to learn from older students and vice versa. These glimpses into schools where a mutual teaching and multiple “hidden curricula” help to develop empowering learning experiences serve as an important departure point for an Elsewhere School of Conviviality. The so-called “School of Peace” can serve as a second point of departure. The School of Peace was a regional and successful process of communication that was established before and during the Balkan War period in the nineties. (Two members of our group visited a regional conference on various matters regarding the situation in Gorski Kota, and where a “revival” of the School of Peace was announced)

An Elswhere School’s draws from these situated models of mutual learning and peaceful coexistence and extends the frame by including non-human entities that dwell around the villages on islands of industrial and primary forests and that sometimes are visible but more often highly invisible for the unexperienced eye of an investigator.
Locations, activities and people:
School Ivanka Trohat : Language workshop 6. 8. grade
School of Lič : Creative workshops 1. and 2. grade
Ethnographic collection Lič : tools of use
Franjo Rački Library Vrata: Chess evenings, creative workshop Our kids Society
Kinder garden Fužine : school education models
Municipality office Fužine: Mayors office meeting
Wood Industry Drvenjača d.o.o.: Raw wood materials production
Animal Shelter Fužine: Walking dogs in the nature
Horse ranch: rain shelter/ casual visits and talks
Culture House Fužine: Brass orchestra Fužine music rehearsal
Cave Vrelo: Visit to the cave
Polje Lič: Talk and walk with shepard Zoky and 250 seeps.
House Breg nr 9. Garage studio set up
Hiking and mapping the territory Fužine- Lič- Vrata- Vrelo
Conference Children in Focus- Mrkopalj
Location scouting School for multispecies Conviviality
Late mushroom hunt out of season
Karaoke party Cultural House Lič
Lunch and food debate: Hotel Bitoraj, Restaurant Furlan
Bar infinity and Hunter Bar: coffee and socializing


1st year students : Jannis Neumann, Miloš Vučićević, Klara Krämer, Lindsey Nicholson, Helen Davy, Naoki Matsuyama, Maria Bacila, Els van Houtert,
Alfredo Ledesma Quintana
2nd year students: Chiara Champanile, Paula Flores, Marthin Rozo, Mila Balzhieva
Art and Science Department – University of Applied Arts Vienna
Brishty Alam, Valerie Deifel, Bernd Kräftner
Concept & chair: Bernd Kräftner in collaboration with Brishty Alam, Valerie Deifel, Marko Marković
Project coordinator: Marko Marković
Local team Fužine
EPK 2020 Rijeka - 27 Neighborhoods team

Fužine - 1st Excursion November 2019

(c) photos by Maria Bacila, Marko Markovic

Fact Box

FUŽINE – European Cultural City Rijeka 2020
November 04, 2019
Fužine, Croatia