Nationalist narratives in the region of Herzegovina have created an artificial distance between close communities while leaving young people without the opportunity to meet, engage in dialogue and create different perspectives.
The project promotes a common cultural background, to rediscover cultural potentials in the region of Herzegovina and encourage social cohesion, focusing on three main fields of interest of the local EUNIC cluster strategy – reinforcing the capacities of cultural heritage, fostering intercultural and interreligious dialogue and contributing to education and inclusive citizenship.
Over the course of 4 introductory sessions, 24 interactive worksessions, an audio walk and an exhibiton, the project brought together a network of young people of all ethnic background, interested in art, culture and media to create expertise and the basis for continued future collaborative work, exchange of know-how and to promote joint Herzegovinian cultural heritage free of nationalist narratives. Listen here to a radio show about the theatre scene of Herzegovina.
A common Herzegovinian identity
The project noted a high motivation of participants and partners to continue the process of rediscovering music, architecture, theatre and poetry of Herzegovina, enabling cultural dialogue and transfer of skills between people. This was ensured by the creation of valuable tools and methodologies within this project, aiming to empower the process of building and promoting a common Herzegovinian identity. The mentorship program provided indivudal sessions for participants to meet with their mentor which helped them with concrete development of content.
Bridges of Herzegovina created additional outcomes. Participants of the program were also members of other groups and initiatives, and the project managed to enable their employability, by establishing new partnerships. They established a collaboration with Mostar Rock School (they opened a café together, employing 3 young people), Street Arts Festival (Bridges of Herzegovina provided them with logistical and space support, they now have an office within their center), stand-up comedians from Mostar (giving them free space, so they can organize shows and generate income), Youth Theatre Trijumf (Bridges of Herzegovina provided them with space and intellectual support) and IKUD initiative (Bridges of Herzegovina provided support, space, finance and marketing for their activities).
It is important to empower young people to take a critical approach to thinking about architecture and urbanism and to compare practices that existed in the past, with those we have today.
Mentors of the mentorships program reiterated the need for "empowering young people to take a critical approach to thinking about architecture and urbanism and to compare practices that existed in the past, with those we have today". Mentees as well as other collaborators agreed that building a common Herzegovinian identity and peacebuilding depends on youth empowerment and creating cultural dialogue.