The Centre for Creativity or CzK (Center za kreativnost) was established in 2017 as an interdisciplinary platform to support Slovenia's cultural and creative sector (CCS). It operates under the auspices of the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in Ljubljana. In 2018, a project office of CzK was also established in Maribor.
The CzK platform is co-financed by the EU European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Slovenia in the period 2017–2022.
The Centre for Creativity focuses on architecture, design, art, heritage and other areas of CCS and promotes cross-sectoral cooperation. It encourages integration between CCS, companies and other sectors – cooperation between private, government and non-government sectors, science, education, tourism and different creative groups and individuals. The project also enables MAO to provide an important part of the supportive environment for innovation in Slovenia.
In particular, the CzK promotes the development of projects that take shape at the intersection of art, culture, experiments, the market, entrepreneurship and the business sector, and which employ creativity, production and the distribution of goods and services that bring or express culture-related or otherwise creative content. The results of these projects are commercially viable, they increase added value and are aimed at addressing specific social issues, facilitating social progress and welfare. CzK serves to intensify and integrate relevant sources of support for innovation in Slovenia.
The Centre for Creativity grew out of the goals of the Slovenian National Culture Programme (NPK) and also follows the goals of the Slovenian Smart Specialization Strategy (S4). In addition, the CzK can be seen as a complement to MAO's mission, as it has evolved out of the museum's programme and related projects in the recent period, particularly in relation to the desire to realise more process-related and cross-sector projects that began during the 24th Biennial of Design (BIO 50) in 2014. At that time, the entire structure of the BIO was transformed from a product-oriented exhibition to a more process-oriented, community enriching experience and production platform.
Projects and activities that have helped pave the way for the CzK, include the travelling exhibition Silent Revolutions – Contemporary Design in Slovenia; the film series Small and Smart – Expressions of Contemporary Slovenian Architecture in Film; and MAO's roles as the Commissioner of the Slovenian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and as the project leader of the Creative Europe-funded Future Architecture Platform (see MAO).
CzK stages tenders and public calls as well as organises exhibitions, conferences, workshops and other events that are focused on facilitating the transfer of knowledge and connecting stakeholders from the cultural and creative sector with actors from the public sector and the industry. These events are from the fields of advertising, architecture, literature, design, education, entrepreneurship, heritage, media, music, performance art, tourism, visual arts and others.
Through its various programmes, the activities of the CzK are focused several target areas: 1) the development of innovative products, services and solutions; 2) education and mentorship; 3) networking at home and abroad; 4) research and analysis of the CSS; 5) a web platform for the services and goods the CCS has to offer; 6) promotion and communication.
CzK offers a multilayered and connected programme with different strands to suit the needs of creators and creative business and various moments in their development. Thus, Creative Accelerator is a series of monthly workshops, lectures and related educational activities with content relevant to
business and creative activites ranging from brand development, marketing and project management, among others. Activities are intended for different target groups in the creative ecosystem with the aim of meeting the developmental needs of CSS companies in different phases.
Creative Incubator is a programme intended for selected creative firms or organisations that despite already having services with clear goals, vision and business potential, wish to refresh the view on their activities or need specialised professional assistance to reach the next step in their growth.
Skillshare is another CzK programme in which successful creative professionals and entrepreneurs, especially Slovenes whose work is widely-known international or who have made a name for themselves working abroad are invited to share their skills with others in their field through activities such as lectures, presentations, exhibitions and consulting. The activities offer an important moment for networking as well.
Other educational and networking activities take place through workshops and presentations prepared alongside CzK's calls for tender as well as through annual conferences related to current issues in specific fields of the cultural and creative sector. In 2019, the two-day conference and pop-up showroom Sistem mode (Fashion System) prepared with the Society for Textile and Fashion Design (SOTO) brought 30 participants from 10 countries to speak about their work and experiences in the fashion industry from design to media as well as presented the work of 20 local fashion designers and their brands. In 2020, CzK turned its focus to dance with the (non-)conference Ples>Denar (Dance>Money) together with Pekinpah Association. Subtitled "Growing Markets: strategies for cooperation", the two-day event sought to fertilise the field of contemporary dance through the shared development of new strategies for international cooperation, presentation and touring among producers and makers of dance art.
In Maribor, the series Pop-Upstart gives young Slovene creatives from various CSS fields a chance to present and promote their products and services to the wider public through sales exhibitions, networking and talks. The aim of the series is to encourage entreprenuership among creative professionals through the promotion of their innovative, sustainable and well-designed projects.
In 2020, CzK and Dr Barbara Predan in cooperation with the Institute for Economic Research (IER) produced the brochure Kulturno-kreativni imperativ: Razsežnost in potencial kulturnega in kreativnega sektorja v Sloveniji (The Cultural-Creative Imperative: The Dimension and Potential of the Cultural and Creative Sector in Slovenia). The brochure offers insight into and analysis of the key findings of the most comprehensive statistical research on the field to date, the Statistična analiza stanja kulturnega in kreativnega sektorja v Sloveniji 2008–2017 (Statistical Analysis of the State of the Cultural and Creative Sector in Slovenia 2008–2017) by Nika Murovec, Damjan Kavaš in Tjaša Bartolj of the IER, prepared for CzK and also published in 2020. The statistical analysis uses data from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia and other open-access databases in Slovenia to create a picture of the entire sector and the specific professions within it.
Made in Slovenia
In 2020, CzK announced a new programme to acknowledge Slovenian-made high-quality products and services through the new "Made in Slovenia" Badge of Excellence. The plan is to present such products and services at various exhibitions during Slovenia's presidency of the EU in the latter half of 2021.
To facilitate the use of the badge and the exhibitions, CzK held a public competition in search of the best creative and innovative solution for the exhibition installation design as well as the visual identity design for the exhibition and the badge of excellence. The winner of the exhibition installation design was Kabinet01 with its design Zigzag. The visual identity design winner was Studio Kruh with its design 09090, which convinced the jury with its "absence of symbolism" and its "dynamism and unusualness": a computer-generated black and white optical graphic code that is unique for each product, yet clearly, visually ties all the winning products together.