An international workshop of the creative community

The culmination of a research project to highlight and bring together the varied cultural heritage of rural communities in Croatia.

The main goal of the workshop, Valorization of Rural Heritage: Creative Communities in Podravina, was to interpret and recognise the value of the rich tangible and intangible rural cultural heritage and create a network of creative communities and relevant local actors. The workshop was held from 19 to 29 August in cooperation with the Petar Preradović House Interpretation Center, Culture Hub Croatia and European Heritage Volunteers.

The Petar Preradović House Interpretation Center connected rural communities in Podravina, starting from the area of the municipality of Pitomača, the municipality of Podravska Sesvete and all the way to the town of Đurđevac and Hlebine. Accommodation during the workshop was provided by the Municipality of Podravske Sesvete and the Croatian Folklore Society Sesvečice at the Tourist and Recreation Center Karaula Podravske Sesvete.

A team of volunteers (Lea Biličić and Dora Hornik from Zagreb, Maria Teresa Salazar Rivera from Mexico, Jennifer Wenzler from the United States, Gizem Demirkiran from Turkey) and coordinators from Culture Hub Croatia (Marina Batinić, Jasmina Šarić) and from the House of Petar Preradović (Danijela Rešetar), visited areas and analysed the current situation, detected good conditions and problems faced by local actors and finally made proposals for the improvement of the entire region and how to recognise the value of rural heritage.

Volunteers suggested the main solution: a partner web platform. They made a prototype website that would bring together all interested associations and institutions in Podravina and suggested it would be run jointly. This would bring all associations together under one umbrella, which would not only make it easier for tourists to find their way in this area, but would also connect local communities and strengthen their cooperation.

The international workshop contained a lot of content and a lot of local actors were involved. On the first day, the participants visited the municipality of Podravske Sesvete and the Ecological Garden of Peace. A visit to the Pitomača Library and Reading Room was organised in Pitomača, where the work of the library and the Municipality of Pitomača was presented.

Before starting the research into the cultural heritage, a lecture was held on the history of the Podravina region in which Marinko Barčan from the Municipality of Pitomača explained the peculiarities of Podravina. A tour of the Petar Preradović House Interpretation Center led by Danijela Rešetar followed.

The guest lecturers were members of the Youth Association of Podravska Sesvete - SUMA and representatives of the Tourist Board of the Central Podravina region. The Podravske Sesvete Youth Association presented its work and activities and the impact of young people on the development of the local community, and the Central Podravina Tourist Board showed how they managed to connect local actors and explained the importance of heritage interpretation through the Interpret Europe association.

After the introductory tours and lectures, the volunteers and coordinators started to get to know the Podravina region and heritage. In the area of the municipality of Pitomača, work was done on the cultural heritage of the Women's Association Dinjevac, where folklore, folk customs and costumes and traditional food were presented. The title of Exemplary Croatian Rural Woman was awarded in Dinjevac in 2019, so the participants had the opportunity to learn more about this project. The Association of the Keepers of the Cultural Heritage of Kladare presented the ethnological collection of Grandma's Stories and showed the film Lan (Flax in English) so the participants were able to find out how weaving used to be done.

In Podravske Sesvete, at the tourist and recreational center Karaula, HFD Sesvečice, various culture was presented, including traditional food, the history of the society, the richness of their folk costumes, song and dance and the traditional instruments they use. In addition to HFD Sesvečice, members of the Podravska Sesvete Sports Equestrian Club also participated with a carriage ride and a demonstration of traditional land cultivation.

In Đurđevac, the participants visited the Đurđevac City Museum, where a permanent exhibition and the Legend of the Picoks were presented, with a tour of the exhibition of photographs of Essences and short films about Đurđevac's heritage were shown.

In the Gallery of Naive Art in Hlebine, our volunteers were introduced to the programmes HINT, KUL Hlebine, Ethnofestival, Google Arts & Culture and shown the traditional glass painting by Zlatko Kolarek, President of the Association of Hlebine Painters and Naive Sculptors. Participants researched the importance of Croatian naive painting and visited the Josip Generalić Gallery, where naive art was presented through the generation of the Generalić family.

As part of the workshop, two events were open to the public. The first, Open Days and presentation of examples of valorisation of rural heritage from volunteer countries, gave the workshop participants the opportunity to present examples of valorisation of rural heritage from their countries. The Guščarica Women's Association from Grabrovnica prepared buns for all visitors.

The second public event was the final presentation of the results of the international workshop. Unfortunately, due to the measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the organisers were not able to involve the public to a greater extent. Nevertheless, the project, Valorisation of Rural Heritage: Creative Communities in Podravina, proved to be successful in achieving its goals. It is intended that the connection and networking will continue, as well as work on the development of cultural heritage in Podravina.

Danijela Rešetar is a Master of Croatology on the study of Croatian culture. She is head of the Interpretation Center Petar Preradović in Grabrovnica. She is an IE CIG. She can be contacted at:

To cite this article:
Rešetar, Danijela (2020) 'An international workshop of the creative community'. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 3-2020, 24-25.
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