The „Art  of Democracy“ project was conceived in 2011 in response to the needs for civic education and training for the youths.

It was implemented in february and march of 2012 in Hotel-management and tourism school in Zadar with first-grade students. There were fifteen participants in five workshops in which discussions about democracy and democratic principles took place. as a foundation and support, works of art from five different arts were used: architecture, visual art, film, music, and literature. It was implemented with support from Zadar County, Hotel-management and tourism school, and Školska knjiga publishing company.

On the workshops, the participants come to know about various concepts from the field of democracy, models of democracy, and they they criticaly think about ideas and positions held about democracys by artists. Each week, a different form of art is worked on. The workshops are based on socratic dialogue, and a prerequisite for a successfully implemented project is an intellectually secure atmosphere in which the participants can state their thoughts without fear of judgment, whether by peers or the elders.

Art of democracy

 Project objectives

  • Help students to reflect on the democratic process.
  • Teach students to critically reflect on the events around them.
  • Raise awareness in students about the necessity of tolerance and respect of human rights.
  • Encourage students to creatively express themselves.
  • Show students how freedom in art is closely linked to democracy.
  • Students get aware of their role in the democratic process.
  • Show how diversity is something that can bring us together, not separate

Piloting the project: 5 workshops, total of 31 students in 2012. in Touristic high school in Zadar.

Architecture (local examples, buildings of European parliaments)
Introduction to models of democracy and their principles. Relation of models of democracy to types of architecture. A discussion on the relation between architectural modelling and democratic principles, and of potential of architecture to be a catalyzer of social change.

Visual art (Dűrer, Tizian, Rembrandt, Ingres, Guerilla Girls, Banksy)
Examples from classic and contemporary visual art are used as a stimulus for a discussion about application of democratic principles, and about their deviations. The art scene and its market related trends are used as a segment in the analysis of social status of marginalized social groups

Music (Leonard Cohen, The Damned, Bombshell Rocks,Elemental)
Listening to music tracks; analysis of musicians’ attitudes critical of social systems. An overview of social systems described in the lyrics, and difference between theory and praxis as seen by the musicians.

Film (Vlak u snijegu – A train in the snow)
Analysis of types of democracies represented in the movie, and of relations between the characters as representatives of social groups and their marginalization and stereotypization. Analysis of political systems as a subtext of the movie.

Literature (Antigona,Candide, The Process)
Analysis of the concept of freedom and relation of individual and social responsibility. Literary texts as tools for teaching critical thinking and teaching about different types of censure. Writing one’s own „inappropriate“ texts and their censorship.

Number of participants: 15 – 20
Duration of the project: 10 weeks
Participants’ age: 14-16 years
Number of school hours: 32
Financial budget: 8000 HRK
Project objectives: To spread democratic ideas, raise the level of knowledge about democracy, develop critical thinking, motivation for an active life in a community.

In the year 2014, The Art of Democracy project was recognized and financially supported by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, and co-financed by the Zadar County.This time, the project was implemented in the regions in the special care of the state: Dalj, Sinj,and Obrovac. The project was adapted and improved for the purposes of the wider project, and the activity of citizens’ actions was added to it.

The Dalj high school
The participants agreed that the streetworkout terrain would be the most meaningful thing for the local community and for young people in Dalj. Numerous volunteers and representatives of the local administration engaged in the action, and they all joint their forces and contributed to the realization of the citizens’ action. The Erdut Municipality provided us with an appropriate land, and the volunteers (from high school students to senior citizens) assisted in the design of the training ground, acquisition of material and building of tools. A convenience of the training ground is that it is open for all interested citizens and free for everybody, throughout the year. The results of this citizens’ action wil be visible for a number of years, and the local administration representatives promised to eventually expand the training ground.

The Dinko Šimunović high school
The participants noticed that the school library was greatly lacking in books, especially the readings, so they came up with an action to acquire resources for rebuilding the book stock. They engaged the participants of the creative workshops in the action, the theatrical group, the dance group, and they joint their forces to organize the School’s Open Day. They invited their parents and others citizens of Sinj to a programme that consisted of a few musical acts, a theatrical play, a dance act, and they organized a sales exhibition of the works made on the creative workshop. All the money made through selling the works will be spent on the books, and the students and the teachers are planning to continue the action in the next school year.

Obrovac high school
In Obrovac, pupils pointed out as a main problem a feeling that the city of Obrovac had been forgotten by the rest of the world. To solve that problem, they decided to propagate Obrovac as a destination, not only for tourism, but also as a perfect place for school trips, field classes and school in nature. They contacted different school agencies, made connections with a local ecological organization, and looked up for possible activities in the Obrovac area, and then came up with a few offers for excursions and amusement. They presented offers to tourist agencies and to the Zadar City Library and made flyers that they distributed to tourist agencies and to local population on the streets of Zadar, of whom some never visited Obrovac. By this action, pupils manifested their spirit of entrepreneurship and made a big step toward making Obrovac noted in the maps of school and tourist destinations

The new project improved concerning the he evaluation of the Pilot project, start 01/12/2013 in three high schools in Croatia (Dalj, Sinj, Obrovac) under the patronage of Ministry of Science, education, Republic of Croatia.

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