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Dragan Klaic’s posthumus festival essays are out!

Dragan’s book in focus

Festivals in Focus can be ordered through your usual source as copies are on their way to distributors. The book will be presented during Sarajevo Winter, as part of the general assembly programme of the European Festivals Association EFA

The connection is twofold. Dragan was born in Sarajevo. And the essays were written as the introduction to the (forthcoming) collection of research papers born in the frame of EFRP, the festival research programme run under EFA auspices.

BO was instrumental in an earlier publication by Dragan, which is still available in America and elsewhere

Dragan and Eduard

Dragan Klaic edited a momentous work together with another cult figure on the European cultural scene:Eduard Delgado (1949-2004). Dragan was president of EFAH – the predecessor of Culture Action Europe – and Eduard was director of Interarts, Barcelona. The chapter on methodology contains the names of dozens of contributors to this huge review on cultural diplomacy and cooperation after the millennium in Europe. Whichever aspect of the topic you are interested in, you will find the greater part of the work relevant in our days, too.

An effective initiative

The story began years ago. Our pioneering involvement in festival rating made BO watch attentively. The earlyproposal contained all the main elements of a two-tier system of distinguishing European festivals, just as it was launched on 30 January by the culture commissioner of the European Union  (instead of last year in Bergen, as the proposal had prospected.)

The combination of labelling and awarding in the EFFE (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe) project resembles the similar features in the heritage field, except that here the two will be administered in the same scheme.

The fundamental difference between EFFE and the already existing European festival awards is that there classical music festivals are not eligible while EFFE is open to rock festivals as well, provided they excel in artistic commitment, community involvement and European engagement. (The same way as the Europeanfestival survey included pop-rock festivals as well.)

Ranking design

EFFE is a two-year pilot programme but the aim is to ultimately join the family of EU cultural distinctions. BO memos have been reviewing prizes in most cultural fields and want the same now with design, the creative industry par excellence.

Is Red Dot the best established design award? This Essen-based programme claims museums in Essen, Singapore and Taipei. We could find no systematic catalogue of past winners of the product andcommunication design prizes (“red dots”), which are distributed in great numbers. The third kind of red dot honours “design concept” and here we have rankings. The latest 2013 list of top fifteen includes fourteen companies from the Far East and one only from Europe (France). The top list of design studios is also dominated by eastern Asia although the first prize has gone to a German studio in the past three years: toEmamidesign in Berlin.

Another scheme targets communication design only: European Design Awards has 35 categories and held its latest ceremonies in Belgrade (this year comes Cologne).

Both of the previous two systems are captives of their identities: their websites are full of fancy design posing challenges for information seekers. BO could not resist covering amply a third, more informative scheme named world design rankings  . The list is full of surprises:

Turkeyis a close second in world design ranking! Numbers stand for awards won over five years, as themethodology explains. Eastern Europe caught the 25th position with Ukraine ahead of Nordic design – 26thDenmark, 31st Sweden. To see more, here come Europeans only:

This diagram is a little bit generous to our east-central European region but less so to Scandinavians. Is thecomposition of the jury the answer?







USA, Canada, Australia






Other Europe (but no Nordic)


Arab world



The kings of design are identified, too – as one is tended to misread the link: The top ten pleases European eyes. A Turk is on top, a team of country fellows is sixth, a Ukrainian is ninth and a Portuguese tenth. The remaining six creators live on other continents.   


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