Ivana Nikolić Popović is an academic painter born in Zagreb and the President of the Croatian Competitiveness Cluster of Creative and Cultural Industries. For 15 years she has successfully run her own company, she has been the president of the MRAK Network for Development and Creativity in Croatia. Read below her insights on RegionArts Project...

Q: If you could choose two words/concepts to characterize the RegionArts what words/concepts would you choose?

A: Integration, interaction, new values, synergy, coherence.

Q: Do you believe that projects of this nature can influence the next public policies and instruments from a regional (national) and European perspective?

A: Absolutely, especially because it is important to constantly communicate about the importance of incorporating art and creativity into all top-down decision-making systems.

Q: Did you find many obstacles when implementing this new culture (complementing ARTS+ICT) in your project? Which ones?

A: Basic human fears are fear of change and of mistake. It is therefore logical that every change brings fear and mistrust. The moment when a person steps out of his comfort zone creates a new value. That is why it is extremely important, despite the fear, to create new and impossible interactions and introduce new variables into the systems, because if the idea does not totally freak you out, there is no chance for it.

Q: Please tell us about the lessons learnt in your case.

A: It is not easy, but it is worth every minute of effort. ICT and art are talking two completely different languages. Both of them are very important for human existence at this very moment. To understand this more deeply it is important to know that science and technology deal with simple codes, those that ratio can reach and prove, and art deals with complex codes that are much deeper than rational and are still inexplicable to us and out of reach. We can interpret, display, rationalize and even breakthrough simple codes. We can only feel complex codes.

Q: Do you think that public policies and instruments from a regional, national and European government promote the integration of Arts&ICT? Are they aware of the benefits and profitability that they carry with them?

A: The world’s most famous consulting firms are terrified at the very mention of managing creatives because they do not know how to do it. So the answer is NO, people are not promoting something they are afraid of. In modern society, emotional intelligence is at a very low level and art communicates with complex codes so it is not easy to understand us and especially to manage. Artists think for themselves and it is crucial to understand and know how to manage this great gift, not to suppress it.

About the interviewee:

Ivana Nikolić Popović is an academic painter born in Zagreb. For 15 years she has successfully run her own company, she has been the president of the MRAK Network for Development and Creativity in Croatia for eight years. For her work, she has received several important awards. She was the EU Ambassador of entrepreneurship from 2010 to 2012; she held many workshops and motivational lectures. She has an excellent knowledge of the area of public relations, creativity and the situation in the field of creative and cultural industries, as well as extensive experience in the development and coordination of communication projects in the field of government projects, CSR, culture, education, art. She had solo exhibitions at the Lotrščak Gallery and at the ERSTE Bank gallery and participated at the Zagreb Salon.