Metelkova autonomous centre and the community

Nataša Serec

After many years the city authorities realised how important Metelkova is for the city. It`s very important for the young people, who lost ten years of their lives; they took this place as theirs. Today it is the favourite place in the city for young people, say the 15 –17 year olds, to hang out. You can see this especially on Fridays. It`s a place to socialise. 

All these years, we have survived without any hierarchic structure, actually without any official structure, and it has always been quite peaceful here, especially in the last years. After Slovenia joined the EU, the TV stations and the newspapers from Europe came to film Metelkova. They were interested in Metelkova as an example of an alternative place functioning in the small new member state. 

We are still offering alternative culture, such as alternative (i.e. not mainstream) bands, but this is not our main programme – and that’s why Metelkova is important. It is important for young people to get to know this kind of culture. Ljubljana has lots of students and they come here. They can join and help as volunteers and there are opportunities to be paid also. Importantly, people who need spaces, for example a theatre group looking for rehearsal spaces, know they can approach us and within two weeks they can be using a space here. That’s also very important in this city. 

I think Metelkova is slowly becoming more and more important also for other citizens apart from the young people. It could be even more so if we had a wider programme for example for children or older people. However, we are slowly moving in this direction, and we’ve recently had a really good response from our neighbours to this. We still get complaints about the noise etc, but we’ve been engaging with the neighbours much more – we’ve been inviting them to come and see what our spaces look like, who are the artists working here and what are they working on. I can say that most of them liked what they saw and found it to be special. The feedback often was – We feel the creative energy and we like it. 

Whenever we have an anniversary or a special event we also invite the older people from the neighbourhood. I remember two old ladies knocking on my office doors once to tell me they were sorry to disturb but they just wanted to tell me how nice they thought this place was, that they liked it very much. They said that for many years they were afraid to enter Metelkova but now they saw it`s not like they thought it was.  

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Nataša Serec

Nataša Serec

President of the Association KUD Mreža in Ljubljana, Slovenia

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