Teodor Celakoski

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Teodor Celakoski is a cultural worker and activist from Zagreb. His work ranges from coordinating cultural programs, networking and cultural advocacy, to institutional innovation and political activism, and is guided by a vision of culture as a form of transformative agency.

In the late 1990s, together with a group of friends and colleagues, he established the Multimedia Institute. Working as a platform, and with its cultural center MaMa as a junction of various communities focusing on digital culture, human rights and critical theory, the organization was oriented towards developing new forms of public action and cultural production. Over years it incubated different activities and communities in new media art, media activism, digital education, social theory, hacker culture and digital commons. Teodor was an early coordinator of the organization and has since managed a number of its key projects, including New Media Culture Week and Human Rights Film Festival.

From the very beginning, Teodor was also interested in transforming the context of non-institutional culture that he was working in. Where no change could have be achieved through policy and politics, institutional innovation had to come from bottom-up and be built around tactical networking of social actors. In 2001 he helped initiate Clubture, the network for exchange of independent cultural programs within Croatia. Designed to address the centralisation of cultural production and to strengthen organizations working in smaller communities throughout Croatia, it has been achieving practical effects on decentralization and capacity building in the non-institutional culture sector. With the same vision of transforming the cultural system bottom-up, Teodor played a key role in initiating and building a collective momentum in the establishment of Kultura Nova – public foundation for the development of non-profit independent contemporary culture, established by law and financed from the lottery funds, and POGON - a hybrid cultural center established as an institutional public-civic partnership between independent cultural actors and the city of Zagreb.

Throughout these developments, Teodor applied his capacity to facilitate inclusive processes bringing together a broad range of actors and thus mobilizing collective action. This in turn allowed the tactical work in the cultural field to rise above its own immediate concerns and develop a more strategic vision of the broad social action against privatization of the social commons. Thus the Right to the City alliance in Zagreb, which had emerged in the mid-2000s from this context of cultural activism, has managed to mobilize broad social forces and gather massive public support around issues of spatial justice. Right to the City - whose one of the leading organizers has been Teodor - fights the economic overexploitation of urban space, corruption of public governance for the benefit of private over public interests, unsustainable urban development policies, and the disenfranchisement of citizens from urban planning processes in the city of Zagreb and Croatia. Right to the City is considered as one of the most significant civil initiatives in Croatia and the region in recent years and continues to work with cultural, environmental, human rights and labour organizations on issues of social justice.