Welcome to the website of the British Croatian Society
Dobro došli na web stranice Britansko-hrvatskog društva
Croatia is a jewel, increasingly well known in Britain. We aim to further cultural understanding between Britain and Croatia by bringing like-minded people together for a series of lectures, exhibitions, concerts, dinners and other events throughout the year. Please see the events page for a list of forthcoming dates, as well as examples of events we've organised in the past.
Our members have varied interests and backgrounds, and while we have a cultural focus as a society, our events often recognise other aspects of Croatia such as its outstanding natural beauty and thriving tourism industry.
We like to keep our members in touch with items of news we believe would be of interest. Members automatically receive emails from time to time with news and information as well as invitations to events. We also keep our members in touch with additional items of news we believe would be of interest to them.
Becoming a member couldn't be easier. Please see the membership page for details on how to do that.
We hope you enjoy browsing our site, and we look forward to welcoming you to one of our events in the near future.
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Big issues: the British-Croatian Society in 2016
The British-Croatian Society year started with a flourish. Chiara Bove Makiedo’s film Fishermen’s Conversations was screened at the prestigious European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) with a reception afterwards. It is a fascinating and hard headed film, portraying the life of traditional Hvar fishermen while exploring the damage done by modern fishing techniques and the degradation of much that was beautiful in Hvar through tourism. Chiara’s grandfather was one of the Hvar fishermen and her film is beautifully shot and a moving tale.
Our return to EBRD in October with the Chris Cviic Memorial Lecture continued to present us with something to grapple with. Peter Frankopan, hot from having produced a best seller with his book The Silk Roads, talked eloquently and persuasively about his reinterpretation of history giving China both historically, and in the future, in a central role. Peter’s interpretation of history moves the focus away from western Europe to India, China and eastern Europe. At one end of the silk roads Venice had a strategic grip that made it a dominant trading state. Today China similarly has far reaching strategic plans. The audience was enthused, many going on immediately to buy his book.
We had a rare opportunity to offer something to our members in Scotland when the ambassador gave a talk at Glasgow University. We were able to invite our members to his talk Croatia, three years after joining the EU. The Society would like to do more outside London, though this may not easy to arrange.
Two events brought up important issues for Croatia – the development of tourism and the use of English:
Michael Unsworth talked about his relationship with Korcula and the creation of the Korkyra Baroque Festival, a spectacular achievement with world-class concerts in September each year. His experience raised issues concerning tourism policy in Croatia and the importance of creating high end, distinctive programmes to expand Croatia’s appeal. We will return to the topic in March 2017 with a talk and discussion under the title tourism – is there a better way?
Another big issue came up when Will Firth talked engagingly about translating Croatian literature into English. This led on to a discussion that has concerned many of us – Croatia’s marketing abroad is frequently and needlessly let down by inaccurate English and a seeming inability to see things from the point of view of the audience being addressed. The impact of what ministries, private companies and the tourist industry are trying to do internationally is often undermined by imperfect English. It should not be difficult to do something about this, but in the meantime Croatia’s impact is often reduced.
Submitting photographs for British-Croatian Society exhibitions has proved popular over the last few years. Photographers, amateur and professional, from all nationalities have submitted prints, the only condition being that the photographs were taken in Croatia. This year we gave this a new twist. In addition to putting together an exhibition held at the embassy, the best photographs have appeared in our first British-Croatian Society calendar.
Like our annual co-operation with EBRD with the Chris Cviic memorial lecture, each year we promote the Croatian British Society’s annual talk on a theme related to Split, held at the Croatian Embassy.
We supported the Mestrovic symposium at the V & A in 2015 marking the 100th anniversary of his 1915 exhibition there. Our support continued this year with the publication of the proceedings in the Sculpture Journal. This edition of the Sculpture Journal was devoted exclusively to Mestrovic.
Our 2013 Welcome Croatia publication Mapping Croatia, detailing the many Croatian works of art in UK collections, is still available. We also have copies of the companion publication, Writing Croatia, subtitled books in English for readers interested in knowing more about Croatia. You can obtain a free copies by emailing us. We would also welcome your suggestions for anything we may have missed.
In addition to events, bringing people together is an important part of what the British-Croatian Society does. We do this through a regular evening programme of meet-ups, as well as our annual dinner. This year the annual dinner again took place at a prestigious venue – this time Queen’s Club - and provided a pleasant way for people to meet socially.
The British-Croatian Society essentially does two things: it organizes events for people in the UK interested in Croatia – events such as those described in this article - and it tells them about events that others are organizing in the UK that they might want to know about. Over the year our email contacts will have heard about Croatian films, concerts, talks and workshops, performances, photography, sport, art exhibitions and more taking place around the UK.
Should you wish to support us in bringing Croatia and the UK closer together, you can become a member – membership is inexpensive but your contribution would help us to do the things we do. For further information, please see our website - www.britishcroatiansociety.com