POLICY BRIEF: Local Challenges, Global Implications: Bosnia- Herzegovina’s Cultural Institutions in Crisis

As Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) enters another election year, the ongoing political crisis that has paralysed the country since the last general elections, in 2010, has only deepened. The inability of the elected authorities to agree to constitutional reforms has already cost the country 45 million euros in EU pre-ascension funds alone. Yet for years already, this political establishment has contributed to a progressive deterioration in the living standards of ordinary citizens. Public infrastructure has all but collapsed, the economy is in a virtual standstill and funds for civic projects of any sort are likewise almost non-existent. This crisis has been acutely felt among BiH’s cultural institutions, in particular: its museums, galleries and libraries. However, in response to the closing of the National Museum of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Zemaljski Muzej Bosne i Hercegovine) in the winter of 2011/12, a global coalition of scholars, activists and artists began organising a series of protests to bring international awareness back to BiH. Calling themselves “Culture Shutdown,” this collective soon garnered worldwide media attention for their creative and provoking actions. In conjunction with Culture Shutdown members Dr. Susan C. Pearce, Assistant Professor of Sociology at East Carolina University and Jasmin Mujanović, PhD candidate in Political Science at York University, EDI is pleased to present this timely analysis of BiH’s ongoing cultural malaise: “Local Challenges, Global Implications: Bosnia- Herzegovina’s Cultural Institutions in Crisis.” It is our sincere hope that this brief will prove informative for all those who understand or are eager to understand the critical global implications of this local crisis. Download the brief here.