Revitalization of industrial heritage cities of Trbovlje, Slovenska Bistrica, Labin and Rijeka throu

Since I started to take part in Interreg project INSPIRATION in July earlier this year, I adopted a new way of looking on how industrial heritage and cross border stories can be used in developing new cultural and touristic narratives. Even though I was always interested in local industrial history and how it defined Rijeka’s urban landscape and atmosphere, I found myself inspired with all the different ways project INSPIRATION employed this legacy in shaping new tourist content to reanimate once active industrial facilities and today’s local community.

Being an IVY volunteer in this fantastic project between Slovenia and Croatia put me in a position to participate in various tasks as administrative, technical and logistical support. I really improved my understanding of what it means to organize international cultural events as an insider, a person that plans and carries out outdoor activities with tourists, visitors and guests. Even more so, the realization of the project in the pandemic circumstances set a special learning opportunity for me and became even more valuable once my team and me found ourselves confronted with all the unpredictable and challenging situations.

Among many small assignments in helping in company’s Subjekt d.o.o. office, I was part of several events that were held in Rijeka and Labin, connected with tourist products, storytelling and promotion of industrial heritage.

In August I assisted in coordinating public competition in the preparation of new, original ideas for the experience, food, souvenirs of the city of Rijeka. We announced and coordinated selection of the best experience, the best author's dish and the best souvenir of the industrial heritage of the city of Rijeka. The awarded proposals are going to be included in the new cross-border tourist route, inviting the visitor to discover industrial heritage in all four towns – from Slovenska Bistrica via Trbovlje and Labin mines all the way to Rijeka port.

Later on we focused on organizing testing tourist field trips together with two big events - Industrial Art Biennial (IAB) and Industrial Heritage Festival.

Among testing tourist tours were urban e-cycling tours and walking round tours through the ex-industrial areas of Rijeka and Labin. Within the Industrial Heritage Festival we also offered an educational game for children, in which they could unlock the scientist inside them and discover the secrets of a flowing city. The character of the scientist was based upon a Croatian famous cartoon character of Professor Balthazar, who was one of my childhood idols. I was really happy to see that kids today still love scientific entertainment and that I took part in creating such didactic programe.

Another activity with similar objective but aiming at adults as target group was a successful Pub quiz, thematizing local industrial and scientific past. In all of these events I helped logistically, in preparation and on the spot.

I am proud of my team that we were able to overcome the current situation caused by the Covid-19 disease pandemic and to implement all the planned activities within the project. We managed to follow of all recommendations and measures of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, keep everyone’s safety first and still provide enjoyable and interesting public content.

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