Community center Rojc
...alternative place of art, culture and civil society
The former army facility, nowadays “Rojc” situated in Pula, Croatia is used by over 111 local CSOs. Imagine a huge military building of 16,739 square meters with endless, gloomy hallways where, throughout its history, militants, officers and war refugees lived and worked. The building was named after a Second World War hero Karlo Rojc but abandoned in the late ‘90s. Due to the simple fact that no one switched off the electricity and water supply, different artists, activists and associations began to occupy the building, thereby inhaling and inspiring new creative energies. Currently, the Community Centre Rojc is a particular “place of civil society,” an alternative urban culture center situated in a small town called Pula, Croatia, in the north of the Mediterranean southern Europe. Rojc hosts 111 associations with various activities in the range of: culture and art, sport and recreation, children and youth, ethnic minorities, psycho-social work, etc.
Together with the City of Pula, which is the legal owner of the building, the above-mentioned associations are managing the Centeron the basis of the public-citizen participation model in order to develop more productive forms of co-existence, co-management and co-production. Associations networking, intensive communication and innovative approach in joint decision-making, encourages them to create dynamic, hybrid organizational and management model that will be even more effective and professional. Moreover, the values of this participatory governance model are strengthening participative democracy, good governance and trust building.
Rojc Alliance is a network of NGOs located in the Community Center Rojc which gathers and represents them, stands for their interests, fosters mutual cooperation and actively works in the community. Its goals are to build a distinctive network based on collaboration and joint programs; to improve the management of the Community Center Rojc based on participative joint public-civic management; to contribute and work in the community and actively promote the need for cooperation, principles of solidarity and respect for diversity.
This center is already internationally recognized and is a well-known cultural, artistic and community center, located in the region north of the Mediterranean and south of Central Europe. Pula, although the city itself has around 70 000 inhabitants, has a certain cosmopolitan spirit and is considered as the cultural center of the region.
It is of crucial importance that Rojc is a member of Trans Europe Halles -European based network of cultural centers initiated by citizens and artists that brings together 56 multidisciplinary cultural centers and 15 associated organizations all around Europe.
Highly motivated and ambitious driven, the members of Rojc Association Alliance are working hard on realizing future-envisioned projects such as : Green Roof, enriching the inner courtyard area, creating Rojctaurant and bar as well as urban gardening, green and children playground areas. These ecofriendly projects are stepping stone for creating amiable gathering points where people would share their ideas, discuss and get an opportunity to support the further development and growth of the center.
This long-avoided and abandoned building entirely change its story into lively and attractive cultural center for everyone who is willing to contribute for better tomorrow.
Rojc Mission Statement
Rojc is a center for social activities in Pula with an innovative management structure that simultaneously allows autonomy and community.
Rojc is a trigger of social change promoting autonomy and community.
How will this be achieved?
In order to realize this vision and develop the management and usage of Rojc, as making Rojc more beneficial to the community (i.e the city of Pula) it is crucial to:
1. Establish permanent and sustainable cooperation by sharing responsibilities between key figures: the users of Rojc and the city of Pula.
2. Provide efficient, sustainable and development-orientated institutional solutions for Rojc Community Center.
3. Ensure better use of current public funds for Rojc and enable efficient fundraising from other sources.
From military building to Community Center
The Community Center Rojc is located in the city center of Pula, in a building named after Karlo Rojc, a national hero of World War II. Being the largest building in town, it covers a surface area of 16.739 square meters, rectangular in shape with five floors, sports fields, free parking and an internal courtyard. Built in 1870 when Pula was occupied by Austro-Hungarian Empire, Rojc was a military school during three distinct periods of rule: Habsburg, Italian and Yugoslavian. In 1976 it became a military barrack for the Yugoslav army that eventually left the premises in 1991. During the early ‘90s, the building hosted refugees who were fleeing the war. As the refugees left, Rojc was occupied by the first squatters many of which were already civil society associations. In 1999, Pula's town council decided to formalize the existing situation by signing the first "utilization contracts" with the various squatter associations. Today, 111 organizations have regular utilization contracts which grants use of the building spaces without financial obligations towards the City of Pula, covering only the costs for their electrical consumption. The brand new look and quality of the former barrack is a result of the associations' own efforts and resources, which they used to renovate their own premises. By doing that, through their hard work and innovative programs, new life was inhaled into an old building and to the city as a whole, creating a foundation for further development. Rojc corridors resemble a large art gallery, since almost 4000 square meters have been painted by numerous artists, as a part of the project Krojcberg. This "lost" space in the city center avoided the fate of other similar public spaces, which were converted into private ones due to the commercial policies of public authorities. The premises are functional and adapted to the needs and preferences of their users-they are used as production sites, for sports and recreation, as offices, presentation rooms, conferences and as clubs. Each association in the Social Centre Rojc has its own premises, as well as a common space area-The Living room-which is managed by the Rojc Associations Alliance. The 180 m2 common room is located on the ground floor in the renovated space of the former military cafeteria. In addition, it represents a multifunctional and freely available space in which social centers, organizations and individuals both Croatians and foreign, can hold programs and activities.
The internal and large external courtyards consist of basketball and soccer field, a skate ramp and large free-parking area. They are perfect ground for outdoor events such as festivals, concerts, film screenings, sports and recreational trainings, dance rehearsals, joint programs such as "Actions for Rojc!" and flea market. In order to manage the common area, Rojc Associations Alliance develops and implements joint programs and projects, strengthens the capacities and represents the interests of its associations, maintains the Rojc website and Facebook, Twitter page, and publishes the newspaper “Veznik-Ljudi iz Rojca”. Citizens from all over Istria gather in Rojc working on many diverse themes and activities, sometimes individually and sometimes jointly. Each of the 111 associations provide the local community with its program. Rojc yearly "produces" hundreds of activities, workshops, concerts, seven festivals etc. Statistically, Rojc is hosting around 1000 visitors per day.