Transforming cultural journalism in the Western Balkans

A new project is under way in the Western Balkans to transform digital storytelling and engage public audiences with creative and culture-related content.

Around 50 content creators are involved in an extensive multi-month programme with the aim of encouraging them to explore new content creation techniques, whilst fostering regional collaboration and networking opportunities for all involved.

The Creative Spotlight stream, which is part of the Culture and Creativity for the Western Balkans (CC4WBs) project, offers media professionals, journalists, and emerging content creators innovative methods to keep pace with emerging trends and technologies in digital storytelling.

The programme includes a comprehensive series of self-paced e-learning courses, online training and workshops, content production grants accompanied with mentoring, and an award for best content created during the project. 

“Our goal is to make important topics more interesting and engaging by exploring creative storytelling techniques, says project trainer Aleksandar Manasiev. Over the next few months, we'll work together to bring these stories to life in innovative ways.”  

How it works

The Creative Spotlight has four phases and each phase builds on the previous, allowing for a rich and progressive experience. Participant’s progress through the four phases will depend on their dedication and task completion.

The first phase, which began mid-June and will run until mid-July, is reserved for self-paced e-learning courses. During this stage participants will be offered a combination of mandatory and optional e-learning courses. In order to progress to the subsequent stage, they will need to successfully complete two mandatory and at least one optional course.

Upon successful completion of the e-courses participants will progress to the next phase of the programme. The second stage, from mid-July until mid-September, is reserved for online training/workshops working with Aleksandar Manasiev.

Successful participants will be able to continue the programme and apply for individual or collaborative production grants for culture-related content. At the same time, they will put into practice their newly acquired skills. This year-long phase starting in September 2023 will include mentoring support.

Awards opportunity

The end of the programme is reserved for the Award for Production Excellence for content created during the third phase of the project. There will be six awards 3 for individual and 3 for the best collaborative stories – which will be awarded in early 2025 targeting the content created during the third phase of the project.

The Project

CC4WBs is an EU-funded programme targeting WB IPA beneficiary countries (EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance) and is implemented by UNESCO, the British Council (BC) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS). Thomson Foundation (TF) on behalf of the BC is implementing the Creative Spotlight supporting stream.

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