is an acronym that stands for:
Literary Regional Gathering That Alleviates Boredom And Lethargy.
The KROKODIL Association is dedicated to the production of literary, cultural and socio-political programs and projects with the aim of developing audiences among those that are interested in culture and politics as such, promoting a culture of dialogue and reconciliation and the reconstruction of broken links, particularly in the region of the Western Balkans, as well as in deepening mutual understanding and acceptance of differences within the wider European and global context. The KROKODIL Association is also dedicated to the development of various programs of social and political significance promoting basic human rights and freedoms while strongly focusing on civic engagement and constructive social behavior.
The KROKODIL Association is still the only NGO or think tank in Serbia that is actively focused on helping the citizens of Ukraine and on organizing various activities aimed at initiating the changes in the dominant perception of the public regarding the Russian aggression on Ukraine. Collecting and personally delivering humanitarian aid for the Municipal Perinatal Center in Kharkiv was followed by a series of field stories, a travelogue published under the name “12to8.” In addition, some of the other ongoing programs that KROKODIL is focused on are: providing shelter, space for work, and support to Ukrainian literary creators; organizing creative workshops for children from Ukraine; and various debates and panel discussions.. On October 9, 2022, on the occasion of the National Day of Giving, KROKODIL received an award from the Serbian Philanthropy Forum for its exceptional contribution to helping the people of Ukraine. In 2022, KROKODIL was also granted the “Hrabri glas” (Courageous Voice) award by the biggest CSO in Serbia – CRTA, the reason being boldness in supporting the citizens of Ukraine.
Ever since its foundation in 2009, KROKODIL has organized the annual KROKODIL Literary Festival, held in Belgrade, Serbia. The festival, which was primarily conceived as a regional affair dedicated to the promotion of dialogue, reconciliation and reconstruction of broken links particularly in the region of the Western Balkans, soon became more and more international and has grown into one of the most distinctive and popular events in the region of South-East Europe exploring the most important cultural, political and social topics of the day. Combining different formats such as readings, sofa interviews, panel discussions, workshops, press conferences, film and other audio-visual content, KROKODIL has presented, in its 14 annual “editions,” hundreds of distinguished writers, artists and public figures from numerous countries. Among them are: Irvine Welsh, Hanif Kureishi, Margaret Atwood, László Krasznahorkai, Georgi Gospodinov, Aleksandar Hemon, Mira Furlan, Boris Buden, Ivan Krastev etc. The Festival boasts a large, very loyal, and engaged audience.
By providing physical space for activities, series of educational programs and mentoring sessions KROKODIL aims to strengthen and develop the capacities of local civil society organizations, citizen associations, initiatives & groups, activists, and individuals, in order to empower them to realize their goals and missions, to raise and improve the visibility of their activities in the promotion and development of democratic values, civic rights, minority and children’s rights, a healthier environment, multiculturalism, and cultural dialogue.
KROKODIL’s Writer-in-residence program was launched in 2012 as the first residential program in Serbia intended exclusively for writers, translators and other literary creators (including essayists, editors, cultural journalists, playwrights and screenwriters, comic book authors, theoreticians, columnists, singer-songwriters, rappers, spoken word performers, etc.). Since then, 120 authors, translators, and other literary creators from 23 European countries have taken part in this program by spending a working month at KROKODIL’s residence for writers in Belgrade. This program directly affects both the scope and dynamic of literary cooperation between Serbia and the rest of the world. Since the program’s launch, around twenty books written by the writers-in-residence have been translated and published in Serbia as a direct and undoubtedly positive consequence of this continuous activity of the KROKODIL team. In 2022 the decision was reached to freeze all usual activities of this ongoing program and to offer this space to literary creators and cultural workers from Ukraine as a safe haven for work for creative individuals in jeopardy in that war-torn country.
The walls of buildings in Serbian cities and towns have a long time been a politically desirable and available canvas for the expression of views of various extreme right-wing groups, as well as a platform for promoting policies related to them. The result of the support, and undue influence, of the ruling political structure is an urban landscape saturated with drawings, graffiti, murals, and other visual messages that directly express and endorse hatred, racism, and sexism and that generally spreads toxic content of various types. This creates a society full of violence present everywhere, especially among young people. This rhetoric and related actions also endanger the fundamental rights of people in Serbia. The activities listed below will clearly identify the cases of undue influence in the public spectrum as a highly dangerous long-term trend for the democratic processes in Serbia. Ultimately, the objective of our civic initiative and its constituent programs is to actively transform these dangerous tendencies.
Back in 2015, KROKODIL’s project LANGUAGES AND NATIONALISMS dealt with the important question of language misuse for political purposes in the region of the former Yugoslavia. It culminated in the development of the DECLARATION ON THE COMMON LANGUAGE which was signed by over 13,000 people worldwide. The COMMON LIBRARY as a continuation of the above-named project takes into consideration literary genres rather than linguistic science in order to find the best means to apply pressure on political authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia and thus influence legislative change when it comes to the recognition of the fact that the 4 “political languages” spoken in the region are actually nothing but equal variants of one and the same (still unnamed) polycentric language. This legislative recognition would effectively bring an end to educational, cultural and, consequently, political segregation.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique challenge for democracies, and thus for the work of civil society organizations. The project “Better Together – Strengthening Dialogue and Cooperation in the Time of Crises” offers a platform for discussing and sharing the lessons learned about policy and public health emergency responses, the role of the government, and the effect on cultural and creative industries facing the continued challenges posed by the coronavirus. Moreover, the project supports the strengthening of the leadership skills of the organizations in creative and cultural industries through a series of webinars and further encourages the transfer of experiences and ideas among participants coming from different countries.
After the successful realization of KROKODIL’s project “Who started all this? – Historians against revisionism,” which gathered some of the most prominent historians of the post-Yugoslav region with the intention to actively fight against revisionist tendencies in regional historiographies, and whose main result is the publication of the Declaration Defend History signed by more than 65 000 people worldwide, KROKODIL continued the discussion on the importance of inclusive and balanced historical writing and participatory cultures of remembrance through the project “Histoire pour la liberté.” By marking events in recent European history, such as the reunification of Germany and the democratic transition of Central and Eastern Europe, but also by correlating them to the breakup of Yugoslavia, this project aims to stimulate debate and reflection on a common culture of remembrance and to promote peace, tolerance, and the exchange of experiences and perspectives, in order to further emphasize the dynamic character of European memory.
KROKODIL regularly organizes humanitarian campaigns in order to raise funds for vulnerable groups. One of the main objectives here is strengthening understanding of citizens and encouraging empathy and proactive stance towards addressing the issues that individuals, groups or families, whether temporarily or permanently, face. Another goal is to advocate for improved public policies relating to philanthropy.
3 running events (road races)
Since the opening of our main public space in downtown Belgrade, in September 2018, more than 500 different events have taken place, including:
120+ literary events
100+ socio-political events
50+ arts and theater programs
10+ international student visits
120+ academic gatherings, roundtables and panel discussions
This unique festival was launched in April 2014 with the very first festival event, “How a Book is Made.” In cooperation with the organization “OK – Obrazovanje i kultura” and the Belgrade-based “Youth Theatre Dadov,” Association KROKODIL aims to use this fun, thematic, multimedia and interdisciplinary event for children, which occupies a borderline between theatre show and festival, in order to help raise a new literary audience by promoting literary production for children as well as the culture of reading.
…and many other projects dedicated to translation, literature, regional and European cultural cooperation, the mobility of cultural workers, and cross-border and cross-sector activities funded mainly by the Creative Europe program of the European Commission.