Between 2007 and 2009 I directed a special, rather unusual faculty unit, called COLLEGIUM ARTIUM, composed of students, assistants and professors at the Faculty of Humanities in Koper, who united their forces to wake – as best as they could – the cultural and intellectual atmosphere in the small sleepy Venetian town of Koper-Capodistria.
© Katja Pintar created the logo of Collegium artium, she helped creatively with invitations, posters and flyers.
For the purpose of our organizational, cultural and creative engagements we were given in use (by the faculty) a small and beatiful place called Foresteria (it could receive around 60-80 people, in the hours of terrible crush might be even more than 100) in the Venetian Palace which serves also as a main building of the University of Primorska. The student Association HUM (later, after the purge in 2010, the association was also somewhat strewn and degraded), led by then by an energetic student Samuel Friškič, generously furnished the financial grounds for our events. Fonds were very modest indeed (we were able to pay travel expenses and sometimes a small fee to invited guests and our work was all voluntary), but big enough to set up the happenings. It functioned.
When I think of it today: the faculty direction actually never really liked our democratic in alerted organization (students and teachers acting together on common and equal grounds – the fact that was attracting local people was labeled low by the faculty leaders), our high spirits and vivacity. Most likely they thought in the begining we would do nothing or at least not that much and they will just cheaply get the place of Foresteria (there was a minor quarrel because of the Foresteria between faculty and university in 2007, and we – Collegium artium team – with our extensive cultural program were just at hand to preponderate the argument to the faculty side). But they were wrong. Such idle people who lurk for easily accessible prey are always wrong. It’s only that this is seen no earlier than after some time. And through the work done.
Now (in 2012), when all this seems far away, almost a foreign land (we somewhat cultivated), I think we really did a remarkable work. Nobody followed our path after the dissolution of the collegium in 2009. Actually, at the final meeting in 2009 nobody wanted to take my position of the president. Everybody knew it is a hella lotta of work, and, of course, all was done without any payment or reward (repayment for such an engagement is mesurable in other dimension, but in Slovenia this logic of symbolic exchange hardly exists; on the contrary, in the country are usually rewarded those who do nothing, but come at the right moment, nod at the right moment when everything is already done). However, after the university purge (in 2010), which swept up with my best students, me and some of my colleagues, all just rapidly desintegrate. It’s a pitty, but that’s how it is.
Probably one of the reasons for such a sad end of the Collegium artium, that is of a really highly energetic flight, is because it was not easy to follow our tracks: we really were a team full of energy, visions, creativity and will. At least the core of it. If we would be only little sensitively and financially supported by the faculty (in fact, the faculty direction only provided the space, it didn’t give us anything, not even the water for invited guests, we bought it – when the humble HUM budget went off – from our own pockets from the machines at the faculty corridors), we would really make a fairly good grounds for a powerful intellectual and cultural university center. Too late now.
But during two university years we managed to organize and prepare around 100 cultural events – be it a movie-evenings with discussions, theatre performances, literary readings, round-table, debate, exhibition, press-conference for books, music recitals and concerts, talk shows, improvisation etc. We were there almost every single day after courses (and it happened many times that not only one event was realized per/day), especially students: Maja, Samuel, Mina, Nina, Mitja, Rok and others. Local people were coming more and more and were fond of our efforts to combine intellectual, cultural and artistic dynamic.
Here are some highlights from our repertoire (for the detailed report see below):
Annual Report of Collegium artium – 2007-2008 (slovensko/only Slovene)