July 2024
« Apr    


Urban Incubator Belgrade

The Urban Incubator: Belgrade was initiated in 2013 by the Goethe-Institut as a ‘project of excellence’ and supported by the City of Belgrade and the Municipality of Savski Venac. It was developed as a unique project supporting the social and cultural re-vitalization of then neglected Belgrade city-quarter of Savamala. Situated on the southern bank of the river Sava in a neighbourhood of the old town, Savamala is one of the most beautiful areas of the city. Savamala is rich both in tradition, history and heritage, which is visible in the many valuable historical buildings in the district. But world wars, authoritarian rule and the current economic crisis have left their marks.

In 2013, Savamala is in a state of dilapidation, economically underdeveloped and socially disadvantaged. The objectives of the UIB were to improve the quality of life of local residents, arguing strongly in favor of a city on a human scale, and to encourage the residents of Savamala to take charge of their quarter. It is the quarter’s cultural and social values that should have driven Savamala´s re-vitalization, rather than commercial and real-estate business interests. As UI relies on a participatory approach to urban development it has involved more than ten local and international projects from the fields of art, architecture, urbanism and social engagement present and operational in Savamala during 2013. Project authors included raumlaborberlin, the University of Technical Sciences (ETH) Zurich, “Third Belgrade” Artists´ Initiative (Belgrade), the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg, the Zurich University of the Arts, Nexthamburg (Hamburg), the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture, music collective GingerEnsemble (CH), Camenzind (Zurich), Failed Architecture, (Belgrade/Amsterdam), City-Guerilla platform (Belgrade) and other local artists, collectives and citizen’s initiatives.

In its initial year of 2013, the projects have largely contributed to locally and internationally branding Savamala as an urban district, where cultural initiatives and international as well as local approaches have led to a wider recognition and awareness about this rather neglected urban quarter and its qualities.

Spin-off: Urban Incubator Organization

The UI Association was founded in April 2014 in order to achieve sustainable progress of international and local projects implemented in its initial year and as a result of the UIB conference weekend in November 2013. Outcome of the conference debate was clear: several international project-teams wanted to continue their work and other local initiatives showed great interest in participating in the future development of the organization. The newly founded NGO represents the legal body for all further developments, including curatorship, management, fundraising and possible developments in other countries. In addition, the name “Urban Incubator“, has been protected. Goethe-Institut Belgrad supported the UI organization in 2014 and provided project spaces, including the ruin of the Spanish House, based on contract with the Savski Venac municipality and Cultural center: Dom Omladine.

From 2014 the UI NGO is being developed as a supportive structure for projects which are including the residents of the quarter, young professionals in all sort of different educational background and grass root initiatives. The projects allow for knowledge transfer among international and local experts and/or between experts and inhabitants and were designed for long-term impact in the area. Their knowledge and visions together with the international perspectives of other project participants has brought a fruitful new cultural life to Savamala.

During the first UIB programme year, five hubs formed the most important physical space network occupied by international and local programmes – then derelict, unused, and in various states of dilapidation, disrepair, and neglect. Ever since then, through financial investment as well as the individual projects´ commitment and initiatives, work and enthusiasm, especially the “Spanish House” and Kraljevica Marka 8 have been continuously used and developed as cultural and community centers. They are places for artistic production and presentation, for debate, seminars and meetings, office work, cooking, and networking.

In 2015, the development of these two new cultural spaces in the Savamala neighbourhood saw important agreements. For the “Spanish House”, the Goethe-Institut came to legal agreements with Savski Venac Municipality while similar agreements were made with Dom Omladine for KM8. These agreements were of fundamental importance and ensure a secure and even stronger basis to Urban Incubator Association partners, projects, and perspectives.

Both the “Spanish House” and Kraljevica Marka 8 offer precious physical space and therefore the rare opportunity for community activities, for co-operation between various initiatives and, at the same time, a unique public space and stage. These new cultural spaces in an old city quarter amidst a rapidly changing city are, however, not only a physical space – they also open up a unique mental space. Both spaces are, in a temporary way, a safe haven and home for self-organized artistic production and for grass root initiatives that need the space to develop their own independent cultural perspectives, ideas, visions, and their community based participatory and educational programmes for the next generation.




Curator: Tim Rieniets

Co-Curator: Axel Humpert (from October 2013)

Project Lead: Dr. Matthias Müller-Wieferig

Project coordinator: Zorica Milisavljević, Goethe-Institut

Project Manager: Nikola Marković

Communications: Milena Berić

Photo and video documentation: Nebojša Vasić/Vesna Grba

(and other project authors)

Project lead and curatorial board of the Urban Incubator: Belgrade (2013) project:

Dr. Matthias Müller-Wieferig, PhD in German and English literature, studied at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster. From 1986-1990, he worked as a feature journalist for German media, among others for the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln. After a lectureship at Reading University, GB, from 1990 until 1992, he joined the Goethe-Institut. Placements include Bombay, Budapest, Munich, Dublin, and Copenhagen. Since July 2011 he is director of the Goethe-Institut Belgrad.

Trained as architect, Tim Rienets in his professional career focused on research and debate of current issues in architecture and urbanism. In this field of expertise, he is internationally active as curator and writer. Among other events, he curated the international Architecture Bienale Rotterdam 2009 (together with Kees Chrstiaanse), took part in various research projects, and edited various expert studies. Tim Rieniets held positions as a guest professor at Munich Technical University (2012) and as a senior lecturer at ETH Zurich (2003-2013). Since 2013 he is director of Landesinitiative StadtBauKultur NRW (Northrhine-Westfalia).

Artistic board:

Katja Aßmann, from Gelsenkirchen, is an authoress and manager of artistic projects, and is also engaged in management in culture. She worked as the female coordinator of the project for the European Capital of Culture 2010, Mülheim and Essen. Since the year 2011, she has been directress of the Urbane Kunst Ruhr organization (Urban Art in Ruhr),which originated from the project of the European Capital of Culture for the Year 2010.

Angelika Fitz is a theoretician of culture, writer and manager of artistic projects. From 1998 to 2005, she was appointed commissioner for the appearance of Austria at Architecture Biennale in São Paulo. Amongst her recent projects, we should highlight the exhibition “Real City. Wishes Come True.” (REALSTADT. Wünsche als Wirklichkeit) in Berlin, whose concept she made in cooperation with Martin Heller, as well as the exhibition “A City for Several Generations” (Generationenstadt), where she worked with Christiane Feuerstein. She has published articles and held individual lectures in several countries.

Ivan Kucina, architect and urbanist, teaches at the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade and at the Faculty of Architecture in Tirana. Apart from that, he is active in the country and abroad, as a program coordinator (MIKSER Festival, Belgrade), a teacher and a manager of artistic projects.

Dejan Ubović, a journalist and manager in culture; he studied anthropology and project management in Belgrade. He manages the City Cultural Center in Belgrade (in Savamala); he is the director of the Cultural Front Belgrade Non-government Organization; he was also the initiator and organizer of the Forum Belgrade – A Soul for Europe debate in the City Cultural Center (2011).

Projects 2013:

Camenzind (“Camenzind goes Belgrade”, Axel Humpert, Tim Seidel, Benedict Boucsein, Jeannette Beck, local coordination Ana Djordjevic-Petrović); NextHamburg (“NextSavamala”, Julian Petrin, Cynthia Wagner, local coordination Katarina Nina Antanasković and Ilija Lazarević); “A Model for Savamala”, (Boba Stanić, Maja Popović), Treći Beograd/Third Belgrade (“We Also Love the Art of Others”, Selman Trtovac); Institute for Contemporary Art Research, ETH Zürich (“Bureau Savamala”, Jürgen Krusche, Klaus Philipp, Dobrica Veselinović); GingerEnsemble (“Slušaj Savamala”,Klara Schilliger, Lara Stanić, Valerian Maly, Cyrill Lim); The Hamburg University of Fine Arts (“Savamalski dizajn Studio”, Jeszko Fezer, Marijetica Potrč and students); Goethe-Guerilla 2013; The Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade (“School of Urban Practices”, Ivan Kucina and students from the University of Belgrade)

Partners and sponsors: BHSF Architects, Zürich; Pro Helvetia Foundation, ETH Zürich, Swiss Embassy in Serbia, PERI d.o.o. Serbia, Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development of the Federal Republic of Germany, Cultural Center Grad (KC Grad), Dom Omladine Belgrade; Belgrade Municipality of Savski Venac, City of Belgrade;

Media partners in Serbia: B92, Blic, 24sata, Politika.

Special thanks to: Ivan Kucina, Dejan Vasović, Dejan Ubović, Angelika Fitz, Katja Assmann, Dušan Dinčić, Nemanja Perišić- Petovar, Nemanja Petrović and Tanjug media agency Susie Vasović- Susie Vasović-Bohse, Zorica Milisavljević, Milica Lalić, Elena Herzen, Rosanne Baltzer, Sandra Filipovski, Saša Vlahović and Edi Kostić

Copyright: Goethe-Institut Belgrad




Urban Incubator stands for an independent, non-governmental and non-profit association oriented to urban development and improvement of contemporary cities, as well as creating learning, research and idea exchange in the realm of architecture, urbanism, design, culture and art.

It was founded in early 2014 as a spin-off, of the Goethe-Institut Institut ‘project of excellence’: Urban Incubator: Belgrade.

Curatorial board 2014-2016: Dr. Mathiass Müller-Wieferig, Axel Humpert,  Milan Bosnić, Maja Popović-Vračar, Boba Stanković, Selman Trtovac, Zorica Milisavljević.

Steering Committee and management team: Ana Djordjevic-Petrović, Nikola Marković and Branislav Mihajlović



Nikola Marković, EU cultural manager and activist, is since 2014 responsible for the program and development of the non-profit organization Urban Incubator. Previously, he worked as a manager of the Goethe-Institut Belgrad UIB project. He is a holder of a European Cultural Management Diploma (2012) gain in a scholarship program by Robert Bosch Foundation: Cultural Managers from MOE in Germany. Since 2010, he is a member of the City-Guerilla platform. As a project author and manager he works on cultural cross-sector, youth and EU projects, with aim to strengthen the civil society sector and enable intercultural exchange between EU and Serbia. He lives in Belgrade with three year old daughter and his wife. Passionate about nature and cycling.


Ana Djordjevic-Petrovic is Belgrade based graphic designer and activist, with master in Interior design. During 16 years of working as a freelancer she has worked on many, both personal and professional, design concept projects, for most diverse clients. Her work includes: book layouts, packaging design, visual identity, promotional material and video art. She has expanded her field of action and initiated several projects to improve Belgrade’s public spaces, raise public awareness on the topics of urban development and the quality of life.

KM8 Gallery curator and manager:

Branislav Mihajlović, curator and painter, graduated in 2007 in the Master’s Program of the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade. Since 2015 he is working as the manager and curator of the Gallery KM8, of the NGO Urban Incubator. As a curator and co-manager he is actively engaged in several international curatorial and art projects: Contemporaneity & Crisis (Belgrade 2015); Serbi.Arte Festival (Vorarlberg/Austria 2014); Spanish House Art Market (Belgrade 2014); the artist book project Centro internazionale per l’incisione artistica in Kaus (Urbino/Italy 2015). He organized numerous exhibitions in Serbia and is working on promoting young local and international artists. Since late 2016, he works and lives in Berlin.

Projects, authors and contributors 2014 – 2017:

KM8 Gallery (curator and manager Branislav Mihajlović, assistent Karola Reiter, Artist: Rodrigo Casares Guzman, Maja Đorđević, La Krc collective, Markus Gell, Romeo Julien, Julie Hascoët, RISHA project, Vladimir Palibrk, Milica Pantelic, Zeljko Loncar, Théophile Glauser, Sébastien Doutaz, Coline Jeanneret-Gris, Marija Knežević, Emir Šehanović); Kamenzind Magazine (Axel Humpert, Leila Peacock, Ana Djordjevic-Petrović Jeanette Beck, Ljubica Slavković); City-Guerila (Zorica Milisavljević – project  coordinator, Simon Marić, Nina Vujasin,  Anita Knezić, Mirjana Jeremić,  Mirjana Utvić, Milica Nikolić, Arsenije savić, Olja petrović, Maja bosnić and many more www.cityguerila.org); NextSavamala (local organisers: Katarina Nina Antanasković and Ilija Lazarević) New Collection by Third Belgrade (Organisers: Sandra Stojanović, Valentina Brković, Slavica Obradović Mentors: Maja Ćirić, Žolt Kovač, Miloš Tomić, Ljubomir Vučinić, Olivera Parlić, Anica Vučetić and Radoš Antonijević Curators: Senka Latinović, Milan Šušak, Teodora Jeremić, Kristina Grebenar, Karmen Stanču, Tanja Đorđević and Mirjana Jemović); School of Urban Practices (C5 project – prof. of architecture Ivan Kucina together with Daša Spasojević and Predrag Milić and with the students from the Faculty of Architecture University of Belgrade: Dušana Nikolić, Ivana Mandić, Jelena Marković, Emilija Josipović, Natalija Ostojić, Olivera Petrović, Mirjana Utvić, Dušan Milanović, Dimitrije Udicki, Filip Biočanin, Aleksandar Suhanov and David Bilobrk); Design support Studio KM8 (Branislav Mihajlović, Emilija Josipović, Emily Radosavljević, Gabrijel Laco, Ivana Mardesič, Jan Kohler, Ilija Lazarevič, Julia Druelle, Marko Radosevič, Olja Petrovič, Tamara Miletič, and other helpers and volunteers) Župa project (Captain on Grand Voyage: Tanja Simonovič, Björn Wolf Captain on Small Voyage: Kilian Blum, Philine Meckbach, Sailors: Micha Balzer, David Becker, Fabian Brändle, Juan Pablo Delgado Berman, Alexander Denić, Hannah Dewor, Julia Druelle, Anna Eckenweber, Dejan Golić, Grebo Gray, Pia Heusner, Kole, Nicolai Kudielka, Sanna Lundström, Andre May, Marcel de Medeiros, Lessanework Negussie, Gabriele Pagani, Theresa Perzlmeier, Jannis Schiefer, Pascal Simon, Anatol Rettberg, Karen Winzer, Professor: Heike Klussmann Tutors: Florian Gwinner, Karen Winzer); Streets for Cyclists, (Ulice za bicikliste) NGO (Zoran Bukvić, president, Igor Šćepanović, Jadranka Ilić, Nada Nikolić,  Miloš Milunović, Vuk Spasojević, Sandra Pejić, Saša Jakšić, Mladen Jablanović, Sava Kostić, Tina Stojčević ); BÄÄÄM – Urban Experiments at Sava Riverside | Belgrade (Tanja SImonović); Bike-Kitchen-Belgrade (Andrija Vranić, Nikola Mihaelj, Miloš Starčević, Dragan Bajčetić, Marko Živanović, Srđan Plavšić); Bricolage Lab Experimental Design Camp (Emily Radosavljevic, Dubravka Simonović) Youth Energy of Serbia-YES Training Programme (Tijana Kaitović, Branka Damnjanović, Jelena Prolić)

Thanks to: project authors, project and workshop participant and others who put their effort to contribute to the development of the Urban Incubator Organization

Special thanks to: Vladimir Palibrk (Risha Project), Karkatag Kolektiv, FESTUM – festival, BINA – Belgrade international architecture week, CIN – cultural innovatiors network

URBAN INCUBATOR NGO is supported and funded by the Goethe-Institut Belgrad, Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information, and other partners and co-financers of the individual projects.

all rights reserved urban incubator organization © goethe-institut belgrad

Projects scheme

Urban Incubator program year reports

Partners & Sponsors