The Slovenia Times

Space centre to refocus on business but will not forget culture


Kobold envisages a business-oriented programme for the centre, which came under the auspices of the Economy Ministry last year following a row over finances and conceptual differences between the state and the founders of the Cultural Centre for European Space Technologies (KSEVT), the predecessor of the Noordung Center.

According to Kobold, who took over in early April, the main challenge for the centre will be financing. While the issue has been partially solved with the state's decision to enter the centre, additional funding will be needed for new programmes.

State and municipality funding is enough to cover wages and operating costs, but for everything else, "such as maintenance costs ... and the contents, we'll have to make money", the director said.

He plans to generate income with presentations of Slovenian companies that are already active in space technologies and by attracting the public with exhibitions of space equipment.

"We'll also focus on virtual technologies and educational applications, and applications showcasing space tech in action," Kobold added.

Between 7,000 and 9,000 people visit the centre in the remote village of Vitanje in the north-east a year, but the figure has been growing recently. Kobold sees great potential in schools, which can pick between two educational programmes. The number of visitors is set to increase, according to Kobold.

A part of the centre's programme will remain cultural, as it was established with the European funds for culture. But before it can establish contacts with the cultural sphere, it will have to tackle several open issues with the previous managers.

After the clash with the state, the founders of KSEVT moved their activities to Ljubljana, where they continue their mission of "cosmification of art and culturalisation of outer space".

According to Miha Turšič, a co-founder and the former head of KSEVT, the institution moved to Ljubljana after it was exiled from Vitanje.

Since it is not an official institution in Slovenia, it performs most of its activities abroad, above all in the Netherlands, where Turšič currently resides.

"In contrast to the reactionary policy of disabling, KSEVT continues to develop ties between art, humanities and science. In cooperation with European and Russian space and science institutions, we develop projects that move beyond the limited capacities of individual domains of knowledge."

Nevertheless, Turšič says that the founders are willing to work with the new centre in Vitanje, if "the new director is willing". "We have more than enough knowledge, connections and everything else," he said and added that recognising their intellectual property was a precondition for any form of partnership.


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