Pop Culture Promotes Democracy and Human Rights in Serbia  

In February, 2024, PartnersGlobal and DT Institute, in cooperation with CentarE8, held the second Pop Culture Challenge in Belgrade. The initiative was piloted under the USAID and SDC Civil Society Resilience Activity, which aims to improve the legal environment for civil society in Serbia, the public’s understanding of civil society’s contributions to the development of Serbian society, and the ability of civil society to be more transparent, accountable, and representative of its constituents. The Pop Culture Challenge is the first competition of its kind in Serbia – highlighting the impact that pop culture can have on narratives of human rights and democracy. With over 80 proposals submitted this year by activists and creative professionals all around the country, the event brought together activists from diverse backgrounds, touching on a variety of critical social and political issues including youth development, public health, gender equality, and political violence.  

The 2024 winners, selected by a jury of media and creative professionals and civil society representatives, are:

  • Sex, Drugs, Violence, and Fear – A groundbreaking web series that delves into the many challenges Serbian youth face.  
  • Crack and The City Shorts – An animated short employing quick wit and humor to address gender equality and mental health challenges.  
  • Paste the Idea – A grassroots movement using innovative paste-up poster art to combat hateful graffiti. 

The three winners will receive funding to implement their winning ideas in 2024. 

PartnersGlobal continues to be inspired by the work of these innovative activists and remains committed to lifting up these critical voices in Serbia and beyond. Arts and pop culture initiatives like this are powerful methods of non-violent resistance. Check out more about how PartnersGlobal supports movements like this through our annual Arts4Resilience event.  

Jessica Himelfarb is a Program Manager with PartnersGlobal, supporting the civil society resilience portfolio. Currently, she primarily manages the Civil Society Resilience Activity (CSRA) in Serbia. Jessica is passionate about locally-led solutions and strengthening civil society organizations in pursuit of democratic change.