International Cooperation
International research project

Heritage from Below | Drežnica: Traces and Memories 1941-1945

Heritage from Below | Drežnica: Traces and Memories 1941-1945 is an international heritage project focused on the region of Drežnica and its recent past. Located in central Croatia, this area was an important stage for the partisan struggle during the Second World War and its landscape is marked by its traces. Those traces include hospitals, printing houses and military camps, as well as post-WWII monuments and a vast constellation of social and personal memories. The interdisciplinary research team (art historians, archaeologists and architects) is interested in the entanglements of these traces and in the development of new methodological approaches to cultural heritage. In this project, we take heritage as an emancipatory practice for and by the local communities of our times.

Our interdisciplinary and community-based approach consists of archival research and fieldwork, which will include ethnography, photographic documentation, topography, geodetics, architectural surveys, as well as archaeological work. We will focus on partisan sites, monuments and memorial areas of the wider Drežnica area in order to understand guerrilla warfare strategies and the complex program of memorialization in post-war Yugoslavia. The research project will be carried out in collaboration with the community of Drežnica, which will participate in every step of the project, including the research design and the dissemination plans.

The plan for 2019 consists of historical and archival research (March-September), to be followed by fieldwork in Drežnica. In September and October the team members will conduct an extensive survey of the region in collaboration with the local community, which will be publicized in the social media and our website. In October, we will present the first results of our project in a public meeting to be held in Zagreb, which will happen during a seminar about research methods in critical heritage studies. We intend to continue the project in 2020 with another season of fieldwork in Drežnica, and establish new collaborations across Southern Europe.

Project duration: 2019-2020

Project Coordinator

Sanja Horvatinčić, PhD, Institute of Art History, Zagreb (art historian)

Research Team

Xurxo Ayán Vila, PhD, IHC—Instituto de História Contemporânea da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal (archaeologist)

Rui Gomes Coelho, PhD, Department of Archaeology, Durham University, UK / UNIARQ—Centro de Arqueologia da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal (archaeologist)

Ivona Grgurinović, Assistant Professor, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (ethnologist – cultural anthropologist)

Sanja Horvatinčić, PhD, Institute of Art History, Zagreb (art historian)

Emil Jurcan, Zadruga Praksa, Pula (architect)

Matija Kralj, VIDEODROM, Zagreb (visual artist; photography and video recording)

Igor Kulenović, Assistant Professor, Department for Tourism and Communication Sciences, University of Zadar (archaeologist)

Sara Simões, Cambridge Archaeological Unit, Cambridge University / UNIARQ—Centro de Arqueologia da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal (archaeologist)

Iva Stojević, PhD, independent researcher (archaeologist)

Carlos Otero Vilariño​, Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio – INCIPIT / Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas – CSIC, Santiago de Compostela (collaborator), Španjolska (archaeologist)

Milan Radanović, The Archives of Serbs in Croatia (SNC), Zagreb (historian)


Nikola Križanac

Project activities can be followed on the FB page.

The project is financially supported by: Serbian National Council (SNC), Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology (UK), Institute of Art History.

The project is supported by: Serbian National Council (SNC), Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Institute of Art History, Local Municipality Drežnica, Association of the Serbian People of Drežnica, SKUDD "Đurđevdan", Heritage Museum of Ogulin, Zadruga Praksa, Association of Architects in Istria – Societa architetti dell Istria, Speleological Section PDS Velebit, Zagreb; Marijana Vinković, PhD, NMR Centre, Institute Ruđer Bošković, Zagreb.