SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.


Sofia Development Association and Goethe-Institut are happy to present the new publication “Paths to Innovations in Culture”

Sofia Development Association and Goethe-Institut are happy to present the new publication “Paths to Innovations in Culture”. It comes as a result of over five years of experience in art management capacity building through the Academy for Cultural Management - a postgraduate qualification programme for managers of municipal and independent cultural institutions, accderited by Sofia University. The 2017 Academy edition and the international conference with the same title in Sofia aimed to connect three sectors – arts and cultural organisations, business and technology companies and academics – to engage in research and development that aims at innovation in all its forms, redressing the long-standing imbalances that exist in innovation policy. Cultural managers from Sofia, Bucharest and Thessaloniki, participants in the 2017 Academy, with the guidance of the Editorial Committee, developed articles in diverse areas: testing propositions on how new technologies can be used to broaden, deepen and diversify audience reach; exploring new business models of museums; social media and user-generated content; distribution; mobile and gaming; data and archive; education and learning, and resources. Innovation flows from a willingness to experiment and find the right structure and culture that result in new things being created. The publication plugs a gap in research, knowledge and insights that can remove some of the bottlenecks to innovation in the wider arts and cultural sector and allow for spillover effects in the urban fabric.

We hope that “Paths to Innovations in Culture” would not only contribute to expending the boundaries of 21-century cultural organisations but would also offer some useful takeaways: ideas worth exploring, examples, trends, policy recommendations, and inspiration.

Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality celebrate the Safer Internet Day

We mark February 6 as a day of safer internet. According to a research, almost half of teenagers have had negative experiences on the Internet. Although the digital environment has been part of their life since childbirth, young people need to develop the competences of active citizens in a diverse internet community.

Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality are joining this special day celebration with three video clips made by SDA with the aim to help young people:

• To recognize hate speech which negatively affects human dignity;

• To report hate speech on the internet;

• To respond to hate speech with alternatives, which give different perspectives and encourage human rights and digital democratic culture.

"Young people today spend more time on the net than they ever did ever before. Therefore, there is an urgent need to help them see the positive aspects of connectivity and to support them to overcome the negative effects. Thus, the Internet and our city will be a safer and nicer place. "

Yordanka Fandakova, Sofia Mayor

The three videos were developed within the project "Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech", co-funded by the European Union's Justice, Equality and Citizenship Program – DG Justice, bringing together partners from Bulgaria, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Romania, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Sofia Development Association as a lead partner.

More about the possibilities of hate speech, you can read on the multilingual platform

SDA team actively contributed to Maribor Transnational Expert Workshop

The second Transnational Expert workshop under NewGenerationSkills project was held in Maribor on 23 - 26 January 2018. SDA hosted the discussion on “How to be socially innovative and successful at local level” during the Knowledge café workshop. Sevdalina Voynova facilitated the workshop on the Initial Local Action Plans elaborated by city partners, who presented them through attractive poster visualisations. Denitsa Lozanova presented the progress achieved under the WP3 Innovation Capacities, coordinated by SDA, during the 2nd Steering Committee meeting including the First Year Review Meeting.

In the morning of 23 January SDA team took part in the Maribor Peer Review.








During the third project meeting in Prague the host organization People in Need initiated a joint walk with representatives of Pragulic - team of young people who use social entrepreneurship in a daring and entertaining way and who want to change the public opinion of the homeless – one of the hated community and make it easier for people without homes to return to ordinary social life.

The Positive Messengers project partners presented the project and exchanged experiences with representatives of the local community on the creative ways of engaging communities in meaningful social causes.


How to create a “tasteful training menu” as project legacy discussed Coalition of Positive Messengers partners and exchanged experiences from the conducted and planned trainings during an interactive workshop. Partners proposed different “starters” such as talk on human rights and hate speech, multi culti city quiz, “mains” such as talks on the media responsibility and regulations, rewriting good news, dramatizing hate speech and lot of other useful methodologies, approaches to conduct training on how to counter hate speech online.

How to reach the target of 30000 people was the topic of two other discussions and workshops with experts invited from the host People in Need who created and are managing the biggest public media campaign in Czech Republic “Hate Free”. We learnt from Jana and Jaroslav but also made new friends of our Coalition of Positive Messengers who will spread our messages around.

Creating good news in order to counter online hate speech

Creating good news in order to counter online hate speech was the main topic in the second training under the Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech project organized by SDA team in on November 23 in Sofia.

Leading journalists, media experts, human rights, ICT and campaigning specialists together with journalism students, advocacy organizations, public administration, migrant community and other NGO representatives rewritten news, identified in the media content monitoring as spreading hate speech. We managed to create new positive narratives in order to counter online hate language.

During the discussion the hot issue was the limit between hate speech and freedom of speech.

Through design thinking method participants separated in different teams ideated and prototyped project for creative tools that could be used to serve our main objective: more effective response to online hate speech and raising awareness among society.


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