Lifestyle

11 Mar 2021, 19:28 PM

The Wisconsin-based theatre company Theatre Gigante, last seen in Slovenia in March 2019 with a production of Tarzan, "an exotic drama"  by the Maribor-based writer, poet, playwright, singer and songwriter Rok Vilčnik, is now performing it’s latest production to a worldwide audience under full, COVID-compliant conditions.

Inspired by The Decameron, Boccaccio’s classic collection of tales told by folk isolating to avoid the plague, Theatre Gigante  has created a series of performances hosted online under the title A Cosmic Fairy Tale A Day Keeps The Doctor Away. This is composed of 31 fairy tales from the mind of Vilčnik, as told by storytellers from Milwaukee to California, Colorado to Chicago and Boston, Taiwan to Italy and France.

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Rok Vilčnik. Photo Urška Lukovnjak CC-by-SA.-3.0-unported

The stories – which touch on hopes and dreams, beginnings and endings, many questions and few answers – cover a wide range of moods from the playful to philosophical. Each is from two to 12 minutes long, and is available to view on Vimeo throughout the month of March, to be enjoyed over days or binged in an evening or weekend.

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Photo: Theatre Gigante

Rok Vilčnik’s Slovene texts have been translated by students of Translation Studies at the Faculty of Arts, the University of Maribor, lprimarily Ana Arnejčič and Nejc Golob, under the mentorship of Professor Melita Koletnik. The translations were then revised and edited by Isabelle Kralj. The production is supported by visual design from Justin Thomas and music by Frank Pahl, seen below.

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Tickets cost $31, or just under €26, and for that you gain access to the performances online and can enjoy them for the rest of the month, becoming more familiar with the work of a local author, while also strengthening the links between Slovenia and the world. Tickets can be found here, while you can read more about the show here.

 

11 Mar 2021, 14:27 PM

STA, 11 March 2021 - Slovenia saw its average daily increase in coronavirus infections over the past seven days drop to 705 after another 860 people tested positive on Wednesday, as Covid-19 hospitalisations fell to 453. On the downside, ten more Covid-19 patient died, data released by the government show.

Of the 5,786 PCR tests performed yesterday, 14.9% came back positive. In addition, 25,741 rapid antigen tests were also performed.

The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 fell by further 32 to 453 after 29 new admissions and 51 discharges yesterday. Ninety patients required intensive care, two fewer than the day before.

The 7-day average of new cases dropped by 23 from the day before to 705. For the country to move to a lower, yellow tier of coronavirus restrictions the average would have to fall below 600 after Covid hospitalisations have already dropped below 500.

 

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The cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents is at 496 and the 7-day at 255.

Commenting on the situation at the press briefing on Thursday, director of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) Milan Krek said Slovenia was still "deep in the epidemic", appealing to the public to stick to precautionary measures.

He noted the rising infection rates globally as a result of new coronavirus variants, assessing the countries were slowly descending into a new pandemic wave.

Despite the slow decline in transmissions in recent days, he said the curve was stagnating, expressing concern about a repeat of a similar situation in November when after a stagnation the curve started to climb up again at the end of last year.

Noting a slow increase in infections at schools, Krek said "additional measures might be needed if the situation deteriorates", but the goal was for pupils to finish school year in classrooms.

NIJZ data show that Slovenia has so far conformed 198,234 coronavirus cases, of which 10,445 are considered active infections.

Data from the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org show that a total of 3,918 Covid-19 patients have died.

However, NIJZ data released on Monday show that 4,156 patients with Covid-19 had died by Sunday, 7 March. Adding Monday's seven fatalities, Tuesday's four and Wednesday's ten to that figure, brings the death toll to 4,177.

The latest statistics on COVID and Slovenia

10 Mar 2021, 21:46 PM

STA, 10 March 2021 - The government has extended the majority of coronavirus restrictions by another week as it prolonged the state of the epidemic by another thirty days as part of its weekly review of measures on Wednesday.

"The current epidemic situation ... requires a new, temporally limited declaration of the epidemic across the entire territory of Slovenia," the government said.

The one relaxation the government opted for is allowing all construction services to reopen as of 15 March without the need for workers to be tested.

Builders have been allowed to perform services for business clients, but work for households has been suspended to reduce contact.

Construction companies have been urging the government to reopen at least for outdoor work.

There are also some changes on the red list of countries concerning individual regions in Denmark, Greece, Italy and Spain.

In neighbouring Italy, all regions bar Sardinia and Sicily are on the red list.

The government also debated a proposal by Interior Minister Aleš Hojs to shorten the 9pm-6am curfew but decided against any changes since the expert group did not endorse the proposal.

The decision will be on the table again in two weeks.

10 Mar 2021, 13:24 PM

STA, 10 March 2021 - Slovenia confirmed 952 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a drop of 21% from the same day a week ago, to push the 7-day average to 728 from 764 the day before. Covid-19 hospitalisations dropped below 500 again, but four patients died, data released by the government show.

Of the 6,017 PCR tests performed yesterday, 15.8% came back positive. In addition, 25,046 rapid antigen tests were also performed with all the positives there re-examined with PCR tests.

The number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 dropped by 21 from yesterday to 485, 14 fewer than Saturday morning when hospitalisations fell below the 500 mark for the first time since late October.

Noting that development, Maja Bratuša, the government's Covid-19 spokesperson, said that 38 patients with Covid-19 had been admitted to hospitals and 55 discharged yesterday. The number of intensive care cases rose by two to 92.

With hospitalisations falling below 500, one of the two conditions for the country to move to a lower, yellow tier of restrictions at the national level has been met, but the 7-day average of new cases is still far from falling below 600.

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Bratuša noted that the government was meeting today to re-examine the situation and potentially adjust measures.

Considering the situation in South-East Slovenia, one of the yellow-tiered regions, is deteriorating, while the situation in the red-tiered south-western region of Obalno-Kraška has been improving, there may be changes in the colour codes of the regions.

The national cumulative 14-day incidence per 100,000 residents is at 496. Obalno-Kraška still has the highest incidence, at 754.

Deputy chief epidemiologist with the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), Nuška Čakš Jager said Slovenia's 14-day incidence was still high in international comparison, with only the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Malta having a higher one in the EU.

She noted that only 15 infections had been detected in care homes over the past fortnight, most of those in newly admitted residents. She also noted a decline in fatalities.

A weekly analysis of transmissions among children, youth and teachers in education institutions shows the share of transmissions among kindergarten children remains constant at 1.72%.

The share is increasing somewhat at schools, which Čakš Jager described as a normal trend.

Slovenia has so far reported 197,374 coronavirus cases, with 10,446 still estimated to be active, according to the NIJZ.

Data from the tracker site covid-19.sledilnik.org show that a total of 3,908 Covid-19 patients have died.

However, NIJZ data released on Monday show that 4,156 patients with Covid-19 had died by Sunday, 7 March. Adding Monday's seven fatalities and Tuesday's four to that figure, brings the death toll to 4,167.

NIJZ data as of 9 March show that a total of 150,144 people have received the first dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 and 63,908 have received two.

All the latest data on coronavirus and Slovenia

09 Mar 2021, 11:48 AM

STA, 8 March 2021 - Women in the labour market are frequently faced with precarious work forms, discrimination, harassment, sexism and do a lot of unpaid work, trade unions have warned on International Women's Day.

Young people in particular, especially women, are more subjected to precarious work forms. About 80% of females aged between 15 and 25 have fixed-term employment contracts, while for men the share is under 60%, said Mladi Plus, a union representing young workers.

Poverty has become more widespread among young women, mainly due to high unemployment rate in this group and precarious work forms. The unemployment rate among women aged between 25 and 34 is about three percentage points higher than among men.

"Employers often expect them to go on maternity leave, to be on sick leave more often (to provide for children or elderly) and to put family life before their job," the unions said, noting that employers saw this as risky and potentially costly, so they did not hire women as much.

The access to services in elderly care is increasingly restricted rather than being expanded, which means more unpaid work for women because of socially determined roles, and more absence from the labour market.

The state is trying to tackle the issue of higher unemployment of women with tertiary education with subsidies for self-employed women, which seemingly reduced the unemployment rate but does not solve the problem, the union said.

It also pointed to allegations of discrimination and bullying at work. Women looking for a job are often discriminated against and employers sometimes demand that they sign a statement that they will not get pregnant in a certain period.

Women are also still discriminated against when it comes to pay - with the pay gap increasing from 3.3% in 2011 to 9.3% in 2018. In 2016, women in the EU on average received 16.2% lower pay than men.

Mladi Plus also pointed to some unacceptable demands by employers, for example in the hospitality sector, where women are sometimes required to wear short skirts and low-cut tops, and to sexual harassment in institutions that should provide for education and equal opportunities and rights for all.

The union also warned of poverty among older women, who receive lower pension than man because the had also received lower pay.

The Covid-19 epidemic has also hit women hard. Most women who have been absent from work during the epidemic have been on furlough and more women than men have lost their jobs since the start of the epidemic, official statistics shows.

"The measures adopted by governments harm women by deepening the differences between the sexes in terms of unemployment, household choirs and financial security," the union said.

Moreover, jobs that are most exposed to infections are dominated by women in the sectors such as healthcare, social protection, education.

The ZSSS trade union confederation has joined a campaign by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) urging countries on 8 March to ratify the convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) against violence and harassment at work.

The union said that the epidemic had made the situation worse for women at work as well as at home, as domestic violence was also on the rise.

The ZSSS said it had called on the Labour Ministry and the government on several occasions to ratify the convention as soon as possible. This would place Slovenia among the first European countries to ratify it or start the ratification process, with Italy being the first one.

"It is the first international labour standard dealing with violence and harassment at work and envisaging efficient measures against it and victim protection," the ZSSS said.

The 8 March Institute, an NGO also warned of gender inequality on the labour market today, noting that the Covid-19 epidemic had aggravated inequalities as women took on the burden of home schooling and household chores, a survey conducted by the NGO has shown.

Particularly vulnerable are single mothers, said the coordinator of the survey, Mark J Užmah.

Tina Tomšič from the NGO said the most vulnerable group in Slovenia were single retired women, while self-employed women were also at risk because they could not go on maternity leave or take sick leave, which meant they did not enjoy labour rights.

A lot more data on women working in Slovenia is here

08 Mar 2021, 17:35 PM

The British International School of Ljubljana has just received a delivery of new laptops for all staff at school.  This investment is in preparation for further development of its online provision, use of technology in the classroom and to raise its high standards in the quality of education at school.

This fits in to the ‘Technology for Learning’ plan implemented by the school after the first lockdown. The plan has now been reviewed and enhanced to prepare for the future and any possible transitions to online learning that might occur.  During the second wave of lockdown, the school introduced a more structured day of virtual lessons, further opportunities to learn away from the computer, reducing screen time, or increasing the availability of extra learning resources if required.  It has been a process in an effort to continually improve, with the help of students, parents and staff at school, to refine and increase the high-quality provision of education. 

They have worked with other schools in Slovenia – through virtual meetings, forums and presentations – to share best practices, experiences and successes of what teachers have implemented during this challenging time.  With many educators across the country eager to help others with remote learning, this has been a major positive over the last 12 months.

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The Principal Paul Walton with the new technology which will help all staff and students immediately at school.

The Principal, Paul Walton, commented “I am very excited about this project and very happy that this is the first time in the history of the school that we have been able to purchase this type of new technology for all our staff.  I look forward to continue working with schools across Slovenia to share ideas and ways to improve the quality of education for all students”

Having these new laptops for each member of staff will facilitate opportunities to:

  • Maintain and enhance the quality of education in class for students.
  • Further develop the online learning platform and provision for students to consolidate learning and stretch ahead to challenge themselves.
  • Use technology in the classroom more effectively to create new learning experiences for students.
  • Use a high-quality device across the school to enable working from various areas around the campus and beyond.

With over 50 staff on site, this is a significant step forward to enhance and transform the learning opportunities for students at the British International School of Ljubljana.  With over a third of the students at school from Slovenia, this is an excellent provision for staff to plan high-quality teaching materials that enable students to receive support at home, and opportunities challenge themselves further with online learning.  A higher quality of online provision enables students to collaborate with others online and continue to work together to ensure they make outstanding progress.

Technology is used effectively and supports the learning of students, from the two-year-olds in the kindergarten through Primary and Secondary and up to the 18-year-old students in high school, who are able to apply to Slovene universities, others in the UK and across Europe and around the world successfully.

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One of the staff planning language lessons

This initiative will have an immediate positive impact for the students, and will help in planning ahead further so the right infrastructure is in place for possible remote learning in the future.

The school looks forward to sharing its experiences with others and for students to feel the impact and benefit from these new devices.  The school is a part of the Orbital Education group of schools worldwide.  Find out more about the British International School of Ljubljana here.

Finally, the British International School of Ljubljana is hosting a Virtual Open Day for prospective families at 10am on Tuesday March 23 in English - find out more here if you are interested in joining the event. There is also a similar event in Slovene – Spletni informativni dan – on Thursday March 25 at 3pm, click here for details.

08 Mar 2021, 11:43 AM

STA, 8 March 2021 - Secondary school students in years 1-3 joined their final-year peers on Monday as secondary schools fully reopened under model C, meaning half the class will be in school for a week while the other half will continue learning from home. The vaccination of teachers also started for those over 50 years old.

There are no changes for final-year secondary school students, who have been coming to school every day since mid-February, and also no changes for primary schools, with the only difference being the introduction of face masks for children in years 6 to 9 also in their classrooms and not only in communal areas such as corridors, halls, or dining areas.

"It's a great feeling, seeing your classmates and teachers after a long four months... taking tests will not be as much fun, though," Marko, a Maribor secondary school student told the STA.

Many students share his concerns about tests, with Eva, also a Maribor secondary school student, wondering how much she learnt during remote learning.

Teachers as well are happy to return to brick-and-mortar classrooms. Gregor Galeja, the head teacher of Gimnazija Celje Center said the school observed two holidays today: the International Women's Day and what is the already third first day of school in this school year.

After nearly five months of remote schooling the start of school in classrooms poses a unique challenge and additional stress, as this also marks a symbolic start to the final part of the school year, said Galeja, expressing hope that teachers will be able to facilitate a soft transition into the new routine.

Face masks are now also be mandatory for secondary schools, for both students and teachers.

Teachers will still need to be tested for the new coronavirus once a week.

This week, teachers will also receive vaccines, with those over 50 being the priority group, to be followed by others who have expressed interest in vaccination.

Health Minister Janez Poklukar expressed hope on Saturday that most will decide to get vaccinated and thus protect both their health and the health of children as well as help keep the schools open.

The SVIZ trade union of teachers expects more than half of teachers to express interest in vaccination.

Bars, restaurants in Posavje, SE Slovenia start serving outdoors

STA, 8 March 2021 - Bars and restaurants in two eastern regions, Posavje and South-east Slovenia, are once again allowed to serve food and drinks outdoor. Proprietors are happy that they may welcome patrons back, but are not pleased at all with the fact that this is only the beginning of the one-week trial period.

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While Slovenia is in the orange tier of restrictions, both regions had figures last week that placed them firmly in the milder, yellow tier, where serving customers outdoor is allowed, so the government decided to temporarily allow bars and restaurants to reopen there.

Guests are served outdoors between 6am and 7pm and they will have to leave the establishment by 7:30pm.

If the number of infections increases, or if inspectors detect major violations, the government will close the bars and restaurants again.

Proprietors had to slash the capacities of their establishments to meet the safety requirements but are happy to be back in business. However, they do not like the idea of a one-week trial period.

"We had to organise, buy everything needed and get ready," Luka Retar, a proprietor from Novo Mesto told the STA. "I don't think it's right for the entire burden coming with a shut-down to fall on our backs again. We've almost had enough."

Rok Klobučar, another proprietor from Novo Mesto, said guests came in immediately after the opening this morning. He expressed satisfaction that bars have reopened and that staff is no longer on furlough.

He believes, however, that the one-week trial period is too short a time to show results. He believes a 14-day period would be more sensible, warning also that the number of infections may increase again due to other reasons, not bars opening.

Customers have to wear masks at all times, except when they are seated at their table, and staff will have to wear masks at all times and get tested for coronavirus weekly. Those vaccinated against coronavirus and those who have recovered from the disease will be exempted from the testing requirement.

Tables have to be three metres apart and no more than four guests are allowed at each table. The number of guests is also restricted based on the size of the terrace or garden. Guests are allowed to go inside only to use the toilet.

Since travel between municipalities is not restricted any more except for the Obalno-Kraška region, which is in the red tier, patrons from around the country will be able to wine and dine outdoors.

Slovenian restaurants have been closed for indoor service since mid-October. Both bars and restaurants were able to offer take-away service, and, since last month, restaurants were allowed to serve B2B guests indoors.

05 Mar 2021, 14:24 PM

STA, 5 March 2021 - The 22nd international feminist and queer festival Red Dawns (Rdeče zore)will open on Friday with an exhibition of posters from Polish women's strike entitled To jest wojna. All events will be held online.

The exhibition of protest posters presenting the role of Polish female visual artists in the battle against a ban on abortion will be on display at the Alkatraz gallery at the AKC Metelkova between Monday and Friday until 26 March and will also be available online.

On Sunday, the Silver Thistle for the most sexist statement of 2020 will be conferred by the festival's organisers in cooperation with web portal Spol.si.

On Tuesday, 9 March, Danijela Zajc will stage her performance Niti, which was created at the Cirkusarna NaokROG at the demolished alternative art centre Rog.

According to the author, the performance is inspired by her own experience of living in a traditional environment through which she tries to understand life, and the actions of her grandmothers, mother and sisters while searching for her own place within those relationships.

Music band Balans from Ljubljana will bring music to a poetry reading that will be organised in cooperation with the platform IGNOR.

Asja Novak will lecture about Albanian sworn virgins and present the campaign for redefining rape under the slogan Only Yes Means Yes in cooperation with the 8 March Institute.

The festival will wrap up on 11 March with live broadcast of music performance by Ingver in Gverilke, which will be followed by a video and music performance by Federico Luza Da geht di Sonne unter!

Festival website, Facebook

04 Mar 2021, 14:23 PM

STA, 4 March 2021 - Secondary school students in years 1-3 are joining their final-year peers Monday as secondary schools fully reopen amid the coronavirus epidemic. However, this does not mean the end of remote learning just yet - under model C, half of them will come to school for a week while the other half will be distance learning at home.

There are no changes to final-year secondary school students, who come to school every day, Education Minister Simona Kustec told the press on Thursday.

There are also no changes to primary schools, with the only difference being the introduction of face masks for children in years 6 to 9 also in their classrooms.

Currently all primary schools children - from year 1-9 - have to wear them only in communal areas such as corridors, halls, or dining areas.

Face masks will also be mandatory from next week for secondary schools, for both students and teachers.

As before, students in the shorter, two-year vocational secondary education continue in-person learning, explained the minister.

Next week will also see the launch of priority vaccination for education workers, first for those older than 50.

All teachers teaching in-person are still required to get tested for coronavirus once a week.

Kustec said the epidemiological situation in kindergartens and schools remains stable.

The latest data shows that 79% of kindergarten children and 83% of staff are in kindergarten, while both figures for primary schools are 90%.

Active infections in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools are currently at 0.16%, with 1% of children quarantining, the minister added.

Health inspectors meanwhile carried out 40 checks related to coronavirus testing at schools and kindergartens last week, establishing no breaches, Deana Potza from the Health Inspectorate told the government's daily Covid-19 briefing.

The findings show that educational establishments provide for testing of their staff and that there were no irregularities in organising nor informing the staff about testing, she explained.

Following around four months of distance learning, primary schools reopened for children in years 1-3 on 9 February, and for the rest of primary schools children on 15 February, when final-year secondary students also returned to school.

Special-needs children returned to in-person school on 5 January, while higher education continues largely remotely.

04 Mar 2021, 14:19 PM

STA, 4 March 2021 - Bars and restaurants in two eastern regions, Posavje and South-east Slovenia, will be able to start serving customers outdoor as of Monday, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek announced on Twitter. Initially, this will be a one-week test to see how things turn out.

Počivalšek said he was glad "we've come to a point where we can restart a portion of the hospitality industry." He suggested the two regions would serve as a bellwether for the rest of Slovenia when it comes to reopening.

"The opening carries huge responsibility... I appeal to proprietors and guests: act responsibly," he added.

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The two lucky regions

While Slovenia is in the orange tier of restrictions, both regions currently have figures that place them firmly in the milder, yellow tier, where serving customers outdoor is allowed.

Počivalšek said that if coronavirus cases there rise, outdoor hospitality will be banned for the yellow tier.

The reopening will be strictly regulated.

Service will be possible between 6am and 7pm. Customers will have to wear masks at all times, except when they are seated at their table, and staff will have to wear masks at all times and get tested for coronavirus weekly.

Tables will have to be three metres apart and no more than four guests are allowed at each table.

Slovenian restaurants have been closed for indoor service since mid-October. Both bars and restaurants were able to offer take-away service, and, since last month, restaurants were allowed to serve B2B guests indoors.

Proprietors have welcomed the move as a sign that there is political will to reopen the industry. "It is also a motivation for proprietors in other regions to achieve the criteria [for reopening] as soon as possible," the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS) said.

The Tourism and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia added that the government should say as soon as possible when accommodation may reopen so that marketing activities may start soon enough. "Without guests, opening accommodation does not make sense," it said.

04 Mar 2021, 09:56 AM

March 4, 2021 - The innovative Croatian museum revolution continues. Meet Museum of Senses, born in Croatia, but expanding globally through franchise and partnership.

As a child, I visited a lot of museums. They were places of awe, wonder and inspiration. Places where I learned things, but also places where I always had a feeling that they were really for adults.

Museums in the era when I grew up were places that you could look, admire and wonder.

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But not touch.

Look but not really experience.

How the world of museums has changed.

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As a father going to modern museums, I am struck by the bigger focus on interaction and experience. And that focus on interaction and experience involves evoking human senses. And there is one museum concept which takes this to a higher level. 

Its name, appropriately enough, is the Museum of Senses.

Born in Croatia and Slovenia with three founding partners (two Croatian, one Slovenian), the Museum of Senses blends the concepts of museum visiting and edutainment into a sensual experience quite unlike any other. With six distinct sections dedicated to the six senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, and balance, the Museum of Senses provides an engaging hands-on museum experience that this former child could only dream of.

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Each of the senses is associated with one of the leading colours. Colours through the zones appear in the form of light, illustration, elements of visual communication and by exhibits themselves.

By exploring their senses, visitors not only enjoy themselves, but also learn something new about their basic senses, while being tested by the power of the mind when confronted by an array of sensual concepts.

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The first Museum of Senses opened in Prague in 2017, followed by Bucharest in 2018. They were immediately both popular and profitable, as well as attracting industry recognition for quality. In 2020, for example, the Prague and Bucharest museums received the TripAdvisor Best of the Best Award, which is awarded to the best in the category based on an algorithm which includes ratings and reviews.

The challenge soon emerged as to how to most effectively expand the museum concept to other parts of Europe and beyond. The answer was a relatively new concept to the museum industry, but one which is growing in popularity – franchising.

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The Guggenheim Museum, which opened in 1997, was the first to experiment with the concept of museum franchising in locations such as London and Dubai, but in recent years, the concept has expanded across the museum sector, with Croatia already providing two successful models from illusions to broken relationships.

As with most things on the planet, the pandemic put those expansion plans on hold, but it also created a huge opportunity. With 2021 hosting a (hopefully) post-pandemic world, the world has changed, and the franchising conditions for the resolution of the Museum of Senses plan are looking more favourable than ever.

There are several reasons for this. Reduced rents in a remote working world, as well as a willing workforce in a global economic downturn, will have a positive effect on the bottom line. But research has also shown that one of the first sectors which will return to the 'old normal' is the edutainment and entertainment sector. People want to break free of the confinement of the last twelve months and have fun.

And fun is what the Museum of Senses offers in abundance. With a primary target group of millennials, followed by a secondary target of young families and teenagers, the Museum of Senses concept is appealing to a diverse audience, both local and tourist. Exhibits are introduced in a fun but educational way, with a sensual experience to define them.

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A key unique selling point of the Museum of Senses is the way it embraces local culture and traditions into its exhibits, thereby making each location unique. For example, one museum location is located in a former stables 150 years ago, and so there is a balance feature with artwork to reflect the historical reality.

Museum of Senses is based on five key concepts: interactive engagement in the exploring of the six senses; design and concept reduced to a basic level to reach the widest possible audience; visual design, enticing enough for social media promotion and sharing; that focus on local culture to develop a unique experience; and a flexible approach to branding and commercial partners, who can be brought into be a part of an exhibition (examples being Skittles, Coca Cola and Huawei), rather than remaining a mere sponsor.

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New franchises and partnerships are also undergoing due diligence in several cities worldwide.

According to Dejan Grbic, managing partner of Museum of Senses, speaking at the TGFM webinar “Emerging Franchise Brands for the New Year” last month (see the video below – Grbic's presentation starts at 17:30), the Museum of Senses franchise is an excellent opportunity, and the timing could not be better.

(Museum of Senses franchising presentation starts at 17:30)

The flexible franchise model involves light management after the initial focus of expert assistance in location sourcing, design and set up. Standard museums need an area of 500m2, but the concept is flexible enough to work in areas as small as 300m2 and up to 1000m2. The pandemic spawned an additional concept which works well in shopping malls, for example – the pop-up temporary museum.

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Revenues for a standard location are in the region for US$1 million a year ($1.5 million for a more prime location), based on a ticket price of US$10, with return on investment around 6-12 months.

Grbic says that the concept works for a number of reasons. Its unique local approach to its exhibits sets it apart; there is a set of diversified sales channels, which appeal to both local and tourist; the wider net of tourism and the hospitality sector, schools, even birthday parties; lots of free media and PR in the form of social media, TripAdvisor and similar platforms; and that flexible, light management mentioned above.

The concept of edutainment in the museum industry is still fairly new, and the fresh approach of Museum of Senses to the museum market is certainly fresh and on the path to success.

I look back to the museum child that I was, and I wish them every success and with a little envy. Back when I was a child, the only sense that I could use at a museum was sight. How inspiring it must be to visit a museum and test the limited of sight, sound, touch, hearing, taste and balance.

For more information about Museum of Senses, either as a visitor or a potential franchisee or partnership, visit the official website here

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