How do the threads of history manifest in the cultural fabric of the present? The ship Galeb was the focus of the first in a series of ongoing meetings of the Benčić Youth Council, held on the September 20th and 21st on the ship in Baross harbor. The Benčić Youth Council is a group of young Rijekans who learn, influence, create, and experience many forms of art within the city. They discover and debate art and culture.

Built in Genoa in 1937, Galeb began its life as Ramb III, a transport ship for bananas and southern fruit.  Over the course of its career, it has been a war ship during WWII, a school ship, and a presidential yacht. Many famous statesman and Hollywood stars sailed as guests of Josip Broz Tito under its new name, Galeb. In 2006 the Republic of Croatia declared Galeb a national heritage vessel and named the City of Rijeka as its care taker. Because of its rich cultural history, an increasing number of artistic activities on the ship over the last year, and the City’s decision to rent the boat to a private owner, the ship will be the focus of our first workshop. It will be a rich discussion point as the council discusses its possible futures, and will spark creative projects inspired by the ship and its histories.

During this first workshop, the council learned about the rich history surrounding the ship as they were thinking deeply about its future. They were using cameras to record sound and video as they were conducting a small research in the streets, asking other children their thoughts and opinions about Galeb. Liberta Mišan, a student artist who recently took part in an international workshop about Galeb and created work relating to the ship presented her work and talked about how it responds to the location.

Following the workshop on September 26th, the council shared and discussed their thoughts on the ship with their peers. A debate was held at City Hall which brought together the council and the theatre workshop Malik. Children shared knowledge, learned from each other, and discussed how opinions are formed and differing within the council.