Jelena Simic

Jelena Simic is a PhD candidate in Art history, Founder of ŠumArt, merriad,  and mother of one son.

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative. 

I have had a career spanning over 25 years in various sectors. However, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have realised that my mission is to assist young people involved in culture and art. During the pandemic, I organised a travelling photo exhibition titled “TU MAČ FOTOGRAFIJE,” which means “interpreter of photography” in Serbian. At that time, we were overwhelmed with various non-photos and photos that unfortunately made sense of the moment the pandemic occurred.New projects and exhibitions emerged after that, including two noteworthy ones known as the International Interdisciplinary Forum ShumArt and the international roundtable Being an Artist Today. The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia supported the ŠumAr forum and its associated activities.

Tell us something about your initiative/business or current role. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?

The ŠumArt Forum has successfully achieved two primary goals: improving and developing cooperation and activities with related organisations in the country, region, and abroad, and creating an environment that encourages the interaction of visual arts and creative industries with research centres, cultural institutions, and scientific and professional institutions. This interdisciplinary forum is new in the region, and therefore, the conclusion and proposal are to continue in the same direction.

One of the significant effects of this forum is the preparation of an international ecosystem for promoting the growth of the creative sector (visual arts), both at the local and regional levels. It aims to develop creative products, especially those created through international and regional cooperation, and to strengthen expertise in the field of the creative sector (research, development, and support). 

The ultimate goal is to create a dynamic, sustainable ecosystem for cooperation between artistic theory and practice, cultural and creative industries, and the economic sector (especially the IT sector) in the Balkan region and beyond. The forum focuses on the role of culture as a catalyst for innovation, research, and transformation through a mix of artistic performances, events, new art movements, audio-visual artworks, workshops, and interactive experiences, both live and online.

Also, we are creating a BAM art market, especially for emerging artists, young art curators, and young art critics in 2024.

What has been the response of the users/consumers towards your venture?

We have proof that what we started almost three years ago offers something new that the new generations need. Our young creatives bring fresh energy and innovative thinking to our team. They challenge the current norms and expand the possibilities in the creative industry. Our goal is to bridge the gap between art theory, practice, and the creative sector to create a collaborative environment for nurturing new ideas and concepts.

Do you have anyone who is the biggest support system in your life? Please let us know.

My family : my husband and my son

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity? OR Share a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.

Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” ― Ziad K. Abdelnour

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?

Women have made significant strides in various fields such as politics, business, science, and education. In politics and the business world, women like Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, and Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, driving innovation and success in their respective industries. In science, women like Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle, and Marie Curie have made groundbreaking discoveries and pushed the boundaries of knowledge. In education, women leaders have played a crucial role in shaping the future of young minds and promoting inclusive learning environments. These achievements not only inspire young girls to dream big but also challenge societal norms and expectations. The future of leadership is becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive, with women bringing unique perspectives, empathy, and collaboration to the table. As more women break barriers and rise to positions of power, we can expect a more equitable and progressive society, where gender no longer limits one’s potential for leadership.

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