Mixer Festival gathers 500 innovators to design a circular and more sustainable future for Serbia

June 9, 2019

One of the designs at the "Eco Chic" fashion show

Under the slogan Circulate, the Mixer Festival, which was held from 24 to 26 May, transformed the lower part of Dorćol into an innovative creative center gathering more than 500 creatives and innovators from the country and abroad to jointly create a more sustainable and wiser future for Serbia. In partnership with many national and international experts, the Mixer Festival and UNDP opened a new chapter in enabling the cultural, creative and IT sectors to network with circular economy experts. This cooperation will result in the preparation of the Recommendations for Drafting the Circular Economy Plan for Serbia, which will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment for consideration. This three-day Festival, featuring nine program segments, was visited by 20,000 people.

The International Conference "Shift" brought together more than 100 lecturers and panelists, thus becoming the backbone of the festival. Experts from the Netherlands, Slovenia, Norway and Finland shared the experiences of their countries that are considered European leaders in circular economy and sustainable development with colleagues and the audience. At the opening session, the audience was addressed by Sem Fabrizi, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia; Francine Pickup, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program, and Goran Trivan, Minister of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia.

A large number of innovative companies, start-ups and activist initiatives responded to the Mixer’s invitation to exhibit their work at the Innovation Fair. Under the overarching theme of the festival, over 50 programs, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, tournaments, seminars, fashion shows and concerts took place during the 72-hour event, making Dorćol a sustainable development hub. Numerous programs were prepared for the youngest, including ones inviting them to create cities of the future. 

Reflecting this year's theme of the festival - circular design, the exhibition of prototypes by 'Young Balkan Designers' garnered special attention. Having competed on the basis of the innovativeness of their solutions to enhance sustainability and circularity of products, materials and services, the winners of the first round of the competition for the best young designers in the region had the opportunity to present their works. Among the exhibits was furniture made from a worn-out wine barrel and a bag which, used alongside the application, ensures that food that would have otherwise be thrown away, is deliver to those in need.

The last day of the festival hosted an unusual fashion show titled Eco Chic, in which clothes made of waste materials were modelled – showcasing dresses made of plastic bags and old CDs, and an umbrella made of plugs. The fashion show was prepared by students of four secondary schools in Belgrade who, through this activity, learned a valuable lesson on circular economy: how to reduce waste and maximize the use of available resources. Both activities were implemented within the broader scope of the UNDP project Circular Economy for Sustainable Development in Serbia.