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Marika Goldman: I Am Happy That Tartu Is the European Capital of Culture with 19 Southern Estonian Municipalities Because It Allows Southern Estonia to Shine

Marika Goldman is an experienced culture event producer and marketer. Marika’s long career has led her to many different occupations ranging from being a Producer at the Vanemuine Theatre to the Project Manager of Events and Delegations at Enterprise Estonia. Why did Marika decide to join the Tartu 2024 team? What cultural events and projects is she most interested in? Read more in the first interview with the new Marketing Manager.

Marika Goldman's portrait.
22. Jul Kaidi-Lisa Kivisalu

Marika Goldman. Photo: Mana Kaasik

You have been the Tartu 2024 Foundation’s Marketing Manager since June. Why did you decide to apply for the position?

I kept an eye on the Tartu 2024 bidding process and the “competition” with Narva from the very beginning, and to be honest, I rooted for both cities, because the title is a great opportunity for Estonia. But as the competition approached the finish line, of course, the spirit of Tartu came out in me and I was very happy that the title came home.

After winning the title, I felt that at some point and in some way I would definitely like to be involved in this project, but I didn’t visualise a real role for myself. When the Marketing Manager’s position opened then, although the scale and importance of this project scared me a little, I felt that this was the way I wanted to be involved in the European Capital of Culture. It could be said that I developed a hard case of FOMO (fear of missing out) – although there is a lot of work and it is full of challenges, the fear of missing out on something so great was too strong that I had to apply.

Tell us more about what you are going to do at the Foundation.

More broadly, my job is to develop a marketing plan, draft and implement the next steps. These include coordinating the development of partnerships and sponsorship deals, building relationships with local businesses, preparing the European Capital of Culture as a tourist destination with partner organisations and much more. Currently, the most tangible thing is the development of Tartu 2024 merchandise. In general, a lot goes into marketing: from developing the official website to crafting a cohesive visual identity. The field of work is wide and I have very diverse tasks. Some fruits of my labour are already palpable, others will not be ready until 2024.

You have studied Cultural Management (BA) and Communication (MA) at university. You have diverse experience in managing various cultural events. You have worked at Enterprise Estonia as a Project Manager of Visits and Events and as a producer at the Vanemuine Theater. What do you find professionally most interesting about the new job?

It seems to me that this job is a symbiosis of my previous jobs. I have a strong background in cultural management and production, I have done communication and marketing for various cultural festivals. For me, Tartu 2024 is a step forward, as it harmonises all my previous experiences. My time at Enterprise Estonia gave me experience with dealing with major projects and foreign relations, for which there are often not enough opportunities in the cultural field. Now it is good for me to come here and apply the skills and knowledge gained there.

A few years ago, I felt that I needed a break from cultural management and thus I moved to Enterprise Estonia, where I was able to do a lot of marketing for Estonia’s innovative business environment. It was a very interesting and necessary break, but now I am back on the familiar path of cultural management.

You also have a unique view of Tartu 2024’s activities – before you joined the foundation, you were involved with one of the projects participating in the development process. How did you perceive the European Capital of Culture and the Foundation as a project developer?

During the development process, I was a marketing consultant for the “Kissing Tartu” project. The development process lasted almost a year, which meant in-depth reflection on a new topic on a monthly basis. The Tartu 2024 Creative Council constantly provided thorough feedback and developers were expected to look for alternatives to the activities they were used to so far. I think it all was very refreshing for project developers.

What do Arts of Survival mean to you?

In the context of today and last year, there is no better binding name for the European Capital of Culture. Everyone can relate to the artistic concept. It could even be said that a prophetic title was developed in 2018, which has gained many new layers in today’s pandemic world.

There are many values ​​in the Arts of Survival concept. For me, the climate crisis, mental health and regional policy have come to the foreground in the current Covid-19 situation. If in the past these values ​​could have felt a bit distant or perhaps not personal, today everyone has felt some kind of moment of survival. It is very good for us to connect and talk about what is happening in the world through our own concept.

What cultural events and projects are you interested in? What would you like to see the most in the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 programme?

I dare to say that I consume more cultural events than the average person. My year is framed by various festivals that I enjoy and participate in. Tartuff, Drama, Pöff are the festivals in Tartu that I always visit and where I appreciate the familiar warm feeling that has developed at these festivals throughout the years.

Another thing I always like is when a cultural event takes me to a new location or a known location, from a new angle. Like Stencibility this year, which took place at the former Pattaya / Ahi / Cleo Club. I always look forward to the UIT festival for their city trips. I hope that there will be events in the European Capital of Culture programme that will also offer a moment of surprise to the locals.

I am happy that Tartu is not the European Capital of Culture alone, but together with 19 Southern Estonian municipalities. This allows the whole of Southern Estonia to shine. I want exciting projects to take place in new places that will take people to discover South Estonia. The most convenient way to do this now is to use the Kylas platform.

What are the special experiences, places or activities that Tartu and Southern Estonia could introduce and offer to Europe as the European Capital of Culture?

I hope that the people of Tartu and South Estonia will charm their guests with their hospitality. I hope that guests feel welcome here and that they will visit us again after 2024. For us, the European Capital of Culture is not only a one year endeavour, but we are using the opportunity to show Tartu and Southern Estonia more in the next few years.

What could the cultural life of Tartu and South Estonia be like during the title year and after?

I hope that the local people will feel proud and that we will all be happy to have such an exciting year ahead of us. Of course, I expect that a lot of people will visit Tartu and Southern Estonia and I hope that they will like it here and they would want to come back here as well. The Tartu 2024 programme will be so diverse that during the title year, people of different backgrounds will definitely find interesting events.

I hope that there will be no sudden silence after the title year, but that these new events will open up new opportunities after the title year. We have a lot of potential here that we hope to highlight, and it is certainly not a one-year project.

And finally, what are your first steps in your new job?

Although there are still a few years to go until the title year, the Tartu 2024 Foundation actually works very hard every day. I am settling in and adapting to the new routines. The most tangible first step is the sale of the first Tartu 2024 merchandise (shirts and bags).

Before joining the team, I was quite envious when I saw people with the cool Tartu 2024 shirts, bags and hoodies, but now everyone has the opportunity to buy these shirts and other merchandise for themselves.