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DVK Association – the tangible proof of love for design, art, and visual culture

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč


It is always easy to say you love something or someone. However, working hard at anything that you love and spreading the knowledge about it is another matter. That is exactly the task some of the former and current students of the Design of Visual Communication Department at the Arts Academy in Split have taken on.

To spread awareness about what they love most – design, art, and visual culture – as well as encourage others to start building the local creative community by actively taking part in it. That is how the DVK Association was created in 2017. We asked the current members of DVK to tell us about their organization – from its beginnings to now.

Photo: Zagreb Design Week, DVK Association

“The association was started by one of the former students while she was still studying at the Department of Visual Communication Design. She gathered a team of students who were in graduate school at the time and who joined her in the process of founding DVK. They are the main “culprits” behind the existence of DVK.

The very founding and the official registration of the association took place in 2017.

This was also the time when the whole Department was moved to a new location in Zagrebačka 3. DVK students felt it was a good time for design students to start acting as a collective, given the new premises and resources. The intended goal at the time was to leave the DVK association to younger generations of students, so they can continue to be active in the field of design. It makes us happy that this first goal was achieved!”

With DVK being from its very beginnings an association of young creatives focused on community development, teamwork, and the development of art and visual culture, their goal will always be to encourage the Department’s students, but also students of other faculties of the University of Split to create and nurture the creative community of the region.

Photo: the “Tolerance” exhibition by Mirko Ilić at DVK’s courtyard in Zagrebačka 3; photographer – Tina Masnić

With such an expansive goal to their work, we were curious about the things they’re proud of and what gives them the drive to keep working on achieving their goal:

“One fact that we are especially proud of is that we are the only design association in Split, as well as the only student association focused on design in the entire country.

This pushes us forward and gives us encouragement for further work in the development of the cultural and artistic scene in Split and beyond. We also want to encourage as much interest in design as possible, both with younger and older generations.”

Photo: DVK’s KOMBO Festival, the “Awareness” exhibition; photographer – Lea Jurčić

At present time, the DVK Association has about twenty registered members, of which about ten are always active in the DVK’s work. The active members are predominantly current undergraduate and graduate students of the Department. There are also a few honorary members – mainly the Department’s former students who are now well-established designers and professors at the Department.

It is not always easy for associations, big or small, to organize their work as most of the members are usually volunteers. Furthermore, the current situation in the entire world made a lot of things challenging and difficult – primarily event organization – which is something most associations, including DVK, rely upon to bring their work and what they’re passionate about closer to the general public.

Photo: DVK’s KOMBO Festival lecture; photographer – Lea Jurčić

But the DVK team did not let that deter them from doing their best to spread their passion for design and arts. In their work, they collaborate with others, solve problems that arise, and also bring to life some amazing events:

“We mostly cooperate with Split Tech City and Info Zona in the form of organizing lectures and workshops on the topic of design. Also, we cooperate a lot with the club Kocka, which often gives us their space to use for organizing exhibitions or art flea markets with the works of our students.

When it comes to any obstacles, we never had a really big one to deal with so far. The most common situations we find ourselves in are that – because all of us are designers – we sometimes lack knowledge or skills in some other fields like programming, copywriting, marketing, finance, etc. However, in collaboration with other students, as well as various other individuals, associations, and institutions, we manage to solve everything successfully. And if that does not work out – Google is also our friend!

So far, every project we have done has been of equal importance to us, but we would still like to highlight our KOMBO Visual Culture Festival.

It is definitely the biggest and most demanding project that, in its first edition in 2019 – formerly called KOMBO of 3 – contained only workshops. Therefore, last year we decided to take KOMBO to a new level, which we happily succeeded in.

Photo: DVK’s Lito2020 exhibition opening at Info Zona; photographer – Vana Bašić

Also worth mentioning is the Lito2020 project. Lito2020 is a project that, by its nature, is quite different from all the others. We encouraged all young creatives from the Balkans region to send us works on the topic of the Covid-19 pandemic. We published the works on social networks and also created an in-person exhibition of selected works in collaboration with Info Zona.

Given that there is still considerable uncertainty regarding the pandemic, we did not have as large a number of projects as we perhaps intended to have. However, we did not give up on our activities – at the time, we are working on the KOMBO Visual Culture Festival and hope to make it happen.”

Photo: DVK Enter 2019 – DVK’s workshop for anyone passionate about or interested in design held in DVK’s courtyard

There you have it! Our friends from DVK and their passion and dedication to what they do are admirable and we hope you will keep an eye on them and their work from now on. To start with, you can join their “Art Flea Market” this Saturday. We know for a fact you will not regret it and your attendance may even help them with this year’s KOMBO Festival!

Article cover photo by DVK from the opening of “Tolerance” exhibition by Mirko Ilić at Split’s Riva promenade; photographer – Lea Jurčić


About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not creating content about Split's tech community, you will find me in singing rehearsals, somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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