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ASPEKT is a feminist educational and publishing organization in Slovakia. Jana Juranova, one of the founders of ASPEKT and still working there, talked with Rosa Reitsamer about the history and current situation of ASPEKT.

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ASPEKT is a feminist educational and publishing organization. It was founded in 1993 (the official registration July 26, 1993) as an interest association of women, who agreed it was time to take the discourse on equality and democracy seriously and apply it to the lived realities of the people of feminine gender in Slovakia. Already second decade Aspekt does so by means of its (subversive and pioneering) publishing and educational activities.

Jana, how did ASPEKT, the first feminist magazine in Slovakia, evolve at the beginning of the 1990s?
We were a group of women and we started to meet in 1991. At that time I was also in contact with Jana Cviková. She was interested in feminism and it was quite inspiring. When we started our regular meetings, there was the feeling that it should result in some concrete outcome. In Slovakia, at that time it was very interesting to publish a journal or a magazine, also because the society was very interested in new journals and newspapers. So, we were interested in feminist issue and we started to formulate our ideas and the outcome was finally the first issue of ASPEKT.
In 1992 or 1993 women from the institution Frauenanstiftung in Hamburg came to Slovakia because there were searching for a group of women with whom they could cooperate. We were already preparing the first issue of ASPEKT for one year and when the women from Frauenanstiftung came to Bratislava to organize a conference on feminism and nationalism, they finally sponsored the printing of the first issue in 1993. To publish a feminist magazine at that time was a political issue in Slovakia but it went well from year to year although there were conflicts with the society.

When did ASPEKT become a NGO organization?
In 1993 ASPEKT became a NGO organization because we were a very informal group and according to the Slovak law we needed to get officially organized if we wanted to get the funding from Frauenanstiftung. Therefore we registered the first feminist NGO organization in Slovakia and we called it Association of Women.

How long was ASPEKT published?
It was published from 1993 to 2004. It was our decision that we finally said we will stop the magazine. We knew all the time that ASPEKT wasn‘t a „normal“ journal because it was published once or twice a year only. We had ambitions to publish ASPEKT quarterly but at the end we didn‘t have the energy to raise the funding. ASPEKT was more like an anthology which didn‘t exist in Slovakia at the beginning of the 1990s. We didn‘t have any feminist books, so we used the magazine and one issue of ASPEKT became like a book shelf. (laughing) After ten years of translating texts into Slovak and collecting texts for each issue, we were exhausted because it was a big thing to edit 700 pages for one issue. And from 1996 onwards there was the possibility to publish books, thanks to funding from Pro Helvetia.

Did ASPEKT finally change from a feminist magazine into a feminist publishing house?
ASPEKT was never only a place for editing and publishing the magazine. It was very important to engage also in educational projects and ASPTEKT, the magazine, was part of our education program. When we organized lectures, the texts were published in the journal. On the other hand we organized seminar and lectures on materials published in journal. In 1996 we started to publish books with the help of Pro Helvetia, a Swiss foundation. There are now more than 100 books published: fiction in Slovak and translated, non-fiction, books for children etc.

How do you use your website?
On our website one can find a lot of material on different topics and many students use our texts as a source for studying. Very day between 200 to 350 people are looking at the website. We are also advertising our book editions on the website and you can order them there.

Could you say a bit more about the financial situation of ASPEKT? At the beginning it was funded by Frauenanstiftung from Hamburg.
From 1993 onwards ASPEKT was funded by Frauenanstiftung and Heinrich Böll Stiftung, both German institutions. Later on a great help was the funding from Pro Helvetia. Some smaller grants were accessible for book translations form the French Institute in Bratislava. The funding from Frauenanstiftung, Heinreich Böll Stiftung and Pro Helvetia which we called out structural funding, stopped when Slovakia became a member of European Union. From 2005 to 2008 we had the bigger grants from the EU EQUAL Program. We did the project “Pink and Blue World” aiming at the gender sensitive pedagogy. But the administration for EU grants is far too bureaucratic and at the end we were absolutely exhausted from doing this. In 2010 we got funding from Mama Cash and Global Fund.

Did you cooperate with other feminist media throughout the years? Did you have any kind of exchange?
When we started to publish ASPEKT magazine, there wasn‘t any other feminist organization or magazine in Slovakia. The only feminist media which existed was a radio show called „The Voice of Medusa“, but the impulse for the radio show came from ASPEKT and we organized it ourselves. This radio show was broadcasted at the private radio station Ragtime and they asked ASPEKT if we want to cooperate with them what we did. When the new issue of ASPEKT was published, we promoted the magazine with the radio show. Finally a girl from America did the feminist radio show twice a month in 1995 and 1996.

Did you cooperate with feminist media producers outside Slovakia e.g. in Czech Republic?
There wasn‘t any feminist journal. There were feminist projects and gender studies and we were cooperating with these women. We were asking them for texts and published it in Czech language. Later on of course when all the organization had their website, it became much easier to set up cooperations e.g. with Zadra Magazine ( and with organizations in Austria. In every issue of ASPEKT, we introduced feminist journals from different countries. The rubric was called „We‘re listing…“. And if we could set up a personal contact with the editors, we asked them for texts and translated them into Slovak.

Could you describe the feminist self-understanding of ASPEKT? Did it change throughout the years?
It changed a lot. (laughing) At first we just wanted to publish a feminist cultural journal but the focus on culture only stopped very soon. When we started to formulate our feminist ideas it became clear that all the social-political problems are very important for us. We were thinking what we could do to bring about a social change and it finally ended with a campaign against violence against women which was organized from 1999 to 2001. We were exhausted from these activities and we really appriciated when other NGOs in Slovakia started to work as crisis centers in this field.
From the beginning our aim was to sensitize our society for gender issues and this is what we are till trying in many different fields and with different tools. The most important tools for us is publishing books and on our websites: and

Thank you for the interview.

Jana Juranova
Rosa Reitsamer
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