Valentina Gulin Zrnić, PhD


PhD in ethnology and cultural anthropology, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2004

MA in ethnology, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1999

MA in history, Central European University, 1997

Research interests:

Various topics in urban anthropology and anthropology of space: city-making, urban identities and subjectivities, urban communities, public culture, affective urbanism, public events, art and the city, politics of space, transformation of public spaces, sustainable city, urban governing and civil participation, urban futures, post-socialist cities; Zagreb, Croatian cities

Qualitative methodology – poetics and politics of fieldwork, autoethnography, sensory ethnography, walking ethnography, methodological innovations, ethical issues.

Previous interests: Mediterranean studies, historical anthropology, literary anthropology

Research projects:

Urban Futures: Imagining and Activating Possibilities in Unsettled Times, 2020 – 2023 (bilateral project Croatian Science Foundation – Slovenian Research Agency) (project leader)

Urbani procesi i identiteti [Urban processes and identities], 2017 – current (Institute’s internal research project) (project leader)

CreArt – Network of Cities for Artistic Creation (European Union), collaborative projects with Croatian Society of Fine Artist (project co-leader of research):  2019 Aesthetization of Prison with Art (Prison in Zagreb, Remetinec); 2017 Aestheticization and Rehumanization of Public Spaces (University Hospital Centre Zagreb); 2016 City-making and the Place of Performance (artistic interventions in Zagreb public spaces)

City-making: space, culture and identity 2014-2018 (Croatian Science Foundation) ( (researcher)

Suvremeni kulturni tijekovi i oblikovanje zajednica i identiteta [Contemporary culture flows and the construction of communities and identities] 2007-2013 (Ministry of Science, Education and Sports) (researcher)

Etnografija suvremene svakodnevice i procesi identifikacije [Ethnography of Contemporary Everyday Life and Processes of Identification] 2002-2006 (Ministry of Science, Education and Sports) (researcher)

Triplex Confinium, international project Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Zagreb), Abteilung für Südosteuropäishe Geschichte (Graz), Institute of Southeastern Europe (Open Society Institute and Central European University, Budapest) 1997-2001 (researcher)

Etnografija Hrvatske: tradicija, folklor, identitet [Ethnography of Croatia:tradition, folklore, identity] 1996-2002 (Ministry of Science, Education and Sports) (researcher)


Grad kao susret. Etnografije zagrebačkih trgova [City as Encounter. Ethnographies of Zagreb Squares] (with N. Škrbić Alempijević) Zagreb 2019 (National Science Award)

Grad i umjetnosti  [The City and Art] (with N. Škrbić Alempijević and J. Zanki), Zagreb 2016

Kvartovska spika. Značenja grada i urbani lokalizmi u Novom Zagrebu [Talk of the Neighbourhood: Meanings of City and Urban Localisms in Novi Zagreb] Zagreb 2009 (awarded by the Croatian Ethnological Society for outstanding scientific and higher education teaching achievements)

Edited volumes:

Mjesto izvedbe i stvaranje grada [The Place of Performance and City-making ] (with N. Škrbić Alempijević and J. Zanki) Zagreb 2016

Vrtovi našega grada: studije i zapisi o urbanom vrtlarenju [Gardens of Our City: Studies and Notes on Practices of Urban Gardening] (with T. Rubić) Zagreb 2015 (e- book) and 2016 (print)

Hrvatska svakodnevica: etnografije vremena i prostora [Croatian everyday life: ethnographies of time and space] (with J. Čapo) Zagreb 2013

Mjesto, nemjesto: interdisciplinarni pristupi prostoru i kulturi [Place, non-place: interdisciplinary perspectives on space and culture] (with J. Čapo) Zagreb-Ljubljana 2011

Etnologija bliskoga. Poetika i politika suvremenih terenskih istraživanja [Ethnology of the Proximate: The Poetics and Politics of Contemporary Fieldwork] (with J. Čapo Žmegač and G.P. Šantek) Zagreb 2006

Articles (selection):

2020 “’Dvije osobe ulaze za umjetničko oslikavanje’. Etnografija zatvora kao mjesta umjetnosti” (with N. Škrbić Alempijević, S. Potkonjak), Život umjetnosti vol. 106, pp. 138-164.

2018 “City-making through urban gardening: public space and civic engagement in Zagreb” (with T. Rubić), Narodna umjetnost vol. 55/1, pp. 159-179.

2017 “Les événements publics dans l’ethnologie croate: des coutumes rurales aux manifestations urbaines (with J. Čapo), in L’inventaire des fêtes en Europe, L.S. Fournier, ed., Paris: L’Harmattan, 89-112.

2017 “Green space in socialist and post-socialist Zagreb”, in: Green Landscapes in the European City 1650-2010, P. Clark, M. Niemi, C. Nolin eds., London – New York: Routledge, pp. 105-119.

2017 “Ethnological and cultural anthropological approaches to the city: framework of the Zagreb city-making project”, Slovak Ethnology vol. 2, pp. 203-221.

2017 “Grounding Contemporary Croatian Cultural Anthropology in Its Own Ethnology (with J. Čapo), in: European Anthropologies, A. Barrera-Gonzales, M. Heintz, A. Horolets, eds., New York – Oxford: Berghahn Books, 230-249

2016″ “City-making and Performance: Artistic Interventions in Zagreb Public Spaces (with N. Škrbić Alempijević), in: Mjesto izvedbe i stvaranje grada, V. Gulin Zrnić, N. Škrbić Alempijević and J. Zanki eds., Zagreb: Hrvatsko društvo likovnih umjetnika – Institut za etnologiju i folkloristiku, pp. 185-200

2014 “Croatian Ethnology as Cultural Anthropology at Home (with J. Čapo), Ethnologia Balkanica no.17, pp. 49-62.

2013 “‘Il n’y a pas d’alternative‘. Zagreb et les changements urbains au tournant du siècle, Ethnologie française vol. 43/2, pp. 201-215.


University teaching (titular associate professor):

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, MA studies (Urban Anthropology) 2020/21 –

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Doctoral studies 2009 – current

University of Zagreb, Croatian Studies, Department of Sociology 2009 – 2018

University of Dubrovnik, Department of Restauration and Conservation 2009 – 2010

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Department of Anthropology 2005 – 2013

Public presentations (selection):

„Back to the Future: What Kind of Urban Visions Shape the City of Zagreb“, Post-Socialist City in a Social and Cultural Perspective, University of Warsaw (online), 7-8 June 2021

 “The Youth momentum: Actions for the Futures” (with S. Poljak Istenič), IUAES Inter-Congress 2020 Coming of Age on Earth: Legacies and Next Generation Anthropology (online), 9-14 March 2021.

„Urban gardens: politics of space and community building“, invited lecture (with T. Rubić), 8th LE:NOTRE Landscape Forum on-line lectures, 3 April 2019

„Zagreb city-making: civil initiatives and sustainable development“ (with T. Rubić), international conference Post-socialist transformation of the city, Novi Sad, 12-13 November 2019

“Performance, protest, procession, and festivals: Single space, multiple publics”, international conference City-making: space, culture and identity, Zagreb, 17-18 May 2018

„Contemporary Resemantization of Public Spaces in Zagreb“, invited lecture, Human space and ideology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Vienna, 12-13 December 2017

“Urban gardening in Zagreb through the prism of community, governance and sustainability” (invited presentation), Spaces and Places in Transition: Urban and Rural Transformations in Central and Eastern Europe, SIEF research group Place-lore and Space-lore, Prague, 7-9 November 2018

“Affective urbanism of Zagreb: chasing recent urban changes”, 9th InASEA Congress Emotions, Senses and Affects in the Context of Southeast Europe, Zadar, 27-29 September 2018

“Approaches to urban culture studies” (plenary lecture), Ethnology in the 3rd Millenium: Topics, Methods, Challenges, Institute of Ethnology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Smolenice, 19-21 October 2016

“The Heterotopia of Urban Wilderness”, Reinterpreting Cities, XIII International Conference on Urban History, European Association for Urban History, Helsinki, 24-27 August 2016

Place-Identity of Novi Zagreb” (invited presentation) Oxford Brookes University, Oxford 17 March 2016

Green Spaces in Socialist and Post-socialist Zagreb” (invited presentation), University of Leicester, Center for Urban History, Leicester 10 March 2016

“The politics of public spaces: planning and decision-making in Zagreb”, Transforming Cities, Transformative Cities, European Urban Research Association, Sibiu, 17-20 September 2015

“’Praznine’ Novog Zagreba: sukob modernističkog urbanističkog nasljeđa i suvremenih prostornih praksi” [The voids of Novi Zagreb: the clash of modernist planning legacy and contemporary spatial practices], international conference Cultural Heritage – Possibilities For Spatial And Economic Development, Zagreb, 22-23 October 2015.

Grants and fellowships:

Open Science Foundation 1996-97 (Central European University Budapest, MA study)

Oxford Colleges Hospitality Scheme 2007 (Oxford University, study research)

Croatian Science Foundation 2016 (Oxford Brookes University and University of Leicester, Center for Urban History, research)

Editorial boards/journals/editions:

Nova etnografija (New Ethnography series), Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, member of Editorial board, 2020 –

Etnološka tribina, journal, editor-in-chief 2008-2011; member of the Editorial board 2012 – 2017 (in 2016 Special Award by Croatian Ethnological Association for editor work in the academic journal Etnološka tribina and for contributing to domestic and international visibility of Croatian ethnology)

Jesenski & Turk Publishers, Anthropology and Ethnology Series editor 2000-2010

Narodna umjetnost, Academic journal of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, editorial secretary 1997-1999

Ethnologie française – thematic issue: Croatie, Hybridations et résistances, Vol. 43, 2013/2 (with J. Čapo)

Etnološka tribina – thematic issue: Ethnographies of Urban Public Spaces, no. 39/2016 (with T. Rubić)

Low, S. (ed.) Promišljanje grada: studije iz nove urbane antropologije [Theorizing the City: The New Urban Anthropology Reader] Zagreb, 2006 (Croatian translation and edition editor)

Membership in professional organizations: Croatian Ethnological Society (HED), Société Internationale d´Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF), International Association for Southeast European Anthropology (InASEA), European Association for Urban History (EAUH)

Professional service: member of the Research Council of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research (2017 – ; member of the Governing Board of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research (2021 – ); president of the Research Council of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research (2019-2021); member of expert peer review group for the Public Space Research Database Project at the Centre for the Future of Places (Stockholm) (2019); member of the Governing Board of Croatian Ethnological Society (2015-2019); member of working group on professional standards in ethnology and cultural anthropology education in Croatia (2015-2016); member of working group for Code of Ethics of Croatian Ethnological Society (2012-2013)

Collaboration with civil associations, schools, artistic projects: research-artistic projects with Croatian Society of Fine Artists – “City-making and the place of performance” (2016) and “Aesthetization and rehumanization of public space” (2017); “Urban Wilderness” collaborative research-artistic project with the artist Tonka Maleković (2014-2015); “Eurokaz” Festival production (2013-2014); “Garden Circles” – cooperation with the visual artist Tonka Maleković (2013); “Neighbourhood Museum”, collaboration with Kontraakcija, Association of young museologists (2009-2010); Association for interdisciplinary and intercultural research (2010); “My neighbourhood”, collaboration in an education project of secondary school (XV gimnazija) etc.