Barbara Rajgelj, Founder, Head of the Debate and Lectures Programme
Café Open was established in 2008 as a LGBTIQ gathering place in Ljubljana by Barbara Rajgelj and other members of the collective that run the literature, music, social and art programme at this venue. It is gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual friendly but also not exclusive in any regard, the focus is on open approach to diversity. This is the reason that this venue is more than a café, since it is also functioning as a social space for exhibitions, lectures, presentations, literature readings and diverse workshops.
The programme for lectures and debates is run by Barbara Rajgelj, the literature programme by Suzana Tratnik and music programme by Nina Hudej. So far, there have been many collaborations with other representatives or LGBTIQ activists from Slovenia and abroad. It is also a venue where press conferences for the publication Narobe Magazine and other cultural events are held. The literature and art programme includes artists from abroad and Slovenia. The venue serves as an open-minded meeting point, where anything between a poetry reading to a DJ workshop can take place.
The venue's logo, "Open your mind!", emphasises a critical social engagement to the issues of the modern society, especially when it comes to sexual orientation and gender related topics. In 2009 a homophobic attack on the café resulted in a minor injury to gay activist Mitja Blažič and a broken window at the premises. Symbolically, this was a huge attack on the gay rights movement and an attack on the tolerant and open society that Café Open represents. The politicians and a part of civil society reacted immediately and condemned the homophobic violence. Despite its short history, after this unfortunate incident Café Open already symbolises the struggle for tolerance and a venue with diverse contents that are reflected from a critical stand.