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Christiana Botic


My name is Christiana Botic and I am a documentary photographer and filmmaker as well as a 2016-2017 Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow. I will be spending 9 months in Serbia and Croatia exploring the complex relationship between geography and identity in the region through still and moving images. This project was born out of my desire to understand the place where my father emigrated from, as well as my family's history of migration throughout former-Yugoslavia. It has grown into a more expansive look at how the movement of peoples impacts the modern cultural landscapes of this region. Before beginning this adventure, I was working as a freelance filmmaker, photographer, and writer (in addition to a handful of ever-humbling jobs) in New Orleans. Follow along @christianabotic on Instagram.

Asylum Seekers Face Uncertainty in Croatia

Croatia has one of the lowest acceptance rates for asylum seekers in the EU, leading many refugees to fear the system that is meant to protect them.

South Serbia’s Youth Look to a Future That Blurs Ethnic Division

In a Southern Serbian town known for its ethnic tensions, five teenage girls find common ground across the divide.

Chasing Away Winter with Slovenia’s Mythical Kurenti

Once a year, in Slovenia’s quiet northeastern corner, a rambunctious figure is invited to roam the streets and disrupt the peace. The Kurent, an unruly God from Slavic folklore, is the centerpiece of Slovenia’s carnival celebration before Ash Wednesday. This strange character has been reimagined through time, but continues to delight locals and tourists across the country each February.

Older Slovaks Hold On to Fading Traditions in Serbia

For centuries, Slovaks in Vojvodina have proudly preserved their language and culture, handing them down across the generations. But things are shifting among the region’s young people. Could 81-year-old Marka Kukučka belong to the last identifiably-Slovak generation in Serbia?

Vanishing Act: The Disappearance of Refugee Aid in Belgrade

Of the 6,400 migrants currently in Serbia, over 1,000 are homeless. As winter arrives to the country’s capital, refugee aid is quietly removed from public spaces and these vulnerable migrants must find new ways to survive…

At a Serbian Salaš, Tradition is Always On The Menu

Most tourists visiting Serbia, if they manage to make it out of Belgrade at all, will likely only see a handful of the country’s other popular cities. Most tourists are missing out. For travelers seeking an experience away from the city lights, Vojvodina’s many salaš destinations offer a quiet escape, and hearty meals, amidst rich…

What’s in a Name? An Exploration of Identity in Serbia and Croatia

There I was: thousands of miles from home, with a total of zero English-speaking relatives, trying to connect with the place where my family originated from… only to find out that I wasn’t even in the right country!

Of course, to anyone familiar with the Balkans, and especially former-Yugoslavia, this story is a common one. Identifying as Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, or Montenegrin may actually have nothing to do with where you grew up. Or where your parents grew up. Or where your grandparents came from originally.