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Should every artist, dancer, musician, festival manager, poet and writer become entrepreneurs? What is the position of art? Will subsidies to art be taken away? Goodbye to fine arts and the artistic work that can’t survive on the market. Many cultural organisations and institutions, journalists and artists in Sweden discuss the issue these days, among them the Swedish Union for Theatre, Artists and Media, who recently published a book on their views on cultural policy. Igniting the discussion is the work of The Committee of Inquiry on Cultural Policy that has the assignment to overlook and change the Swedish Cultural Policy, a work that during this year has been followed by problems and is being questioned for different reasons; one is for having an unclear distinction in what is art policy and what is cultural policy.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sports in UK, presented in 2007 a model that might be helpful in these discussions. The model explains the economic relation between art, creative industries and the rest of the economy. It’s a fairly simple model, but useful in understanding why subsidies to art is necessary and effects the rest of the economy. The base, the core creative fields, is the poets, musicians, artists, dancers and choreographers; the producers of art that need public funding to get paid time to do their artistic work. Without them there will be no cultural industry. It’s only if you have the core, that publishers have anything to publish, or museums has anything to show. And without a cultural industry, there will be no creative industries. A publisher needs a bookstore to sell her books. This has a value for the rest of the economy, since for instance manufacturing and service sector benefit from the expressive outputs done by artists.
If values like ”Art for Art’s sake” feels a bit dusty and not enough as argument these days, perhaps this model can be of help.
To see the model above in bigger size, double-click on it. Download the UK’s ”Staying ahead: the economic performance of the UK’s creative industries”. The study and report was done by the Work Foundation in UK.
The Belgian group of artists called Berlin has done a beautiful portrait of the small city of Bonanza in Colorado, USA. The former prosperous gold city in the mountains is now a sleepy town of seven year-round inhabitants. Five projectors, one for each of the inhabitants, show an hour of interviews and clips from everyday life. It goes slowly from the ideal place for the soul to intrigues between each and everyone. And they have hardly ever spoken to each other.
The performance is beautifully done, with the projectors and the small model of the city. The dramaturgy is clever and the result is a portrait of the city and it’s people from different angles and with only the voices from the inhabitants. It shows the possibility of the artistic competence of trusting the process rather than the goal. To arrange the process in such a way, that when putting the pieces together you put light on something bigger, not otherwise visible. In today’s discussion of the creative cities, transformation, urban challenges and intercultural dialogue, this artistic competency is both very important in understanding society and can be used as a tool for change.
A constant question for most organisations, no matter size, years in business or field of work, is how you keep an organisation vivid and with high ambitions still after years in business? How do you keep it creative and challenging? It’s a true question also for a creative organisation. How do you stimulate creativity? How do you keep challenging yourself? And how do you combine careful planning and longterm strategies with flexibility and shortterm projects? A difficulty that is true for most cultural organisations.
At Nätverkstan these questions are constantly discussed and reflected, and will be also this year as we start after summer vacation.
Read more about Nätverkstan in natverkstan.pdf.
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