Archive for oktober, 2008

Bangalore, India. Day 3.

Overlapping of disciplines in education, artistic work and organisations, is put forward by many we meet. At Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, they combine disciplines to learn new things. The focus is shrishti-skylt.jpginterior.jpgshrishti-gruppbild.jpgpostit_srishti.jpglong-term, to build relations and prepare students for long-term sustainable work in India. They believe in combining two strands in their training programmes: reality, and a theoretical framework that give students tools to analyse and reflect on what they meet. Srishti has a strong connection between sectors like art, design, philosophy, business. Behind their success lies an attitude of being ”uncompromisingly idealistic”.

We get the chance to meet Mr B.R Jayaramaraje Urs, Special Commissioner for Information and Cultural Affairs at the Karnataka level, and discuss the role of culture. At cultural policy level, we understand that issues like cultural heritage, identity and cultural mapping are put forward. But Karnataka also fight with challenges such as rural development and the regional inbalance in the State. In Karnataka around 70% live on agriculture, but in strict economic terms of labour requirement, only 20% of human resources is required for output.

Changes are fast and uncompromising, something very true here in India. The IT-sector is one of the fastest growing, Bangalore is often compared to Silicon Valley in San Francisco. And hopes are that it will also signify to Karnataka area, what Silicon Valley has ment to California. Urbanisation is fast, one figure presented is one person a second moving into Bangalore. Farmers have had difficulties in adjusting to these changes. Since a few years back, the suicidal rate among farmers have been growing rapidly. On a comparison between 2000 and 2008 you see a decline, but it’s still significant and far too many. Around 70%, we are told, live on agriculture, a sector that has dealt with a great deal of problems like changing weather, fertilizers that disrupt the traditional circle and methods of sowing, and now also a global economic slow-down which is likely to press prices of cotton and other farm and plantation products. The state has been slow in facing these problems, and for many farmers families are disrupted, survival get more difficult and initiatives to train farmers for other types of jobs has not been fallen out well. In The Hindu (Oct, 30) you can read that farmers are also put under ”undue pressure” by moneylenders and banks that forces them to commit suicide. Private moneylenders have grown four-fold during the past decade.

The Silicon Valley attitude was described to us on our visit to San Fransisco in June 2008. IDEO, a design firm placed in Silicon Valley describes the impact. Read about it here and here.

To read about the art scene in Bangalore, you can look at Time Out Bengaluru. Language is an issue in India, a number told to us is around 300 languages spoken, something that poses challenges on for instant the educational system. An article on the subject written by freelance journalist Margot Cohen can be found here.

For those who read Swedish, get your hands on the book ”Mahatma!” written by Swedish author Zac O’Yeah , since 15 years living in Bangalore. It’s a great description of Gandhis life and accomplishment and an introduction to India.

The delegation to Bangalore is part of the newly formed exchange of knowledge and experience between the Swedish Region Västra Götaland and Karnataka.

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30 oktober, 2008

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Bangalore, India. Day 2.

Contradictions. It’s the word mostly used to describe India to us. Contradictions, complexity and fast transition. To work in such a context you need to be flexible, an article in the daily newspaper The Hindu (Oct, 29) states. To be successful in your career you need among a number things; to step out of your comfort zone, build an open-minded and proactive attitude, always look to experiment with new work and be willing to take risks. For the curios reader, Nätverkstan did a study on the topic of leadship within cultural life in Sweden, where these competencies were found as important for future leaders (in Swedish: ledarskap.pdf). The study was done in 2007, in cooperation with the Cultural Leadership Award, set up by the British organisation Nesta. The experience from the Award states that a new type of leadership training is needed to meet changes and new demand – such as flexibility, risktaking, international outlook, resourcefulness and reflection.

”The beauty of collaboration is that it’s not about rationalising. You don’t have to speak so much, just do it”. Artistic Director of Attakkalari, Jayachandran Palazhy, meet us at his office, after giving us a glimpse of their attakkalari.jpgattakkalari2.jpgnew production, a work-in-progress. The dance company mixes research, dance, theatre, music, digitalisation, philosophy, to find new expressions in performing arts. As he says: ”New thinking is the key in this new paradigm shift”.

30 oktober, 2008

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Bangalore, India. Day 1.

”Life is more than shopping!”. We zick-zack the streets of Bangalore in a rickshaw to go back to the hotel and try, like a number of times today, to explain to the driver that we are notylva.jpgmatare.jpgspeglar.jpg interested in going shopping. Every driver knows where the best shopping is, something usually coinciding with where they have friends, and they try to drive us there. Business is made in every corner in this around 10 million-people city. The Silicon Valley of India, as many call it, is full of contradictions.

”One billion people have two billion opinions!”, they tell us at Suchitra Cinema and Cultural Academy. ”it’s not possible to agree”, they say with a laugh, ”There are contradictions everywhere. Just look outside”. Suchitra Cinema and Cultural Academy run a filmfestival with films from all over the world, show around 100 screenings a year, have filmpolitical discussions, workshops and, together with this, teach languages.

The film industry in India is, as they put it, a ”Masala industry”. The large Bollywood productions has taken over, which makes it hard for smaller films to get distributed and recognised as an important part of the industry. Together with a lack of strong film policy and also of theoretical framework, analysis and film critics, the alternative filmmaking struggle with difficulties. A start would be to arrange training and education that is not only very practical as today, but also teaches a theoretical framework to give coming filmmakers, producers and editors tools for analysis and context.

We are introduced to the three ways of cooporation you need: 1) internal cooperation within your organisation, 2) corporate and public cooperation (you will need to balance between both these, specifically in the India context), and 3) cooperation on a local and international level.

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28 oktober, 2008

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Intercultural Dialogue?

”It’s a total failure! We have hundreds of policy papers, but has anything changed?”. One of the participants of the round table burst out in frustration. After four days on the Encatc Conference in Lyon (France) on the topic ”Intercultural dialogue and project management”, listening to professors, directors, general secretaries, presidents, coordinators on different European levels, you wonder.

78 million Europeans live in poverty, the Belgian newspaper Le Soir shows in an article just a day after the conference. 78 millions. It’s equivalent to 16% of the European population.  At the same time as educators from Europe gathered in Lyon to discuss intercultural dialogue, ministers gathered in Marseille to take up the fight on poverty and social exclusion in Europe. Policy papers are written, at the same time as people in Europe, many of them immigrants, struggle to find a job and to live above the poverty line. People are still killed in Europe today on the basis of the colour of their skin, religious belief or for putting forward controversial opinions. So what is missing? There is not a lack of initiatives. Non-profit organisations, artists and cultural entrepreneurs start new projects all the time to address and put light on societal challenges and difficulties. On a small-scale grassroot level these initatives struggle in an unpredictable funding system, where the policies written seem to miss their purposes.

Intercultural dialogue. What in the world does it mean? A quick look in the Encyclopaedia suggests that ”intercultural” consider the processes where people with different languages and cultures communicate with and influence each other. ”Dialogue” is said, in the same dictionary, to be a conversation between two or several persons. The dialogue, the same source suggests, gives excellent opportunity to let the participants characterize themselves, in opinions, judgements and ways of expression. What happens when you put these two words together? Do the meaning get stronger when putting two words of communication next to each other? Or do they simply take out each other, so the meaning gets pointless?

In Lyon we were presented to two projects that in interesting ways try to reach people, communicate and experiment with new forms of expressions: Image-aiguë and the Lyon Opera project Kaléidoscope.

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Artists’ situation in USA was described on this website here in June this year.

Two Swedish books (in Swedish) with a critical perspective on how the question of multicultural society has been handled in Sweden is Etnotism by Aleksander Muttori at Bwana Club, and Befria oss från mångkulturalism edited by Rasoul Nejadmehr, Sven-Eric Liedman och Dariush Moaven Doust published by Natur & Kultur.

23 oktober, 2008

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Culture sponsor businesses

The cultural field knows what it feels like to be without money. And to have to worry about having a job or not. Spend days working with an ”ordinary” job, to be able to do the artistic work on nights or weekends. Or spending hours looking for money, filling in applications, and perhaps turning to the state for support. The business world have been there with the answers on hand, willing to support with sponsorship and know-how. Now they are in trouble.

After weeks of financial crisis, with the breakdown of the economic system, and rescue-packages from governements in US and Europe (where the states will go in with money to save it all), the cultural journal and publishing house Glänta reaches out a hand to help the business world with know-how and experience. Read their advice (in Swedish) at Glänta’s webpage. As soon as an English translation is there, we will put it on the webpage.

Read also our former contribution on Glänta here.

20 oktober, 2008

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Humoristic Glänta

The new number of the philosophic Journal and publishing house Glänta is a proof of creativity, future-looking and humour in a pleasant combination. The new issue of the journal is a Future Encyklopedia of new words in the Swedish language. What words will be omslag308.jpgneeded in the future? What concepts will be relevant? Over a hundred authors, journalists, artists, researchers, philosophers have contributed to build this future of words. Reading it is a humouristic travel of words used, but still not in use in any encyklopedia, words that don’t exist and made-up words that might be used in the future.

Later on, on this website, we will get answers from the editor Göran Dahlberg on  questions like: What inspires you? What do Glänta do to keep high quality and creativity over the fifteen year it has existed? In what ways do the talks of creative industries affect artistic practice in positive and negative ways? How do artistic integrity and entrepreneurship combine, do you think?

So, more to come! Also get a glimpse of the Swedish literary scen, read the article from Glänta editorial staff on  Literary perspectives: Sweden at Eurozine. And have a look at Glänta on Facebook.

13 oktober, 2008

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Where to, America?

This is the title of a series of articles starting today in the Stockholm based daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter written by the journalist and author Göran Rosenberg. First out is an article of the US boarder to Mexico and the Mexican immigration situation in mainly California, but also rest of the US. It tells about the enormous drama that is performed every day, every hour at the boarder posts, and also the drama of the illegal immigration. The article outlines in an interesting way the complexity of the situation and in the end draws a parallel with the European situation. Boats from Africa overloaded with people tries to get in to a Europe, where barriers towards the outside tends to get higher and higher, and demands for stricter legislation is raised from the inside.

We wrote a small note on this blog on the same issue in July this year. The perspective put forward by Mr McNulty from the American for the Arts is an interesting aspect. According to him immigrants start 40% of new businesses in US. Perhaps supporting this development, together with a variety of incentives to art and culture can be an opening for positive changes?

12 oktober, 2008

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Measuring the creative field

The Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies (in Swedish: Institutet för tillväxtpolitiska studier) put forward the difficulties in measuring and defining areas like the cultural economy and experience industry in the september number of the paper Growth Policy View (Tillväxtpolitisk Utblick). Statistical methods and units are not efficient and need to developed. If policy is to be formed within the creative field, other and better ways of measuring the economic impact of the sector is necessary, they argue.

Download the paper in Swedish: tpu-2008_6-webb.pdf and for English look at their website.

8 oktober, 2008

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The drama of car industry

Car industry in West Sweden is in trouble. Thousands of people risk loosing their jobs in the crisis. Both Saab and Volvo, two of the traditionally strong industries on the West coast, have difficulties. The reason for Volvo is said to be that they haven’t put enough effort into finding new models that are environmentally friendly and competitive on a global market. An interesting reason, and the conclusion easily comes to mind that it must mean ignorance and a lack of initiative at Volvo or Ford. There are research on climate change since several years back, one reason in the climate drama is discharge from cars. Other car manufacturers have been quick in finding models with alternative fuel. So, why have Volvo been so late?

It’s said that one employee within the car industry generate five jobs in other areas of society, could be at day-care centres, advertising agencies, technicians and so forth. In the long run this also affects tax income to the state and region, when private sector is declining there will be less money for universities, hospitals and public day-care. If a thousand people loose their jobs, it means in reality six thousand jobs. The conclusion is that money needs to be invested in Volvo, on research and development, to hold the business on its feet. The state has been quick in their support when it comes to finish building infrastructure, two-lane freeways between Göteborg, Trollhättan and Oslo. The Region of West Sweden just declared that they will go in with 200 million SEK to help save Volvo.

But is it well invested money to keep holding the old industry under its arms, when reports and research show that the economy for the 20th century is changing from large traditional industries to small niche markets? And why not put forward a rescue package that includes investing in other areas such as the creative field, as well as Volvo? The thought of one employed generating five other jobs is also true within other areas, for example the creative sector. The problem in this field is that it consists of very small niche businesses and is an underdeveloped field where the state and regions have not invested enough to let this grow to its full potential. Instead, when the government around a week ago put the budget forward, the traditional cultural, and Stockholm based, institutions are the winners; the Opera, Dramaten, cultural heritage. Very little was put into new and forwardlooking ideas, development of the artistic field or cultural businesses.

Read articles of the car industry in West Sweden (Swedish) in Göteborgs-Posten. The state budget for 2009 is found at the website of The Swedish Government.

3 oktober, 2008

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Authors

Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

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