© 2007 Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship, Nätverkstan. All Rights Reserved.
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Welcome citizens of the world!
Coming from Nätverkstan, Gothenburg Sweden, I’m one of 100 000 people from all over the world attending the 9th World Social Forum. This time it is held in Belém, Amazonia Brazil. Opposed to the World Economic Forum in Davos this is a meeting place for Civil Society Organisations, activists, scholars, networks and other people interested in making “another world possible”. The Forum aims to be a space for alliances and platforms for action, discussion and new perspectives.
The official opening took place on January 27th with a march through the city. During six days some 2000 self-managed activities (seminars, workshops, cultural activities) are taking place. The topics span from democracy, Human Rights, climate changes, our natural resources…
This year the WSF enlarges its territory. Local social forum events express their participation in Mexico, Kongo, Pakistan, Sweden (Malmö), Palestine, France, Sudan, to mention some of them. This Belém expanded has been prepared through the social networking website of the WSF.
Nätverkstan has been following this process since 2003, participating in both the global and the regional (European Social Forum) forums. It’s difficult to grasp but it’s definitely one of the most interesting events in the 21st century. A grassroots initiative that indicates a global civil society. What will come out of it? I think it’s too early to evaluate.
Written by Karin Dalborg, Manager of Kulturverkstan, the Project Management Training Programme at Nätverkstan.
Joan Pedragosa, from ITD in Barcelona, starts his presentation with a rethoric question. ”Who is this?” he says showing a photo projected on the wall of the Swedish EU Commissioner, and Vice-President at the Commission, Margot Wallström. Silence in the audience. No-one knows. ”Well, she said”, he continues, ”in our paper the other day that working in EU is not sexy”. And he looks out on the audience…”so, if EU is not sexy, what do they think the European year of creativity and innovation will be?”.
Many angles of the topic creativity and innovation were presented at the seminar at Universitat de Barcelona on January 26, as, probably, one of the first (of several we can guess) seminars on the topic of the European year. In a mixture of speakers of researchers and practioners, attempts to define the words creativity and innovation specifically for culture was put forward, together with practical examples from ITD, Goldsmiths University, Talent Factory, European Institute of the Meditteranean (IEMed) and several others. Perhaps the most striking presentation was held by Milena Dragecivic-Sesic, head of University of Arts in Belgrade, when she came down to two processes that would enable creativity and forcefully declared that firstly: We need an interdisciplinary approach and encounters within all different areas to succeed, and secondly: Integrate the margins! There is no curiosity. We are telling others to adopt our way of living, this will not work. We have to reinvent Europe where knowledge should not be exported one way, it has to be both ways. And she knows, living in a country that is not yet part of the EU.
Nätverkstan held an intervention at the seminar, download a short version here: seminar/barcelona0901261.pdf. Nätverkstan also met students at the University studying to become project managers. The presentation can be downloaded here:pres/universitatbarcelona.pdf .
The programme of the seminar.seminar/creativity090126.pdf.
Los Angeles, Venice Beach, Summer 2008
P.Nosa wants to push limits of his ambition; to try something useful and new, to make functional Art. So he started using a sewing machine to draw Art on shirts and patches. “It’s the machine that makes the Art,” he says, sitting working under a parasol on the Venice Beach boardwalk. ”It made sense”, he tells us, ”to embroider an image into the fabric.” The images won’t fade or peel. You can put his mini-canvases on shirts, handbags, or hang them on the wall as a piece of Art. The drawings are imaginative characters, faces, animals, landscapes, and Abstract figures sewn on fabric. The sewing machine is powered by a solar panel or a bicycle electric generator. “I want to be able to sew anytime anywhere,” he says, showing us how it works. The fabric he uses is all second hand; an alternative and environmental friendly piece of art.
At HUMLab in Umeå situated in Northern parts of Sweden, another embroidery project is going on. It’s a series of workshops where artists, computor programmers and people interested in embroidery can meet and discuss creative processes and things like the relation between traditional embroidery and computor programming; The Open Source Embroidery Fika.
Artists (in the wide meaning of the word) have lower income compared to the Swedish population as a whole. Half of all artists in Sweden have a monthly income lower than 1400 euro (15.000 SEK). The Swedish Arts Grants Committee recently published one of the most extensive surveys done on the income level for artists. The study, done by Statistics Sweden on behalf of The Swedish Arts Grants Committee, concerns the income year of 2004 and 2005 and comprises 21.500 artists. The study gives several interesting facts. One is that compared to the level of education in other occupations, artists in general earn 9200 euro (100.000 SEK) less per year. This also concerns artists with higher education. No matter artistic field; actor, author, dancer, musician, composer, filmmaker, photographer, visual artist, or handicraft artist the figures are the same. The study also showed that 44% had their own business, compared to 10% of the rest of the population.
The National Endowment for the Arts in USA published a study of the situation for artists across the US last summer. The figures showed were very similar. The artists were highly educated, but had low income compared to the population with equal education. Another fact showed was that many artists are self-employed and less likely than others in the workforce to have a fulltime job.
Göran Dahlberg, editor of the cultural journal Glänta, gives his perspective on topics widely discussed in Europe today. How do you keep high quality in your work in long-term perspectives? How do creative industries and artistic practice combine – or do they at all?
What inspires you?
The possibility of putting things together in other ways than they usually are. Encouraging writers and artists to work with issues that inspires them. Inspiring inspiration. And in that way produce momentarily new connections between issues and between people.
What do Glänta do to keep high quality and creativity over the fifteen years it has existed?
We are continuously working with different kinds of journal concepts: focus based, conceptually generated, and plain mixes. So we change the way we work and think continuosly, not only by changing the approach to different issues of the journal, but also by arranging seminars and parties, publishing books and works that mould public opinion. Everyone involved in all these activities is also working with other things at the same time. And we all enjoy each others company.
In what ways do the talks of creative industries affect artistic practice in positive and negative ways?
I do not think that creative industries is a relevant term. Which are the creative and the non-creative industries? Are we talking about industries as such, or the people involved? By calling your organization a creative industry you are probably trying to convince someone that what you are doing is good for society, that you are creating something. I suppose all industries are trying to be creative in order to invent new products and make profit. Those who succeed are apparently creative, like for instance the arms industry.
The postive aspects of introducing this term, creative industries, is that it widens the perspective (even though it, as mentioned earlier, might be too wide) and makes the too respectful use of the term ”Culture” less frequent.
How do artistic integrity and entrepreneurship combine, do you think?
Calling yourself and your fellow cultural workers entrepreneurs is another way of trying to get respect for what you are doing from the more powerful sectors of society. And it might work, and might not. I am sceptical. In any case the risks are high that the economical, numerical, measurements will be the only ones left.
Earlier contributions on this website of Glänta is”Humoristic Glänta” and ”Culture sponsor businesses”.
In November 2005 Ahmed, a twelve year old palestinian boy, was shot by an Israeli snyper. He was driven to the hospital in Haifa, in coma, where he later on died. His parents decided to donate his organs, and his heart was given to a twelve year old Israeli girl. ”We are sending a message to the world that we love peace”, the parents of Ahmed says. Twelve of Ahmeds organs were donated, to be used for any one in need of new ones, no matter if the reciever was jewish, muslim, or a christian. Samah, who got Ahmeds heart, is living in health and happiness. A young girl from Israel with a palestinian heart. For anyone having children, it wouldn’t matter whose organ you get or to whom you would donate. In the conflict between Israel and Palestine, it becomes a political act.
Cecilia Parsberg, is a Swedish visual artist who has been working with documentary film projects for a long time. She has done projects in the town ships in South Africa, has taught at Art Schools and done several projects with political and social aim. The film ”A heart of Jenin” is, she describes, a way to show that ordinary people has the power to connect to each other, and do so all the time over boarders of religious beliefs, nations, gender and ethnic background. The two families in the film show that ordinary people want something else than terrorist attacks and war.
Climate, health and innovation are leading words for research in Norway 2009. The Research Council of Norway says to the Norwegian daily Dagbladet that more money should be spent on research due to the financial crises. We need an answer to the question: What are we going to live of in the future? Traditional areas of research, or where Norway has been in forefront, is in maritime areas like ocean, lakes, fishing, shipping. And within oil- and gastechnology.
The Norwegian State and business world has together set up the aim of letting 3% of GDP go to research, although so far this has not been reach. Around 1,6% were, according to Dagbladet, spent on research last year. The governement has promised more money this year and a raise of research funds with 1,6 billion Norwegian kroner is expected this spring.
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