© 2007 Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship, Nätverkstan. All Rights Reserved.
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Do you have a hard time following how in the world we ended up in the financial crisis? Here is the animated film that describes it: ”The Crisis of Credit Visualized – Part 1.
Today Nätverkstan stock and distribute cultural journals. In recent years we have also received inquiries by a number of publishers to be able to offer this service also to books as well as journals. After some research we came in contact with Chris Anderson’s book ”The long tail”. Book distribution today, in Sweden and elsewhere, is based on the assumption that dealers sell many copies of a book, the hits, while the smaller publishers’ titles are difficult to find. Stocks are expensive; it is costly to be included in the large networks of book distribution, affecting the availability of the more uncommon titles. The same applies to old issues of journals that have long timelines and worth reading years later. The long tail is based on the economy in even small and odd titles if you find new solutions for these to be distributed. Nätverkstan wrote an application to the Framtidens kultur foundation gratifying enough granted. Now the project is on the run with Olav Fumarola Unsgaard as projectmanager. Operations are planned to become an integral part of Nätek whith mainly Camilla Anemyr and Karin Lundgren working on the project. To our help, we also have David Karlsson.
In the spring we will offer journals a model and a specification for how they should do to be sold on internet bookstores. There have been a number of practical and procedural obstacles in the way of this but we hope that all will soon be allayed. In the spring we will also build a system and a warehouse where the publishers are to be included. The activities that we intend to build will be focused on internet bookstores requirements of speed and good logistics. This ensures that we unfortunately see a development where most narrow titles not even enter the large booksellers. We also intend to work up a partnership with one of the main print on demand providers to offer both physical and digital storage.
This activity is against the micro, small and medium-sized publishers and cultural journals. Please contact olav.unsgaard @ natverkstan.net to learn more about the project.
Written by Olav Fumarola Unsgaard
Three artists were asked by the daily of south Sweden, Sydsvenska Dagbladet, to write about their lives as entrepreneurs.
Ida Börjel is a Swedish poet. She reflects on the word ”entrepreneur”, looks in the Encyclopaedia and searches for combinations of Entrepreneur + Art on Internet and gets 176.000 hits. She learns that the word in origin, is a military war term used in the Middle Ages. Doesn’t feel very relevant went you work as an Artist. She finds the German word ”Unternehmer” and Danish word ”Iværksætter” better to use.
Birgitta Westling is a Visual Artist and when she writes about her life as an entrepreneur she starts with: ”When I hear the word entrepreneur, I unsafe my revolver”. She gives two reasons. Firstly almost all Artists are already in practice entrepreneurs. It’s always the Artist, who on her own runs around to find money to pay for the Art. Secondly, the word is from another world, or field, like economy, marketing or funerals and undertakers. Why would this suddenly be relevant for an Artist?
Anders Carlsson is Artistic Director of Institutet (The Institute) in Malmö. His main concern is the one that culture, when discussed at present, only seem to concern the way it’s useful for other things. Entrepreneurship is either expected to generate new products and markets within creative industries, or it’s useful for education, integration or pedagogies. For him Art is a space in society where those things that otherwise don’t fit in have a place guaranteed. Art rather stays with the problem, than try to solve it.
Marie-Louise Ekman, Artist and new Director of Dramaten (Royal Theatre) in Stockholm reflected in an interview in the paper Dagens Industri a few weeks ago, on issues in relation to her very new job at Dramaten. On the topic of resources within the Artistic field, she reasoned that it’s a necessity to be economical with these:
”In Art you need to be economical with resources. Not the economic, but Artistic ones”
How often is something invented that did not yet exist? And isn’t using something existing, adding or withdrawing your own ideas to it, the most common way to find new ways? The famous, and controversial, Spanish Artist Pablo Picasso thought of this when he did a series of analysis of another Spanish Artist; the 17th century Diego Velázquez and his ”Las Meninas”. Starting of the project he said (1952):
”If anyone someone set out to copy Las Meninas, in all good faith, let’s say, when getting to a certain point, and if the person doing the copying were me, I would say to myself: how would it be if I put this one a little to the right or the left? I would try to do it in my way, forgetting Velázquez. The attempt would lead me, certainly, to modify the light or change it, because of having moved a figure around. So, little by little, I would paint my Meninas which would appear detestable to the professional copyist; they wouldn’t be the ones he would believe he had seen in Velázquez canvas, but they would be ”my” Meninas…”
The quote above is part of the exhibition at Museu Picasso in Barcelona. In the part where his fifty-eight Meninas are shown, they start this section by showing Velázquez’s painting and on a layer in front of it, project Picasso’s artworks. In a pedagogic way you see how he added his own artistry and created something new.
The first meeting of the Encatc working group ”Entrepreneurship and Education in Cultural Life” was in held in Barcelona last week as a continuation of the seminar held by University of Barcelona on creativity and innovation.
Many things were discussed at the meeting. How can educators enable creativity in education? If we are to be more innovative, educations and educators need to be more open towards risk taking and failing, and how can this be taught in the class-room? To fail is part of innovation processes, how can we create a more open attitude towards this? Students are using education as a commodity they buy, becoming more customers than students. How can patience towards the not-planned discussions increase? To work in the cultural field you need all this; risk taking, ability to work in flexible and constant changing environment – how can education be formed to support this?
Cooperation and Silicon Valley. In Umeå, a city of almost 113,000 inhabitants in Northern parts of Sweden, they have managed with something that many found difficult. Creating different spaces that together form an intrinsic net of taking initiatives from idea to project or business plans. The different spaces and organisations cooperate and support each other, creating a spirit of possibilities.
Krenova is a continuation of a project started several years ago, with the aim to find solutions for those that no one else worked with: the cultural entrepreneurs. Many artists run their own businesses. A structure, like the classic incubators you find in the business field, should be helpful also for artists. But one that is designed to meet the specific conditions in the artistic field. This was the idea when Arciv, the first project started, which now is continued in Krenova. Connected with this is finding new markets for cultural competence. Krenova has fifteen places in the incubator. The programme includes training in entrepreneurship, seminars, working spaces and seedmoney for development of business ideas. It’s owned by the county council in Västerbotten.
At the University of Umeå, an Art Campus is being formed, where the School of Design, School of Architect, School of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art (BildMuseet) are being gathered in a new space in town. The idea is to locate education, research, artistic development, incubators and the interactive milieu HUMlab in the same area to get two things: Academic education situated together with open areas accessible to the public.
”A meeting place that doesn’t need much organising”, is how Patrik Svensson, Manager of HUMlab, describes the space he is running. It’s part of the University and a form of laboratory for ideas and activities within humanities, culture, and information technology. ”The slow dialogue” is another of the well-formulated things he says on our visit.
Uminova Innovation is commercialising mainly medical research to business ideas. In 2007 135 ideas came in, 31 of these started as businesses. The typical idea becomes a product, but also services are formed. At Uminova Innovation, the business development includes coaches, incubator spaces, networking and seminars. They can also offer investment capital and risk money.
On the tour in Umeå two things become evident. Cooperation between the different spaces opens possibilities and strengthens the creative field. Many of the initiators and managers of organisations have been in Silicon Valley to get inspired.
On this blog we describe a little bit of the Silicon Valley attitude that has inspired many. We describe our visit to IDEO, reading about Barack Obama’s campaign organisation, and the visit at Pixar Animation Studios. An incubator in San Francisco within art and culture is Intersection Incubator. We also wrote about an embroidery project at HUMlab together with the american artist P Nosa doing a similar idea. Read about it here.
”We are living in a more globalized world, whether we like it or not”. With those words introduced Professor Jan Aart Scholte a seminar on Building Global Democracy. He continued: “The world also tends to be governed more global. Global problems need global response. But how?” As one of a group of academics, practitioners and policy makers, he has created a network called the Building Global Democracy Programme (BGD). Their aim is to give a clearer picture of the concept of Global Democracy, put it on the agenda, raise the consciousness about it, give publicity to different initiatives and hopefully formulate some proposals of what to do to create a more democratic world.
It is not an easy task. Finding new solutions to old problems. Even this small seminar demonstrates the difficulties. We are around 30 people in the room. The facilitator asks us to put questions to the panel as an input to the discussion? We are also asked to present ourselves by name and nationality, as if each and every one of us could represent her or his country. This is only one example of how old structures and perceptions are being reproduced.
However, the initiative is very interesting and worth looking into: www.buildingglobaldemocracy.org
Yesterday evening we witnessed a historic event in a huge exhibition hall in the outskirts of Belém. Tens of thousands of enthusiastic delegates to the World Social Forum greeted Brazilian president Lula as he entered the stage together with four presidential colleagues from the South American Continent, among them Venezuela´s controversial leader, Hugo Chávez. The meeting can be interpreted as one of the outcomes of the Forum process: civil society in Latin America has managed to get their candidates elected president.
Written by Karin Dalborg, Manager of Kulturverkstan, the Project Management Training Programme at Nätverkstan.
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