Creating spaces in Umeå

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.

5 Responses to “Creating spaces in Umeå”

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

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

On this blog we would like to explore entrepreneurship from a cultural and social point of view. Or rather put forward entrepreneurial initiatives within these two fields.




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