Archive for augusti, 2009

Konst & Politik/Art & Politics

How can Artists and politicians have a better dialogue? How could they better understand each others working conditions? If you put Artists and politicians together in a process – what would come out of it? The region Västra Götaland started the project Art & Politics in 2003. It is run by Jörgen Svensson, a Swedish well-known Artist, the delegates are both politicians and Artists.

The group meets around 2-3 times a year to discuss issues like: How can it become better for Artists to work in Västra Götaland? How can the conditions for Artists improve in this region? How can Artistic quality be measured in a structure that only measures quantity? How can the process become more accepted, and not only the Artistic product? Politicians are in lack of arguments for culture – how do you find qualified arguments for culture in a political structure where econimc arguments are in focus? How can it become possible for Artists to work as Artists?

Yesterday the results from the work of the group was presented for the Cultural Committee in Region Västra Götaland and hopefully some of the suggestions, like the one of starting a studio consultancy in West Sweden together with municipalities, property owners and Artists to resolve one big dilemma for Artists; axess to cheap studios for their Artistic work.

Download the presentation here (in Swedish):konstpolitik_090827. Read more here.

28 augusti, 2009

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Kulturverkstan celebrates 10 years!

In 1999 Kulturverkstan, the two year Project Management Training Programme within culture started. The idea was to combine theoretical analysis with practical action plans, academic level with practice in the ”real world”, studies at Lagerhuset together with internships on organizations in cultural – or other – fields in Sweden or elsewhere. Lecturers from academia combined with festival managers, writers, philosophers, project managers, theatre directors, actors, film makers. And to work with students with all artistic expressions, to be cross-cultural. Thirty-five students each year have been accepted to Kulturverkstan after an extensive application process. Around three hundred students have examined and 85% have gotten jobs or started their own business after education. A number we are proud of.

On Saturday we celebrated Kulturverkstan 10 years with a big party and event at Röda Sten, a cultural house and exhibition hall by the channel in Göteborg. The Artist Lisa Nordström started the evening with her piece 7 States of Passion followed by Islandic writer and poet Andri Snær Magnason who talked about is award winning book ”Dreamland – a Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation” (2006) and the situation in Island after the financial crisis. Old students showed what they are working with, speeches, food and lots of dancing to the DJ:s captivating music the whole night long. The new cultural price in Göteborg, in memory of our late colleague Lars Lövheim was inaugurated.

A book on Kulturverkstan 10 years will be available soon (in Swedish)!

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24 augusti, 2009

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The Art of living on Art • Final days Steneby

The summer academy ”The Art of living in Art” has come to an end after three intense workshop days at Stenebyskolan (School of Steneby) in Dalsland. Guest lecturer and workshop facilitator was Sian Prime, among many things MA at Goldsmiths University in UK.

The Artists taking part in the academy have been musicians, composers, visual artist, actresses, who have worked all summer on their action plans. They have in workshops in the beginning of summer visualized their future, looked at their skills, hinders and possibilities, money and meaning, what they put their time on, how to plan your actions differently to achieve what you want and so forth. They have had group meetings with a facilitator during summer, together with individual coaching sessions. And now, in Steneby, the final days of building relations in relationship modelling, working on their offer, discussing the literature they have read, drawing some conclusions. Everything in workshops, open discussions, talks two and two, and individual thinking and writing.

”Don’t stop look around you. Don’t stop caring. Don’t stop listening” is one of Sian Prime’s many interesting thoughts. There are three questions to keep constantly with you when thinking of what you offer as an artist and how this could interest others:

1) Why should I care?

2) Why should I trust you?

3) Why should I believe you?

You need to have your heart (1), guts (2), and head (3) with you when engaging with other professionals. Another thing is not to let money hinder you. You are not the only one not driven by money, Sian Prime explains, so are many others. ”Money is rarely the driver”, she says, you have to find out what drives those you want to work with and engage in building professional relationships. In the long run, this can build new ideas that you can live on, but you have to get started.

”Treat no as a question”, is another point. Always ask what the ”no” means. What does it stand for?

Nätverkstan runs the summer academy in cooperation with Göteborg University, Sian Prime, and the Västra Götaland. The Academy was the first of three summer academies. The experiences will also be put into the new Masters Programme at the University on Art and entrepreneurship that will be developed this year. Read this post on the start of the course.

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21 augusti, 2009

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Textile Cooperative ”Desi”, India

A full feast is going on as we arrive on India’s Independence Day, a day you do celebrate with taking the day off, saluting the Indian flag and having get togethers. August 15 is the day when India got their independence from British rule and became a sovereign state in 1947. Today everyone is dressed up in extra nice clothes, the flag is raised in the small flagpole, and the music is on.

At Desi, located near the village of Heggodu in Karnataka, they color cotton, weave and dye it, making beatiful textiles that are sewn into dresses, shirts, bags, towels and many other useful things. Around two hundred women and twenty men work here with an average salary of around 5-6 dollars a day. The cooperative is placed on a hillside, surrounded by the green jungle, and have several smaller houses together for the different stages of producing textiles; one house for sewing, one for dying the yarn, one for making patterns and drying, one for administration. You feel the Gandhi spirit as we are shown around, and even though we don’t see the spinning wheels you could feel their presence. Wings of history combined with modern times.

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19 augusti, 2009

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Cultural Center and Theatre in Heggodu

In 1945 dramatist K V Subbanna and his friends decided to start gatherings to share ideas and discuss politics. After Indian independence in 1947, they deepened their intellectual exchange and reflection, started a library, created the newspaper the Ashoka Weekly to spread news on events around India and, later, formed a local theatre group, Ninasam. In the 70s it grew into several different projects as the film society and in the 80s the Ninasam Theatre Institute with ambition to train young people in acting, lighting and directing. Plays put up can be of Karnataka writers as well as of Shakespeare and Brecht translated into Kannada, the language in the state of Karnataka. Today Ninasam is an active cultural centre, headed by Subbanas son K V Akshara. It’s based in the middle of the jungle, in the village Heggodu with around 1500 inhabitants. The library is still there, with an interesting mix of literature serving as base for research for new plays. The one-year diploma course in theatre work is an important part of the center, as well as set up plays engaging the local villagers, who are mostly farmers, in playwright and acting.

The same critical reflection and activist stance we meet when visiting theatre director, playwright, and poet Prasanna in his house. He is dividing his time between the isolation and quietness in his house, surrounded by a large garden with all different kinds of fruit and herbs and with only irregular electricity in the house, with work in the big metropolitan cities of India. His house is filled with books, the stillness is over-whelming; it’s as if you could hear the silence. And we discuss Swedish playwright, theatre and literature tradition. Culture has an amazing way of travelling across boarders, uniting people.

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18 augusti, 2009

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Bangalore, Aug 13 2009

Schedule, Bangalore on the 13th of August 2009:

10.00–12.00 meeting at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology to discuss cooperation on social and innovative entpreneurship, pedagogical and educational ideas, and young filmers. The meeting was held by Arvind Lodaya and Geeta Narayanan, taking part was members of staff of different positions.

14.00–15.00 meeting with animators, among them the Association of Bangalore Animation Industry, the animation education Toon Skool, animation studio Raydrops and Mediateck, and Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation (Aiga). Discussion around possible exchanges between animators in Region of Västra Götaland and Karnataka.

15–18 meeting at Attakkalari with Jay Palazhy and his colleagues. Several performances are planned to come to Vara Concert Hall in West Sweden in March next year. More possibilities were discussed as perhaps events at Museum of World Cultures. We got an introduction of all different projects going on from ”teachers’ training” to workshops on grassroot level as well as experimenting performances on movement, technology and lightning. We were introduced to graduating students’ work and were generously shown parts of their graduating performance – impressive work.

18.30–20.00 (we arrived late to this meeting) meeting with filmmakers, film critics, film association, writers, activists to discuss the film scene in India and the set-up of a Film Directing School in Bangalore. Among the participants was well-known Karnataka filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli, giving an idea of the filmmaking in India and Karnataka. Parallell to this, a discussion on how to start a new organization in Bangalore inspired by and in cooperaton with Nätverkstan.

20.00 – all participants from the former meeting continued over dinner.

00.30 Bedtime.

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13 augusti, 2009

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Signing Cermony • Bangalore 12th of Aug

And today, finally, the formalities and final signing and exchange of the contracts between Västra Götaland, Sweden, and Karnataka, India, was done under a formal cermony and press conference in the city of Bangalore.

The contract, carried in a folder marked ”Top Priority”, was signed already in spring this year, and finalized today after some months of bureaucratic procedures. In the midst of the overall concern in India at the moment – the Swine flue – the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr BS Yeddyurappa, together with his Chief Secretary, Secretary of Culture and Information and many others, took time to sit down with Ylva Gustafsson, Secretary at the Office of Cultural Affairs in Västra Götaland to talk about the cultural exchange between Karnataka and Västra Götaland.

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12 augusti, 2009

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Cultural Exchange • Karnataka & Västra Götaland

”Actually, I am keeping the schedule fuzzy”

Actor, filmmaker and entrepreneur Prakash Belawadi present a packed schedule of meetings, as we start a week of pursuing the collaboration between cultural organizations in Västra Götaland, Sweden, and Karnataka, India. The schedule is constantly changing, adding new meetings, moving others to another day, depending on when people can meet us and to achieve the most on days starting around nine, bedtime around midnight.

The cooperation is within several fields; film and film education, media workshops, performing arts, storytelling, and social entrepreneurship. We meet the newly set up government run Film Academy in Bangalore, the Hubba Festival, Suchitra Film Society and Suchitra Cinema and Cultural Academy, Center for Film and Drama, filmmakers and a poet to discuss the film situation in Bangalore.

A delegation from Museum of World Cultures, Nätverkstan and the Secretery for Cultural Affairs in Västra Götaland are on a five days visit to pursue the cooperation. In October the Göteborg International Film Festival will visit Mumbai and Bangalore and in December the School of Film Directing at Göteborg University will go to Bangalore with the aim of starting long-term cooperation.

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12 augusti, 2009

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Dressed rehearsal • Kenya-project

On the 13th of August, the project ”Empowering Creators and Investors with business tools” have a dressed rehearsal in Stockholm before the big event in Nairobi in September. On this rehearsal, people from cultural and business field are invited, most of them based in Stockholm, to discuss, reflect, and put in their experience on the topic. It’s a continuous molding process, with no fixed answers. How would you do to empower both the cultural and business fields? And is it with business tools only? How about the creative tools, how could they enrich the business life?

The document produced to start discussion from, the Environmental scan, is in different parts with different perspectives. And the three cooperating partners; Mangowalla Ventures, GoDown Arts Centre and Nätverkstan have a continuous discussion on all these questions. It’s a work-in-progress.

An important standing point is the circle-model originally formed by David Throsby (have a look at this post for reference) and also put forward as a base at the Department of Culture, Media and Sports in UK and the report in short called ”Staying ahead” in 2007 (written by the Work Foundation, look here). It shows the economic impact of culture and that it’s necessary with a core staying-ahead1creative field, a core with visual artists, writers, musicians, dancers; Artists producing Art. Otherwise there will be no cultural or creative industries, and no positive effects on the economy as a whole. In the first part of the Environmental scan for this project, the circles have been tossed around. By mistake, but then a thought of trying this to see what it means for participants at the Stockholm meeting. But does it work? Have a look in this working document and see what you think – and tell us. It’s part of an experimenting process and of trying to understand better the two entities: Culture and Economics.

Download participant list, programme of Aug 13th, and the Environmental scan: participantlist_stockholmfinal-program-stockholm-13th-august, environmental-scan_-final. Read more posts of the project here, here and here.

8 augusti, 2009

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Summer reading

The pile of books this summer is growing. There is so much to read! Here, some old and new books on cultural and creative industries, artistic practice and economy, cultural policy, situation for Art and Artists, black identity and post-colonial analysis, the new global and Free market and so forth.

Bill Ivey, ”Arts, inc. How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights” (University of California Press 2008). Bill Ivey was Chairman of National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) in USA 1998-2001, and is now founding director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. Interesting about Bill Ivey’s experience as Chairman of NEA and how Art and Artists enrich our lives, but where neglect from the governement as well as the market is endangering the future.

David Throsby, ”Economics and Culture” (Cambridge University Press 2001).David Throsby is Professor of Econimcs at Macquarie University in Australia. The book behind the circle-model put forward by Department of Culture, Media and Sports in UK in 2007 (look at this post) is this one, and with very well analysed material on the two grand entities: Economics and Culture.

Daniel H. Pink, ”A whole new mind. Why right-brainers will rule the future” (Penguin Group 2006). For a review read the one by Associate Professor Lane B Mills at East Carolina University. Daniel H Pink has written several books on the changes of work in the world, where this one focus on the rise of right-brain thinking in modern economics. The book has inspired many, and was recommended by Sian Prime as a source for inspiration for the models used at the Creative Pioneer Programme at Nesta in UK (read the following interview with Sian Prime from 2006).

Steven J. Tepper and Bill Ivey, ”Engaging Art. The Next Great Transformation of America’s Cultural Life” (Taylor & Francis Group 2008). Seems in line with the above mentioned topics.

Chris Anderson, ”Free. The future of a radical price” (Hyperion 2009). The editor in chief of Wired Magazine and author of ”The Long Tail”, about the change of market in a globalized world, how an online market creates niche markets and – the topic of this new book – how prices online tend to reach zero which forces a new line of thinking on products and what is a sellable product.

Franz Fanon, ”Black Skin, White Masks” (Grove Press Inc 1967). Franz Fanon was born in Martinique in 1925, studied medicine in France, specialized in psychatry and wrote several books on the African struggle for liberation. The book was first published in 1952.

4 augusti, 2009

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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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