Green Paper on Culture

There is a unison tone on the European Forum on Cultural Industries in Barcelona. Cultural and Creative Industries are seen as the driving force of economy in Europe. It’s among the top priorities. Figures presented show that this field employ 15% of Londoners, between 2000-2005 creative industries grew by 10% in Europe which is more than other industries, and holds 3,1% of GDP in Europe. Everyone is here; ministers and bureaucrats from all around Europe and from all levels from European Commission to state, region and local level. Civil servants, University lecturers and professors, and representatives from cultural companies to the business field. And they all agree. Creative Industries hold a potential of economic growth in Europe. This has to be part of the European 2020 strategy.

Spain holds the presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2010. And they have chosen to organize the Forum in cooperation with European Commission and Chamber of Commerce in Barcelona. Perhaps it’s not so surprising. Barcelona has fostered many famous Artists, as Pablo Picasso who grew up here as young, and of course the home of Gaudi, the famous architect and foremost Artist in Art Noveau tradition. Around the city you find Gaudi’s architecture, but also sculptures and Art works done by many other Artists in a mix of modern and traditional. The Catalonian State has put culture high on the agenda and are proud of their Artists.

Perhaps significant of the Forum is the lack of insight among the ministers and bureaucrats of what the creative industries consist of. What it is. The risk of EU putting money into the wrong incentives, and in all good intentions write new declarations that never reach the actual field is large. The expected evaluation of Mike Coyne, Director of Centre for Strategy and Evaluation Services, might be helpful in throwing some light on who all the creators are and their effects on local and regional structures. Also the expected survey by Giep Hagoort, Professor of Art and Economics at Utrecht University and Utrecht School of Arts, this spring is promising. His message being, which is also our experience from the work we have done at Nätverkstan and backed by several reports of this field from among others UK; it’s a field run by Artists within in different Art forms, organized in small-scale, micro and nano businesses and freelancers who work in networks and informal structures. When putting forward incentives and supportive structures in the cultural field, these have to be as complex as the field is.

Also significant is the lack of small-scale Artists in panels and as keynote speakers. They are there, but not as many as you would wish for.  Instead you find some of them outside in an alternative forum, campaigning for the freedom on Internet, led by well-known comic Leo Bassi. Government is promoting a ”download law”, which many Artists are protesting against. Inside, at the Forum, several of the Cultural Ministers and other representatives on the contrary put forward the necessity of strong Intellectual Property Rights.

The Forum ended with six of the Cultural Ministers (we missed the Swedish Minister) giving their comments from a parallel meeting where creative industries has been discussed and with the aim of presenting a Green Paper on Culture. A Green paper released by the European Commission is a discussion document, which hope to stimulate debate and be a process for consultation on a topic. It usually comes before the White Paper, which is a more formal document. This was never presented; it was still too unready, but expect the Green Paper coming during spring.

And outside business were going on as usual among our cultural entrepreneurs; street musicians, living sculptures, painters, and other Artistic professionals.

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3 Responses to “Green Paper on Culture”

  1. [...] was said on the Forum of Cultural Industries in Barcelona recently, cultural and creative industries are still high on the priority list among [...]

  2. [...] this former post from the European Forum of Cultural Industries in Barcelona on March 29-30 [...]

  3. Ja, på rätt sätt.

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

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