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Today’s news of the Israeli attack on the humanitarian flotilla, Ship to Gaza, on international waters is a terrible state of fact in the world since 9/11, where everyone of us at any time can be accused of being terrorists.
Ship to Gaza is a humanitarian project and a grass-roots initiative to send supplies of building material and medical equipment to the people of Gaza. It’s a peaceful action from people-to-people to help people in need. Engaged in Ship to Gaza, and now on the ships, are parliamentarians, professors, artists, journalists, film makers, and many others.
The news are now spreading of nineteen people dead and several injured in the Israeli Military attack. An attack on peaceful demonstrators in peace time and on international waters.
Words are not enough to express the despair this creates.
Wagner is said to have stated that if everything is destroyed, the nation clinging on to art will survive. A nation ignoring it’s art ends being a nation.
Arvind Lodaya’s thoughts of cultural innovation and democratizing culture seem to begin with the same standing point. Culture, art, innovation is done in everyday life among ordinary people – i e all of us. Without the social capital – all those things that count for most in the daily lives of people (to use one of the definitions put forward) – we will be poorer. And we seemed to have lost track of this.
Civil society is mentioned in every policy document now-a-days, from local, regional, and state level in Sweden to EU. We have to cooperate with civil society, we are told. Definitions vary and no-one seem to fully understand what it means. Another fact is that policy documents rarely reach ordinary people, Arvind Lodaya argues. ”Temples of Culture” are built and nurtured; artistic and cultural institutions whose existence only gather a few initiated and seem to exclude others. It’s dilemma not only of policy makers and politicians who put a lot of money into sustaining our cultural institutions. It’s something also pursued by artists themselves, artistic universities, and cultural and art organizations.
Cultural Innovation is about art and culture found in our ordinary lives, is the message of Arvind Lodaya. This is where the driving force for cultural change takes form. The Indian context where he takes his staning point is also like a melting pot of cultures, languages, and people. Small-scale cultural entrepreneurs are found in every corner in the urban India; tailors, fabric producers, crafts, design, game, IT-experts, writers and so forth. In Europe cultural entrepreneurs are also small-scale, although working in a different fashion and structure. It’s in this small-scale environment innovation and new ideas start growing. How can cultural institutions facilitate everyday cultural innovation and what does the interface between an institution and social capital look like? What could policy makers do to support innovation within culture?
Arvind Lodaya’s answer is clear: Innovation needs to be nurtured rather than strangled. One way is to stop reducing people to only being customers and from policy level regarding them as much more complex than this.
See the slideshow of Arvind Lodaya here. A film of the seminar will be available on Internet soon. The seminar was held in cooperation between School of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland, Encatc and Nätverkstan on May 24 2010. More on Arvind Lodaya can be found here and under cateogory ”India” on this site.
”The Era of Information Protectionism”.
This is how you could describe the time we live in, states Lars Ilshammar’s, Director of Labour Movement Archives and Library. What was before part of the public domain is today productified; knowledge becomes a product. How, for instant, he questions, is it possible that all the old heritage of the written documents, photos, films are hidden in the basement of the library and not accessible for the public? And then, when it’s decided to make old material public and documents, where the copyright is no longer a limit, are scanned to be digitized – a new copyright is created. Why not let this be what it is – owned by the public domain?
His suggestion is that a policy on Memory is done from political level, giving the guidelines on how to handle all the cultural heritage in, what from Swedish could be translated to Memory Institutions, referring to all institutions dealing with our archives and libraries.
Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, Professor in Library and Information Science (Bibliotek- och Informationsvetenskap) at Uppsala University, takes us back to the Bern Convention from 1887 where the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) first took form. And the interesting evolving process to the modern IPR, where apparently Stockholm – the place for today’s seminar – were hosting a discussion on the IPR in 1967 that showed to be a complete turn in the Swedish position. The Bern Convention was set up by the exporters of culture, i e those who produced culture, and those who imported. Sweden was at the time of the Convention mainly an importer and argued for free IPR. While countries like France and UK, the old colonizing countries, where producing culture arguing for stricter rights for the creators. It took until 1967 for Sweden to change position.
The IPR’s where in the beginning about the creator, author, artist, and not until 1960s did it also include the investors or producers. These two are often mixed in the discussion, and it’s necessary, PhD in Civil Law and Legal Informatics at Stockholm University, Katarina Renman Cleason states, to find a balance between on one hand protection and the other accessibility.
The right of the individual is a base in a democracy; Publicist Arne Ruth begins with, and continues, as is the right to the commonage. What will this look like in the future?
The seminar, held in Stockholm on May 24th, was the second step in a three-step process of discussing the public domain and IPR. The first was a report written by Cultural Journalist Mikael Löfgren. The third is a seminar on September 22 where Google is invited in the discussion. The seminar was arranged by Nätverkstan, National Library of Sweden, Göteborg Book Fair, Foundation for the Culture of the future, and Region Västra Götaland.
It’s always wonderful when those cultural servants, who have been working and struggling in the field for a long time, and with their work has contributed significantly to the artistic scene, are put forward. This happend yesterday when Margareta Orreblad was given the Dynamo Award by the Swedish Arts Grant Committee in the hall of Museum of Fine Arts in Göteborg.
Margareta Orreblad is a real entrepreneur, starting her small gallery Mors Mössa (Mother’s hat) around forty years ago. She is a real champion of visual art, her drive is art that engages, and in the small gallery in central town of Göteborg, any forms can be exhibited. She sets no limits concerning material, technique, angles or expression. The only limit is that an artist can only be shown once. In forty years, it has been a long list of interesting art.
Many artists witness her energy and endurance in visual arts and what role Mors Mössa has played in the artistic career. It’s a small place, just tiny, but yet so influential.
As part of the project Linking Initiatives, a project between Region Västra Götaland and Karnataka, Arvind Lodaya from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore will be a visiting scholar for one and a half month in West Sweden. His main project is to look into the notion of Cultural Innovation and explore this further with partners from different areas. Due to this a seminar is held on May 27th. Read Arvind Lodaya’s discussion note here: arvindlodaya_discussionnote.pdf.
School of Film Directing at University of Gothenburg, and has just come back from another visit in Bangalore to continue and be a partner of the start of a Film School in Bangalore for film directing and artistic film making. Also this is part of Linking Initiatives. Read about the results here: FH/Bangalore201005.pdf.
Read more under the category ”India” or the tag ”Bangalore”.
Shiva Subramanian is a cultural entrepreneur. He has a business degree, which he doesn’t use, he says: ”That’s why it works”. His view is that businesses put up so many barriers, so finally you can’t be human.
He has set up a row of different small companies and run different ideas and initiatives. His idea is to just get going, build on a social network and ”no paperwork!” He owns the Sona Towers on Millers Road in Bangalore, and has put up a space on the fifth floor for other entrepreneurs such as internetradio, an architect, a lawyer, graphic designer. What is the key factor for success we ask? The informal setup, his social network and culture.
”This wouldn’t work if it wasn’t within the art.”
Indian Institute of Management, along Bannerghatta Road within a green garden domain, would love an entrepreneur like the ones on fifth floor. On the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning the idea is to work within three areas: Research, teaching and training entrepreneurs, and incubator. In the incubator they look for unique and scalable ideas and a passionate team. During ”punchwhole meetings” they judge and try to punchwhole the idea and see how the entrepreneur respond to this. One challenge is to get the person focussed on the idea; a start-up work seventy percent with other things and not with the idea.
Alternative Law Forum is a collective of lawyers starting in 2000 with the idea that there is a need for an alternative practice of law concerning social and economic injustice. They have run several campaigns for sexual, women and civil rights and questions like: How do minorities get access to their rights?. The eleven laywers connected to ALF cover a large variety of issues, do research, campaigns and publish articles.
Running a perfume business these days is hard. Globalization has changed the market completely, and being a smaller business you just can’t compete with the large ones. The international connection is asked for by customers who would like to order a new perfume, and for a small business it’s just not possible. They have instead accepted to be in the second layer, Mr Vijayakumar explains, when he with love for his profession explains how it works.
The perfumery is one part of what they do at Vijayakumar Farm. The farm is named after the family name, where they have over the past few years planted over 250 species of plants and trees; endangered species, the sainted trees, spices and other things. One part is the breeding of a rare cow, which we are told, is both intelligent and has feelings. We also get to see a wonderful dance performance by Raadha Kalpa and the story behind traditional dance.
One sentence stay in your mind, said by one of the entrepreneurs: ”In India if you don’t succeed you die.”
The visit is part of the exchange program Linking Initiatives, an initiative between Region Västra Götaland and Karnataka in India. Read more under tag ”Bangalore” or category ”India”.
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