Cultural Innovation Seminar

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.

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One Response to “Cultural Innovation Seminar”

  1. [...] Last week Arvind Lodaya from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore held a seminar on Cultural Innovation in Göteborg. Find the video from the seminar below or click here. Read the a former post from the seminar here. [...]

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

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