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The UK’s top business lobbying organization CBI is calling for better recognition of the creative industries contribution to British economy, the Guardian says in an article last Friday (March 25).
On a talk at Pinewood Studios (where films like Harry Potter and James Bond were filmed) the CBI General Director John Cridland gave his support and worry of the British Film Industry and was saying:
The creative industries are a big part of the CBI’s plans for a more dynamic and rebalanced economy, and the country’s future success is tied up with their success. I think they’re a part of the business community that deserves championing.
In a prognosis of the expected development of Swedish labour market presented in the daily Dagens Nyheter on March 6, artistic education is in the red zone.
In the prognosis done by Högskoleverket, expected number of graduated students in about 3-5 years are put in a diagram in relation to expected recruitment needs. There is according to this no need for students educated within the artistic educations. Too many artists are expected to take their diploma than there is a need for in society. They are simply tagged with the post-it ”surplus”.
We have seen it before. Each year it’s the same gloomy reports. During the over ten years we have run Kulturverkstan, the two-year International Project Management Education within cultural field, the labour market for artists, project managers, cultural practitioners has in different prognosis reports been more than gloomy.
But reality looks different. The students taking their exams get jobs or create their own. Last years survey showed 78% of the students taking their exam in June 2010 had gotten jobs in the field they educated in after their education. And it has been the same since the start of Kulturverkstan. Between 65-85% are getting jobs after the education.
Another prognosis is the expected outcome and development of the creative industries. Here results of the need for artistic skilled people are the complete opposite. The EU-Commission report ”The Economy of Culture in Europe” (KEA European Affairs) from 2006 showed that the creative industries contributed 2,6% to European GDP, 3,1% of the total workforce in EU worked within this field and the sector’s growth between 1999-2003 was 12,3% higher than the growth of the general economy. Many reports after this, also in Sweden, have shown optimistic figures of the growing labour market within these fields.
This is where new jobs are created.
On one hand an over establishment of artists in the Swedish society. On the other a growing field where new jobs will see daylight. How are we to understand these opposing trends that exists along side each other at the same time? Are the forecasts reliable?
In a letter to the Observer, some of UK’s famous artists within film, TV and theatre send a warning of what the drastic cuts in UK funding to art will do. The main message being that less public money to the art field will have serious effects on British economy. Creative industries have contributed more than 7 billion pounds a year to the economy.
An article in BBC News report on the appeal where Dame Helen Mirren, the actress, are one of the artists stating that investment in the arts brings in (as they put it) ”staggering” return for the country. If cultural policy is dismantled, it will have effects on creative industries and the economy as a whole.
October 20th 2010 was named Axe Wednesday by British press due to the government announcement of massive cuts in the UK budget in all areas of society. Within arts it has meant cuts over all fields within culture, and just the Arts Council England, distributing money to a large amount of arts venues, theatres, and galleries, had its budget cut by around 30 percent.
Swedish Counsellor for Cultural Affairs in London, Carl Otto Werkelid, says in a short interview on the Swedish Government website, that UK is facing a huge tightening of public finances. The cultural field is still holding its breath in the wait of seeing what concrete effects the cuts will have for the arts. The appeal yesterday was perhaps a change in the waiting. Carl Otto Werkelid is talking about a paradigm shift that will have effects way beyond the boarders of UK.
Read the original letter to the Observer here.
Read the article in the BBC News about the appeal by British artists here.
Read the Guardian on the culture cuts here.
Read a short post on the changes in UK here.
And read the interview of Carl Otto Werkelid here (in Swedish).
The French artist JR is described to have the largest gallery in the world: The streets and public room around the world. He is a photographer working like a graffiti artists, he communicates by posting in huge formats photographic posters of people on walls, bridges and other public areas. It does give associations to the British graffiti artist Banksy, where his often humoristic yet critical art work is seen on walls in the public space.
The film Femme Anonymes et Héroiques (Women are heroes) is a beautiful film on women in the world, living in the margins of society, often in poverty and violence. The English title looses the word ”Anonymes”, where women are the anonymous heroes in the everyday struggle in a favela, township or slum. Hopes and laughter combined with sorrow, dispair and an enormous drive to change one’s situation.
With the film, the French artist has combined the documentary format with an art project, both working together with the people he film in a project at place, and documented it in the film where the destiny of these women around the world becomes a collective knowledge and struggle for a better world.
The Region Västra Götaland is now reworking its vision of culture in the region. Where will art work like this fit in into policies, incentives and objectives?
The film was shown on Swedish Television recently and can still be seen on SVT Play.
Over a twenty-years period, the portion of permanent hired ensembles on the theaters in Sweden has declined drastically. Actresses and actors are to very high degree freelancers. In Sweden there are about 2300 actresses and actors, ninety percent are freelancers, ten percent has permanent positions.
On Stockhom Stadsteater (Stockholm City Theatre) the portion of people with permanent jobs have declined from 70 to 20 percent over the twenty-year period, at the same time as the number of plays performed has risen. Benny Fredriksson, the Director of Stockholm Stadsteater, has been seen as the leader of the modern theater in his efficiency, number of plays performed, and not the least, getting audience to come.
The crack in the glamour started yesterday, when the actor Ulf Friberg wrote in a big article in the daily Dagens-Nyheter about the conditions for actors and actresses at Stockholm Stadsteater. He means that the fact that so many are freelancers creates a quiet culture, critics are swallowed in fear you will not get the next job. Mr Fredriksson has drawn the efficiency too far, is his point.
The ones standing with the cap in their hands are the ones creating the content, of without every theater is only an empty shell: The actresses and actors.
We have seen it before. Some years ago a debate roared in Sweden due to the fact that one of the biggest museums in Sweden, Moderna Museet (Modern Museum), didn’t pay the visual artists for the time to put together a new exhibition for the museum. Everyone else was paid. The Director, administrators, guides, and the caretakers. But not the artist. They should be happy to be able to have an exhibition at all at such a prestigious museum. But you can’t pay rent with honour.
It’s interesting in times when the mantra from local authorities to the state, from business life and bureaucrats, even among ourselves within cultural life is: Artists have to know how to price themselves and their work!
For the theater it would be fine if the hourly payment for freelancers covered costs for development, reading and rehearsal. It doesn’t. Instead different competence-programs are started, all with the aim of teaching artists to become better at selling themselves.
When in fact, the present crisis of the theater has structural reasons. It can not be blamed on or solved by individuals. No matter how many entrepreneurial programs we set up.
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