”Hobby-courses” and other un-necessities

Ever since the present Swedish Minister of Culture got her position, the discussion has gone warm on corporate sponsorship as an important source of income in cultural life. The newly formed grant organization Kulturbryggan has to find half of its budget in sponsorship and new tickboxes has been put into application forms where the applicant for state money need to state if they have sponsor-money.

But feelings are not mutual. The interest from the corporate world in sponsoring culture is limited.

The daily Svenska Dagbladet was curious of this un-willing attitude from business life, represented by the organization Svenskt Näringsliv (Confederation of Swedish Enterprise), and asked well-known financer Anders Wall of why (15 February 2011). Himself, he has a great interest in art and culture, but his colleagues in the Confederation seem not to share this faiblesse.

He answered that we need to do two things: Raise the interest of art and culture within the business field, and, make evident for people who sponsor what they get in return. A wide spread conclusion has been that people within culture need to better communicate their message and outcomes, something that has lead to innumerable amount of courses in how to market one-self as an artist and become a better salesperson.

Capacity-building courses is something good and should be provided for, but is it the single answer to lack of sponsorship?

The other week we got the answer from Svenskt Näringsliv it-self. A new report was published on Konsten att strula till ett liv. Om ungdomars irrvägar mellan skola och arbete (July 2011) (The art of messing up a life. On youth’s wandering between school and employment, my translation).

The report is a study of the costs for society when students finish higher education late in life and chooses to study educations not guaranteeing employment after examination. Studying art and humanities is in this arguing a complete waste of time (and cost for society are high), while studying law and technique is the future.

This leads the authors to the conclusion that educations with a low economic return such as humanities and art should get reduced study-loan possibilities by lowering the grant-part of the loan (and the other way around; raising the grant-part of the loan for educations with high economic return such as law and technique).

“Hobby-courses” like “Harry Potter and his world” not leading to employment should get reduced support.

It seems to have escaped the authors that for example Harry Potter often is used as an example of the positive effects that J K Rowling’s books have had on economy and employment. As Journalist Per Svensson notes in his comment on the same report in Svenska Dagbladet (June 30 2011), the Economist had a long article already in 2009 on the importance of Harry Potter and that few could measure with author J K Rowling when it came to creating jobs and well-being in society.

There is something to be learnt from the Harry Potter example and others of the same completely ignored in the report. Also the question: How will new jobs be created? When the first Iphone was launched on January 9, 2007, an instant new job was created: the design and production of applications. Now, fours years later, people live on making apps.

Another fact is that within art and culture there has never been many full-time jobs around. Instead many start their own enterprise working as entrepreneurs. Measuring art and culture in employment and well-defined career-paths after education is misleading.

With this report, Svenskt Näringsliv gave the answer to why the interest of sponsoring culture is so mild. There is a complete lack of knowledge and interest in humanities, art and culture represented by the organization.

This call for a very evident need: Bring in humanities, art and culture as compulsory subjects in all University educations in Sweden.

Read the report here (Swedish): konsten_att_strula_t_27628a.

2 Responses to “”Hobby-courses” and other un-necessities”

  1. it’s the integration of tehgnolocy into culture. If you think about this point when it comes to research, digital humanities is the act of integrating tehgnolocy into our research and understandings. I liked how you simplified your definition like this because it made a lot of sense to me, and it seemed like you put a lot of thought into it!

  2. [...] Read the post on Business or Humanities? about Stanford University here and about the report from Svenskt Näringsliv (Confederation of Swedish Enterprise) here. [...]

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