Archive for oktober, 2011

Snapshots from the 72nd Trans Europe Halles meeting

Trans Europe Halles – meetings that matters

During four days, 27 – 30th October, around 100 people from different Independent Cultural Centres throughout Europe have met in Bordeaux for the 72nd Trans Europe Halles meeting. This network (founded in 1983) gather more than fifty multidisciplinary and socially engaged member centres. Most centres are located in buildings from industrial heritage and have taken important action in challenging the established cultural policy.

This meeting was held at TNT – Manufacture de Chaussures in Bordeaux, France. The theme of the meeting was Neighbourhood / Voisinage. The meeting was organised together with TEH Friend organisation ARTfactories/Autre(s) pARTs and supported by TEH:s three-year network project Engine Room Europe.

About TNT

TNT opened in 1997 in a former shoe factory, and supports artistic research in the performing arts. Originally devoted to the theatre, it opened to other disciplines such as dance, music, visual arts, poetry, etc. These relations can last from a month to two years, through residencies or long-term projects. TNT tries to develop new ways of working, in its programming as in its functioning, in the choice of the artists, as in the working modalities, in the relations with the public as in the economy of the projects.

About ARTfactories/Autre(s)pARTs

The organisation ARTfactories/Autre(s)pARTs is a common platform for reflection, research and action, transmission and solidarity for the development of art centres that organise their practices and experiments around the relationship between arts, territories and populations. ARTfactories/Autre(s)pARTs is based in Toulouse, France.

Kulturverkstan is not a member of TEH but took part of the meeting as a guest. Networking is always a good way to reflect upon what’s possible, get inspired, review your own work and talk with people with common interests. This network is also interesting to us as we always look for interesting internships for our students.

Some snapshots

The meeting was a mix of formal and informal meetings, information and interaction, meeting with artist, brain-gym and artistic work. Among other things we took part in two different workshops:

The workshop ”Cross-Boarder Exchange” set out to explore the relationship between people with common ideas, but different national contexts. In this workshop we discuss challenges and possibilities of these exchanges, starting with two examples from Kulturfabrik in Luxembourg and La Grainerie in Toulouse, France. They both shared their experiences from recent cross-boarder projects and the discussion that followed centred around issues such as regional identity, European funding and the benefits of proper evaluations. The over all outcome was the positive encouragement from the participants with experience in cross-boarder exchange. That even though communication can prove to be very challenging and a lot of the budget needs to be spent on travelling it is still a very rewarding experience that your organisation will benefit from in a number of ways. The workshop leader was Dušica Parezanović from the centre REX, in Belgrade,Serbia.

Another workshop introduced ”Holacracy, a new way of Governance”. The term ”Holacracy” refers to a practice of structuring, governing and running an organisation. One of the interesting aspects of this model was the concept of doing what’s ”workable”. To not spend to much time on finding what’s perfect before you try it out. Inspiration comes from software development and open source where you launch a Beta-version and get immediate feedback to make it better.

Travelling to a European meeting often give you the opportunity to also meet colleagues from your own country. We spent some time with the Swedish members Röda sten, Konstepidemin, Kulturmejeriet, Subtopia, Culturen and Not Quite. Carl-Oscar Sjögren, artistic director for the performing arts company Drift, took part of the TEH meeting to launch, and gain inspiration on, his new project; to open an international art centre in an old abandoned mine. The mine is called Ställberg and is situated in the Swedish forests of Västmanland in a mine district that was closed down some 30 years ago. Since the TEH network constitutes mainly of cultural centres in buildings that was once used for industrial purposes, Carl-Oscar had the chance to meet with a lot of people that had pioneered the same roads he is now about to discover.

In Autumn 2012 the TEH meeting will be held in Gothenburg, hosted by Röda sten and Konstepidemin. Nätverkstan/Kulturverkstan will most certainly take part in some way!


Parallel to the TEH meeting  the second edition of EVENTO in Bordeaux offered a series of interesting exhibitions and art projects. EVENTO2011 has invited Michelangelo Pistoletto and his foundation Cittadellarte as artistic director and brings many local and international artists together under the theme ”Art for an Urban Re-Evolution”. The aim is to encourage us to reinvent the city and how we live together.

We visited some of the interesting spots:

ONCE UPON A FUTURE (STEALTH.unlimited + arc en rêve centre d’architecture Bordeaux) is a fictional account of a possible utopia for Bordeaux in 2030, inspired by citizen’s initiatives. This fictional narrative takes the form of a large mural created by a number of graphic designers and graphic novel artists. We have learnt from history different consequences of imposed utopias, in this work the artist are trying to use the concept of utopia in a ”more pragmatic and less theoretical, more immanent and less transcendent: a hybrid of utopia, somewhere between desire and reality”. Walking along the mural, taking part of all these different ideas and desires my reflection is that the notion of utopia or future at least tells us a lot about the present.

”This is how we came to eat sugar”

Musée d’Aquitaine (Aquitaine is the south-western region of France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain)

This museum with it contents Pistoletto uses as a portrait of the past that help us to prefigure the future: Slavery, immigration and other things that we have built our societies and economical growth upon. Six international artists – William Kentridge, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Marzia Migliora, Michael Blum, Shilpa Gupta and Wael Shawky – create a link between the museum collections and elements of refexion on contemporary society.

Our last stop was at a space-specific art project where an artist has worked together with people living there creating a garden, a stage and a café. Everyone in the neighbourhood has been invited to use it for their ideas.

By: Karin Dalborg & Malin Schiller, Kulturverkstan


1. TNT, and 2-3. Once upon a future


31 oktober, 2011

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Workshop Tallinn

We have gathered, around ten students, teacher and artists from the Cultural Management Program, Art University and the field , to work on the art of living on art and, for some, the burning question of what will happen after studies are finished.

The invitation is from the MA Cultural Management in Tallinn at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in the center of the city. In the small room great plans and ideas are drawn up, reflections and dreams are high as well as down to the practice of everyday work. So, what needs to be done? What active steps can I take? What is the surrounding discussion and context in society at the moment?

Tallinn is this year Cultural Capital and in Estonia the cultural industries gained momentum in 2003-2004. Figures say that creative industries are around three percent of Estonia GDP and that the added value from this field was larger than any other branch or industry (see Tallinn City Enterprise Board). Recently a large conference was held in Tallinn on Creative Entrepreneurship for a Competitive Economy with some major speakers in the field invited. Talking to people in the cultural field there seem to be a gap between the large plans of creative industries and the artists. Someone should perhaps take an interest in mitigating this gap.


26 oktober, 2011

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Hubs in London

”When you write creativity, what do you mean? Break it down. Unpack it.”

Adrian de la Court and Sian Prime, MA Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths University of London, hovers around the class, enthusiastically supporting the discussions and work that is being developed in the groups. And then the difficult questions to challenge the students to go deeper in their understanding, reveal a bit more, go to the bottom of all those words so easily used.

We, eight people from the GoDown Arts Center in Nairobi together with myself, have joined one of the classes in Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths. The task is to map each individual’s strengths and assets, and come to a conclusion of the group assets. Find the deficit. Map the geographical area you are in. What assets are there around you? What possibilities does it reveal?

The work is done with paper, colored pens, lego-pieces, straws, rubberbands – anything that can help you illustrate your ideas. Envision them. The energy in the room is on top.

Later the same day we meet John Newbigin, Chair of Creative England, and of many things from his background the Political Advisor designing the work on creative industries in UK.

A few lessons from his experience was the following:

1) It’s all about sharing, and it’s amazing what you can achieve if you are not interested in taking credit for it.

2) There are moments in leadership where new ideas are put forward that no-one knows what they will lead to. To get people on board you might have to ”bullshit” a little. Do it with brilliance. Everyone knows how it works. If you are wrong, you can work that out later.

3) Don’t underestimate the formal meetings even in an informal setting. We sometimes assume people we work with know more than they actually do. Be careful. It’s better to say things twice than not say it at all. It shows openness.

4) Chairing meetings is an important task. Create an opportunity for people to speak their mind. Listen even if you are loosing the argument. Shared knowledge gives better results.

The meeting was held at the Hub Westminister, in itself an interesting place for developing ideas around social entrepreneurship.


20 oktober, 2011

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Frankfurt Buchmesse 2011 “Content- providers” (formerly known as writers)

rulltrappanThe Frankfurt Buchmesse 2011 is all in, to use a quotation from the world of poker. If this years book fair should have been your first visit to planet earth you would think that the earthlings was reading all their writing on ugly grey devices. Technology was the main thing. Especially the forthcoming e-book. From a Nätverkstan point of view this is both good and bad. Our project, The Long tail and Samlade skrifter, is very much based on the same analysis as most of the distributors and technology suppliers have done. We all know that the reading habits are changing in the USA. The hardback and the paperback are loosing readers, the e-book is gaining market shares. The change is happening right now. We also know that the book industry don’t want to make the same mistakes as the music industry did some years ago.

But my main impression of the Franksfurt Buchmesse 2011 is that an incredible amount of money are going to be spent on crap. Nobody wants to read an e-book on an ugly device with bad functioning liquid ink. Nobody wants to read a badly converted e- book with inconsistent line breaks. If you as a journal or publishing house would enter halle 4.0 or 8.0 of the bookfair you would enter a Klondyke full of gold diggers. The gold diggers would have an ardent, almost religious, look in their eyes. They would also speak a language that very few would understand. But the main message surely gets through: This is the future.

The problem is that I do agree. The most common slogan is that the book needs to be available for reading on different devices. The book written on paper won’t disappear. Here is a major difference that distinguishes the music industry from the print industry. The book is an incredible good device for consuming text. The cd is not the best way to consume music. But besides the book no one really knows. Our qualified guess (and most distribution companies at the fair seems to agree) is that the book will be complemented by the e-book and some kind of mobile xml- based application for smartphones and tablet computers. Amazons Kindle and forthcoming Kindle Fire are surely very good e- reading devices, but I don’t think they will be the new iPod. The iPod was the disruptive device that changed the music industry. It became audi_hallso easy and simple to listen to digital music and the quality of the sound was so good. The iPod was so much better in each and every way. My main guess after this years Frankfurt Buchmesse is that things definitely not will change with Thalia Oyo, Kindle Fire or even the iPad. They are good, but not a disruptive technology. Until the disruptive device for book reading has entered the market you will have to experiment. And experiment you must do. We at Nätverkstan will surely help you with that.

Besides technology there where some “Content- providers” (formerly known as writers) at the book Fair. From a Swedish perspective it was very interesting to see that Steve Sem- Sandberg is getting an incredible reception with the English and German version of De fattiga i Łódź. The Nobel Prize winner Tomas Tranströmer was also highly appreciated in the community of poetry- aficionados. But neither Sem- Sandberg or Tranströmer could compete with the next hit: The Angry Birds Cookbook of Egg Recipes. Remember who said it first!

Olav Fumarola Unsgaard, Nätverkstan


Categories: Blogg Creative spaces

18 oktober, 2011

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Cultural forecast

The Encatc 19th Annual Conference in Helsinki was focusing on the future this year.

”A wind of change is blowing over our societies and reshaping our political, social and cultural paradigms. Increased urbanization, uneven social redistribution, a digital shift and an array of new audiences accessible mainly with the use of new technological tools – these are motors of change which provide as many challenges as they do opportunities.”

In a mix of key note speakers such as Saara L. Tallas, IKEA Professor in Business Studies in School of Business and Design, Linnaeus University (Sweden); Katri Halonen, acting head of degree program in Cultural management at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences; and Lidia Varbanonva, consultant, researcher and lecturer was mixed with intense group discussions on different topics. Encatc thematic areas had workshops within their specific themes as well as room for young researchers and research presentations.

Although the financial crisis hovered above like an evil cloud, optimistic thoughts were exchanged on the future of culture and its possibilities.

Read more of the conference here.

15 oktober, 2011

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Life Lessons: Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs giving a speech at Stanford University on June 12, 2005, on his life lessons. Three stories from his life; the story of connecting the dots, love and loss, and about death.

Have a look at Steve Jobs speech here.

7 oktober, 2011

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Perfect combo

On the second conference on the course Cultural Entrepreneurship Workshop (Knep) three guest lecturers with very different approach held seminars in the old barn, now a conference venue, restaurant and brewery of local beer.

Placed in the fields about two hours drive from Göteborg around twentyfive artists gathered this beautiful autumn day to listen to the perfect combo.

David Hansson and Thomas Hansy who form Gothenburg Combo and make a living on their acoustic guitars told their story from Music Academy to international touring.

Ulla-Lisa Thordén wrote the book Luspank och Idérik (Broke but full of ideas, my translation) and gave a talk on how to sell and communicate your art to others.

Claes Bohman, who, among many other things, have been part of the team starting Transit, the incubator that was connected to University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, was giving a speach on the process from idea to the audience or customer.

During this combination of lecturers and storytellers two thing were significant: The importance of quality, artistic quality, in the work; and working on different levels of understanding. David Hansson and Thomas Hansy want to reach both the ”amateur” audience as well as other professionals. To do that they need to work on different levels in their music.

Read more here.


4 oktober, 2011

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

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

On this blog we would like to explore entrepreneurship from a cultural and social point of view. Or rather put forward entrepreneurial initiatives within these two fields.




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