Archive for februari, 2012

Seminar: Pier Luigi Sacco

Under the crystal chandeliers in Stora Teatern, a theatre built 1859 in centre of Göteborg and with walls whispering of wonderful operas, musicals and ballets during its golden days as the musical scene in Göteborg, Italian Economist Pier Luigi Sacco and Director Christer Gustafsson talked about the role of art and culture for society development on Saturday (25th of February).

It is madness, Pier Luigi Sacco stated, what many European leaders are doing at the moment cutting cultural budgets. Art and culture is the main raw material for innovation, well-being, health and development. And he backs his arguments with research and cross-testing inquiries in different matrices. It shows for example that going to a classical concert may well have give you a longer more healthy life.

His main argument is ”active cultural participation” and he shows the innovation index shown on this page (18th of February) and puts it next to another ranking: Active cultural participation Eurobarometer. In both rankings Sweden is ranked number one. When putting these two independently done rankings next to each other, it could mean that active cultural participation has an effect on a country’s ability for innovation. If you argue for putting public money to boost innovation, make sure to also invest money in local theatre groups, music training, or different dance centres from young age and up.

Pier Luigi Sacco has a system-based method of understanding and analysis a city or region. This has been done in many places, among them he was a consultant for Vancouver (Canada) in forming a cultural strategy: The Power of Arts in Vancouver. Creating a Great City.

Christer Gustafsson is now working with the same method in the region of Halland, a region in between the two large regions Region Västra Götaland and Skåne. The placement might feel a bit squeezed at times, but this system-based and culture-led way of development is new for Sweden, Halland, and Kulturmiljö Halland, is in the forefront of these discussions. It’s about culture-led regional economic and social development.

Culture and art is the core. It’s the ”soft-ware”. The major raw material to build on.

Download the presentation of Pier Luigi Sacco (English) here: Sacco, Halmstad-Goteborg.pdf. Christer Gustafsson presentation (Swedish) can be found here:Stora teatern, Göteborg, 25 februari 2012.pdf .

Pier Luigi Sacco also visited the Conference arranged by Generator last year. And listen to an interview on youtube here done by the European network Encatc. You find another blogpost on the seminar (Swedish) here.

The seminar was an arrangement by Västra Götaland, the think tank Kombinator, in cooperation with Kulturmiljö Halland and Nätverkstan.

26 februari, 2012

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Ministers meeting: Swedish Council for Cultural and Creative Industries

According to the Martin Prosperity Institute and the index The Global Creativity Ranking Index Sweden ranks number one of countries in the world when it comes to creativity. The index is built on economist Richard Florida’s three T’s Talent, Technology, and Tolerance – he is in fact Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute – and his results show that Sweden is ranking top on all the three T’s. Finland, being strong on technology and talent, but less on tolerance according to this thinking, scores number three.

There is a lot to be said about Florida’s three T’s. What factual figures is it built on? Tolerence is for example interesting. How can a country be counted as tolerant when facts show that people with a foreign-sounding name– that means all foreigners except Europeans and Americans –are being continuously discriminated on the job market? Something that is a fact in Sweden today.

The Swedish Council for Cultural and Creative Industries has the role of acting as a consultancy towards Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Entreprise and putting the light on questions in the cross-line between culture and business.

On the meeting on Monday (February 13) together with the two ministers, Minister of Enterprise, Annie Lööf, stressed broadening the notion of innovation in the innovation strategy now being discussed on national level. Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, put forward the artistic competence as a resource in other areas in society such as business side.

But it’s easy to miss the complexity in the overall discussion on cultural and creative industries. Tourism industry is an area often discussed in this context. It’s easy to talk about the importance of tourism, visitors from abroad spending their money on food, guest houses, museums and other activities. In 2010 a national strategy was presented for the ”visiting industry” in Sweden 2020 called Nationell Strategi för Svensk Besöksnäring.

A quick look through the document shows the lack of any analysis on the role of art and culture. So you wonder, what is it that people are visiting? Tourism and places to visit is strongly connected to production of high quality art and culture. If you plan investments in tourism industry, you also have to speak of investments in artistic and cultural research.

if you speak of investing in technology you also have to build strategies of how our society will become more tolerant. It goes hand in hand.

The creativity index might sound like music in the ears for Swedes. But it’s useless unless we start see society as whole puzzle where all pieces are connected.

Read more of the Swedish Council of Cultural and Creative Industries here

 

18 februari, 2012

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Platform for Cultural and Creative Industries • Brussels

When EU leaders gathers to discuss and form policies for the European Union each participating member is balancing 1) their own nation’s interest and 2) the interest for EU as a whole. In that specific order.

EU leaders have been greatly criticized for not being able to put up a strong and convincing plan for how to come out of the financial crisis and save the euro. The balancing act between the interest of the nation and that of the structure as a whole is, to put it mildly, in conflict.

The discussion in the EU Platform for Cultural and Creative Industries is a miniature of the same problem.

EU Commission invited cultural organizations and networks in late 2007 to form platforms within different topics and policy-areas with the aim of coming up with recommendations to put in to the Commission’s work on culture. Spring 2008 these different platforms started their work.

Through the method structured dialogue the Commission hoped for a better – and more structured – dialogue between the Commission and the different actors in the cultural field.

The platforms have worked very differently. The Platform for Cultural and Creative Industries, a platform formed by around forty organizations, has proposed recommendations for the development of CCI but the road to finally agree on something has been bumpy. Some of the Platform’s participating organizations have refused to sign the final proposition, some have been objecting along the way.

No-one is surprised. Forty organizations representing publishers, audio-visuals, label companies, musicians and composers, architecs, universities and training centres and more gather in this one platform. The needs, structure, possibilities and challenges differ within each of these areas, so much that they can hardly be seen as one industry.

Is it just impossible, then, for the cultural field to agree and in consensus propose  strong overall recommendations to the EU that would benefit the sector as a whole?

Well, it’s symptomatic. What EU leaders fail to do on the large EU level, cultural organizations fail in their particular area. The interest of lobbying the agenda of the organization you are representing stands in the way of the interest for the sector as a whole.

It also needs to be said that the mandate for these platform called for by the EU Commission has been extremely vague if at all existing. The organizations forming the Platform for Cultural and Creative Industries have been working hard and with great seriousness taking the task of forming relevant recommendations.

The reception from the Commission has been lukewarm and the question hangs in the air if they have at all had any impact on forming the new cultural programme Creative Europe.

Still, Xavier Troussard, Head of Unit Cultural policy, diversity and intercultural dialogue, stresses that they now propose more money for the new programme, which of course in times of financial crisis would be an accomplishment however small it is.

It’s easy to in a haste and with frustration draw the conclusion that the actors in the cultural field can’t cooperate. It would be nice when the Commission now aims to evaluate the process, if it remembers to also look at the prerequisite set up for these platforms.

Sometimes the result you get depend on what question you asked.

Reflections from the meeting with The Platform for Cultural and Creative Industries, Brussels, February 6. Read also post here

6 februari, 2012

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Leadership experiences: Kristin Skogen Lund

Heading towards the ”L” building for our meeting with Kristin Skogen Lund, Head of Telenor Nordic Operations, we walk through the colourful pillars by French artist Daniel Buren and looking up on the opposite house facade, we can read the neon-lit statements by the American artist Jenny Holzer.

It gives an interesting framework for our meeting.

Mobile operations company Telenor’s head office in Fornebu outside Oslo was built in 2002 and hosts around 6000 employees. An integral part of the work environment is the presence of art and culture, the website states, and Telenor has a collection of around 700 art pieces from contemporary artists.

Kristin Skogen Lund has been selected Norway’s most powerful woman by Kapital magazine. She has been head of the newspaper Aftenposten and, she is on several boards among them Det Norske Kammarorkester.

We are curious of her leadership experiences and what she would say would be most important content in a leadership development programme for culture. Nätverkstan is developing a leadership programme specifically for culture; well-known artistic director Sune Nordgren is Chair of the interim board for the project. Our ambition is to learn from different leadership areas, also the perspective from the different Nordic countries.

”The one who has the overview rarely has the deep insight. And the one with deep insight has rarely an overview.”

The dilemma is of course crucial if you are the Head of a large company such as Telenor, but is also a question for smaller organizations. How do you balance having an overview of the organization with deep and specific knowledge of the field you are in? At what size of organization do you loose the specific insight as a leader?

”Telenor is a large company that has a strict hierarchic structure, is goal oriented and work with goal hierarchies. This doesn’t work in culture. Instead it’s often vision oriented. The questions need also be asked: Who are we work for? Who is the public to be reached by our vision?”

A competence for a leader of a cultural institution we discuss is the ”translation competence”; the skill of being able to explain and talk of the artistic work with people outside of the institution. Any cultural institution needs to build relationships and cooperation with people from different areas from politics to business to other art fields. The skill of engaging and explaining the work for people with no knowledge, perhaps not even interest, is important.

A leadership programme should encompass the possibility of self-reflection and getting out of your comfort zone. Having courage, being able to analyze complex situations and build concrete actions, engage in your ideas, and knowing your own limits and possibilities are skills Kristin Skogen Lund stresses as important.

Read more on cultural leadership here.

 

 

1 februari, 2012

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

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