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What place should culture have in future Göteborg? Who’s initiative will be taken seriously and where do initiatives go?
The first semester at Kulturverkstan, the International Project Management within Culture, the students have to deal with ”glocal” Göteborg. They get real life projects to work with, which not only put them into project work, but also helps reflecting around the global and local – glocal – city. They deal with context, process and the operational from start.
Nätverkstan, the organization behind Kulturverkstan, is during 2013 using the same model to look at our own work and place in society. And we start with the question: What is the role of a cultural organization in today’s society?
To start off we went on a bus tour around glocal Göteborg. We rented a bus, asked Peter Rundqvist, Cultural Coordinator att Project UNO (Project Development Northeast) and well oriented in the city, to take us on a social, economic, and demographic tour around Göteborg from the rich south to the poorer northeast.
As the city changed around us from the dense city center to farming land, from richer to poorer areas, to hidden pearls in the middle of the million programme housing we discussed city planning, culture, space, possibilities, and demographics.
And it all came down to: Who has access to the city?
Professor of Cultural Economics, Pier Luigi Sacco, has been widely engaged around Europe as a consultant to governments, local administrators, and cultural organisations on culture-led local development.
His perspective is the system, and he talks about the system-wide cultural districts. The role of culture has changed over the decades, he says, and today the importance lies in the fact that it is system-wide which means it permeates social and economic life in cities and regions.
The worst thing a government can do is to cut in the cultural budget, he said on a conference in Göteborg in February 2012. The longterm effects will be severe for the city, region, and state.
Pier Luigi Sacco has also been engaged in Sweden. In Region of Halland his methods have been tried, and now also in the province of Skaraborg, part of Region Västra Götaland.
Nätverkstan has translated some of his texts, done an interview, and collected all this in a publication published in the end of April. The publication is part of the project Knep and financed by European Social Fund. Keep eyes open here.
The small public authority Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis (Kulturanalys) is a new authority assigned by the government to evaluate, analyse, and present effects from the national cultural policy. The Agency was formed in 2010 to function as a separate evaluation office with no attachements to the authorities they are evaluating. Common practice, one would think, but in Sweden we haven’t had such an Agency before evaluating cultural policy.
Several interesting reports have been produced so far and hopefully municipalities and regions will use the facts and statistics produced rather than producing their own.
Interestingly, though, one area falls between chairs. Which of the two agencies has the assignment to measure cultural and creative industries?
”Industries” suggest it should be the other analysing authority connected to Ministry of Entreprise, Energy, and Communications; Swedish Agency for Growth Analysis (Tillväxtanalys).
”Cultural” suggest it should be the agency for Cultural Policy Analysis. It will require both openness and cooperation to clear out where lines are to be drawn.
Last week Nätverkstan was invited to the Swedish Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis to present the report, produced on assignment of Region Västra Götaland in 2010; Örnarna och myrstacken. Vad vet vi om kulturnäringarna? (Eagles and Ant-Hills. What do we know of cultural industries?).
Download the report here (Swedish): ornarna_110925.pdf.
Researcher Rasoul Nejadmehr, from Region Västra Götaland, is enthusiastic. His talk is filled with energy and enthusiasm when he talks about the thoughts behind the two-day conference to which we all have been invited: Rethink. Expanding Participation (My translation. In Swedish: Tänk Om 1 – vidgat deltagande). Or perhaps as more often used in English: Audience Development.
The region is putting a focus on participation and will be talking about inreach instead of outreach, of intersectionality rather than interculturality and of the individual rather than the epithet that so often put people in boxes. The theories and intentions behind it are wonderful. Finally we could get away from this strange idea that working with diversity is something else rather than changing the structure from within.
The only question is perhaps how this goes along with the leading strategic documents produced at the regional office? And do they include themselves in this including idea – or is it the cultural scene that now will have new tic boxes to fill in?
An important talk was held by Ozan Sunar, Director of Moriskan in Malmö. Running a cultural organization you have to create a platform of ideas from which your work is performed. This is done in three levels: the societal level and politics of society; the cultural policy level; and the individual level. And you have to be able to keep these three perspectives in your head at the same time. It’s a responsibility to have an idea of your organization’s place and role in the larger society – and act upon this.
A good society has the capability of housing its minorities.
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