Hands off!

”There is a shift in the balance of power”, says Tyler Stonebreaker, founder of Creative Space, ”Political boundaries are becoming less relevant. Instead it’s where the audience is”. And Los Angeles, described as one of three hubs of the creative industries in the USA, has this.

”We have content”, as Tyler Stonebreaker puts it, and sips on his Macchiato at Stumptown Coffee on South Santa Fe Avenue in the Arts District. The Coffee brewery is one of the projects Creative Space has been working with, helping them establish in L.A.

The Arts District has grown to become a thriving interesting hub for cultural and creative businesses in the past twenty years or so.

It’s an area that has changed over time from the middle of 1800s when it was the largest producer of wine in California; to become citrus groves and home for filmmaker DW Griffith who filmed parts of the first Hollywood films here; to by World War II becoming factories for the rail freight industry.

In 1960s and 70s artists moved in to the then abandoned industry buildings, something acknowledged by the City of Los Angeles who in 1981 passed the Artist in Residence (AIR) program which let artists live and work in these buildings.

We know this story. It’s seen in so many places around the world: abandoned factory and industry buildings turning into hubs, clusters, artistic residencies, that if rightly nurtured by the public officials can become an important drive for economy. Or at least that’s what politicians hope for. Thriving cities and regions that will be able to take up the competition of interest from tourists, being the place where people choose to live, and where entrepreneurs and the big enterprises decide to settle.

But can you decide to nurture this development? Or is it better for governmental authorities to keep their hands off and let things grow on their own?

British consultant Paul Owens once described art and culture growing like algae. They grow where you least suspect them to, where you don’t even would like them to grow, and they can’t really be nurtured. The best is to just keep hands off and let it grow as wild – and sometimes unwanted – as any weed.

It’s contradictory and for municipality and regional politicians and officials today’s million dollar question: How do you best nurture cultural and creative industries?

In the later years the interest for cultural and creative industries has grown in Los Angeles and a sense that these industries and their economic potential needs to be acknowledged more. The Otis report on the Creative Economy (2013) shows that one out of seven jobs in Los Angeles County and Orange County are related to Creative industries, it’s 1,4 million jobs in the state of California that are within the Creative Industries, and 7,4% of California’s Gross State Product.

Read also the report ”LA Creates. Supporting the Creative Economy in Los Angeles” by Keith McNutt: LA CREATES.

Information on Arts District is found here. Related blog posts here and here. Read also about artist P Nosa here and herePhoto of Tyler Stonebreaker is found here.

29 juni, 2014

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CCI – A review of the literature

Professor Justin O’Connor will soon host Göteborg and Stockholm discussing cultural and creative industries and the myth of the creative city.

In 2007, Professor Justin O’Connor wrote the report The cultural and creative industries: a review of the literature for the University of Leeds that might be useful background for the eager participant.

Are we in the moment of time where a need for ”a refusal of creativity and its illusions in a spirit Adorno would recognise” and maybe ”creativity” is the problem? Will the underlying tensions in the cultural industries between capitalism and cultural value call for another understanding of the concept?

Read more here: oconnor_justin_cultural-creative-industries-15.pdf.

20 april, 2014

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Creative industries – a new direction?

Professor Justin O’Connor at Queensland University of Technology, Creative Industries Faculty, in Australia has written two interesting papers on creative industries. Developing a Creative Cluster in a Post-industrial City: CIDS and Manchester and Creative Industries: A new direction?. Both can be downloaded here. Read also a note on the website of Arc Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation.

Downloads: cciextended and cids-revised.

9 juni, 2009

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The Creative Industries: Ten years after

On March 20-21, a seminar on creative industries will take place in Jonsered, close to Göteborg. The seminar is arranged by the Foundation for the Culture of the Future (Stiftelsen framtidens kultur) and will discuss culture economy, the every day life of cultural work and the economical aspects, experienced based knowledge of cultural actors and more. The seminar is based on a study produced by Nätverkstan in 2002 called ”Den ofrivillige företagaren” (”The involuntary entrepreneur”). Many things have of course happened since it was written and a new edition will be released soon.

The concept of Creative Industries is fairly new in Sweden and it could be a good idea to look deeper into experiences from other countries. Nätverkstan has followed the development in Great Britain since 1999 where it definitely has been a bigger subject. In 1998, the recently created UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport placed the newly named ”Creative Industries” – media, design and arts based enterprises – at the heart of the nations economic future. The antecedents of the creative industries, the so-called ”Cultural Industries” of the 1970s and 80s were carefully steered from view, as the use of the term creative industries signalled a desire to harness cultural production to the new economic agenda.

In February last year Nätverkstan attended a seminar at the Open University in Milton Keynes called: The Creative Industries: Ten years after. The organisers, Mark Banks, Department of Sociology/CRESC, The Open University, and Justin O’Connor, Cultural and Media Industries Research Centre, University of Leeds asked themselves:  What has happened in the decade since 1998?

In the invitation Mark Banks reflects:

”On the one hand the creative industries can be seen to have gone from strength to strength. The UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport has re-launched its creative industry strategy with renewed vigour. The creative Economy Programme sets out an ambitious strategy, which once again places the creative industries at the heart of the UK’s economic future. The UK model has then been internationally exported, across Europe, and into territories as diverse as Australia, China and South Korea, shaping and being shaped by pre-existing policy frameworks, contributing to the rapid globalization of creative industry debate. Yet there are some hard questions to be asked and key issues to be addressed – this symposium attempts to address these issues and in doing so take forward an agenda for critical debate on the creative industries.”

Many interesting key speakers were invited: Justin O’Connor, David Hesmondhalgh, Andy Pratt, Kate Oakley, Chris Bilton, Mark Banks and Jason Toynbee. They addressed themes such as: The historical formation and context of creative industries; Creative industry policy and the legacy of New labour; Creative industries and local and regional development; Creative industries in comparative international contexts; The changing politics of creativity and creative industry work; And The future policy agenda for creative industries.

Several of the perspectives highlighted were indeed more critical and interesting than many of other seminars we have attended. Mark Banks talked about the shift from cultural to creative industries policy represents a de-politicization of cultural work in so far as ”cultural” concerns (i.e. those regarding meaning of work or its artistic, social or political value) have been sequestered in favour of approaches that focus on enhancing only ”creative” commodity production and economic value. Kate Oakley talked, among many other things, about an over focus on novelty as the primary determinant of cultural worth. Andy Pratt described how the cultural industries have been ”made up”. In particular – in the UK context – he examine the pre-mapping document (1998) period; the mapping document; and the ”framework” phase. He set out to show that categories are embedded in concepts, therefore the taxonomies that are used to measure the cultural industries, constitute them.

There is a web cast replay of the Creative Industries Symposium here. The programme of the event is found here. The programme (in Swedish) of the event in Jonsered on March 20–21: program-jonsered.pdf. The report ”Den ofrivillige företagaren” (in Swedish): ofrivilligforetagare.pdf.

Written by Karin Dalborg, Manager of Kulturverkstan, a Project Managament Training Programme within Culture, run by Nätverkstan.

19 mars, 2009

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Authors

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

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