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”Throw out the management books and read novels instead!”
Kerstin Brunnberg has a long list of references. She is now Chair of Swedish Art Council, and has a long career behind her as journalist and head of several of the large newspapers, as well as radio and TV.
She is invited to the education Kulturverkstan to talk about art, culture, the role of art in society, and leadership.
Being a leader of cultural institutions and organisations means to work with people, and the best place for learning of people is in novels. Read a lot, is a message.
Reading also helps writing. It’s necessary for any project manager to be able to describe its work in plans and project applications. Proposals written with passion, personal tone and genuin interest do have a larger chance to come through than buzzwords with no content. Might sound evident, but it’s easy to fall into the buzzword trap.
Flexibility, complexity, hard work, and to always stand up for the freedom of expression are leading words for this soft-strong lady.
For any project manager within art and culture, this should be on your bed-side to read: The law of freedom of the press.
Follow Nätverkstan at Vine, where you find a clip from the lecture.
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.
When the Swedish Council for Cultural and Creative Industries formed in 2010 we were many that hoped this would mean a thorough and serious review of Sweden’s position and standing-points in the cultural and creative industries.
So far the regions had been the main motors in the discussion of CCI, this gave an opportunity for the state, the Department of Enterprise and Department of Culture, to form strategies and activities for CCI grasping everything from the single artist running her own one-woman-business as a platform for her artistic work to the larger businesses within areas such as music, film, and design.
Being one of the members of the Council, I wanted to see a more content-based discussion on CCI and in this include the artists and their specific situation.
At Nätverkstan we have written two reports on the this topic: Den ofrivillige företagaren (The reluctant entrepreneur, 2002) and Örnarna och myrstacken. Vad vet vi om kulturnäringarna? (Eagles and the ant-hill. What do we know of the cultural industries?, 2010), the last report on commission from Region Västra Götaland. Both these two had the ambition to put a perspective on CCI which include the whole complexity of the cultural field and which takes its standing point in the artistic production.
On February 5 the Council presented the report and a film clip from two years work. Disappointments were many, and perhaps most frankly declared by the Association of Swedish Illustrators and Graphic Designers where they simply state in an article ”No thanks to counsels from the Council!”.
Although the role of the Council was vague and was never meant to be other than a council, a discussion partner to the political structure, expectations were much higher than what came out.
Now the state shows minor interest for these questions and the main drivers of these industries in Sweden are still the regions. This means – as it looks at the moment – that the regions will act very differently around the CCI and depending on where you live in the country it can be a large public authority interest and thereby also possibilities for artists and cultural entrepreneurs, or it can be quite quiet. It will be continuously difficult to compare and evaluate incentives and policy work within CCI between the regions.
The gap that this creates leaves room for anyone to define CCI as they please and without a state policy framework the potential these industries hold will be lost. Sweden will continue to lagg behind in the European discussion in this area.
Read also Nätverkstan’s report written on commission of the Region Västra Götaland on CCI ”Örnarna och myrstacken”,(Swedish) here: ornarna_110925.
Nätverkstan is publishing translated (into Swedish) essays from two cultural economists shortly: A book with two essays by Italian Cultural Economist Pier Luigi Sacco together with an interview of his story, and a book with two essays by Cultural Researcher Giep Hagoort from Netherlands and an interview. Published in end of February.
The new year and our new cultural strategic assignment kick started with a seminar at Vara Concert Hall, focused on the topic of streamed culture, last Thursday. The Swedish government has marked digitalization as an important way for culture to reach a wider audience (read here). Vara Concert Hall celebrates their 10th anniversary this fall and together with Nätverkstan they are now in the process of implementing technology and procedures to start live streaming their events. Their aim is completely in line with the thoughts from the Swedish government – especially to reach people not able to come to the cultural events, in places such as prisons, homes for the old and hospitals.
The first action in our mutual project was to identify and invite the most prominent organizations in the field to a hearing. Our aim has always been to support the small and independent organizations and we are glad that Vara Concert Hall shares this belief. Together, we also believe that sharing knowledge and solutions strengthens the efforts made, and that this is especially true in the complex field of digitalizations where new technology is introduced almost on a daily basis. The procurement of digital services is an intricate matter and smaller organizations often make mistakes in the process – which in turn means that tax money is wrongly spent on expensive and short lived solutions.
The keynote speakers were Urban Ward from Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Ulrik Flood from Digital Live Arena, Peo Thyrén from STIMand Johannes Nebel from Play Kultur. In the audience were representatives from the Swedish Arts Council, Kultur i Väst, Kultursekretariatet i Västra Götaland as well as people from cinemas and smaller cultural organizations. Moderator for the hearing (and project manager for Vara Live Stream) was Leif Eriksson from Nätverkstan.
Magnus Lemark from the Swedish Arts Council remarked that this hearing is a running start for them, as they have just been handed the assignment from the Swedish Government, to help the Swedish cultural sector over the digital threshold. And Johannes Nebel agreed that this kind of meetings to share knowledge is the best way to get knowledge and tackle new complex investments. He also said that the main problem for digital material is distribution, and that Sweden lacks the kind of marketplaces that focus solely on culture. Play Kultur was started with exactly this in mind, to become the first portal for live streamed and archived material on performing arts.
We hope that Johannes last words from the hearing gives echo and they will certainly work inspiring for our own efforts: ”Västra Götaland now has the chance to be the first region in Sweden to show how coordination of digital efforts works.”
Our cooperation with Vara Concert Hall continues, and knowledge produced within the project will be made public in a conference later this fall. But we are also open to smaller hearings in the region and we especially look forward to the 20th of May, when GSO and Play Kultur are hosting a seminar in Gothenburg. Cooperation makes us stronger!
By Carl Forsberg, Head of Medialab and Technique at Nätverkstan
During the first semester of the two-year education International Project Management within Culture, Kulturverkstan, the students get their very first large challenging task. They are formed in groups and together work with a real assignment presented by organizations in the local scene of Göteborg and west Sweden.
The projects have twofold meanings. It’s a way to study ”glocal” Göteborg, the local and global cultural scene in the city, and also a kick-start into the education and learning about project management. The projects end with an open presentation with invited colleagues, organizations, students, relatives, friends, and others.
And yesterday. in a full Frilagret in centre of Göteborg, the six presentations took place. Humouristic, professional, engaging presentations of their project work and their results. Impressive.
The six projects were:
Angered Boxing Club. How do low memebershipfees go together with organizing the largest boxing tournament? To show the importance of this meeting place, the warmth and feeling of community, the students decided to do a short documentary of the club focussing on the people.
A Göteborg for all (Ett Göteborg för alla). The inter-religious centre in Göteborg is a place where faith and dialogue over religious differences is in centre. The students assignment was to answer two questions: ”How can a more constructive dialogue of religion be held in the public sphere?” and ”What is a Göteborg for all?”. The students have formed a concept for a festival in May 2013 to answer this.
Frilagret. Frilagret offers an arena for young culture. The activities are put forward in dialogue with young people and one idea is a small exhibition room. The students work have led to an exhibition and discussion around ”What is art?”.
Humouristic political stunt. The project is a way to use humour in activism, in this case used to put the light on public transport ticket inspectors. Commissioner was researcher Majken Jul Sørensen, who focus on humour and political activism. The project was done in an action at the trams and a documentation of the process.
European Year for Active Aging and solidarity between generations. 2012 was the European Year for Active Aging and the students put together an touring exhibition with the message to politicians and decisionmakers to better encourage active aging.
TedxYouth@Järntorget. The TedxYouth@Järntorget have ambitions to create a meeting place for discussions and encourage young people to pursue their ideas. Everyone has a story worth telling! The students organized one of these events, 17th of November on the UN day for the Convention on the Rights of Children, the first of such meetings at Järntorget.
In Copenhagen it is called ”the book happening of the year”. This is also why Kulturchock made the decision to participate at the event that during the years has expanded in favour for both dedicated readers and the book industry in Denmark.
For Kulturchock it is not only the purpose to improve the distribution and visibility for the Swedish cultural magazines within the country. It is also a beneficial opportunity to overbridge borders both internationally and linguistically to show the multifaceted goldmine that we possess. The 100 culture magazines that we represent impress many of the book fairs visitors, and the question is not why the swedish magazines are there, but why the danish aren´t? Ivan Rød, head of the organisation for danish cultural magazines, tells us that the granting for these magazines har been withdrawn and that they can not afford participating. Nevertheless, the danish literature magazine Standart was elected this year´s cultural magazine in the Nordic countries.
The showcase for cultural magazines at the book fair in Gothenburg this year was a collaboration between Kulturchock at Nätverkstan and Tidskriftscentralen in Finland. In addition to the Swedish and Finnish magazines you could also find Danish and Norwegian ones. Maybe this concept can evolve and be used at future events?
Thank you for this visit, BogForum, see you again in 2013?
Post by Helena Persson, Project manager at Nätverkstan
Inspired by the Nordic colors (the Göteborg Book Fair has a Nordic theme this year) the space is now filled with around hundred cultural journals filled with articles on society, art, poetry, literature, feminism, language, food, film, philosophy and more.
The doors have opened to the fair which is already packed with literatureinterested people from all over Europe and elsewhere.
Waiting for the big load of cultural journals filling Nätverkstan’s newly painted space at the Göteborg Book Fair starting tomorrow!
Today the Cultural Affair’s Committee in Region Västra Götaland is gathering to decide on the proposal of the regional culture plan for 2013-2015.
The culture plan is part of the new ”trunk model”, decided by the Swedish government in December of 2009, introduced, after another round of detail study in how this model should be performed, in 2011 to move (some) decisions of cultural investments from the state to the regions. This way, the argument is, the decisions are taken closer to each region’s citizens. Instead of the state deciding where money in a specific region should be spent, the region gets to decide.
1,2 billion SEK of the cultural budget is moved from the state to the regions. But to get the hands on the money, each region has to present a plan, a cultural plan, and inform and negotiate with the state, here handled by the Arts Council, on where to spend the money. This has of course caused a lot of discussions. Is the trunk model only a paper product, where the Arts Council is taking the real decisions? Are local politicians to be trusted? Do local politicians really know enough about art and culture to be able to decide on investments and make the difficult priorities needed?
Västra Götalandsregionen was at an early stage the role model for the trunk model. The negotiations between the Arts Council and Region Västra Götaland started earlier where the region did very well in negotiations and held a high profile in debates, discussions and visions of the role of art and culture in the region.
Now the region seems to have out-dated itself. The culture plan for 2013-2015 is without any vision and, to be a bit bold, not even readable, something also noted among many of the parties, including Nätverkstan, responding to the circulation of comment before the decision (se today’s daily Göteborgs-Posten). ”It’s a culture plan without a plan”, as David Karlsson puts it.
To the leaders of Region Västra Götaland’s culture affairs we are many that wonder: Where are you heading with arts and culture in the region?
Find attached the culture plan of Region Västra Götaland that is up for decision here: Västra Götalands kulturplan.pdf. See also Nätverkstan’s respond to the circulation here: remissvar vgr_kulturplan_120905.pdf. Read a post by Swedish Radio from 2010 here. And former posts here.
Try to describe dance and choreography in words or text and you are bound for a challenge. To catch the essence of bodily movement and the artistic process and thought behind a dance performance is difficult. What you see is what you get, so to speak. Dance is best felt and experienced when it happens, it’s a direct contact between performer and audience. It’s therefore often difficult to try to describe dance experiences in project plans and evaluation documents.
In the newly published book 100 Exercises for a Choreographer and Other Survivors, a way around this difficulty is somehow found. You not only get practical exercises to try on your own, but each of these exercises quite informally also catches the artistic thought and process in choreography. Reading them, each ending with the sincere request ”Do it.”, exposes the experiments of action that can be translated into movements and dance. Quite shrewd, actually.
Perhaps something for policy- and decisionmakers? Trying these small experiments might raise your awareness and understanding of the artistic process. And it’s not complicated. Just do it.
Efva Lilja, choreographer, Professor of Choreography, and Vice-Chancellor at DOCH, the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, and author behind this, has just published two books with the aim to in a practical and poetic way offer strategies for active presence and bodily knowledge in your daily life.
The two books: ”100 Exercises for a Choreographer and Other Survivors” (both in Swedish and English) and ”Förstår du vad jag inte säger? Om dans som samhällsomstörtande kärleksförklaring” (”Do you understand what I am not saying? Dance as a subversive declaration of love” – in my translation) can be found here. Read also a related post on an editor’s view on quality and creativity here.
Yesterday Göteborgs Dans & Teater Festival (dance and theater festival) opened in a grand opening at the large Opera house, GöteborgsOperan. Two dance performances were showed; Falter by Johan Inger and Your Passion is Pure You to Me by Stijn Celis. The dance continued in big hall during the break with live music, loosing up the distance between dancers and audience in a wonderful way.
Three speakers introduced; Adophe Binder, Ballet Director at the Göteborg Opera; Thomas Martinsson, Head of Cultural Committee at Municipality of Göteborg; and Gunilla Heilborn, Choreographer. All spoke about the role of a festival like this with local and international guest and with complete focus on the performing arts both for the art scene and for the city of Göteborg.
And Gunilla Heilborn, the last speaker, but her attention to what dance can express in all its quietness.
”When you have a microphone people, artists, tend to think you have to scream in it. But with an amplifier close to your mouth it’s enough to whisper.” Gunilla Heilborn said and whispered the last words. And sometimes you don’t need not speak at all. Just listen to the movement and the quietness, she said in a low voice and officially opened the festival.
In the freshly published anthology Artists and the Arts Industries, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee puts the artistic perspective in centre of the discussion on cultural and creative industries (CCI).
Five people; researchers, independent analysts, professors, and an artist, were asked to contribute a text reflecting on the artistic practice and CCI and the result has become an interesting anthology putting the light on different and perhaps unexpected aspects of the discussion.
Yudhishthir Raj Isar, independent cultural analyst and Professor of Cultural Policy Studies at The American University of Paris, puts a critical view on the whole paradigm with the conclusion that economy is not everything and that it’s necessary to include reflection on cultural economy and non-market forms of cultural activity.
Kate Oakley, writer and political analyst specializing in the fields of culture and creativity (UK), is focussing her text on innovation, which is as she calls it ”not the New, New thing”. The arts have a complex relationship to innovation, being both on one hand avant-garde and cutting-edge, and on the other saver of tradition. Talk of innovation within culture and art needs to be nuanced, reflected, and with a critical perspective.
Angela McRobbie, Professor of Communication at Goldsmiths, University of London, is discussing key concepts of urban development and gentrification in the light of the policy-development of CCI in the UK since middle of 90s and onward, and comparing development in three different cities: Glasgow, Berlin, and London. Her reasoning is around employability, livelihood and how artists and young people within the field will be able to earn a living and sustain life within these fields.
Ylva Gislén, Visiting Professor at Malmö Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts and cultural writer, also put a focus on the artistic livelihood and puts this in relation to Hannah Arendt’s reasoning putting a qualitative distinction between different types of human activity in the book The Human Condition; the distinction between labour, work, and action.
Klas Östergren, author with his first book published in 1975, writes an insightful and personal story of his daily work and artistic practice of writing books, his relation to audience, and how he at one point when things were going well decided to write the complete opposite of what the market expected.
Perhaps common for all of these reflections are how pessimistic they are in their views of the role of the artist in CCI. It should be understood in the light of the economic crisis, but it’s more than that. It’s a disappointment. A question shining through is the somewhat disillusioned question of: Who today believes in art as something other than contributing to economic growth, innovation, and job creation?
The anthology can be ordered from The Swedish Arts Grants Committee and is written in both Swedish and English.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Economy, Employment, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Self-employment, Social entrepreneur, Swedish Arts Grants Committee
A way to understand Creative Business?
Artist Jörgen Svensson has an exhibition at Göteborgs Konstförening until May 6 where he is reflecting on the discussion of creative businesses. In this painting looking like cross stitch he is reflecting on David Throsby’s and UK’s (Departement of Culture, Sport, and Media) concentric circles.
The artist is in the center. Around him or her you find those surrounding the creative business; parasites (brown), idiots (red), fatheads (blue), assholes (green)…
commissioned by Region Västra Götaland to follow up the region’s performance within its five focus areas. Indicators were chosen for the different areas, but when measured the focus area Culture was glowing empty. There were no available statistics.
Cultural organizations feel obliged to commission economic impact studies since this is what everyone else does and is expected by the funder. But no-one, including the public funder, trust the figures. Well-performed studies get mixed with less relevant ones and the figures can’t be trusted. It becomes a charade, or as Hasan Bakhshi, Director at Creative Industries in Nesta’s Policy and Research Unit, calls it in his speech in Sidney on March 20: A Prisoners’ Dilemma. In worst case these impact studies are used as evidence for decision-makers in lack of something else.
At School of Business, Economics and Law University of Gothenburg last Friday (Arpil 20) measuring the value of culture was on the agenda. Invited experts in the field presented aspects and research challenges in the seminar The Value of Culture.
Professors Bruno S Frey, Trine Bille, David Throsby and PhD student John Armbrecht all pointed at the need of finding relevant indicators for cultural value. Economic value has one singel unit to measure from (money), while cultural value is multi-faceted and has no single unit of account, as David Throsby put it. This calls for other methods of valuation (as something different than value) and as he concluded; a more holistic approach of valuation is necessary.
Trine Bille was looking at cultural policy and the tendency in the Nordic Countries to look more at the growth perspective rather than the welfare one. But, she concluded, the welfare perspective is often under-estimated and the growth perspective highly exaggerated in cultural policy. The biggest value of the Cultural and Creative Industries is the created value in other areas outside its own field.
Perhaps the most remembered quotes were ”Simplicity has some virtue” (David Throsby) and ”Just look at raw figures. If you don’t see any effects in the raw facts don’t run after it. You will find statistics if you do, but not relevant one” (Bruno S Frey).
First came shipbuilding. Then came Volvo. Now comes Film Industry to Göteborg.
The text, found on the wall at Gothenburg Film Studios, tells in three sentences the changes that Göteborg, and specifically the North Bank Side of river Göta Älv, has been going through the last forty years.
Shipbuilding was a large industry in Göteborg for a long time and the city was an important international hub for import and export of goods as well as ideas and contacts. Swedish East India Company had its base here and 37 of their ships were built in docks in the city. In the 70s the big crisis hit shipbuilding and many people lost their jobs and the deserted area has now changed into fancy residents. New businesses and centres are created with TV. Radio, IT, and film industry as a growing industry.
Now the car manufacturing industry is in a crisis and Saab sadly had to close down its business last year. Again people have lost their jobs. What will come instead is a question, but also strong in Trollhättan is film, animation, computer games, visual effects and the Science Park.
The impact of these new emerging industries are difficult to define and as hard to nail down into numbers. How can you evaluate and measure the effects of these new more small-scale industries? What indicators are needed? How do our statistical agencies streamline statistics from EU to local level so information can be compared? How do we assure to not only measure quantity, but also qualitative aspects? And how can we be clear of what is not measured, not to loose important aspects of art and culture and leave politicians with only numbers?
Etiketter:Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Development, Economy, Employment, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, EU, International exchange, Västra Götaland
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.
Etiketter:Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Digitization, Economy, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, New economy, Västra Götaland
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.
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.
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