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The Slöjd Incubator, the incubator for handicraft started as a pilot project by the public authority the National Swedish Handicraft Council, has now finished it’s first round.
Hopefully the pilot project will be prolonged. Participants were very happy to have a chance to develop their ideas around their art and how to live on their art, and the process has been working well as a complement to their university studies within in art, design, and craft.
Ten participants now finished the process and on the final seminar a few of them got a chance to tell their experience for a larger invited audience. On this seminar Nätverkstan presented it’s survey and final report on the incubator.
Jögge Sundqvist calls himself a sloyder. Not a handicraft artist, not a carver, definitely not an artist (he doesn’t have the education or language for that, he tells us), but a sloyder. From the Swedish word ”slöjd”. Slöjd is something in between, its own genre, he says.
We listen to his story in a gallery in the Artistic Campus in Umeå (one of the two European Cultural Capitals of 2014). The Campus is situated right by the Ume River, next to the fairly new Bildmuseet, a centre for contemporary art, and it’s the last workshop with exhibition and a method seminar for the Slöjd Incubator.
The incubator has been running as a pilot since August last year and have a specific focus on handicraft and slöjd. Ten participants from areas of handicraft, slöjd, design have followed the incubator process with the aim of identifying the entrepreneurial side of their idea and skills, their purpose, and way forward.
These two days they have their last large work of putting together an exhibition and an event, ”A taste of Slöjd”, where their work meet the public.
Jögge Sundqvist, one of the speakers on the method seminar, alongside with speakers such as business founder Jeff Melnyk, artist and professor Swetlana Heger, and chair of Nätverkstan, David Karlsson.
And perhaps Jögge Sandström’s story of how is father found his way to become a well-known and respected craftsman is the best way to sum up the whole event and the process the partipants have gone through.
When Jögge’s father grew up he loved to draw and paint horses on paper. One day his father asked him why he didn’t make the same horse in carved wood instead? He thought about this and replied that he didn’t know how to. And his father replied that it’s simple:
”You just have to take everything away that is not horse.”
The Slöjd Incubator is run as a pilot project by The National Swedish Handicraft Council during August 2013–June 2014. It’s financed by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. Nätverkstan will do a small research of the incubator process that has taken place, what it has led to, the context of incubators, and the need for such a specific incubator such as one on handicraft. A report is due in middle of June.
First gathering of the Culture Incubator after Summer breaks started today with focus on relationship building and marketing your project idea. Invited guest was freelancer David Andréas, now working as Art Director at an agency in Göteborg.
The Cultural Incubator is a project run by Nätverkstan, which is part of the larger project called Projekt Utveckling Nordost (Development North East), and aims to support people with ideas. The selected eighteen people come in with their ideas and over a six month period they get a chance to develop these to be more sustainable.
The project started in beginning of the year, and the development of each of the different ideas is really exciting. In November all projects are presenting their ideas for a larger audience of decision makers, representatives from the authorities, and other stakeholders.
Read more here.
Have you ever heard the sound of money pooring into to your cash register? The sound is illustrated with a big ”Ka-tziing” (at least in Swedish…) when figures like Scrooge McDuck in the Donald Duck cartoons is pooring more gold coins into his already dense cashbox.
”Kablonk” documentary filmer Bengt Löfgren illustrated the sound of the few coins he could cash in after his large film projects. Despite many successful film projects, winning prices and being shown on television, his pockets were still echoing empty he said with a smile. But you have to keep on, not wait for the money, and continue ”listen, learn, and develop” he concluded.
One of the stimulating points of the conference ”Ka-tziing!” in Göteborg on November 14, was when artists within film, literature, visual art, handicraft, performing arts, and music told short pecha-kucha stories of how they live on their art.
The conference and small market fair gathered 250 energetic and interested participants from art, culture, regional office, and organizations working with cultural entrepreneurship, to discuss, mingle, network, and get information of what Region Västra Götaland is doing to facilitate the entrepreneurial side of a cultural and artistic freelance work.
Guest key note speaker was Giep Hagoort, researcher of Utrecht School of the Arts (Holland), focussing on the entrepreneurial dimension of cultural and creative industries (also the title of his latest booklet), addressing the main point that all discussions and research on art and cultural entrepreneurship have to start in close relation to the actual artistic scene – to the practice.
Researchers have a tendency to sit in their ivory towers and not meet with the practice. To reach new interesting research, this needs to be challenged. And a quick hand-up on how many researchers this conference had attracted showed one person.
Perhaps no glimmering new solutions of how to get Ka-tziing instead of Kablonk in your pocket, but ideas, perspectives, inspiration, and a lot of time to mingle and look for connections among those who can support in how to a little better sustain yourself.
The conference was an initiative by Region Västra Götaland and Knep, an educational project run by Nätverkstan, supported by the European Social Fund. Funding the conference was European Social Fund and Region Västra Götaland. Performers during the day was Uttryckslabbet. Download the program here: Ka-tziing_inbjudan.pdf.
Etiketter:Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Project, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Research, Self-employment, Social entrepreneur, Västra Götaland
One of the success stories of Stanford University, with it’s premises in Silicon Valley outside San Francisco (US), is, it’s said, to be its close relation to the businesses in Silicon Valley. It’s a symbiotic relationship. They nurture each other and many success business stories have started at Stanford; Google, Facebook, Instagram, Apple, Hewlett-Packard.
Leland Stanford, a Republican governor in the late 1800s and who made a fortune from Central Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, and his wife decided to found a University in their late son’s name. Stanford University opened its doors in 1891 and the device was that the University should not become an ivory tower, but ”qualify students for personal success, and direct usefulness in life”. From the start, the close relationship to private funding, corporate research funds, and venture capital for start-ups, first for innovations in radio and broadcast media to todays digital technology, has been a base for the University.
The story can be read in The New Yorker (April 30, 2012) and gives an interesting light on the success story behind business ideas developed at Stanford and the philosophy behind it. But also the dangers of such a focus on success and making money.
The campus life and the atmosphere at Stanford is described as open to ideas, easy going, ”people are willing to try things”, risk-taking, access to venture and risk capital, creative. But there are also questions raised if Stanford has the right balance between commerce and learning, between getting skills to make it and intellectual discovery for its own sake? Is corporate money stearing research priorities?
David Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, who has also taught for many years at Stanford, express his worries that students uncritically incorporate the possibilities of Silicon Valley, but it’s a lack of students devoted to the liberal arts and the idea of pure learning. The one and simple question stearing choices is: What will I get out of it?
The philosophy now promoted at Stanford is the ”interdisciplinary education” and getting students to become ”T-shaped”, that is they have depth in a particular field of study and breadth across multiple disciplines. Social skills are put forward and an effort is to put together students with different majors (engineering, business, medicine, science, design) to together solve real or abstract problems.
David Kelley, the founder of design firm IDEO, is also director of Institute fo Design at Stanford (d.school), and is driven by the mission to lift empathy in his students. He wants the students to learn to see the human side of the challenges posed in class and that way provoke creativity.
Still, fewer students get into liberal arts and humanities and many become, as said by a senior Miles Unterreiner, ”slaves to the dictates of a hoped-for future”. Students become instrumental and only get majors in subjects that lead to jobs, something also supported by Universities.
It’s an interesting development. Reading Steve Jobs story and listening to many of his talks, he puts two processes next to each other as crucial for his success: The development of technology and the liberal arts.
The post is based on the article in The New Yorker (April 30, 2012) ”Annals of higher education. Get rich U.There are no walls between Stanford and Silicon Valley. Should there be?” by Ken Auletta. The photo is from a TED talk on the web.
Read more from posts on IDEO, San Francisco, and the Arts from our visit in 2008 here and posts on other interesting US visits here. Read also here the report from Svenskt Näringsliv which last year promoted less money to humanity education in Sweden, a very criticized report.
Creative Industries Development Services (CIDS) in Manchester started in the end of the 1990s as a way to support the bubbling small-scale music life to become more sustainable businesses, build networks and be an intermediary between the city and its cultural scene.
The initiative was taken by Manchester City after a research-report 1997-1999 suggested to start an agency to be the intermediary between Manchester City’s infrastructure for support for businesses and the small-scale cultural life.
CIDS had four assignments when it started: 1) offer business support based on the acknowledgment that the cultural field needs specific competence and expertise, you need to know something of the field to be able to give the right support, 2) provide information and expertise of the cultural sector to the official structures, 3) build collaborations and partnerships with existing infrastructure to provide better and more coherent efforts to the creative field, and 4) to have a representative role and give voice for specific needs in the field into policy- and decision-making structures in the city.
In Professor Justin O’Connor’s report Developing a Creative Cluster in a Postindustrial City: CIDS and Manchester, he points at a few reasons why CIDS, in 2008 finally closed down its activities.
Two processes showed to be difficult. On one hand the notion of ”Creative Industries” which through the slight different connotation towards economic growth in the understanding of ”Creative Industries” compared to ”Cultural Industries” which in the beginning were understood as not only economic growth but also the non-commercial arts and culture. This change in the understanding slowly mirrored the policy and decisions in the city of Manchester, which in the long run made CIDS work with small-scale cultural businesses with specific conditions and in the middle of commercial and non-commercial difficult.
The other was the intermediary role, the balancing act between the city and policy becoming more and more instrumental and focused on economic growth, the other being the situation for artists and small cultural businesses and their specific needs which often didn’t fit in to the overall agenda of the city. The idea of building trust by sharing the same risk as the cultural field and taking a clear standing point for the artists, made the officials look upon CIDS as somewhat a maverick organisation.
It is interesting to see how the hopes for creative industries are growing, at the same time as the official support-structures, indicators and expectations still follow the traditional industry.
Read Justin O’Connor’s and Xin Gu’s report here: manchestercids.pdf.
The incubator Centre Dansaert Centrum, Creative Business Centre, is placed in the central Flemish part of Brussels that has become very hip and popular. A few years ago the area was run down and a place many avoided. And we know the story.
Artists moved in, gradually the status of the area grew. Today it has been renovated with apartments and shopping area. It has kept the small-scale feeling and in every corner and street you find them; the energetic people designing clothes, selling craft, running second hand stores, hat designers, architects, coffee shops and others.
For Centre Dansaert Centrum it was an attractive place to have an incubator. It’s an attractive spot, but too expensive for newly started initiatives. In the old storage building with origins back to 1870s, offices and space were created to host small and newly started companies. Today they have around fifty entrepreneurs in the building.
To get a place you introduce your project or idea to Fabien Lambert. You apply on an already existing idea or project. You pay one set amount per month and everything is included: Rent, advice and support on business plan and development, electricity and other related costs. There are eight incubators in the region, financed publicly by Ville de Bruxelles and Region Bruxelles-Capitale and of course the competition between the incubators and funding is there.
Two enthusiastic entrepreneurs and one gallerist meet us; one musician running the music company Cypres; one of the owners, Benoît Vancauwenbergh, of a fairly new communication agency 6+1; and the man behind the small gallery specialized on African artists, Nomad Gallery.
Shiva Subramanian is a cultural entrepreneur. He has a business degree, which he doesn’t use, he says: ”That’s why it works”. His view is that businesses put up so many barriers, so finally you can’t be human.
He has set up a row of different small companies and run different ideas and initiatives. His idea is to just get going, build on a social network and ”no paperwork!” He owns the Sona Towers on Millers Road in Bangalore, and has put up a space on the fifth floor for other entrepreneurs such as internetradio, an architect, a lawyer, graphic designer. What is the key factor for success we ask? The informal setup, his social network and culture.
”This wouldn’t work if it wasn’t within the art.”
Indian Institute of Management, along Bannerghatta Road within a green garden domain, would love an entrepreneur like the ones on fifth floor. On the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning the idea is to work within three areas: Research, teaching and training entrepreneurs, and incubator. In the incubator they look for unique and scalable ideas and a passionate team. During ”punchwhole meetings” they judge and try to punchwhole the idea and see how the entrepreneur respond to this. One challenge is to get the person focussed on the idea; a start-up work seventy percent with other things and not with the idea.
Alternative Law Forum is a collective of lawyers starting in 2000 with the idea that there is a need for an alternative practice of law concerning social and economic injustice. They have run several campaigns for sexual, women and civil rights and questions like: How do minorities get access to their rights?. The eleven laywers connected to ALF cover a large variety of issues, do research, campaigns and publish articles.
Running a perfume business these days is hard. Globalization has changed the market completely, and being a smaller business you just can’t compete with the large ones. The international connection is asked for by customers who would like to order a new perfume, and for a small business it’s just not possible. They have instead accepted to be in the second layer, Mr Vijayakumar explains, when he with love for his profession explains how it works.
The perfumery is one part of what they do at Vijayakumar Farm. The farm is named after the family name, where they have over the past few years planted over 250 species of plants and trees; endangered species, the sainted trees, spices and other things. One part is the breeding of a rare cow, which we are told, is both intelligent and has feelings. We also get to see a wonderful dance performance by Raadha Kalpa and the story behind traditional dance.
One sentence stay in your mind, said by one of the entrepreneurs: ”In India if you don’t succeed you die.”
The visit is part of the exchange program Linking Initiatives, an initiative between Region Västra Götaland and Karnataka in India. Read more under tag ”Bangalore” or category ”India”.
Twelve people working with different parts of the innovation system to support business ideas, counselling, mentorship, and financing for the SME field in Region Västra Götaland walk up the stage. They stand in a long row on the stage where some fifteen years ago the world’s well-known operas were performed. Storan was the former opera house of Göteborg and a cultural mark in Göteborg, a building that unfortunately has not gotten a proper new role yet after the opera moved to the new built opera house by the river in 1994.
This conference is about how to start and help new businesses through the innovation system in the region. There are representatives from incubators, financing, social businesses, counselling, mentorship and the middlemen that can answer questions and send you to the right place. Two of these mentioned that they work with artists, none of them put forward cultural and creative businesses as a potential area or possible clients to work with.
It’s interesting since at the same time, in Brussels and around Europe, the contribution of the creative industries is put forward as a high priority question. The state of Sweden has written an activity plan for how to support creative industries in Sweden, the Region Västra Götaland has one too, and so have some communities. Everyone lean on the figures from the EU commission from 2006 on the economic size of the field: 2,6% of GDP in Europe, 3,1% of the workforce and growing. This is where new jobs will be created.
But for the twelve people on the stage, and the presentators of the day, this fact seem to have passed by unnoticed. Not one mentioned this as a potential area or had strategies of how to encircle, define and find methods of how to work with this growing field. Perhaps it’s not so big in economic size compared to others in the larger economy, but isn’t every lost opportunity also a missed possibility?
Nätverkstan is working with an educational programme on creative industries aimed for the innovation system in the region on an assignment from Region Västra Götaland. We also work with Cultural Innovation as such and have two seminars with Arvind Lodaya from Sristhi School of Art, Design and Technology in May. Read this for more info.
The pile of books this summer is growing. There is so much to read! Here, some old and new books on cultural and creative industries, artistic practice and economy, cultural policy, situation for Art and Artists, black identity and post-colonial analysis, the new global and Free market and so forth.
Bill Ivey, ”Arts, inc. How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights” (University of California Press 2008). Bill Ivey was Chairman of National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) in USA 1998-2001, and is now founding director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. Interesting about Bill Ivey’s experience as Chairman of NEA and how Art and Artists enrich our lives, but where neglect from the governement as well as the market is endangering the future.
David Throsby, ”Economics and Culture” (Cambridge University Press 2001).David Throsby is Professor of Econimcs at Macquarie University in Australia. The book behind the circle-model put forward by Department of Culture, Media and Sports in UK in 2007 (look at this post) is this one, and with very well analysed material on the two grand entities: Economics and Culture.
Daniel H. Pink, ”A whole new mind. Why right-brainers will rule the future” (Penguin Group 2006). For a review read the one by Associate Professor Lane B Mills at East Carolina University. Daniel H Pink has written several books on the changes of work in the world, where this one focus on the rise of right-brain thinking in modern economics. The book has inspired many, and was recommended by Sian Prime as a source for inspiration for the models used at the Creative Pioneer Programme at Nesta in UK (read the following interview with Sian Prime from 2006).
Steven J. Tepper and Bill Ivey, ”Engaging Art. The Next Great Transformation of America’s Cultural Life” (Taylor & Francis Group 2008). Seems in line with the above mentioned topics.
Chris Anderson, ”Free. The future of a radical price” (Hyperion 2009). The editor in chief of Wired Magazine and author of ”The Long Tail”, about the change of market in a globalized world, how an online market creates niche markets and – the topic of this new book – how prices online tend to reach zero which forces a new line of thinking on products and what is a sellable product.
Franz Fanon, ”Black Skin, White Masks” (Grove Press Inc 1967). Franz Fanon was born in Martinique in 1925, studied medicine in France, specialized in psychatry and wrote several books on the African struggle for liberation. The book was first published in 1952.
These days, when entrepreneurship is put forward as the solution of the cultural field’s economic difficulties, and when funding bodies on all levels are talking more frequently of Artists and cultural organizations having to be more entrepreneurial, searching for ”sponsorship”, ”alternative funding” and ”market demand”, it might be time to kill some myths.
An issue of the Economist this spring (March 14–20, 2009) with a special focus on entrepreneurship, put forward five myths of entrepreneurs that needs to be put aside if we are to understand and catalyze entrepreneurship.
Myth 1. Entrepreneurs are lonely, socially incompetent geniuses that come up with great ideas. Instead, the article argues, entrepreneurship is a social activity. An entrepreneur might be very independent, but needs a business partner or social networks to succeed.
Myth 2. Most entrepreneurs are extremely young. Some have been very young, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, the article lift forward. But a significant amount is also older, like Gary Buller who started the GPS company Garmin at the age of 52.
Myth 3. Entrepreneurship is driven mainly by venture capital. In fact, venture capitalists fund only a very small fraction of start-ups. Majority of money put into start-ups, the article shows, come from personal debts and of the ”three f:s”: Friends, fools and families.
Myth 4. To succeed, entrepreneurs must produce a world-changing product. Instead, experience shows that the most successful entrepreneurs focus on processes rather than products.
Myth 5. Entrepreneurship cannot flourish within large companies. Small start-ups are very important, the article points out, but also large companies are being successful in keeping an attitude of entrepreneurship. The company Johnson & Johnson is put forward as an example.
The personal computer, the mobile phone and internet has made entrepreneurship flourish. Many initiatives has grown since these technological changes were introduced, entrepreneurs come from all parts of the world. Due to falling prices in communication, a global market can be reached instantly.
One interesting initiative is the The Indus Entrepreneur (TIE), started in Silicon Valley in 1992 by a group of Indian entrepreneurs living in the valley. Today they have 12.000 members spread in 12 countries. The idea was to promote entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking and education. A network meeting is held in Stockholm, on 27th of May, organized at the Stockholm-based meeting place the Hub.
Etiketter:Business idea, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural Policy, Digitization, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Flexibility, Globalization, Innovation, New economy, Resources, Self-employment, Silicon Valley, Social entrepreneur
Intersection Incubator started in the 70s trying to help artists with sustainability. Today it’s more formalised and is run through the incubator. 120 projects are part of the programme, which primarily consists of fundraising, business management and promoting work. Few funders give artists direct funding, for this you need to start a non-profit organisation.
But the organisational form has laws that are difficult to overview. Most of the time an individual doesn’t have a chance to keep up with changes in regulations, which makes it difficult says Yesenia Sanchez at our meeting. Intersection is the intermediary between the artist and the funder. The solution is called Fiscal Sponsorship, which in short is taking care of the money in and out, while the artist can concentrate on being an artist. The incubator has a large network of partners that the members easily can get in touch with and use for a small fee.
It can be lawyers, bookkeeping, and marketing.Related organisations could be Fractured Atlas, Springboard for the Arts, National Network of Fiscal Sponsorship (website coming), Center for Culture Innovation and Creative Capital. At Ninth Street Independent Film Center, film festivals and organisations as The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (Namac) are gathered in one building in central San Fransisco. The solution was to buy the building, trying to build up the advantages of sharing resources, networking and supporting each other. The independent film sector is a large sector in San Francisco, although the field is changeing, KC Price tells us.
More and more people have their own cameras and computors, the need for spaces where this can be rented or borrowed has changed. The Do t Yourself trend has changed who is producer and customer and film makers in much larger extend work on their own. What still is a need for is meeting places.Namac is one of the organisations based in this building, a non-profit organisation with around 370 members all over USA and some in Canada with the common goal to support and work with the advocacy of independent film, video, audio and digital arts. Amanada Ault and Morgan Sully meet us in their small office. The administration is just a few people, the variety of activities that they do is impressive. Main focus is events, research, capacity building (both individual and organisational) and advocacy. Members meet mainly during the every two-year conference; on-line discussions and information is the main communication tool.
They want to, as they say, put forward ”the value of the collective intelligence of the network” and are at the moment developing a new website, which will be much more user friendly and a platform to be active from. This together with a reflective part where they do articles and studies of the field and to put forward new methods, often provocative, makes them both a practioner and service organisation.
On the freeway to Palo Alto in Silicon Valley, the radio declares that two million people identify themselves as artists in the USA. 3,71% of the total working force in San Francisco are artists according to 2005 Census Data. They earn in average less than others with the equivalent years of education. The study made by The National Endowment for the Arts had also found that the medium salary for artists is 35.000 dollars a year. An article on the topic can be found in the June 13 issue of New York Times.
”Cooperation with other fields, for example the business field, has to be seen by artists as an interesting field in itself to explore. If they do, it’s not a problem with artistic integrity. If you only see it as money and economy, you will have problems. No one will just give you money. This is how you should work with entrepreneurship. As new interesting artistic processes, which are interesting to explore.” Thoughts on the road on artistic integrity and entrepreneurship, told by the Artist Jörgen Svensson.
At Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, they have an artist-in-residence program in a unique setting. Surrounded by beautiful areas, hills to trek in and close to the ocean side, the former military buildings are now studios for artists. Several international artists have had residencies here over the years, being able to focus on their work and meet other artists from all over the world. The idea is to offer artists the opportunity to research and networking that build the understanding for the role of art in society.
When moving to Paris at the age of nineteen, Pablo Picasso was already an accepted artist. Although a poor one. As a young upcoming artist he got in contact with a rich couple that let their living room function as a gallery where he could show his work. The gallery was an incubator for his artistic development, a place where he was let to experiment. What importance did this have on his way to become one of the twentieth centuries most important artist? At San Francisco Museum of Modern Art you find an educational part of the museum, which let you read, learn and interact with the artists and the work you see in the exhibitions. You can watch short movies made by artists, read articles and description of their work. Look at photos of art work.
The visit is part of the study trip to San Francisco, USA, done by representatives from Nätverkstan, the arts and City Museum of Göteborg in June 2008.
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