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Never before have cultural journals been in the centre of the debate in Swedish media.
After the decision of the State Cultural Committee (Kulturutskottet) to cut the budget of the cultural journals with nearly 80%, the debate has been roaring.
Everyone: Cultural critics, journalists, writers; politicians from left to right (yes, even colleagues to Chair of the Committee, Per Bill, in the Conservative party have raised furious voices); professional organizations and interest groups, are writing articles, debating and arguing.
The decision has still not been changed to save the cultural journals.
But the Culture Minister who after the new election in March 2015 decides to reintroduce or even raise the support for the journals can only win. For a very small sum of money, this minister will gain respect and will be remembered as the one who saved the public critical dialogue and debate in Sweden.
Categories: Art Artistic practice Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Journals Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Democracy Digitization Distribution Economy Education Entrepreneurship Innovation Literature Regional Development
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Digitization, Distribution, Economy, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Literature, New economy, Social entrepreneur
”A whole segment of critical debate is erased (…)” describes editor and critic Kim West in an article in Kunstkritikk where he writes about the outrage that hit Sweden on Friday (December 12th).
The coalition of Liberal-Conservatives is cutting the support for the rich variety of cultural journals in Sweden by around 80%. This means a whole art form is being closed down and killed. In one stroke of the red pen. No other European country has done the same.
This is possible due to the dramatic development in Swedish politics the last few weeks where the Sweden Democrats decided to vote for the opposition party’s budget, instead of the ruling left-wing coalition’s budget. This meant that the government’s budget didn’t win the election in parliament and therefore has to rule on the opposition party’s budget in waiting for the new election on March 22 2015.
And apparently the coalition of Liberal and Conservatives now take the chance to fulfil cuts of 365 million SEK in the cultural budget. 15 million SEK of these are being cut in one area specifically: cultural journals. The support for this area is 19 million SEK in total today, cutting 15 million SEK of these leaves 4 million SEK left.
This means that a whole sector is sentenced to a sure death.
Cultural journals are already living on the economic edge. Editors, writers, and critics are getting very low payment for their articles. These people are magicians who have dedicated their time to make sure that critical journalism and quality texts are still produced. The wide variety of critical and intensifying perspectives have been a pride in Swedish democracy. The Liberal-Conservatives showed on Friday how easily this could be ruined.
This is also done in a time when the media crisis is being discussed (just lately in three articles in the daily Göteborgs-Posten), newspapers are closing down their cultural pages, and critical and culture journalism is being severely threatened.
These times calls for action!
Sign this petition just to start with: Rädda Kulturtidskriftsstödet (Save the support for cultural journals).
Categories: Art Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Journals Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Democracy Distribution Economy Entrepreneurship Innovation Literature Regional Development Reports, articles and books
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Distribution, Economy, Education, Employment, Entrepreneur, Literature, Research, Social entrepreneur
An art piece outside the Bibliothèque Nationale in Rabat (Morocco) called ”Digital” is reflecting on the new society. Old traditions meet the new knowledge and digital society.
”It’s not one modernity”, said South African poet, writer and Professor Pitika Ntuli in an engaging and poethic speech: ”there are several parallel modernities”. ”It’s time for the African Cultural Renaissance”, he continued.
Several examples of a growing cultural scene is shown. In Nigeria the film industry (Nollywood) comes to 10% of GDP in a country with around 174 million inhabitants. In Senegal the music industry is thriving and growing. South Africa is showing important examples as well as visual arts and museums in Morocco.
The global value of Cultural and Creative Industries is said to be around 600 billion USD.
Africa’s share is less then 1%. This is the topic of the three conference days.
Categories: Art Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Democracy Digitization Distribution Economy Education Entrepreneurship International Regional Development Seminar
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Digitization, Distribution, Economy, Education, Employment, Entrepreneur, Globalization, International exchange, New economy, Social entrepreneur
They have made their home their creative space. From the house situated in the small village of Kaykino, with the forest around the corner, a big garden space for sculptures, and the outhouses with great potential for future ideas, project manager (and former fashion designer) Olga and sculptor Viktor Gracheva have created a space from which they run their artistic and cultural projects as well as exchanges and seminars.
Their home turns into an inspiring and warm space for discussions in a second, and on October 23–27 this is taking place. Their mission is to try to with art and culture turn the negative trend in the villages of Begunitsy and Kaykino, situated around 100 km outside of St Petersburg.
The villages have long struggled with a negative population trend; young people leave the countryside to move to the cities. Agriculture is declining, unemployment is high. There is a need to find new development tools to end this negative spiral.
This and lots more was discussed during the Creative Camp Kaykino where Swedish sculptor and owner of Stonezone Lukas Arons attended, as well as local municipal Commissioner and the Cultural Secretary of Munkedal Municipality in Sweden participated. Nätverkstan was also there.
The lake Ljusnaren is quiet, laying still, perhaps waiting for the afternoon’s big drama being played right here, in the woods outside the city of Kopparberg: Guiseppe Verdi’s crime passionnel Otello.
People arrive in cars and buses. Some have taken the direct train from Stockholm and step right out on the ground and walk slowly in the warm afternoon towards the entrance of the large wooden saw mill.
”I imagine that it would be like being in the body of a violin” says director William Relton in an interview about the acoustic. It’s a warm and very clear acoustic in the mill, he describes it, and perfect for opera.
It’s also what seems to have inspired opera-singer Sten Niclasson when he ran into the closed-down saw mill. The acoustic was impressive; the place, right on the edge of the lake Ljusnaren in Bergslagen, inspiring; and the mill in all its granduor and size as if made for opera. Not least the train rail connecting the mill directly to Stockholm, was all factors that landed the idea of exchanging wood for opera.
Opera på skäret, a summer opera festival, started in 2004 after long hours of work and discussions with local municipality, the region, and different funders. In 2014 the neighbouring municipality Örebro decided to raise the yearly amount invested in the festival.
As so many municipalities around Sweden, also Ljusnarsbergs municipality is trying to deal with a declining population, lack of jobs, young people moving to the large cities, and a challenging economic situation. Art and culture, Creative Industries, becomes a light in the dark with hope for attractiveness of people’s interest for living, establishing, and visiting.
The 795 seats are not filled this afternoon, but nearly enough. Many people from near and long away have found their way to the opera on the edge to follow Otello‘s way to his ruin driven by only one thing: jelousy.
Nätverkstan did together with Sture Carlsson an analysis of another opera in Sweden in 2014: Wermland Opera. The book can be found here.
”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.
Within a week, three seminars has taken place in Göteborg and Stockholm with the ambition to bring knowledge and perspectives on cultural policy, cultural and creative industries, and the myth of the creative city.
To begin with the last.
Justin O’Connor, Professor at Monash University in Australia and the authority on cultural and creative industries, did a quick stop in Göteborg on his way to Stockholm to talk about Cultural Economy and Cultural Citizenship. Beyond the Creative City. Göteborg is one of all the European cities being promoted as the ”creative” city and the ”most creative region” in Sweden, eagerly cheered by the American economic’s Professor Richard Florida during his visit in 2006 when he identified Göteborg and Sweden to be a role-model of creativity and innovation.
Interesting since at the same time Göteborg is one of the most segregated cities in Europe, something that seemed to have slipped away from the Professor’s research.
Justin O’Connor said three things to be important:
1) Reinstall the value of art and culture and move away from ”creativity”,
2) Don’t run away from economics! Culture is part of the economy. Don’t leave it for others to handle and do not escape by saying economy is only for Neo-liberalists, and
3) The public space is for all. It’s time to reinstall Cultural Citizenship.
Cultural and Creative industries was in focus in Stockholm when Professors Justin O’Connor and Birgit Mandel, from Hildesheim University in Germany, discussed CCI – and beyond. Are we seeing the end of CCI? Or is it time for a revived understanding of the concept? Where are the artists in the discussion of CCI?
And the message was clear: Drop ”creativity”. This has only messed up the discussion. Go back to cultural economy. Discuss and define economy from the perspective of the arts and culture.
And today, lastly, a day with focus on cultural policy on the regional level of Region Västra Götaland tossing and turning on Whose Culture? Whose Plans? Whose Money? The seminar ended with politicians answering questions on what they think is the most important cultural policy question that they will bring to this year’s election. Participation, inclusive culture, culture to children and youngsters, integration was some of the answers.
The most important words, though, were said by Poetry Slam Winner Nino Mick, who summarized hen’s impressions during the day in a poetic reading that went straight into the heart.
The Göteborg event with Justin O’Connor is found here.
The invitation to the seminar in Stockholm: KN_Seminarieinbjudan_pdf.
The Cultural Policy day here.
Categories: Art Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Democracy Economy Education Entrepreneurship International Leadership Literature Regional Development Seminar
It’s complex and easy to get entagled along never-ending blind discussion- alleys with no emergency exit. The result being that the important discussion on cultural entrepreneurship and the possibilities for artists to live on their art is lost.
Nätverkstan, with author David Karlsson, has together with Region Västra Götaland tried to untangle some of these knots by producing this Questions&Facts booklet.
It’s formed as a quick guide with focus on cultural entrepreneurship. Not art. Not business. But art and business.
Download here: How_long_is_a_piece_of_string.pdf
In the middle of the roaring debate on the future of Lagerhuset, the Warehouse, a building in central Göteborg housing small-scale independent cultural organizations, publishers, and cultural journals, the digital journal Alba and Tidskriftsverkstan i Väst arranged a debate on cultural policy in the House of Literature (located in Lagerhuset).
It couldn’t be better timing.
But let’s start from the beginning. The old warehouse built in beginning of 1900 was for a long time a toll free warehouse for goods stored waiting for taxation to continue into the city. The building was then empty for a long time but in 1999 a group of small-scale publishers moved in together with Nätverkstan, Tidskriftsverkstan i Väst, the journals Ord&Bild, Glänta, and Paletten.
Other small businesses moved in, such as photographers, psychologists, architects, and editors.
In 2013 Frilagret started its cultural space for young people with dialogue processes and an active group of young cultural-interested people setting the agenda, an organization owned by the municipality. In October the same year the House of Literature opened its doors for readings, discussions on literature, space for writing, debates and discussions with authors, another of the municipality owned activities in the building.
And in March 2014 it was clear that the landlord, another part of the municipality, their own real-estate company Higab is chock-raising the rent for those in the house negotiating their contracts. One publishing house is leaving already in June.
The cluster of small-scale cultural organizations and entrepreneurs has taking long to create. And it can be destroyed in a second. No one can afford 30-35% higher rent.
With one hand the municipality is investing in a cultural house, while the other is pulling the rug under the feet of all the cultural organizations already in the building.
Of all the seminars, conferences, public debates and discussions on the cultural and creative city over the last ten years, Higab must have missed them all.
And they missed yesterday’s debate as well. Where are they? Are they at all concerned of the context and society they work in?
Categories: Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Journals Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Economy Entrepreneurship Innovation Literature Medialab Music Nätverkstan Regional Development
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Literature, Renewal, Social entrepreneur
Is there a need for a joint Capacity Building program within Art and Entrepreneurship on the regional level in East Africa, driven and run by the cultural field? If so, what could a program look like?
Those have been questions discussed on the second meeting with representatives from cultural organizations as well as artists from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda. The meeting in Kampala on March 6–9, included several large questions.
What kind of competence building is needed among artists and cultural organizations? Is the perspective of livelihood a useful one? What are points of similarities in the context and cultural scene in the different countries, and what are the differences?
Three intense conference-days, with visits of cultural organizations in Kampala, ended in the conclusion that this process, discussion, and concrete ideas need to continue.
Three concrete points already happening is:
1) the GoDown Arts Centre start a term 1 course in Creative Entrepreneurship in May.
2) it might be possible to hold a facilitators’ course and training-for-trainers with regional partners sometime between May and August,
3) another meeting on the East Africa level will be held, probably in August, this time hosted by either Tanzania or Rwanda and with local artists invited.
On the meeting in Uganda artists within performing arts, writing, and visual art was participating, as well as representatives from Bayimba Cultural Foundation (Uganda), Femrite (Uganda), 32°East (Uganda), Autumn Ventures Africa (Uganda), MUDA (Tanzania), Ishyo Arts Centre (Rwanda).
The meeting is part of the project ”East Africa Capacity Building Program for Creative Entrepreneurs and Artists” funded mainly by the Swedish Institute and is a cooperation between GoDown Arts Centre (Kenya) and Nätverkstan (Sweden).
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Economy, Education, Entrepreneurship, International exchange, Literature
High voices are raised in Sweden with pros and cons on the CCI – but few have checked any facts or bothered to do analytical distinctions before continuing an agitated talk.
Now the Region of Västra Götaland has published a small booklet written by David Karlsson at Nätverkstan with answers and questions on CCI in a try to sort things out a bit. The intriguing title is: How long is a piece of string?
In Swedish, but an English version is perhaps on it’s way. Download here: Hur långt är ett snöre.pdf.
When Judy Ogana takes the floor to welcome us all, the warmth and pride shines in her face. In the audience are friends, colleagues and partners from East Africa and abroad gathered to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi together with her, Joy Mboya, and the rest of the staff.
The story of the Godown is impressive, and as Joy Mboya takes us through the vision, steps, ideas, persistence, you realize that this is what running a cultural organization is about: the awareness of the context and society you are part of and your role in it; the dedication for building a strong, vivid, interesting cultural scene; empowerment with capacity-building on the grass-root level; participation, sharing, and networking.
Joy Mboya lifts a few aspects that has been especially important in the GoDown success, which she describes as ”some steps of victory and some steps of challenges”:
1. Getting a space; a multidisciplinary center for the local art and cultural scene in the local community
2. The regional linkages with colleagues in East Africa
3. The strategic plan 2005-2007 as a tool which also set the aim to create a public, innovative, dynamic, and vibrant space
4. Training and development, mobility, exchange, and exposure
5. A strong community orientation
6. Being a mirror of society. The post-election violence in 2007 was a starting-point where the exhibition Kenya Burnings was important. The need for artists to look back and reflect on what’s happening in society.
7. Sustainability and capacity-building focus on artist livelihood
8. Discourse and research
9. The role of cultural spaces in urban living
10. The Creative Entrepreneurship Programme
After the celebrations and the outline of the GoDown Arts Centre’s history and important steps, the East Africa Arts Summit continued discussions with focus on how networking, sharing knowledge, and building a strong art and cultural scene on a regional level could be enhanced.
Nätverkstan and the GoDown Arts Center have been cooperating on capacity-building since 2009, support has been mainly from the Swedish Institute Creative Force programme.
Categories: Art Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Democracy Economy Education Entrepreneurship Innovation International Kenya Leadership Regional Development
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.
In classes we often talk about the importance of a proper ending of a project. In reality this rarely happens. The project is reported back to funders, papers filled in, employment ends, and the project results, people and process just disappear in to the daily work and next steps.
To address this unsatisfactory way of working we last year put an effort into creating a project model, specific for Nätverkstan and our projects. It’s quite simple. Just a lot of questions and things to think of when you start as a project team. Who is responsible for what? Deadlines? Expectations? Decision-making processes? Small and large things to go through to elucidate the project for the full project team.
And of course, the ending. How do you end the project?
Yesterday we ended and celebrated the project Cultural entrepreneurship workshop (Knep) which two years has now come to an end. We still have the final report to write. Despite this, we invited the people around the project, both the project team and the consultants, to a pack-it-together-dinner where we over wonderful food shared goodies and difficulties during the project period, what we learned, what we thought, next step.
From now on this is how we will end all projects. A salute to pack-it-together-dinners!
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
Often debated, and the politicians in Region Västra Götaland love to join the choir, is the relation between the central city or capital and the periphery. Urbanization has made this a burning question. A constant topic on politicians agenda is how to deal with depopulation of the countryside.
The discussion is often built as if the center is in opposition to the periphery. Instead of a perspective of how the two can support each other in development. American–Canadian activist and writer Jane Jacobs (1916–2006), who had a great interest in urban development and communities, wrote in mid 60s about this dilemma. Her main thesis was that cities are the main drivers of economic development.
The June 30th number of Economist puts London on a high as the international hub in UK and discusses its role for development of the rest of Britain. And the lack of appreciation of its brilliance among policymakers.
”Now history is moving on, and the policymakers are messing up. They could tip the city into a decline without even noticing it, for the ecosystem of a great city is a complex and fragile thing.”
”Stay open to stay great” is the conclusion of the Economist leader article. Staying open means continue to let foreigners and immigrants coming into the country. They have helped built London to the city it is and more help is needed. Building a fortress around Europe doesn’t seem like the most forward-looking idea.
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
For a long time Region Västra Götaland has been a model region in Sweden with its offensive cultural policy. But what’s happening now?
Cultural critic and Chair of Nätverkstan board, David Karlsson, puts the light on the regional cultural policy in an article posted in the daily Göteborgs-Posten last week.
On Thursday November 17, the Cultural Affairs Comittee of the Region took two important decisions; a new Cultural Policy Strategy, and a detailed budget for 2012. As the Cultural Policy Strategy is a visionary and analyzing document, probably the most powerful cultural policy document in the country, the budget is depressing reading. It shows nothing of the visionary, or interest for the art and culture outside the traditional art form limitations.
The whole question falls back on the leadership of the region. Does anyone know where Region Västra Götaland is heading?
Download the article (in Swedish) here: vgr_debatt.pdf.
So far the first course, with workshops taking place at four different places in the region with around 8-10 participating artists in each, has ended and a new round of courses started. Last Saturday we had the full-day conference with David Karlsson talking about Cultural Industries, Gothenburg Combo on how they live on their art, and Ulla-Lisa Thordén on selling and pricing with all participants gathering in Vänersborg.
This is the road-trip around the Region of Västra Götaland this fall meeting artists in Skövde, Borås, Ulricehamn, Uddebo, Tranemo, Lidköping, Gerlesborg, Vänersborg. More to come!
Read more here.
Categories: Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural entrepreneurship workshop (Knep) Economy Entrepreneurship Regional Development The Art of living on Art
Three different processes in Swedish contemporary policy coincide and become quite specific during our visit at Gotland: Regionalisation, cultural and creative industries, and challenges for traditional industries.
Gotland, the biggest island in Sweden situated in the Baltic Sea, and of around 57.000 inhabitants, has from January 1 2011 become a region.
Swedish regional policy has been a policy area since the 1960s and was early a tool to mitigate the gap between state and countryside. The process continued and in the 1980s Europe launched the idea of ”The regions of Europe”. In Swedish policy a cornerstone in the regional forming was the official report looking into geographical areas of forming regions and governance of these in the 1990s. Still, in 2011 the reform work is continuing and a lot of question marks need to be solved.
For Gotland with its natural borders being surrounded by the ocean, this becomes very specific. The municipality becomes the region. Two political levels becomes in reality one. In comparison Skåne Region is formed by 33 municipalities and Region Västra Götaland by 49.
Regionalisation has meant new focus and each region has put a lot of effort into creating a distinctive profile of themselves with the aim of creating jobs and attracting new businesses. The regional level has direct contact with the EU level and money and the debated decision in the Swedish Parliament in 2010 to distribute cultural money to the regions through the koffertmodellen (”trunk model”) has been important steps in this direction. The decision means that a ”trunk of money” together with responsibility of cultural institutions and projects are transferred from state to the regional administration levels.
Cultural and creative industries have become a regional development tool in line with regionalisation. At Gotland the regional representatives we meet put forward these industries as one of the focus areas in the growth program of the region.
Three areas are of specific interest: Event, film and design. The question rises of how well anchored these ideas are among the artists? A challenge must be for the regional level to communicate and anchor these ideas among the around one thousand professional artists and 150 cultural organizations on the island who probably have another focus and priority list.
Cementa in Slite is part of yet another process: The changes from industrial to knowledge society. How do you run a traditional industry in a society where symbolic values are becoming more important and production scenes are changing? Structural changes has been present also at Gotland, where the Military Defence Forces during a long time was the major employer, but due to changes in the threat scenario from the east decided to close its activities in 2005 leaving space open and people in transition programs.
Cementa mines limestone and produces 2,5 billion ton cement per year. They are right by the Sea on the east coast of Gotland, with the unique position to have a fairly straight production line from the mines, different refinement processes and directly to the cargo of the ships. Cementa was set up in 1871 as a direct need for producing cement inland in Sweden and not importing it during industrialisation. They have been successful and managed to adapt to different cycles, changes in society, and new competition of cheap production places such as India and China.
Factory Manager Per Ole Morken and Environment Manager Kerstin Nyberg put forward the environment challenges as important and an area where Cementa has put in an effort to show that they take their responsibility for a sustainable environment. And thanks to a research team and persistent work, they can show impressive figures of reducing factory effluents, something you understand as one of the success factors putting Cementa in Slite in focus as modern and responsible factory.
Stina Lindholm at Skulpturfabriken (Sculptorfactory, my translation) is one of the customers of Cementa. A very small customer in the amount of cement bought, but important in her visionary ideas of what can be done with this product. She is a sculptor and designer creating artistic products of concrete. Her ideas have no limits; outdoor benches, candle light holders, bowls, kitchen benches, sculptors, garden decorations. Her imagination opens eyes of the use of the material.
And there are ideas among a group of designers at Grasp Studio, where Stina Lindholm is one, to start something in an empty building close to the cement factory and in, they hope, cooperation with the factory.
If it is true that symbolic value of products is growing along side the production of classical industrial products, such a cooperation could well be the future.
The visit was part of the work of Rådet för kulturella och kreativa näringar (Swedish Council for Cultural and Creative Industries), a fairly newly formed council supporting the Cultural and Enterprise Ministry in the work with these industries. Read more of the Council here.
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