Archive för The Art of living on Art

Start-up Cultural Incubator

The Cultural Incubator is a project run by Nätverkstan that 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 and feasible. Coaching and knowledge building seminars is part of the process, and finally they leave with action plans that can be used as a base to form business plans or project plans and applications.

The incubator is part of a large EU-project based in the immigrant dense Northeastern parts of Göteborg, the project is also named Utveckling Nordost (Development Northeast), and has the ambition to strengthen these areas’ attraction and create jobs. One way to do this is through strengthening culture and entrepreneurship.

The Cultural Incubator started in end of February and a great way to start is to use some time at the first meeting to get to know each other beyond the classical presentation round. It’s both valuable and sets the crossbar for the rest of the project time.

Our first start-up meeting followed by a cocking-session making dinner together and the second meeting was a bustour to visit the artistic group Not Quite in Fengersfors, in the woods of Dalsland. Inspiration, learning how Not Quite started and run their organization, and not the least: time to get to know each other and build networks.

Photo: Elin Tollbom


6 mars, 2013

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Swingdoors and recycling

Swedish photographer Mats Bäcker had a flying start of his career taking the legendary black and white photo of Iggy Pop at Dad’s Dancehall in Kopenhagen in 1977. Thirty-five years later the photo of Iggy Pop showing the finger to the audience sold at a famous Swedish Auction House for 56.000 SEK (6.489 euro).

He is driven by a feeling of ”it will go to hell anyway” and says that ”when the entrepreneur goes in, the artist goes out”. The entrepreneur and artist seem to be like a swingdoor in constant movement in his life.

During the one hour lecture at the six fulldays course on art and entrepreneurship hosted by Kulturlyftet and performed by Nätverkstan, Mats Bäcker tells a wonderful success-story full of worries and disbelief; a constant force to develop his artistic skill and challenging his perception in trying new things; networking; and, as he puts it ”good luck and a good gene to endure disappointments”.

The last is, he points out, how to live on your art. The other is to recycle. The artistic work he did when he started as a pop- and rockart photographer is used again, in new settings and imagery. Later as a performance photographer at the Opera in Stockholm he developed new ways of taking photos of movement. All can be used again in new playful ways.

”Recylce, recycle, recycle” he says with emphasis looking over the audience of illustrators, photographers, designers, filmers, and visual artists, and, he points out, not trying to do everything but instead choose your artistic form and work hard on this.

9 oktober, 2012

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Education: Artistic practice and entrepreneurship

Kulturlyftet is a large European educational project started by KRO/KIF (The Swedish Artists’ National Organization and Swedish Handicraftartists and Industrial Designers, my translation) with the aim of offering a range of educational initiatives for their members.

The project offers courses in areas such as Media and Communication, Pedagogics, Culture and Availability, and Project- and Process work with Art and Culture in Focus.

Nätverkstan is responsible the course Artistic Practice and Entrepreneurship together with Republic Consulting. Last Monday we started and around fifteen participants; illustrators, photographers, publishers, filmmakers, will gather once a week for six weeks in WIP Konsthall in Årsta to dig deep into entrepreneurship and how to live on your artistic practice. Exciting!

Kulturlyftet is run by KRO/KIF in cooperation with Svenska Fotografers Förbund (Association of Swedish Professional Photographers), Svenska Tecknare (Association of Swedish Illustrators and Graphic Designers), and Konstnärscentrum Öst. Their members are photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, visual artists, and artists within handicraft and industrial design.

5 september, 2012

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Workshop Belgrade

Three days of intense working on future ideas, new now, skills, hinder, challenges and mentorship with a group of wonderful creatives in an almost 30 degree warm Belgrade.

2 maj, 2012

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On the road in Västra Götaland

0001glNätverkstan is running workshops around the Region of Västra Götaland (West Sweden) on The Art of living on Art, a project funded by European Social Fund.

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.

29 november, 2011

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Workshop Tallinn

We have gathered, around ten students, teacher and artists from the Cultural Management Program, Art University and the field , to work on the art of living on art and, for some, the burning question of what will happen after studies are finished.

The invitation is from the MA Cultural Management in Tallinn at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in the center of the city. In the small room great plans and ideas are drawn up, reflections and dreams are high as well as down to the practice of everyday work. So, what needs to be done? What active steps can I take? What is the surrounding discussion and context in society at the moment?

Tallinn is this year Cultural Capital and in Estonia the cultural industries gained momentum in 2003-2004. Figures say that creative industries are around three percent of Estonia GDP and that the added value from this field was larger than any other branch or industry (see Tallinn City Enterprise Board). Recently a large conference was held in Tallinn on Creative Entrepreneurship for a Competitive Economy with some major speakers in the field invited. Talking to people in the cultural field there seem to be a gap between the large plans of creative industries and the artists. Someone should perhaps take an interest in mitigating this gap.


26 oktober, 2011

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Cultural practioners in Nairobi

All the paintings that were carried outside just a few minutes before, have to be taken inside again as the weather quickly changed from sun to rain.

img_3667Visual artist Tabitha Wa Thuku‘s home is not just a home for the family, it’s also an exhibition hall, a studio, and a storage space for many years of art works.

She rents the house, have been moving 18 times and now lives an hour from Nairobi in Banana Hills. Her drive  and capability of restart is impressive. She is an established and well-known visual artist in Kenya.

For two days we have together with GoDown Arts Center been tossing and turning the idea of a longer educational idea with in art and entrepreneurship and management. How can can an education be built, specifically designed for and meeting thechallenges in Kenyan and East African cultural field?

Nätverkstan is together with Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg, discussing a masterprogram on art and entrepreneurship and how this can be formed. This together with the experience of Sian Prime from Goldsmiths University in London and also starting the Creative Pioneer Program does become an interesting mix of possibilities.

The project is a cooperation between Nätverkstan and GoDown Arts Center in partnership with Sian Prime (UK), during 2010 funded by Swedish Inistute. Look under Kenya for more.


8 december, 2010

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Money&Meaning • Nairobi • Day 2

img_3637For two days visual artists, dancers, film-makers, and producers have gathered to together with Sian Prime and ourselves find ways to pursue the artistic career and meet challenges.

Things from finding who you need to talk to, what is the next step, who is the customer, audience or client has been discussed; as well as how do you make best use of your time, killing the worst ”truths” about marketing and adjust the marketing plans for the situation for the artistic practice; and things like budget, pricing and costing.

It is nothing like sharing experiences, asking challenging questions to each other, and create a room for structured reflection and ideas. The Indian notion of ”fearless listening” fits very well to describe the sharing which can make all the difference.

The project is a cooperation between Nätverkstan and GoDown Arts Center in partnership with Sian Prime (UK), during 2010 funded by Swedish Inistute. Look under Kenya for more.


4 december, 2010

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Money&Meaning • Nairobi • Step 2

The workshop ”Money&Meaning” (or ”The Art of living on Art” as we also call it) in Nairobi is a continuation of workshops done in Nairobi and Mombasa during 2009 and 2010.

The idea is also to build further educational possibilities for artists in East Africa. The project is a cooperation between Nätverkstan and GoDown Arts Center in partnership with Sian Prime (UK), during 2010 funded by Swedish Inistute.


3 december, 2010

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Art living on Art • Mombasa, Kenya

Fourteen artists within music, visual art, dance, theatre, sculptor, and cultural organizations from East African countries gathered in Mombasa the past two days for the workshop Money–Meaning (or The Art of living on Art), arranged by the GoDown Arts Centre.

In what during the night was transformed to the hotel nightclub, we during the day used as the room for reflection on how to be able to live on your art and what changes that need to be performed to reach your goals and visions. Lively discussions were mixed with small groups and time for your own reflection. The question of how you balance between money and meaning (the artistic work or integrity) in your daily life led to intense discussions on where the fine borderline is where you feel you loose your artistic quality.

We started of with questions and expectations of the workshop. Things like: More knowledge of how to manage one-self, a sceptical attitude towards the money and meaning concept and a curiosity to know more. Also: Understanding of how to run an organization, how you can survive as an artist, and how to be more business-like within the artfield. Not everything was answered, but getting time to in a structured way reflect on your situation and how to be able to live on what you do, is useful. Two wonderful, energetic, and interesting working days.

Read more of the workshop under category The Art of living on Art on this page.


30 september, 2010

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Gothenburg Combo

At the Summer Academy ”The Art of living on Art” starting on June 14 eleven participants from fields of music, film and visual art gathered to develop their future ideas and what steps to take to find ways to live on their art. The Academy is an initiative started by Academy of Music and Drama in Göteborg together with Nätverkstan, this year involving teachers from the all different artistic faculties.

Workshops are combined with lectures and examples of artists finding their way to live on what they do. One of the latter is the amazing guitar duo Gothenburg Combo. David Hansson and Thomas Hansy met during at the Academy of Music and Drama in Göteborg where they studied classical music, started up a band and is now touring the world playing acoustic guitar – one of the hardest instruments to try to make a career of, we are told.

They started during the education by setting up scheduled jams every Friday. No excuses were allowed to skip these sessions. No matter how you felt, if a nail was broken (they use their nails when playing), family reasons or whatsoever were reasons enough to cancel a session. You showed up and delivered something. The thought was simple: In working life you have to deliver. This was a good schooling into what that means.

They say that there is no miracle formula to reach success. It’s about delivering the best you can at every session. To work hard. Traditional marketing has not worked, they found, it’s difficult to plan and do a market strategy. Instead other things has shown important, such as networking and always work on reaching high artistic quality. A collection of many small steps in a mixture has been a way to work and, it showed a way to success. A mixture of sending material to possible partners and concert arrangers and playing at large and small concerts around the world. One example of how they work is on the tours around the world where their motto is to always come prepared, so they do not, like many other artists, have sit and practice in the hotel room into the last minute before the concert. They use the time to network, meet possible new contacts, jam with other artists for inspiration or just connecting with other musicians.

”It’s all or nothing.”

”We have created an urge for our music.”

The Summer Academy ”The Art of living on Art” is a ten week university course for professionals within the artistic professions. Read more here.


26 juni, 2010

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Art in Nairobi

We get to see a beautiful piece by choreographer Matthew Ondiege and his four dancers, a dance shifting in pace from fast to slow, from harmony to stress and internal conflicts. He is also working with the group Uwezo Mix Dance Theatre that bring together disabled dancers with other dancers to form contemporary dance pieces.

Visual Artist Mary Ogembo tells us an amazing story of how Art can be sold. A chinese person came across her paintings over Internet, I think it was, and contacted Mary to see if she could buy some. But since Mary is in Kenya, and the buyer was across oceans and countries, this was a bit difficult. And how should Mary verify that she was Mary? So she contacted different trustworthy people running organizations, Art exhibition halls and so forth so that the buyer could get references. An embassy official came to visit her in her studio to see if she existed. And after this process the buyer bought eight paintings, Mary got the money and rolled the eight paintings in packages and sent them across the sea.

Visual Artist Salah Ammar was one of the Artists part of the newly opened exhibition at the Ramoma, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Nairobi. Salah Ammar shows his work, pieces showing that his Artistic career has gone through many different styles. He shows his work with soft and careful hands, and with lots of respect for his viewer. When speaking of his Art his eyes get a spark, you can see that he loves it. He has so much inside, so many colors and ideas that still wants come out, he tells me.

Visual Artist Caro Mbirua shares studio with Salah Ammar and shows a different style of work. She carefully brings out painting after painting with motives hidden in mist, a sort of secrecy surrounding the women in her work. When she describes them, she says ”I do beautiful Art”, and we say ”you need to be more specific”. But it is really a good word for her work. Beautiful.

And on my bedside table, I have writer Doreen Baingana‘s book ”Tropical Fish”. An Ugandan writer, twice nominated for the Caine Prize in African Writing now living in Kenya. She wants to start a literary group with writers that can meet on regular basis, discuss literature and support each other in finding new possibilities to live on their writing.

These are just a few of the very talented Kenyan Artists taking part in the workshop ”The Art of living on Art” in Nairobi on Sept 7-8, 2009.


16 september, 2009

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Nairobi Workshop • The Art of living on Art

Expectations were high when we started the workshop on ”The Art of living on Art” with visual artists, theatre people, a writer and dancers and choreographers in Nairobi, Kenya. How do I do to be able to do what I like most? How do you as an Artist to balance the business and the artistic side? How do you find ways to sustain your artistic work? How can you find the missing link between production and the market? Open a window to see new things?

We start quite frankly. We don’t have any answers. There are not any quick fixes you can follow that will solve all the obstacles or solve how to live on Art. You have the answers yourself. What we do is putting up the room for reflection and a structured way to reflect and think of where you are, your obstacles, how to get past these, your future ideas, how to deal with changes.

Eleven professionals within the Artistic field gathered to go through this process for two intense days. It’s interesting to see that Artist from different contexts as Sweden, Turkey, Georgia, India and Kenya have so much in common. The obstacles, difficulties and challenges put forward are very much the same, although the contexts are so different.

The workshop in Nairobi was organized by GoDown Art Center in cooperation with Nätverkstan. Read more about ”The Art of living on Art” under the catogeory with the same name.


8 september, 2009

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The Art of living on Art • Final days Steneby

The summer academy ”The Art of living in Art” has come to an end after three intense workshop days at Stenebyskolan (School of Steneby) in Dalsland. Guest lecturer and workshop facilitator was Sian Prime, among many things MA at Goldsmiths University in UK.

The Artists taking part in the academy have been musicians, composers, visual artist, actresses, who have worked all summer on their action plans. They have in workshops in the beginning of summer visualized their future, looked at their skills, hinders and possibilities, money and meaning, what they put their time on, how to plan your actions differently to achieve what you want and so forth. They have had group meetings with a facilitator during summer, together with individual coaching sessions. And now, in Steneby, the final days of building relations in relationship modelling, working on their offer, discussing the literature they have read, drawing some conclusions. Everything in workshops, open discussions, talks two and two, and individual thinking and writing.

”Don’t stop look around you. Don’t stop caring. Don’t stop listening” is one of Sian Prime’s many interesting thoughts. There are three questions to keep constantly with you when thinking of what you offer as an artist and how this could interest others:

1) Why should I care?

2) Why should I trust you?

3) Why should I believe you?

You need to have your heart (1), guts (2), and head (3) with you when engaging with other professionals. Another thing is not to let money hinder you. You are not the only one not driven by money, Sian Prime explains, so are many others. ”Money is rarely the driver”, she says, you have to find out what drives those you want to work with and engage in building professional relationships. In the long run, this can build new ideas that you can live on, but you have to get started.

”Treat no as a question”, is another point. Always ask what the ”no” means. What does it stand for?

Nätverkstan runs the summer academy in cooperation with Göteborg University, Sian Prime, and the Västra Götaland. The Academy was the first of three summer academies. The experiences will also be put into the new Masters Programme at the University on Art and entrepreneurship that will be developed this year. Read this post on the start of the course.


21 augusti, 2009

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The Art of living on Art

The summer academy ”The Art of living on Art” started this week and we just got back from three interesting days of work in Steneby, Dalsland. The academy is started by Göteborg University, Academy of Music and Drama, in cooperation with Nätverkstan, and turns to those who are, or aim to be, professional Artists. It’s about Art and entrepreneurship with a bearing thought that Artists know more about entrepreneurship than they (and others) believe they do. One of the aims is to make Artists aware of the competences and resources they have and catalyze these by reflection, discussions, good examples and guidance. It’s about taking power of your own lives. If you want to make a living on your Art – what do you need to do? What actions do you have to take? What hinders are there on the way?

There are no easy solutions or quick ways. On one hand report after report show that creative industries are a growing field, this is where you will find future jobs and new entrepreneurial ideas. At the same time other studies show that the income level among Artists is very low. So how do you do if you want to live of the income from your Art? The idea of the summer academy is to create a room for reflection and to start look at the resources you have; ideas, competences, skills; and to look at your network and relations. And ask yourself ”What do I lack or what is stopping me from doing what I want to do?”

The models used are workshops for self-reflection. The Artists have the competence; the teachers are  putting up the framework and leading the process of reflection. Many of the workshop-themes and models have been done in cooperation with Sian Prime, who was one of those running the incubator Creative Pioneer Programme at Nesta in London a few years ago, an incubator specifically within the Artistic field.

Three intense, hard working and fun days. Now the course continues with group and individual coaching. Next gathering with the whole class is July 10.

The Summeracademy is running over the summer and in August each student will have a three-year action plan on how to live on their Art. Read the Swedish website Att leva på sin konst (The Art of living on Art). On this website you can find many reports of creative industries and the incomelevel of Artists, look under the category ”Reports, articles and books”.


17 juni, 2009

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

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

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