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A study from the Arts Grant Committee (2010) showed that women within art generally have lower income than their male colleagues. Men’s part of income also increases with higher income figures.
At the same time, women within the art field are more highly educated than their male colleagues, and in comparison with women in the population as a whole.
Looking at income the following are shown.
Visual art have the lowest salaries and are dominated by women, while music has the next highest median income level – and to 70% consists of men. Theatre seems to be the most gender balanced art form with the highest median income level, but also the art form with highest differences in salary due to gender.
A lot more needs to be done when it comes to equality within art and culture, something that the New York-based group Guerrilla Girls have picked up. The following art piece could be seen at this year’s GIBCA (Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art).
So stand tall, fellow Guerrilla Ladies, and don’t let gender and equal rights slip away unnoticed!
Arts Grant Committee, Artists’ Income from a Gender Equality Perspective (Part 2, 2010)
Tayga is an experimental platform for people within arts and cultural in central St Petersburg.
A group of artists managed to convince the landlord to let artists use this large empty building for art production, meeting-places, and networking, instead of leaving it empty and rundown. Art studios, a small shop, meeting rooms, a garden for music and other events, media, video showroom etc have been built up since then. And the deal is simple: The artists pay low rent to keep the facilities in shape.
One of the artists work with video art and mapping in the artistic collective Tundra. Sasha Sinitza has worked with different projects with Tundra, for example they did the interesting piece Void to try to visualize emptiness.
Mapping is becoming more and more interesting and the Tundra has explored this art form to the full extend, showing work both in a four-wall room with four projectors simultaneously working, and on buildings outside.
After about one and half hours with bus from St Petersburg on the highway towards Estonia we arrive in the small town of Kaykino. Here Olga Gracheva, former fashion designer and now project manager and business consultant, and Victor Grachev, a sculptor, have decided to live and be part of working for a lively and interesting society in rural areas.
Their home is their project. From the house and garden cultural projects are created, ideas developed, and sculptures formed by artistic hands in material such as stone, wood, metal.
And they involve their neighbours, the children’s culture school, the Agriculture College, and others in Kaykino. It’s about involvement and creating possibilities, because the simple fact is that agriculture is dying and young people move to the big cities.
During a four day visit to St Petersburg, we spend a lot of time discussing what this means. We meet with the Art Academy (Stieglitz), Kuryokhin Center, and the Children’s Culture School in Kaykino as well as the Agriculture College.
The visit was initiated by NGO Creative Project Kaykino in St Petersburg and is supported by the Nordic Culture Fund and included invited guests from Not Quite, Tou Scene (Stavanger), StoneZone, and Nätverkstan. The visit ended with a seminar with invited authorities, a report will be written as the end of this exchange project. A former post you find here.
Kulturchock packed the suitcases with Swedish cultural journals and travelled to Helsinki Book Fair that just took place.
On the airport they met the first (that we have seen) print-on-demand machine for buying periodicals and journals, Meganews. It’s time to check what the deal is and how cultural journals can be part of this very modern way of buying journals.
Sarah Thelwall, a UK consultant on cultural entrepreneurship, took a deep dive into small arts organizations’ difficulties to communicate the value they contribute to society – a value that is rarely counted in profit or money, but in other things.
It’s a difficulty art organizations over the world can recognize.
Put any cultural organization next to statistic measurements, economic outcome, and evaluations with a quantative focus, and culture comes short. So how do you measure intrinsic value?
Many of us within culture are already initiated, we know the value but come short in describing it. It’s like the Swedish artist Staffan Hjalmarsson once said about the lack of measurement methods for culture,: it’s five squares of sorrow. It referred to a report by the Region Västra Götaland where the consultants had evaluated the work within the region’s five focus areas. The other focus areas had facts and figures, but culture glowed all empty and became according to Hjalmarsson: Five squares of sorrow.
Riksutställningar, The Swedish Exhibition Agency, decided to pick up this dilemma of showing the value of culture and has put focus on this during 2013 in seminars and discussions.They have invited Sarah Thelwall to talk about her report and discuss with others in two larger events: Supermarket 2013 in February and now Samtidskonstdagarna in Göteborg on October 18–20.
She wrote the report on commission of Common Practice, an organization based in London and with the aim to focus on small art organizations’ situation.
Riksutställningar translated, in cooperation with Nätverkstan, some of her work into Swedish in a book that just came from the printing presses. Everything to bring light and perspectives on the continuous discussion on describing the value of art for others than those already initiated.
Read also this blogpost on the same book (in Swedish).
Take the tram fifteen minutes from the center of Göteborg – and you arrive in the periphery. At least that’s how many feel if you live in suburbs or areas around the city center. Hammarkullen is one such area outside Göteborg and where many initiatives have started with the aim of bringing the art, culture, and social work done in the area into the spotlight.
Ten Russian visitors representing culture, art, business, and the authorities in St Petersburg is on a tour in Göteborg and Region Västra Götaland with the aim of discussing the role of art, culture, and social work in the rural areas and to address the question of the center versus periphery.
One stop has been meeting people in the area of Hammarkullen, with visits to different initiatives such as Hammarkullen365, Folkets Hus, and the local radio. Another Nätverkstan located in the city center, and then visits to the artistic workshop for sculpture, textile, ceramics, to artist Lukas Arons and his sculpture precincts, and Gerlesborgsskolan (School of Gerlesborg) along the coast-line. And today the visit is to the artistic collective Not Quite in the very small town of Fengersfors, a two and a half hours drive NorthEastly from Göteborg.
The visit was initiated by NGO Creative Project Kaykino in St Petersburg and is supported by the Nordic Culture Fund. Next step is to Stavanger in Norway, and the project ends with a seminar in St Petersburg in November.
See here a former post on the topic of center vs periphery.
With his interest in territory and cultural heritage, artistic director Christophe Guiho wanted to create an organization with this specific focus. Territoires Imaginaires started in July 2012, is based in Nantes (France), and around one year later the project La Nuit des Pêcheries took place.
The idea is simple and inviting. Along the Atlantic coast on the west coast of France you find small private fishing huts, pêcheries, placed on poles a bit out in the water due to the tide. The huts are private and walking a bit out on the bridge, you are met by a locked door. For the owner it’s an enjoyable asset, overlooking the ocean where you quietly roll down the fishing nets and wait for your catch. The public in general has no access and usually these huts have been inherited within the families. No new ones are aloud to be put up.
With the project, Christophe Guiho wanted to make this heritage sitting along the coastline accessible and opened up for the public. He worked together with artists to make art installations in each of six fishing huts.
More than 1500 people gathered on the opening night on the hills overlooking the huts, enjoying music event and visiting the art installations. He did this project with little money and with mainly his own drive, energy, and a successful project as payment.
Another project in Nantes over the summer is Le Voyage Nantes, run between June to September and with a much larger budget. During 2013 Nantes is The Green Capital and to celebrate this, the city has decided to each summer fill the city and its surroundings with artistic interventions.
Over forty interventions in just the city of Nantes, with artists such as Daniel Buren, La Machine, Jean Jullien, Mathias Delplanque, and Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping. A green line is put in the pavement and is easy to follow around the city and Ile-de-Nantes to find each of these grand, imaginary, humoristic, and serious interventions. It’s by no means touched up, many pieces poses relevant questions and raises reflections.
And for the city of Nantes this has become a success. Visitors are many, and children and adults can enjoy the happening such as joining the enormous elephant created by La Machine for a tour on Ile-de-Nantes.
Yet critical voices are heard. It doesn’t have to be a contradiction between a city’s will to create big events and the on-going small-scale cultural organizations’ every-day struggle to create art with little money in their pockets. Unfortunately it often is.
A wise cultural policy that both enjoy the small-scale initiatives and the large events is wanted!
On a three day seminar in Stockholm at Museum of Modern Art in 2007 to celebrate a hundred years since philosopher Hannah Arendt’s birth, the book on Eichmann in Jerusalem and the banality of evil was not mentioned, journalist and critic Ingrid Elam noticed in her review of the seminar in daily Dagens Nyheter. It was not until someone in the audience asked the key speaker, philosopher Agnes Heller, that this work was discussed. It was all good reasons for this; the focus was on Arendt’s other important work.
Yet, reading Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963) it’s difficult not to stay with her theories and reflect on their importance. They not only say something about the times in Europe during the Nazi era, they describe an on-going civil dilemma between bureaucratization and people.
Two things are especially terrifying and still today relevant.
One is the systematic way the in which the bureaucracy was built around, first emigration of the Jewish people from Germany, later the ”final solution” to send Jews to death centers. The language used to describe this wasn’t a mass-murderer’s, Hannah Arendt reflects, it was instead in terms such of ”programs” organizationally put under ”administration and economy”. Hitler and his men managed to build a bureaucracy in which the language around the ”final solution” was not immediately offensive or against people’s normal conscience. Finally, it seemed like a necessity, like an objective question that needed a solution.
The other is how she described Eichmann. He was not a monstrous murderer; he was not even particularly evil. She de-demonized him and he stands out neither as a diabolic character or a fanatic. He is just a dull bureaucrat with no ideas and a complete lack of critical thinking. He follows orders and is trying to do his job the best he can, wanting to climb to more important jobs and positions within the structure.
Since Arendt wrote this book in 1960s, even since the seminar in 2007, the European society has changed.
The economic crisis have had devastating effects in many countries with high unemployment rates and raise of poverty as a result. Art and culture has seen substantial cuts, of which effects for society we haven’t yet seen. Where will critical thinking be practiced?
Racist parties around Europe are filling seats in parliaments, some of them with roots in neo-Nazism. They changed their shaved heads to slick hairstyles and proper suits to better fit in to the political corridors. Their language is changing to not being immediately offensive and therefore suit a larger group of the population. Their main point on the agenda is limiting immigration, keeping a nation ”traditional” concerning everything from habits, culture and people.
As Ingrid Elam writes in her article (DN 15/1 2007), If Arendt had lived today she would have written about how today’s stateless people and refugees are handled by very ordinary people.
Hanna Arendt wrote the book ”Eichmann in Jerusalem” in 1963 and it is a collection of a series of articles written when she was covering the trial on Nazi Adolf Eichmann for the journal The New Yorker in Jerusalem in 1961. The book is translated into Swedish and published by Daidalos in 1996.
Article by Ingrid Elam in Dagens Nyheter (DN) on 15 of January 2007 can be found here.
In this year’s Göteborg International Film Festival (January 2013) they showed the film on Hannah Arendt by director Margarethe von Trotta.
American artist Andrea Geyer did an interesting piece on the trial with Hannah Arendt’s book as main base, Criminal Case 40/61: Reverb, 2009, which was shown, among other places, at Göteborg Konsthall in 2010.
It takes a bit of driving around to find Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemoráneo, (CAAC) which is a bit strange since it is an old monastery and a quite specific place. It’s situated in the centre of Seville, but still outside. As the gallerist Julio Criado put it during our visit in his gallery later the same day: It’s actually very central but often perceived as being outside of the city.
It’s on the other side of the river Guadalquivir and in the very same area that 1992 hosted the Universal Exposition of Seville (Expo ’92), an Expo of 215 hectares land and with 41 million visitors between April to October. The signs left now are – what seems for us as we drive around looking for the monastery – empty buildings and fenced areas. And behind white steel rods around the monastery and its gardens, we finally find it.
CAAC opened in 1998 in Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas with the aim of being a place devoted for Andalusian contemporary art. Art tradition in Seville, we are told, is that many artists are painters and within the Baroque tradition. The 80s is described as an interesting period in Seville, where the art scene (at least this is one way of understanding this period) hooked on to the era and buzz around film-maker Pedro Almodóvar and his often both provocative and controversial films on topics around sex and violence, religion and people in the margins of society. CAAC is aiming to put such an art discussion back on the agenda.
Walking around the garden, you see this ambition in the interesting, humouristic, and yet serious art interventions placed around the precincts. The Bus stop by Pedro Mora, Alicia by Cristina Lucas, and As a monument to the Artist by Curro Gonzales, are among some of them; the last one being an ironic commentary on the controversy around artists since Romanticism – and a very current such. In the temporary exhibition inside, Chilean performance artist Lotty Rosenfeld, stands out.
Luisa Espino, Coordinator of Exhibitions, tells us about the ambitious program, with temporary and permanent exhibitions, educational programs, music and art in the garden, seminars and conferences, and not least the publications 11 to 21 on the themes of the conferences and exhibitions.
Unfortunately CAAC has seen severe cuts in funding due to the Spanish economic situation that makes it difficult to keep the high ambition. The publications have, as a consequence, been closed down. For now, that is. The hopes are to be able to pick it up again. But the cuts are a bit like stepping back in time. A bit like being back on square one where it all started.
Gallerist and owner of the Gallery Alarconcridao, Julio Criado, talks about the art situation from another perspective.
Interestingly, the gallery is just one street from the famous bull arena in central Seville, Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza. Cultural heritage right next door to the new upcoming artists. Julio Criado sees an art market in change, where you have to find other ways than the traditional to find the buyers and the market. Also the artistic scene is changing, where a fairly traditional art education is not educating the most interesting artists. Instead he finds the most interesting work done by artists educated within other disciplines.
The first photo: Alicia by Cristina Lucas. The second: As a monument to the Artist by Curro Gonzales. Listen to the fanfare in the last piece here: artist fanfare. The last piece is the Bus Stop by Pedro Mora.
”We” in this blog are a group of five educators, consultants, and actor within art, entrepreneurship, art management from Germany, Austria, UK and Sweden, who formed a small think tank a few years ago to meet once a year and exchange experiences and ideas. This year a smaller group of three of us met in Seville on July 12–16. During the meetings we discuss, have workshops, exchange ideas, meet people within arts and culture, and just enjoy ourselves.
The last issue of the Economist (June 15–21st) brings up the topic of the tremendous cuts in art funding that we’ve seen in UK the last few years.
The viewpoint in the article is from Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, an art centre opened in 2002 in one of the abandoned mills along the river Tyne in NorthEast England. The Baltic was a former flour mill opened in the 1950s and closed in 1981. The transformation to a significant art center was led by (Swedish) founding director Sune Nordgren and cost 50 million pounds, money coming from mainly the National Lottery Fund, Arts Council, the region, and European Union.
We’ve seen it in many places all around Europe and elsewhere; industrial ruins become art centres, galleries, art studios, incubators within arts and culture.
The Italian Professor of Cultural Economics (IULM University, Milan), Pier Luigi Sacco, calls this process by a name: Culture-led local development processes or System-Wide Cultural Districts. He uses Newcastle as one example of culture-led local development processes in is his paper Culture as an Engine of Local Development Processes: System-Wide Cultural Districts (2008).
P L Sacco argues that art and culture is an important base for local development. If the right energy and mix of cross-boarder cooperation from the cultural scene, business community, authorities, and money are there, a positive local development can take place.
But as the article in Economist notes, it’s hard to measure the payback of money spent on art and culture, and it’s difficult to justify art spending to the larger group of tax payers.
”The truth is that the economic value of art is often as hard to quantify as its social or aesthetic benefits. That makes it vulnerable to cuts in tough times”, the article argues.
UK is one of the European countries that has cut the art budget with as much as, some figures note, 40%. This means less money to artists within all artforms, closing down many of the regional offices promoting art and culture, less money to the Art Council, and so forth. Regrettable but perhaps inevitable, Economist states. Money needs to be secured from other funding resources, mainly private.
It’s a problem on many levels. The lack of methods to properly measure effects of art and culture is one. Another is funding. Experiences show that private funding might be easier to find for building icon buildings, but is not a reliable source of income for production of art.
If new large cultural icons such as Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art are to be able to bring tourists and have an effect on the overall economy, and in time pay back the investment to the local community; visual and conceptual artists, film-makers, handicraft artists, designers, musicians, poets, and others are needed to fill these large buildings with content.
Whose responsibility are their working conditions?
In Nairobi, Kenya, meeting with the people from the GoDown Art Centre and now developing step two of the educational programme ”Reaping the value out of your artistic creativity”.
GoDown Art Centre and Nätverkstan have cooperated since 2009 on workshops and developing ideas of how to build a capacity-building programme for artists and cultural entrepreneurs in East Africa. Professional artists from different art forms, university professors, directors, managers, and others from the cultural scene have been involved in building the content of the programme so that it will fill the needs found by the sector in the context of East Africa.
In the developing process Sian Prime at Goldsmiths University has been involved, also Kenya Polytechnic University in Nairobi, British Council, and Swedish Institute.
The result has been tested in two pilot programmes of 10 weeks that were run in 2012, each with around
30 emerging and professional artists in each group. And now we are gathering again to continue the journey of developing step 2 of the programme.
And I can’t help but think of the article in the new issue of the Art journal Paletten in Sweden about a week before leaving for Kenya. The article is arguing that all talk of entrepreneurship within the art is a sign of instrumentalization and the economization of the art, a result of this are courses on art and entrepreneurship at the university.
It’s necessary to always argue for the role of art and culture in society, and rightly being critical to some processes and initiatives. But to wipe away all efforts on trying to find useful ways to tackle artist’s reality as freelancers and how to deal with their livelihood as neo-liberalism is a little far-fetched. It can only be said by someone who doesn’t have to worry about money.
The reality in Kenya (and Sweden) is that you have to try to find ways to balance your artistic practice with income so bills can be paid and food put on the table. Some do this by trying to live on their art, some do this by finding bread jobs and pursuing the artistic practice and career on their free time. Solutions are many.
It’s not about becoming just like any other business, instead it’s the opposite. It’s about putting efforts into finding ways forward that works within the artistic field and for your artistic practice.
Reading the evaluations from the two pilots, participants seem to agree.
The last semester at Kulturverkstan, the two-year International Culture Project Management Programme, the students do an internship at an institution, organization or project which they have identified as interesting from a learning perspective.
During their internship, they also identify a question or focus area which they research. The topics range from the sustainable society, citizen dialogue, equality and gender in cultural life, the relation between an intense working situation and the every day life, work and motive, and much more.
Coming back to Kulturverkstan, they write a final report as well as have an open presentation to discuss their topics with invited guests and audience. The discussions are rich both in depth and learning aspects and it’s a time of the year that has become a must if you’re interested in keeping up-to-date in important discussions in the cultural scene.
Read more here and if you happen to be in Göteborg – slip into one of the seminars!
”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.
The Cultural Journal Glänta is celebrating 20 years and do this with an App full of future words. Like Deppbägare, Dialogdemonstrant, Öntreprenera, and Öövermod (sorry, an English translation of these words doesn’t exist yet as hardly the words yet exist…).
A few years ago the journal invited over hundred artists, writers, researchers, philosophers, and journalists to add one piece each to the puzzle and the Future Encyclopedia was born. It started as a printed journal and has now become an App for Iphone and Ipad possible to download for free.
Nätverkstan has created the App as part of the effort of together with Cultural Journals find new, simple, and economic sound ways to publish text in print and digital format. Also download the App for the Journal Ord&Bild.
Göteborg is the host city of one of the biggest book fairs in Northern Europe. The latest years, the need of finding another positioning has evolved and to meet this need Mediadagarna – The Media Days fires off for the second year in a row.
Nätverkstan and Kulturchock, who work vividly with different ideas and initiatives to meet up the needs of the cultural journals, see this platform as one way of putting the Swedish cultural journals on the map.
We are already convinced of the multi-dimensional spread in content as well as subjects presented in the printed cultural journals and their role in Swedish democracy. What we had not digged deeper into before was the sound of them. What would they sound like if it was sound? We decided to build a sound installation in order to make them ”speak” in a new way.
From an old portable typewriter you hear the sound of typings from laptops as well as manual key buttons in a mxi with lead pencils writing on paper. ”Typings” is a 7`48”tape recording played in a loop.
From the headphones attached to the installation play a variation of sound samples from cultural magazines that work with additional formats as sound. Some do radio, talking magazines or present sound art works along with their releases. For this special occasion we also did a special recording of a young girl reading poetry from the arty, literary, and philosophic edition of OEI.
Text and photo: Helena Persson
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.
The second pilot course Creative Entrepreneurship – Reaping the value out of your creative work has just finished its ten weeks program. Around 25 musicians, illustrators, visual artists, sculptors, storytellers, poets and more participated to review their ideas, reflect on their lifecycle, look ahead and finish with an eighteen months plan.
During the course they have had lectures of well-known artists in different art forms telling their lifecycle and sharing their experiences, and courses such as marketing, IP Rights, pricing, and others. On examination day well-known musician Makadem told his story, telling the group that challenges don’t stop. Every level has it’s own challenges, and it never stops.
The pilot program is run by GoDown Arts Centre. Nätverkstan has been one of the partners in building content and preparing for the start of the program with funding from Swedish Institute. The cooperation started in 2009.
Ghanian writer Kojo Laing talks softly but with emphasis. Every word comes from the heart and touches the heart of the audience. It’s the most generous and honest presentation I have heard in many years.
It’s like a curse, he says about writing. He can’t stop. He has tried to stop, but he just can’t.
Coming from a Christian family in Ghana, his father was a priest, and with all his five siblings working within the church, he is the only one being a writer and also in pressing doubt in faith, something that is also topics in many of his books. He leans forward in his chair, looks over the audience, hitting his chest with his hand and asks, insisting on the honesty of this question: Am I a fool? Am I crazy having this doubt? Can anyone in the room say that they are anywhere near the doubt I have?
His writing is anything but a simple process, he tells us. One of the books took eight years to write. He wanted to write Ghanian and English, not for the sake of it, but because he wanted to squeeze out the English from the Ghanian languages. With his hands he shows us the guesture of thoroughly and hard squeezing water from wet laundry. And that took time. He picks up the book, shows it, and looks at it, exhausted. And goes quiet.
He answers each question posed by Kwani Trust Chairman Tom Maliti sometimes with a big smile of a question that he founds on the spot, then continues with a story and sometimes ends abruptly. The room gets quiet a short second before a new line of thought is unfolded.
Kojo Laing is like a ghost in his own country, he describes his situation. His books are mainly published outside of Ghana. But on the question if he would rather write something else, if he got the chance to re-do things, something less controversial that sold many, many copies of his books and made him more famous, his answer is distinct and clear. He couldn’t write anything else. This is what he writes.
A young woman raises her hand and asks what he suggests a young writer should think about pursuing a career as a writer?
Be yourself, is his first answer. Read as much as your brain can contain. The more you read, the more complex you become. And it applies to experience as well. Paradoxical experience. Encourage many identities. It will be needed as the world goes smaller.
And he adds and laughs: And when you get advices you reject them.
Kwani? Litfest 2012 is a yearly literature festival run by Kwani Trust in Nairobi. This year the theme is Conversations with the Horn. Writers, artists in exchange.
Christmas carols are on the schedule this afternoon and on stage of the outdoor assembly hall in the township Kogorocho in Nairobi, the young musicians are in deep concentration practicing for a show later on this week. And a small taste of the concert is given in an open session for whomever who would like to listen. Kids fill up the rows, together with a few others and us guests.
”Making music can make a difference” says Elisabeth Njoroge, Head of the Art of Music Foundation, the Foundation behind the project. Getting the chance to play an instrument, learning music, can actually change peoples lives, she says, and tells us examples of children from the slums who get a chance to play and how that has opened new possibilities and hope for a future.
Ghetto Classics, the project was named by the children, started in 2009 and has become an important contribution in the township. The foundation also runs the National Youth Orchestra in Kenya with the same ambition and conviction:
Music can make a difference in the lives of young Kenyans.
Nätverkstan, together with Ole Lützow-Holm, Assistant Professor at Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg, are in Kenya to work together with GoDown Arts Centre on the education Creative Entrepreneurship. Read more of Nätverkstan’s cooperation in Kenya here.
Last Friday (November 30) Belgrade’s first one-year mentorprogram, Creative Mentoring, was launched at Gallery 12 HUB. Eleven creatives together with there matched mentors gathered for a Kick-off setting off the program.
The ETC-group, formed together with the Swedish Embassy in fall 2011, gather eleven cultural and social entrepreneurs in Belgrade with high ambition to start, build, and pursue their initiatives in and around Serbia within their different professions. The group decided to start a program for mentoring being inspired by the idea of exchange of knowledge and experience which was the base in the Creative Society–project run by the Swedish Embassy last fall.
In April 2012 the group started the discussion around mentorship in a workshop held by Nätverkstan, which followed by a study trip to Sweden, many meetings, a ”dreamlist” of possible mentors, and finally asking high-profile individuals to be mentors for a year.
And last Friday the formal Kick-off set off this interesting project!
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