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When Theatre Goose on a String started in 1968 it played an important role in the resistance movement against communism in what then was Czechoslovakia. By sneaking in one or two words of the revolution into the performances on stage, the audience and the actors came to play different roles in strengthening the struggle in the real life drama.
Society has changed dramatically since then. Czechoslovakia has become Czech Republic and Slovakia. Communism has ended. The theatre has had to find its role in this new context. And more changes are to wait.
The platform Centre for Experimental Theatre consists of three theatre stages: Theatre Goose on a string, Theatre On the table, and HaDivadlo. They play together around 600 performances (theatre plays, events, festivals, readings) per year for full houses. Of the budget of 2 million euros per year, two thirds (2/3) comes from the city of Brno, the rest is through other income sources such as ticket sales, tours, projects. Sponsoring is zero.
They seem to be one of the few theatre’s of today having full capacity ensembles, with around 150 actors full-time employed. But changes are expected.
In Prague, changes have already happened. The formation of the theatre had to change from a benefit organisation (and thereby owned by the city) to a contracted one. This means that funding is not secured any more and every five years they have to compete with other theatres to get the grants. This has also meant that the actors have lost their jobs to become contractors.
The Centre for Experimental Theatre see the same development in Brno around the corner, and “there is no way to prepare for this”, as our guide Ondrej Navratil tells us. Conversation with the municipality is going on, as so many other cultural organizations they struggle with describing their value and to explain for the event- and tourist focused politicians, that an independent theatre is important.
But the show must go on. In the evening Amadeus, based on the film by the same name by Milos Forman (1984) is on stage. Amadeus’ hysterical laughter fills the auditorium as he enters the stage. He runs it, stops suddenly, looks around over a salon packed with people, and runs laughing out as the play starts. Another full house at the theatre.
The study visit was part of the 22nd Encatc Conference in Brno, Czech Republic, on 17–19 of September 2014.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, International exchange, Social entrepreneur
Each year in beginning of Fall after everyone is back from vacation, the staff at Nätverkstan gather to discuss what we do, why we do it, if we do the right things, and future strategies to continue take an active and proactive role in the cultural scene.
Discussions are high-ended, open, critical, and with wide perspectives. We work in workshops as well as share presentations and knowledge. This year David Karlsson presented the contextual view-point from the board; Mikael Löfgren talked about his newly written report on value within arts (in Swedish: Inga undantag), written for a network of Art Exhibition Spaces named Klister and inspired by the british consultant Sarah Thelwall‘s report Size Matters; and Karin Dalborg who gave a summary on environmental scanning and the result from a staff workshop earlier this year.
It’s also about inspiration and sharing; it’s the only time when (nearly) all staff members are gathered at one spot for a lunch-to-lunch meeting outside of Göteborg.
It’s both valuable and fun; useful as well as playing around and just enjoy. This year the Kick-off, as we call it, was at Slussen, one of our favorite spots for these meetings.
Two of the participants in the latest Creative Entrepreneurship Program run by the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi come from Slum-Drummers, a community-based organization that wants to share musical talent to engage and encourage young people in the slum areas.
Many of the ten members of Slum-Drummers are themselves former street children and have been trained in music by an Italian artist since 2005.
They perform and work specifically with activities for street children, the drums they use are designed and produced by the group from recycled materials which are also sold for income; plastic containers, cans of air refreshener, cooking pots, broom sticks, plastic pipes and other things become drums, drum sticks, kalimbas.
The organization has been partly supported by the Italian organization Gruppo per le Relazioni Transculturali (GRT) and now they are phasing out the funding. It is part of their strategy, a representative from GRT tells us, to work away from dependency. From January 1 2015 they are supposed to be standing on their own two feet, generate their own income – an enormous challenge for the group.
Slum-Drummers have identified areas where they need more knowledge to be able to sustain themselves: finance literacy, marketing and communication, entrepreneurship, and group identity as the main training needs.
The GRT says it’s necessary to move away from dependency, and either the group make it or not.
The situation is both complex and difficult.
Firstly, the whole question of the situation for street children is multidimensional and difficult. No efforts have, I am told, been done to try to grasp the full situation: the structural level as well as the individual, the community level and the families.
Slum-Drummers and other such projects take the initiative and do make a difference. In a dance-project some years ago, run by dancer and choreographer Isaac Karanj where they encouraged street kids to join dance classes instead of hanging around the dangers of the street, some of the now grown-up former street kids are performing dancers. In the meeting with Slum-Drummers several of the members point out that the music and the group have saved their lives.
The value generated should be unquestionable. It could be counted as public value, social value, and cultural value. It is definitely a value for the individual. Or if you will, economic value: the children that get the chance to get off the street and sustain a living are a less economic burden for society.
Secondly, The Kenya government shows low, if any, interest in putting sustainable programs and incentives in place. Corruption is still a problem. Where the state doesn’t take responsibility, civil society and international organizations will.
Thirdly, project money are short-term, and the international community is tied with political decisions in their home countries who follow a sort of ”trend”-budgeting. A project can’t go on forever and GRT in this case is quite conscious and responsible about this and phasing out slowly, giving tools, support, and capacity-building.
Forthly, international organizations do struggle with the dependency-situation. At some point the dependency need to be challenged and cut. At least this is the argument.
But it can also appear cynical. Resources are not distributed equally in this world. Having resources also mean having power: power of economic resources as well as decision-making. Structures and possibilities are different.
An Italian NGO in Kenya will survive. A local organization where the international funding stops have very few other alternatives.
Categories: Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Economy Education Entrepreneurship International Kenya Music Performance
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic collective workshop, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, International exchange
Roads are wet as we drive out of Nairobi towards Red Hill Art Gallery in Limuru between Banana Hill and Ngecha Village. Rain is hanging in the air and we see the dark skies of thunder threatening in the distance over the green hills and farmlands.
Some years ago the most prominent art gallery, Ramoma, closed down and at the time it seemed like the exhibition possibilities for contemporary artists were becoming very few. But things are changing. The number of visual artists are growing, and there is a confidence in the art scene which is new. There is also quite a few interesting art spaces around Nairobi.
Red Hill Art Gallery is a fairly new space for exhibiting art and started around two years ago by Hellmuth and Erica Rossler-Musch, two former ”healthworkers” as they described themselves, with a great interest in art. During their twenty-five years in different countries in Africa they have collected art work from the most important artists in that region. A dream has been to start a gallery to show their collection, but also to support up-coming artists, and give a possibility to exhibit.
We get a tour among art works from artists such as Jak Katarikawe, Joel Oswago, Kivuthi Mbuno, Rosemary Karuga, Annabelle Wanjiku, and many more.
After the tour we have a cup of tea in the lush green garden, the rain has started to poor around us making a smattering sound as it hits the parasoll, and the conversation is about contemporary art in Nairobi, the scene, the possibilities, the challenges.
In the car back to town heading towards the next gallery, One Off Gallery, the discussion continues.
Art work in the photo by Richard Kimathi. More galleries are Circle Art Agency, Kuona Trust, Banana Hill Gallery, and of course The GoDown Arts Centre.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Business idea, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Project, Development, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, International exchange, Social entrepreneur
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.
Joshua Tree in Mojave Desert in California is said to be a real magnet for artists. The specific nature, light, calmness and wilderness attract artists from all over the world and if you are lucky, you could get on one of the Artist-In-Residence (AIR) programs offered. Imagine a house in the desert, a studio to work in, and vaste surroundings to be productive in…
American artist Noah Purifoy (1917–2004) was one of these artists, based in Los Angeles but decided to move to Joshua Tree in 1989. He is said to be one of the most profound Assemblage sculptors, was a founding member of the California Arts Council, founding member of Watts Towers Arts Center in the 1960s, and an administrator of the Artist in Communities Programs.
If you come to Joshua Tree, drive till the end of the paved Yucca Mesa Road, continue the dirt road, take a left on another dirt road, you finally see the small sign welcoming you to Noah’s Art Site, kept by Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture.
Take a right and you are there. Noah Purifoy spent thirteen years to fill the ten acres of desert with his art work of assemblage sculptures of all types of materials. Around fifty pieces of work is placed around in the sand, among hot dry winds and wild chipmunks building their nests in the few bushes around.
You can see his work Earth Piece (1999) where he uses material from the ground, and From the point of view of the little people (1994) a work that is the result of his interest in how nature participates in and is intricate to the creative process and perhaps also from his own up-growing with a family of thirteen people in a two room flat.
In the mountain you see amazing granite rock formations, and the thoughts go to the granite rocks of the West Coast in Sweden, where artists have settled to work with stone sculpting, among many other materials, and as Noah Purifoy’s museum, struggle with being visable in the outskirts of the big cities.
For the West Coast of Sweden Artist Collective Workshop visit here. For Artists-In-Residence programs in Joshua Tree, visit here and here. If you are visiting the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum, make an appointment before hand on the website!
”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.
The Slöjd Incubator, the incubator for handicraft started as a pilot project by the public authority the National Swedish Handicraft Council, has now finished it’s first round.
Hopefully the pilot project will be prolonged. Participants were very happy to have a chance to develop their ideas around their art and how to live on their art, and the process has been working well as a complement to their university studies within in art, design, and craft.
Ten participants now finished the process and on the final seminar a few of them got a chance to tell their experience for a larger invited audience. On this seminar Nätverkstan presented it’s survey and final report on the incubator.
Getting funding for renting facilities during a project period or to build shared spaces is getting harder and harder. Your project should preferably be run with excellent content, but no physical spaces.
There seem to be an idea among funding authorities that sharing spaces, need for offices and physical meeting places have ended. In these digital times you may as well sit at a café or at home, have meetings on skype, through facebook groups or twitter.
Eventhough this of course suits some people, we see a parallell trend that is showing the opposite; the need for meeting and sharing physical spaces.
In Göteborg we have several examples, and not only those build up from the 70s-90s. People gather to find solutions for expensive equipment and places to meet and work all the time.
But just to start with the 70s, Konstnärernas Kollektivverkstad Göteborg (Collective Workshop for Artists) was formed in 1974 with the aim to share heavy equipment, ceramic ovens, facilities for metal, wood, graphic art for professional artists. You find several of these collective workshops around Sweden. These are still up and running.
Medialab in Lagerhuset started in 1998 to share hard- and software, printers, video editing equipment, and work spaces. Other initiatives are ABF Medialab for study groups, Frilagret for young people, Collaboratory, the DIY days which is all about sharing knowledge, ideas, and spaces, the newly started CopyPaste. Several of these initiatives just decided to work together in the network Göteborgs Makerlabs. Just to mention a few.
The lastest in the row is newly opened Kompani 415 in Kviberg which is about the same thing. An empty house in need of some renovation that has been taken over by an association to provide working spaces, studios, and rentable rooms for people within arts and culture. So that people can meet, talk, discuss, and share.
Who has stated that we see an end of sharing?
The final semester of the two-year International Culture Project Management Training Program, Kulturverkstan, youdo an internship at an cultural och social organization, or run your own project. The internship is prepared thoroughly with planning classes and where you decide a theme or question you would like to look into during the internship.
This adds up to a public presentation in the end of the semester with invited guests, discussion partners and (or) opponents. This year’s addition of the presentations held the same high quality as last year, with interesting topics such as Cultural Heritage and Digitization; Food Trucks’ introduction to Göteborg; Art, status, and conditions; The concept
of class – is this still relevant?; Alternative forms of exhibitions; and many more (read more here).
The last thing to do is Wednseday’s graduation party and then we will meet 35 new excellent Cultural Project Managers out there!
Categories: Art Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Journals Cultural Policy Democracy Digitization Distribution Economy Education Entrepreneurship Innovation Kulturverkstan Seminar
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
Professor Justin O’Connor will soon host Göteborg and Stockholm discussing cultural and creative industries and the myth of the creative city.
In 2007, Professor Justin O’Connor wrote the report The cultural and creative industries: a review of the literature for the University of Leeds that might be useful background for the eager participant.
Are we in the moment of time where a need for ”a refusal of creativity and its illusions in a spirit Adorno would recognise” and maybe ”creativity” is the problem? Will the underlying tensions in the cultural industries between capitalism and cultural value call for another understanding of the concept?
Read more here: oconnor_justin_cultural-creative-industries-15.pdf.
This is some of the content…
”Since the 1980s cities have used art and culture to promote their image, regenerate older districts, attract tourists and creative professionals, and latterly, rolled into the creative industries as a new dynamic economic sector. There is no doubting the contribution all these approaches have made to the transformation of the urban landscape. But they have also provoked a growing crisis as to what exactly is the value of culture? Distinctions have been made between ‘intrinsic’ and ‘instrumental’ value; or different levels of cultural, social, economic and environmental ‘impact’; or even new kinds of ‘public value’ measures which use quasi-markets to valuate cultural assets of programs. A great many policy documents have used these and other models to try to ”fix” the value of culture for public policy.
This talk attempts to sidestep these debates by revisiting, first, the idea of cultural citizenship and second, that of cultural economy. I will suggest that these two ideas should not be separated into the socio-cultural and the economic but need to be combined in a new agenda for urban cultural policy.”
Check the event on Facebook. The seminar is possible thanks to Göteborgs Kulturförvaltning (City of Göteborg, Cultural Department), Frilagret, Konstnärsnämnden (the Swedish Arts Grants Committee), and Nätverkstan.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Economy, Entrepreneur, Globalization, International exchange, Social entrepreneur
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
What does the Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) have to do with Crowdfunding?
This week when Max Valentin, founder and CEO of the Swedish crowd funding platform Crowdculture, gave a lecture at the International Culture Project Management education Kulturverkstan, this is what it looked like.
Perhaps it was due to the fact that Ibsen earned his main income from performing rights, which gave – according to Wikipedia – around 3.357 euro in yearly income in 1899.
In 1898 he had a top yearly income of 9.983 euro, of these 8.469 euro was money from the rights of his collected works.
On the other hand, this doesn’t say much about funding by crowd funding…
Kulturverkstan invites professionals within art and culture, business and corporate field, voluntary and societal organizations; project managers, artists, professors, directors, officials, and many others during the education to always have the voice of practice within the education. During the two years the education lasts, a wide range of people have been invited who also serve as a good network for the students after examination.
During some winter months Nätverkstan, together with Sture Carlsson who is former CEO of the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Performing Arts and more, have dug deep into the situation of Wermland Opera.
Opera is probably the most expensive art form and operas around Europe are facing the same problem: increasing costs and lowered or stagnant public funding.
In many countries in Europe the tradition is to put a high degree of public funding into opera and concert halls. Today the situation is changing and for Italian opera houses – the cradle of the art form – the situation is acute. The accumulated deficit for Italian opera houses is enormous 300 million euro.
Wermland Opera, a small opera house situated in Karlstad in Region Värmland, is no exception. Although already getting a relatively large amount of the regional cultural budget (72%), the reality is that they have had to cut in expenses (mainly staff and productions).
Wermland Opera has showed impressive artistic results in its productions. In 2011 they put up the full Wagner Ring trilogy – something even large opera houses find challenging – a production that caused ripples far outside of Värmland with Wagner fans from all over the world traveling to the city and the national press praising the effort.
The opera house has managed to show high artistic quality opera in a small format, something that perhaps can be described as a new model of working for small opera houses with relatively limited budgets in Europe.
But they also face challenges. They can’t cut more in the economy without endangering the artistic quality. At the same time, getting such a high amount of the regional cultural budget as they do, leaving crumbles for other cultural initiatives, they also have a large responsibility. They need to open up for cooperations and to a larger degree see themselves a regional cultural resource.
Read articles in Swedish Television Värmlandsnytt, Swedish radio P4 Värmland or download the following articles here: Articles_WO.pdf. Read also the article ”The End of Italian Opera: Will They Wait for the Fat Lady to Sing?” in Newsweek. Read related post here.
Göteborg International Film Festival has taken over the city and people are rushing through snow and sleet to see films; join events, seminars, price ceremonies; or just do celebrity spotting.
On Saturday evening large crowds went to the big arena in the city to see the documentary from 1982, Koyaanisqatsi. The documentary was directed by Godfrey Reggio, photography by Ron Fricke, and music composed by Philip Glass, and quickly became a cult movie.
In a unique cooperation between the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra and the International Film Festival, this film was shown on 20 meter large screen with live music played by the Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra Choir, Philip Glass, and the Philip Glass Ensemble.
The film with a title meaning ”Life out of balance” in the Hopi Indian language, shows exactly that – a life out of balance – as actual today as thirty years ago. Or even more so today.
For those who saw David Guggenheim’s documentary on Al Gore’s campaign to educate people on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, might find similarities. Both try to show a disastrous development for humanity and nature that just can’t go on.
But Koyaanisqatsi is more than a documentary. The film photo, the silent ongoing fast pace, and the live orchestra music in combination goes beyond any simple messages.
DIY (Do It Yourself) is almost like an invitation, a command, to not sit around and wait for things to happen. Instead: Take Action!
Meet up with colleagues, experts, friends, academia, practice, interested folks; create a space, combine your expertise, and solve a problem, found a new idea or make innovations.
DIY Days Gothenburg, taking place this week (18-26th of January), is full of creation, ideas, hot spots, talks, and exchanges. It’s an interesting combination of low thresholds, an open and inviting attitude, and a willingness to share.
The goal is set high: How do we create a sustainable city for the future?
Described under the theme ”Future Cities – Sustainable and Playful Design with focus on Water” people pitch in their ideas such as Tikitut, the community-based tourism or Halo, working on sustainable architecture, or the mix between Hackathons, game industry meet ups, world cafés, crowdfunding, and mentorships and advice.
So take action and pay a visit!
As the bus with the musicians from Wermland Opera leaves Karlstad to go to the evening concert in Karlskoga, darkness comes early and fast. Most of the trip goes through the woods of Värmland in pinch black darkness and in poring rain.
The orchestra at Wermland Opera, normally based in Karlstad, does tours like this now and then to small cities in the region to let opera and classical music reach out to the different corners of Värmland. The concert this evening is arranged by Karlskoga Konsertförening and is this year’s Epiphany Concert led by conductor Henrik Schaefer.
Karlskoga (Karls Skogar/Woods of Karl) got its name from king Karl IX who saw these woods as his royal woods and is a small city of around 27.000 inhabitants. Between 1970–2010, the municipality of Karlskoga was second on the top list of municipalities in Sweden loosing most inhabitants.
When the bus stops at Bregårdsskolan, the location for the evening concert, the musicians eat, change, rig the stage, do the sound check, and start in no time. Around 150 people have found their way to the school assembly hall, average age being sixty plus something, to listen to the tones of Richard, Josef, and Johann Jr Strauss, and composer Constanze Geiger.
Karlskoga born opera-singer Anna-Maria Krawe sings and on Oboe is Malin Klingborg. Conductor Henrik Schaefer guides the audience through the concert in a pedagogic way that inspires, and the story of how he digged deep in the library in Vienna to find a suitable piece to perform by female composer Constanze Geiger is open and inviting.
After the concert, everything is packed back in the accompanying small trucks, musicians in the bus, and within thirty minutes or so the assembly hall is empty as if nothing has happened.
Research has been done to try to prove what art and culture mean to us human beings. At University of Gothenburg you find Centre for Culture and Health, a centre focussing on research and statistics to show the positive connections between culture and health.
It’s hard to say if the audience of this concert got healthier after listening to the orchestra. Or if people are more willing to stay and live in Karlskoga thanks to events like this (another large discussion in Europe). If so, these effects are secondary. First and most, it was a wonderful moment of music.
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