Posts with tag Burning Platforms

The Future of Culture – Creative commonage and commercial desert?

The discussion on the consequences of digitalization for example music, film, literature, cultural journals is like an undulating ocean. It goes up and down but never stops its movement. Each of the Art forms has their own discussion.

Publishing houses were horrified of Google, the scanning of literature to make the first gigantic digital library. The Google deals made publishing houses furious and should these be signed or not? Did they have a choice? Are they mainly worried of the payment to the author or of their own position?

Music has fought fiercly against free downloading. In Sweden the new Ipred law aim to hunt those down that download for free. What does new business models look like on the Internet that make music available and the user pay for it? Examples like Spotify has grown up as new initiatives. Film is the same. Free downloading or sites like youtube, where films are uploaded to be viewed by anyone, is a big concern. The quality in screening is not good, but it’s for free. Chris Anderson says in his new book ”Free” that with Internet everything goes towards zero in costs. The business model, or how to earn money, will look very different in the future.

And what happens to the Artists? In the end, as most of the time, they are without income. Perhaps this development could actually be positive for the single Artist as money and power of distribution will be in the hands of the producer?

There are many questions and processes overlapping and crossing each other. The different industries; film, music, publishing worry about their future. But stay within their own field. Very few in Sweden have tried to get an overview, looked across the different specific fields to see the larger trend. This is the ambition in the pre-study done by Mikael Löfgren, Swedish Cultural Journalist, in cooperation with colleagues at Nätverkstan this coming fall. The study is funded by The Foundation for the Culture of the Future. Hopefully it will be the beginning of a learning process ending with a large Hearing in Göteborg where these issues will be discussed.

2 september, 2009

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Project work in Kenya

The post-election riots in Kenya in 2007 with many people killed and injured is still an open wound in society. Even though troubles between ethnic groups have been seen before, the strength and cruelty of the reactions in 2007 shook people from the ground. How could it happen?

At the opening of Kenyan Artist Peterson Kamwathi’s exhibition at Goethe-Institute in Nairobi on June 23, both of the inaugural speakers talk about the riots and the fact that no-one, still after two years, has been put to justice. Kamwathi’s exhibition ”Sitting Allowance” is a direct reaction of the environment before and after the election in 2007. In a text the Artist himself describes his work:

” The composition of these drawings is inspired by formal photos. The formal posture is meant to depict the rigidity and conformity that at many times is prevalent within institutions. Institutions are champions of formality and while there is nothing wrong with that, at times formality can be at the expense of humanity”.

Many we meet talk about the riots and the importance of building a positive development. Next election is in 2012 and the fear is that the same will happen. At Godown Art Center Art and culture are important factors for development, both societal and economical. The Art center is still a work-in-progress, Joy Mboya and Judy Ogana tell us as we walk around the compounds. They managed to get a hold of localities in an industrial area in Nairobi and have made it into an Art center with studios for Artists, renting out places for music studios, dance company, puppet maker. They also have an exhibition hall and a performance stage. They wanted to – among many other things – give Artists a sense of belonging, a place where they could go to perform, paint, and exhibit.

We are here for a week to prepare for a project and event that aim to bring investors, donors and businesses together with cultural entrepreneurs and organisations from Kenya and Sweden. The funding gap between cultural field and funding bodies is universal. But there is also another side. As the creative field is growing and becoming more important for economy there is a growing interest from investors to find partners in creative field. But they have a hard time finding where and with whom to invest. So what will happen if we bring these two together around the same table?

The project is a project funded by the Swedish Institute and Strömme Foundation and run by Pratik Vithlani at Mangowalla Ventures in cooperation with Godown and Nätverkstan.

Reports and links on Kenya will be posted on this site. For now, have a look at African Colours, an Internet portal for African contemporary Artists.

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24 juni, 2009

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Georgian – Swedish Cultural Exchange. Continuation.

The heroes survived. They were supposed to be killed after the film was made, but the film maker just couldn’t. The animated dolls were characters, personalities, so how could you kill them? Instead he hid them. After each movie he hid them in his house with the risk of getting caught. Intellectual property rights in the 70s, the government was afraid that the dolls would be used in another movie and they would have troubles with angry doll makers who wouldn’t get paid. Now we are able to watch them in a small, one-room museum. Beautiful hand-made dolls, made in Russia in the 70s for animated film made in Georgia. The most known is Bombora, a character who just wanted to go to school and in his frustration for not being able to sets fire on things. Now this character is posing over the entrance in the newly made amusement park at Tatsminda.

Wato Tsereleti, a well-known curator and Artist is describing the contemporary Art scene for us on a café. A major problem, many Artist tell us is space and funding. There is no space for Art or large events. In October the conference Artisterium is taking place, and a difficult part has been to find where to have it. A wonder, really, since Tbilisi is still very much a city in transition and there are many empty spaces. Wato Tsereleti has finally been able to find a locality, and the idea is to restore it into an Art center.

Many meetings has been taking place among visual Artists and Art education, between colleagues in the literature and publishing scene in Sweden and Georgia, as well as performance and film. Bakur Sulakauri Publishing is the biggest publishing house in Georgia, publishing around 200 books every year. They are meeting with colleagues at the publishing house Tranan in Sweden, together with writers, to discuss on how they can work together. The idea is that each Art form will come up with project ideas for future cooperation and exchange.

And as we walk to all these meetings, have  discussions between colleagues in the Art world, we pass the cells at Rustaveli Avenue and get reminded of the situation in this country. What is it we see in the streets? At Rustaveli, near the Parliament and Freedom Square the streets are filled with cells, small plastic covered boxes where people stay all day, all night in protest of the government. It’s difficult to analyse or understand what the cells stand for. Is it an organized protest of a well defined opposition? Or a more a protest of angry inhabitants showing their miscontent of the president? Or is it a show put forward by a few people with economic resources wanting to overthrow the president and take power? Perhaps it’s an Art show, or an installation? We get different versions, different stories. But it is clear that many people are very tired of the situation, of the threats of war, and long for coming back to a normal situation.

The visit is part of the project EKAE 2009, run by Natverkstan and financed by the Swedish Institute.

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11 maj, 2009

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Burning Platforms

The story tells that a man on an oilrig in the North Sea woke up from an explosion and as he stepped out fire caught up with him and he had to make a quick decision. He decided to jump into the water, although this option was in itself extremely risky. If he survived the jump, he would die within fifteen minutes in the cold water. He survived, and later when asked of his decision he said: ”better probable death than certain death”.

The story turned into a business term and was called ”Burning Platforms”, implying that people only change behavior radically due to terrible circumstances. Radical change in behavior only comes when survival instincts trump comfort zone instincts, it’s said, therefore leading changes in an organisation is easier if there is a sense of a ”Burning Platform”. Perhaps relevant for cultural entrepreneurs who has the sense of always working on Burning Platforms and fast changing circumstances?

At Krenova in Umeå, an incubator within art and culture, I suddenly hear the term. Anders Persson, Director, used it when talking about the incubator and described it as a way to work when building something.

”I use ‘Burning Platforms’ quite often when I am building something, like an activity or project. In short it’s a way to do your vision or idea so sharp, cool, relevant, fantastic, realistic, necessary – whatever you choose – that no-one can or want to resist it. Everyone wants to be on the platform, without really understand why. They want to be on board, whatever it takes. This is a way to shape the boarders of a project or business idea, giving you the possibility to work on the content within these boarders.”

At a seminar in Göteborg on 11th of March, on the topic ”Future Businessfield in Western Sweden” (Framtidens näringsliv i Västsverige), a man in the audience lifted the conception again. A presentation on the economic development in Sweden was done by Professor Lennart Schön from Economic History Department at Lund University. He showed that global economic crisis has been in forty years sequences, the ups and downs in the economy has come in regular periods of time and can perhaps be seen as recurring changes over years. The comment from the man in the audience was that renewal never happen if there are no sense of Burning Platforms. In a financial crisis it is, which forces renewal to happen.

So: What happens to a field that always has a sense of working on Burning platforms?

A short text on Umeå and Krenova can be found here. Information of ”Burning platforms” can be found on Policy Perspectives (from 2005), Problem-solving-techniques.com, and a story about leading change without a Burning platform can be found on the website Harvard Business Publishing.

12 mars, 2009

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Creating spaces in Umeå

Cooperation and Silicon Valley. In Umeå, a city of almost 113,000 inhabitants in Northern parts of Sweden, they have managed with something that many found difficult. Creating different spaces that together form an intrinsic net of taking initiatives from idea to project or business plans. The different spaces and organisations cooperate and support each other, creating a spirit of possibilities.

Krenova is a continuation of a project started several years ago, with the aim to find solutions for those that no one else worked with: the cultural entrepreneurs. Many artists run their own businesses. A structure, like the classic incubators you find in the business field, should be helpful also for artists. But one that is designed to meet the specific conditions in the artistic field. This was the idea when Arciv, the first project started, which now is continued in Krenova. Connected with this is finding new markets for cultural competence. Krenova has fifteen places in the incubator. The programme includes training in entrepreneurship, seminars, working spaces and seedmoney for development of business ideas. It’s owned by the county council in Västerbotten.

At the University of Umeå, an Art Campus is being formed, where the School of Design, School of Architect, School of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art (BildMuseet) are being gathered in a new space in town. The idea is to locate education, research, artistic development, incubators and the interactive milieu HUMlab in the same area to get two things: Academic education situated together with open areas accessible to the public.

”A meeting place that doesn’t need much organising”, is how Patrik Svensson, Manager of HUMlab, describes the space he is running. It’s part of the University and a form of laboratory for ideas and activities within humanities, culture, and information technology. ”The slow dialogue” is another of the well-formulated things he says on our visit.

Uminova Innovation is commercialising mainly medical research to business ideas. In 2007 135 ideas came in, 31 of these started as businesses. The typical idea becomes a product, but also services are formed. At Uminova Innovation, the business development includes coaches, incubator spaces, networking and seminars. They can also offer investment capital and risk money.

On the tour in Umeå two things become evident. Cooperation between the different spaces opens possibilities and strengthens the creative field. Many of the initiators and managers of organisations have been in Silicon Valley to get inspired.

On this blog we describe a little bit of the Silicon Valley attitude that has inspired many. We describe our visit to IDEO, reading about Barack Obama’s campaign organisation, and the visit at Pixar Animation Studios. An incubator in San Francisco within art and culture is Intersection Incubator. We also wrote about an embroidery project at HUMlab together with the american artist P Nosa doing a similar idea. Read about it here.

5 februari, 2009

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How big is your world?

How do world cultures relate to the multifaceted process that we call globalization? Can we achieve greater knowledge and awareness of these issues in our own activities through interdisciplinary thinking and intercultural cooperation? In what way does globalization influence national cultural policy?

These were issued discussed at an interesting seminar with the titel ”How big is your world? Cultural Policy and Globalization” a at the Museum of World Culture in Göteborg, Sweden, on April 10th. The seminar was based on the project The Cultures and Globalisation Series, which has resulted in impressive first and second volumes of ”Conflict and Tensions” and coming ”Cultural Economy”. Several speakers were invited such as Yudhishthir Raj Isar from the American University of Paris; Stefan Jonsson, writer and journalist in Sweden; Mikael Franzén, a Swedish political economist; Chris Waterman from UCLA School of the Arts in Los Angeles; Zala Volcic from the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies at University of Queensland and several others.

The first and second volume of ”Conflict and Tensions” and some information of the publication is found at the following website: www.princeclausfund.org/en/c_and_d/policy/princeclausfundpublicationconflictandtensions.shtml

18 april, 2008

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Authors

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

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

On this blog we would like to explore entrepreneurship from a cultural and social point of view. Or rather put forward entrepreneurial initiatives within these two fields.

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