© 2007 Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship, Nätverkstan. All Rights Reserved.
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Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine, is empty except for some people rushing across to their different morning activities and a piano painted in Ukraine colours standing lonely on the side.
A wooden board has been put up with photographs of the victims from the Maidan revolution last February (2014) that ended with an overthrown Ukrainan government, and the old president fleeing to Russia. Russian military forces took over Crimea as well as the Eastern parts of Ukraine where fights are still going on. The photographs on the board are getting worn out by rain and wind. They are only of men: one with his cat, another young boy looking seriously in to the camera, yet another a man standing the middle of the demonstration giving a quick glance in the direction of the photographer.
Sunday 26 of October is the election, but here on the Maidan Square we don’t see any evidence of this upcoming event. The on-going crisis in the East with Russia is, though, in the mind of everyone I meet.
On the conference Cultural Policy in Europe today: Finance, management, audience development arranged by EUNIC and the Eastern Partnership, culture is in focus and big hopes and importance are attached to the culture field. Minister of Culture, Yevhen Nyshchuk, opens the seminar by emphasizing culture as the key for growth and development in Ukraine and Europe.
Walter Zampieri, Head of Unit, Culture Policy and Intercultural dialogue at the Directorate General for Education and Culture at the European Commission, stresses the same and says that Culture and Creative Industries encompass around 4% of GDP in Europe. This is an important field in Europe today.
Ukraine is eager to build relations with the EU, an agenda has finally been signed that will guarantee cooperation. Culture and Creative Industries are one of the areas where money will be spent and efforts put in.
But can culture play this role? And can it just be instrumental? Doesn’t artistic value and quality need to be at the core of any such discussions?
One of the speakers, Mr Luciano Gloor, got the chance to answer a question posed by a man in film business that was wondering how to meet what he saw as propaganda done by the Russians, and if perhaps film could be a tool to counteract this?
The answer was straightforward and clear: As soon as you forget your passion and artistic values in producing your art, it will also become propaganda.
The audience will immediately see through any such attempt and judge you as others are judged that only commit to use art as propaganda.
They have made their home their creative space. From the house situated in the small village of Kaykino, with the forest around the corner, a big garden space for sculptures, and the outhouses with great potential for future ideas, project manager (and former fashion designer) Olga and sculptor Viktor Gracheva have created a space from which they run their artistic and cultural projects as well as exchanges and seminars.
Their home turns into an inspiring and warm space for discussions in a second, and on October 23–27 this is taking place. Their mission is to try to with art and culture turn the negative trend in the villages of Begunitsy and Kaykino, situated around 100 km outside of St Petersburg.
The villages have long struggled with a negative population trend; young people leave the countryside to move to the cities. Agriculture is declining, unemployment is high. There is a need to find new development tools to end this negative spiral.
This and lots more was discussed during the Creative Camp Kaykino where Swedish sculptor and owner of Stonezone Lukas Arons attended, as well as local municipal Commissioner and the Cultural Secretary of Munkedal Municipality in Sweden participated. Nätverkstan was also there.
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
”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.
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!
One of the success stories of Stanford University, with it’s premises in Silicon Valley outside San Francisco (US), is, it’s said, to be its close relation to the businesses in Silicon Valley. It’s a symbiotic relationship. They nurture each other and many success business stories have started at Stanford; Google, Facebook, Instagram, Apple, Hewlett-Packard.
Leland Stanford, a Republican governor in the late 1800s and who made a fortune from Central Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, and his wife decided to found a University in their late son’s name. Stanford University opened its doors in 1891 and the device was that the University should not become an ivory tower, but ”qualify students for personal success, and direct usefulness in life”. From the start, the close relationship to private funding, corporate research funds, and venture capital for start-ups, first for innovations in radio and broadcast media to todays digital technology, has been a base for the University.
The story can be read in The New Yorker (April 30, 2012) and gives an interesting light on the success story behind business ideas developed at Stanford and the philosophy behind it. But also the dangers of such a focus on success and making money.
The campus life and the atmosphere at Stanford is described as open to ideas, easy going, ”people are willing to try things”, risk-taking, access to venture and risk capital, creative. But there are also questions raised if Stanford has the right balance between commerce and learning, between getting skills to make it and intellectual discovery for its own sake? Is corporate money stearing research priorities?
David Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, who has also taught for many years at Stanford, express his worries that students uncritically incorporate the possibilities of Silicon Valley, but it’s a lack of students devoted to the liberal arts and the idea of pure learning. The one and simple question stearing choices is: What will I get out of it?
The philosophy now promoted at Stanford is the ”interdisciplinary education” and getting students to become ”T-shaped”, that is they have depth in a particular field of study and breadth across multiple disciplines. Social skills are put forward and an effort is to put together students with different majors (engineering, business, medicine, science, design) to together solve real or abstract problems.
David Kelley, the founder of design firm IDEO, is also director of Institute fo Design at Stanford (d.school), and is driven by the mission to lift empathy in his students. He wants the students to learn to see the human side of the challenges posed in class and that way provoke creativity.
Still, fewer students get into liberal arts and humanities and many become, as said by a senior Miles Unterreiner, ”slaves to the dictates of a hoped-for future”. Students become instrumental and only get majors in subjects that lead to jobs, something also supported by Universities.
It’s an interesting development. Reading Steve Jobs story and listening to many of his talks, he puts two processes next to each other as crucial for his success: The development of technology and the liberal arts.
The post is based on the article in The New Yorker (April 30, 2012) ”Annals of higher education. Get rich U.There are no walls between Stanford and Silicon Valley. Should there be?” by Ken Auletta. The photo is from a TED talk on the web.
Read more from posts on IDEO, San Francisco, and the Arts from our visit in 2008 here and posts on other interesting US visits here. Read also here the report from Svenskt Näringsliv which last year promoted less money to humanity education in Sweden, a very criticized report.
FunctionFox, a Canadian company helping small companies improve productivity, has done a survey of more than two hundreds professionals within marketing, advertising, web design and the likes across the US. The aim was to see what these businesses are expecting the coming year in development or challenges in their businesses.
They found, for example, that even though times are hard and economy swaying, 43% of the small creative firms they surveyed expect to increase staff during the year. 52% expected to keep the current staff level.
Firms employing seven or more staff were more likely to add staff during 2012, while with six or fewer employees were more likely to maintain their staff.
It also showed that creative companies with eight or fewer employees are most optimistic about having a revenue growth. Large firms were more careful in their anticipation.
Read more here: FunctionFox-Creative-Industry-Outlook-2012.pdf.
Heading towards the ”L” building for our meeting with Kristin Skogen Lund, Head of Telenor Nordic Operations, we walk through the colourful pillars by French artist Daniel Buren and looking up on the opposite house facade, we can read the neon-lit statements by the American artist Jenny Holzer.
It gives an interesting framework for our meeting.
Mobile operations company Telenor’s head office in Fornebu outside Oslo was built in 2002 and hosts around 6000 employees. An integral part of the work environment is the presence of art and culture, the website states, and Telenor has a collection of around 700 art pieces from contemporary artists.
Kristin Skogen Lund has been selected Norway’s most powerful woman by Kapital magazine. She has been head of the newspaper Aftenposten and, she is on several boards among them Det Norske Kammarorkester.
We are curious of her leadership experiences and what she would say would be most important content in a leadership development programme for culture. Nätverkstan is developing a leadership programme specifically for culture; well-known artistic director Sune Nordgren is Chair of the interim board for the project. Our ambition is to learn from different leadership areas, also the perspective from the different Nordic countries.
”The one who has the overview rarely has the deep insight. And the one with deep insight has rarely an overview.”
The dilemma is of course crucial if you are the Head of a large company such as Telenor, but is also a question for smaller organizations. How do you balance having an overview of the organization with deep and specific knowledge of the field you are in? At what size of organization do you loose the specific insight as a leader?
”Telenor is a large company that has a strict hierarchic structure, is goal oriented and work with goal hierarchies. This doesn’t work in culture. Instead it’s often vision oriented. The questions need also be asked: Who are we work for? Who is the public to be reached by our vision?”
A competence for a leader of a cultural institution we discuss is the ”translation competence”; the skill of being able to explain and talk of the artistic work with people outside of the institution. Any cultural institution needs to build relationships and cooperation with people from different areas from politics to business to other art fields. The skill of engaging and explaining the work for people with no knowledge, perhaps not even interest, is important.
A leadership programme should encompass the possibility of self-reflection and getting out of your comfort zone. Having courage, being able to analyze complex situations and build concrete actions, engage in your ideas, and knowing your own limits and possibilities are skills Kristin Skogen Lund stresses as important.
Read more on cultural leadership here.
Steve Jobs giving a speech at Stanford University on June 12, 2005, on his life lessons. Three stories from his life; the story of connecting the dots, love and loss, and about death.
Have a look at Steve Jobs speech here.
The event was the closing celebration of three days where Nobel Price winning scientists, researchers and others had come together to discuss on how the world could become more sustainable. And it was also an introduction to the Lottery’s new fund of 100 million SEK per year for artistic and cultural projects.
The amount can be compared to the newly formed state authority Kulturbryggan, with the aim of distributing 25 million SEK to innovative cultural projects. An additional 25 million SEK is hoped to come from business life.
For Sweden having lottery money for culture is a new thing. Within sports we’ve seen it before, but for culture it’s new. The Lottery is part of a Holland-based and privately owned group of companies Novamedia, and has, as they describe themselves, both a commercial company and non-profit association. Through sales of lottery they bring in money that can be distributed to charity, a model they call ”marketdriven charity”.
It was a star-dense evening with Nobel Price winner in literature, Nadine Gordimer; musician Melody Gardot; and 42nd President of United States and running the Clinton Foundation, Bill Clinton. There were music by children in Il Sistema, dance performance, choirs and many others. They all represented how culture makes the world a better place. It was no doubt of the Lottery’s intention to with this lavish event take Swedish cultural life and political structure with storm.
The UK’s top business lobbying organization CBI is calling for better recognition of the creative industries contribution to British economy, the Guardian says in an article last Friday (March 25).
On a talk at Pinewood Studios (where films like Harry Potter and James Bond were filmed) the CBI General Director John Cridland gave his support and worry of the British Film Industry and was saying:
The creative industries are a big part of the CBI’s plans for a more dynamic and rebalanced economy, and the country’s future success is tied up with their success. I think they’re a part of the business community that deserves championing.
Facebook is said to be valued to around USD 50 billion, Twitter to around USD 10 billion, and The Huffington Post was recently sold to AOL for the sum of USD 350 million. What’s new about this? The value created was mostly by people working for free.
Read the article At Media Companies, a Nation of Serfs in New York Times by David Carr on, you could say, the world’s unintentional entrepreneurs.
It may sound like a futuristic, or even slightly crazy project, to travel from Gothenburg to Bangalore in search of a developer that could build a framework iPhone application, a white label, for Swedish cultural journals. But we did it anyway.
Nätverkstan has been providing services like accounting and distribution to cultural journals for over a decade. We were among the first organizations in the cultural sector in Sweden to host our own web server and we have always tried to use new technology to empower the small-scale publisher. It is about time we find a way to get the cultural journals their own applications. And we need to find the right solutions, cheap but still meaningful and user friendly.
Why Bangalore? Are there really no able developers in Sweden? Of course there are, and we have talked to some of them. And we have learnt a lot, especially by hosting our own online bookstore, Samlade skrifter. But through Västra Götaland’s strategic cooperation with the Karnataka region, we have been able to assist in the development of our first international subsidiary company, NamNätverkstan, based in Bangalore. It is our aspiration that the project to develop applications for Swedish cultural magazines could be our first cooperation. Our colleague in Bangalore, Anand Varadaraj, has been immensely helpful in setting up meetings.
And it was in Bangalore that the IT-revolution really started in the 80s. Try googling Infosys, if you haven’t already heard of them. In every nook and corner of Bangalore, young engineers, many of whom started their career at Infosys, now emerge as entrepreneurs of their own. Many of them work in the explosive mobile sector. For an organization looking to learn more of mobile applications and to develop for their clients, like us, it feels like coming home.
After an early morning arrival, some hours of sleep and a late breakfast, we set of to our first meeting with a company, Mobisy. From what we could learn from their website they had developed a really interesting platform called Mobitop, enabling them to port standard web development script languages to all the major mobile platforms. Impressive indeed! We were equally impressed with their young CEO Lalit, who immediately understood our needs and raised a few interesting questions of usage and further development.
To be continued…
Text: Carl Forsberg, Nätverkstan
Johanna Abrahamsson is a rope walker and hula hoop dancer living outside of Uddevalla, a bit north of Göteborg, and with an enthusiasm that is directly catching.
She started with rope walking at a young age, inspired and picked up by the local (and internationally known) rope walker Reino, who devoted time and energy into the young girls progress. She has since then continued with formal education in circus, worked as a freelancer and with circuses in Sweden and elsewhere. She now wants to start a circus school for children in the area where she lives. In a way going back to where she started herself.
It’s the last day of the course ”Learn more on Cultural Industries!” for business advisors. Johanna Abrahamsson is one of the invited artists describing her work and how she does to live on her art. It’s hard to resist her joy over her profession and the possiblities she foresee for the local area.
How should business support to local small-scale cultural businesses and freelances like Johanna’s be designed to be able to see and pick up the potential in this field?
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.
Yesterday was the start of the education in cultural industries aimed for business advisors. Ten participants from different organizations giving business advise to small-scale entrepreneurs drove through the snow-storm hitting West Sweden to meet at Innovatum in Trollhättan to discuss cultural entrepreneurship.
Today the turn came to business advisors in Skaraborg, a county council of fifteen municipalities, where twelve advisors from different parts came to Skövde for the training in cultural and creative industries. Questions like: What does these industries consist of? Cultural entrepreneurship, how does it work? And discussions of business models in culture, cultural policy and enterprise policy, cultural and economic capital and things like: Are there differences running a cultural enterprise compared to enterprises within other areas?
Several artists presented their work, challenges and how they did to live on their art. Graphic Designer Mattias Nilsson who runs Kning Disk was there via Youtube. Annika Törnqvist told her story as a musician and put economic figures on the different projects she is running, both as a musician, but also as a project manager.
Ceramist Pia Törnell told her story as a freelancer and the company StudioK. In the lattter, she and her husband produce their own products from idea to developing the moulds to get the perfect result, to the finished unique products. At the same time as they lay the roof or build the walls to the studio and production hall where, in the future, every part of the production can be done.
Multiskilled is an understatement in describing the competence and skills these artists possess!
Read more on related topic here.
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.
The incubator Centre Dansaert Centrum, Creative Business Centre, is placed in the central Flemish part of Brussels that has become very hip and popular. A few years ago the area was run down and a place many avoided. And we know the story.
Artists moved in, gradually the status of the area grew. Today it has been renovated with apartments and shopping area. It has kept the small-scale feeling and in every corner and street you find them; the energetic people designing clothes, selling craft, running second hand stores, hat designers, architects, coffee shops and others.
For Centre Dansaert Centrum it was an attractive place to have an incubator. It’s an attractive spot, but too expensive for newly started initiatives. In the old storage building with origins back to 1870s, offices and space were created to host small and newly started companies. Today they have around fifty entrepreneurs in the building.
To get a place you introduce your project or idea to Fabien Lambert. You apply on an already existing idea or project. You pay one set amount per month and everything is included: Rent, advice and support on business plan and development, electricity and other related costs. There are eight incubators in the region, financed publicly by Ville de Bruxelles and Region Bruxelles-Capitale and of course the competition between the incubators and funding is there.
Two enthusiastic entrepreneurs and one gallerist meet us; one musician running the music company Cypres; one of the owners, Benoît Vancauwenbergh, of a fairly new communication agency 6+1; and the man behind the small gallery specialized on African artists, Nomad Gallery.
Shiva Subramanian is a cultural entrepreneur. He has a business degree, which he doesn’t use, he says: ”That’s why it works”. His view is that businesses put up so many barriers, so finally you can’t be human.
He has set up a row of different small companies and run different ideas and initiatives. His idea is to just get going, build on a social network and ”no paperwork!” He owns the Sona Towers on Millers Road in Bangalore, and has put up a space on the fifth floor for other entrepreneurs such as internetradio, an architect, a lawyer, graphic designer. What is the key factor for success we ask? The informal setup, his social network and culture.
”This wouldn’t work if it wasn’t within the art.”
Indian Institute of Management, along Bannerghatta Road within a green garden domain, would love an entrepreneur like the ones on fifth floor. On the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning the idea is to work within three areas: Research, teaching and training entrepreneurs, and incubator. In the incubator they look for unique and scalable ideas and a passionate team. During ”punchwhole meetings” they judge and try to punchwhole the idea and see how the entrepreneur respond to this. One challenge is to get the person focussed on the idea; a start-up work seventy percent with other things and not with the idea.
Alternative Law Forum is a collective of lawyers starting in 2000 with the idea that there is a need for an alternative practice of law concerning social and economic injustice. They have run several campaigns for sexual, women and civil rights and questions like: How do minorities get access to their rights?. The eleven laywers connected to ALF cover a large variety of issues, do research, campaigns and publish articles.
Running a perfume business these days is hard. Globalization has changed the market completely, and being a smaller business you just can’t compete with the large ones. The international connection is asked for by customers who would like to order a new perfume, and for a small business it’s just not possible. They have instead accepted to be in the second layer, Mr Vijayakumar explains, when he with love for his profession explains how it works.
The perfumery is one part of what they do at Vijayakumar Farm. The farm is named after the family name, where they have over the past few years planted over 250 species of plants and trees; endangered species, the sainted trees, spices and other things. One part is the breeding of a rare cow, which we are told, is both intelligent and has feelings. We also get to see a wonderful dance performance by Raadha Kalpa and the story behind traditional dance.
One sentence stay in your mind, said by one of the entrepreneurs: ”In India if you don’t succeed you die.”
The visit is part of the exchange program Linking Initiatives, an initiative between Region Västra Götaland and Karnataka in India. Read more under tag ”Bangalore” or category ”India”.
Twelve people working with different parts of the innovation system to support business ideas, counselling, mentorship, and financing for the SME field in Region Västra Götaland walk up the stage. They stand in a long row on the stage where some fifteen years ago the world’s well-known operas were performed. Storan was the former opera house of Göteborg and a cultural mark in Göteborg, a building that unfortunately has not gotten a proper new role yet after the opera moved to the new built opera house by the river in 1994.
This conference is about how to start and help new businesses through the innovation system in the region. There are representatives from incubators, financing, social businesses, counselling, mentorship and the middlemen that can answer questions and send you to the right place. Two of these mentioned that they work with artists, none of them put forward cultural and creative businesses as a potential area or possible clients to work with.
It’s interesting since at the same time, in Brussels and around Europe, the contribution of the creative industries is put forward as a high priority question. The state of Sweden has written an activity plan for how to support creative industries in Sweden, the Region Västra Götaland has one too, and so have some communities. Everyone lean on the figures from the EU commission from 2006 on the economic size of the field: 2,6% of GDP in Europe, 3,1% of the workforce and growing. This is where new jobs will be created.
But for the twelve people on the stage, and the presentators of the day, this fact seem to have passed by unnoticed. Not one mentioned this as a potential area or had strategies of how to encircle, define and find methods of how to work with this growing field. Perhaps it’s not so big in economic size compared to others in the larger economy, but isn’t every lost opportunity also a missed possibility?
Nätverkstan is working with an educational programme on creative industries aimed for the innovation system in the region on an assignment from Region Västra Götaland. We also work with Cultural Innovation as such and have two seminars with Arvind Lodaya from Sristhi School of Art, Design and Technology in May. Read this for more info.
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