Posts with tag crisis

Experimental theatre in Brno

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.

 

21 september, 2014

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Free Lagerhuset!

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?

See former post here and download the debate article (in Swedish) here: Befria Lagerhuset från Higab.pdf.

1 april, 2014

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Voices from the Waters

A weekend in Göteborg full of films, seminars, discussions, and art works on the water situation in the world. The inauguration film Friday night, Like Fireflies, a film describing the consequences and human tragedies due to privatization of water resources in Chile, was the first of many important voices shown Friday through Sunday.

The festival, Voices from the Waters, is an initiative from Bangalore Film Society and has been running parallel in Göteborg this year with Nätverkstan, Världskulturmuseet (Museum of World Culture), Sjöfartsmuseet Akvariet (Maritime Museum & Aquarium) and funding from Region Västra Götaland.

Today was the final day and the festival ended with a debate on the situation of water with EU Parliamentarian Isabella Lövin, and researchers Henrik Svedäng and Sverker Jagers.

1 september, 2013

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Newsweek’s last issue

The 31st of December was a historic day. The very last printed issue of Newsweek was published and distributed. From now on the only way to read Newsweek is on the web.

Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine, published since 1933 in New York City and with US and international distribution. I

n October 2012 the editor Tina Brown announced that the weekly would end it’s eighty years of printed publication to go only digital. It’s an historic change and follows a period of changes within in printed press due to changing reading habits. Read more of the challenges and future of print here.

Nätverkstan managed to get the hands on a copy of the very last issue. And as the historic winds of change are blowing around us we continue our work to help small cultural journals and publicists to face the digital challenges and find solutions that are cost effective. This year the project Literature and digitization will take further steps in this direction with funding from Region Västra Götaland.

2 januari, 2013

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The future of print

Since 2009 large and small newspapers around the world have been facing difficulties with drop in profit, drop in sales with job cuts as a result.

The latest in the line of newspaper cuts is Newsweek announcing earlier this fall the end of printed publication, and only going digital. December 31 is the last printed issue being distributed changing an eighty year chain of printed publications. The Independent as another example of a troubled newspaper and in the US the newspaper scene has changed drastically with papers like The Seattle Post-intelligencer, The Detroit News, and The San Francisco Chronicle and more severely being reduced and some closed down.

The Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter has seen a drastic cut among employees and the latest news is that the other large daily Svenska Dagbladet has to save around 40 million SEK leading to cutting off it’s cultural pages and having around 50–60 employees are loosing their jobs.

Smaller newspapers are facing the same future. Nerikes Allehanda and Vestmanlands Läns Tidning, who both have the same owner, are cutting with 75 people during this year (read more here).

Times for newspapers and journals are dramatically changing. What is the future of printed press? Will heaps of printed books, journals, newspapers just be stored in piles collecting dust while the readers are elsewhere?

Cultural critic Olav Fumarola Unsgaard addresses this challenge and the future of print in an article at A-Desk Critical Thinking. He writes:

To understand the media landscape of today we must change our point of viewpoint. The world of printed media is today going through very rapid changes. To make it simple all these changes are in one way or another connected to digitalisation and the Internet. First of all we must understand that these changes have an impact on the entire sector of print. This means newspapers, journals, magazines, books and comics. It will affect the worldwide media conglomerates as well as the small fanzines. In the words of Joseph Schumpeter is there a massive creative destruction going on. Someone will lose and someone will gain.

Read the full article here.

Olav Fumarola Unsgaard is cultural journalist, book editor and project manager, also a former project manager for the long tail-project at Nätverkstan. Today mostly working with the Swedish publishing house Atlas and the journals Fronesis and Ord&Bild.

 

7 november, 2012

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Cultural Statistics

First came shipbuilding. Then came Volvo. Now comes Film Industry to Göteborg.

The text, found on the wall at Gothenburg Film Studios, tells in three sentences the changes that Göteborg, and specifically the North Bank Side of river Göta Älv, has been going through the last forty years.

Shipbuilding was a large industry in Göteborg for a long time and the city was an important international hub for import and export of goods as well as ideas and contacts. Swedish East India Company had its base here and 37 of their ships were built in docks in the city. In the 70s the big crisis hit shipbuilding and many people lost their jobs and the deserted area has now changed into fancy residents. New businesses and centres are created with TV. Radio, IT, and film industry as a growing industry.

Now the car manufacturing industry is in a crisis and Saab sadly had to close down its business last year. Again people have lost their jobs. What will come instead is a question, but also strong in Trollhättan is film, animation, computer games, visual effects and the Science Park.

The impact of these new emerging industries are difficult to define and as hard to nail down into numbers. How can you evaluate and measure the effects of these new more small-scale industries? What indicators are needed? How do our statistical agencies streamline statistics from EU to local level so information can be compared? How do we assure to not only measure quantity, but also qualitative aspects? And how can we be clear of what is not measured, not to loose important aspects of art and culture and leave politicians with only numbers?

This was discussed yesterday at the conference arranged by Region Västra Götaland and CREA.RE with delegates from EU and national, regional, and local level.

21 mars, 2012

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Cultural forecast

The Encatc 19th Annual Conference in Helsinki was focusing on the future this year.

”A wind of change is blowing over our societies and reshaping our political, social and cultural paradigms. Increased urbanization, uneven social redistribution, a digital shift and an array of new audiences accessible mainly with the use of new technological tools – these are motors of change which provide as many challenges as they do opportunities.”

In a mix of key note speakers such as Saara L. Tallas, IKEA Professor in Business Studies in School of Business and Design, Linnaeus University (Sweden); Katri Halonen, acting head of degree program in Cultural management at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences; and Lidia Varbanonva, consultant, researcher and lecturer was mixed with intense group discussions on different topics. Encatc thematic areas had workshops within their specific themes as well as room for young researchers and research presentations.

Although the financial crisis hovered above like an evil cloud, optimistic thoughts were exchanged on the future of culture and its possibilities.

Read more of the conference here.

15 oktober, 2011

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Art policy a foundation for CCI

In a letter to the Observer, some of UK’s famous artists within film, TV and theatre send a warning of what the drastic cuts in UK funding to art will do. The main message being that less public money to the art field will have serious effects on British economy. Creative industries have contributed more than 7 billion pounds a year to the economy.

An article in BBC News report on the appeal where Dame Helen Mirren, the actress, are one of the artists stating that investment in the arts brings in (as they put it) ”staggering” return for the country. If cultural policy is dismantled, it will have effects on creative industries and the economy as a whole.

October 20th 2010 was named Axe Wednesday by British press due to the government announcement of massive cuts in the UK budget in all areas of society. Within arts it has meant cuts over all fields within culture, and just the Arts Council England, distributing money to a large amount of arts venues, theatres, and galleries, had its budget cut by around 30 percent.

Swedish Counsellor for Cultural Affairs in London, Carl Otto Werkelid, says in a short interview on the Swedish Government website, that UK is facing a huge tightening of public finances. The cultural field is still holding its breath in the wait of seeing what concrete effects the cuts will have for the arts. The appeal yesterday was perhaps a change in the waiting. Carl Otto Werkelid is talking about a paradigm shift that will have effects way beyond the boarders of UK.

Read the original letter to the Observer here.

Read the article in the BBC News about the appeal by British artists here.

Read the Guardian on the culture cuts here.

Read a short post on the changes in UK here.

And read the interview of Carl Otto Werkelid here (in Swedish).

14 mars, 2011

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RUHR.2010

Ruhr area is described as a metropolis in Germany. For the first time an area has become the European Cultural Capital of 2010 (one of them), an area of 53 cities (se comments), where five cities are put forward as central: Dortmund, Essen, Bochum, Oberhausen and Düsseldorf together form the metropolis and the base for activities during Ruhr.2010.

But at the tourist office in Dortmund, they are not sure. Information of Ruhr 2010? No….we don’t know. The only thing going on in Dortmund that evening is the Philharmonic playing Haydn and Brahms at the Concert hall, we learn (a beautiful concert!).

dortmunderu2The next day we find the designated place for Ruhr 2010 in Dortmund, only a few blocks away from the tourist office; the U. The Dortmunder U is an old beer brewery now becoming a centre for art and creativity. It’s not finished yet, plans are it will gather cultural education, media center, museum, and exhibition halls in one building.

The Ruhr was the center for old coal and steel mining industry in Europe and as such been the zone for conflicts and wars. Here the EU was born, the first steps were taken around 1950s with the Schumandeclaration. It was crucial in Europe to make peace, not war, and therefore necessary to find ways of cooperation around coal and steel mining.

Today this industry is closed down and many of the old mines are now museums. Other buildings are left empty and the hopes are that these will be filled with other activities and businesses. Such as art and culture.

Is the artistic community dense enough to be able to talk about a creative industry? Will this create the new jobs? And does the ambitious programme of activities in Ruhr 2010 include the community so that changes and ambitions will continue after the Cultural Capital year? Views go apart on this when you ask around.

The changes in Ruhr are not new. It started around ten to fifteen years ago, which might set out for a more long-term view of changes which will hopefully lead to new sustainable jobs.

When Swedish researcher Lisbeth Lindeborg visited the Ruhr area in 1991, she in her report Kultur som lokaliseringsfaktor – erfarenheter från Tyskland (my translation: Culture as localization factor – experiences from Germany) pointed out the fact that art and culture played an important role in changes of cities and regions. Art and culture were the factors for localization of businesses and well-being in an area.

A statement creating a harsch debate in Sweden at the time, specifically among the artistic community. Art should not be seen as an instrument for something else. Art is important for its own sake, was the argument.

For another view than the official, you can read at the blog Ruhr Barone of journalists blogging on the Ruhr area. Here a post by Stefan Laurin: Die Kreativen und die Politik im Ruhrgebiet, where he says that Dortmunder U only has become an exhibition hall and museum.

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Some facts on German Creative Industries:

Work force in 2006 within Creative Industries was 938.000 people. In 2007, 970.000 people, and in 2008 over 1 million. In 2008 it was 3.3% of the total workforce in Germany.

Turnover in these industries was estimated at 132 billion euro and there were around 238.000 companies in this field.

Gross value added was for 1) Engineering industry 74 billioen euro, 29 Automotive industry 71 billion euro, and 3) Creative industry 61 billion euro which was 2,6% of economic output.

Source for information: German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Final Report Culture and Creative Industries of 30.01.2009, through the information leeflet handed out by Dortmunder U: Boosting the creative industries.

The visit in Germany is part of a study being produced on knowledge production and research within creative industries, a work done for the think tank on these issues in Region Västra Götaland.

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27 november, 2010

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A quick glance: Creative industries in Germany

Monica Grütters, Chairman of the Ausschusses für Kultur und medien (Committee of Culture and Media) in German Bundestag (Parliament), meet us in her office in the government building in Berlin. A building under threat of terrorist attacks, we learn, and later that day they close it for all visitors.

“We have more employment in the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) than in other areas in Germany, more than banking for example” Monica Grütters tells us. The CCI are today the second largest industry in Germany, second only after the car manufacturing industry.

The hope is that culture and creative businesses will be a new economic model. “We supported the Cultural Capital to Ruhr”, she says, and explains the transition in Ruhr area from coal and steal mining to creativity and innovation, two of the main themes for Ruhr.2010.

Within the Bundestag, Creative industries has it’s own organization, placed under the finance department. “They have the money and proper instruments and tools”, Monica Grütters explains. The Committee gets regular reports on creative industries and what has been done. Several efforts are done to encourage these new small businesses.

“The Creative industries is young, dynamic and fast growing”. But it is a side-effect, Monica Grütters declares. The main focus is intact, which means Fine Arts are highly supported.

Initiatives like training of banking managers in how creative businesses work has started in each of the sixteen Bundesländer (states) and the formation of transition centers for dancers in Berlin and Karlsruhe where they after an early pension around the age of 30-35 (common for dancers) can get further education, are combined with a special Socialkasse for artists. Once you become a member of the Kasse you are within the social security system in the country. A huge problem for many artists is that they fall out of the social security system.

There seem to be quite a consensus over political parties that these are necessary efforts. And there seem not to be much of opposition from the artistic community. Ulrika Skoog Holmgaard, Councelor of Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Sweden in Berlin, explains to us that even in these times of financial crisis, cuts within art is limited in Germany. There is in Germany a strong support for art and culture, and as Monica Grütters put it, “We need it because we are a cultural nation”.

The visit in Germany is part of a study being produced on knowledge production and research within creative industries, a work done for the think tank on these issues in Region Västra Götaland.

25 november, 2010

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Ship to Gaza

Today’s news of the Israeli attack on the humanitarian flotilla, Ship to Gaza, on international waters is a terrible state of fact in the world since 9/11, where everyone of us at any time can be accused of being terrorists.

stg2010may_sidebarShip to Gaza is a humanitarian project and a grass-roots initiative to send supplies of building material and medical equipment to the people of Gaza. It’s a peaceful action from people-to-people to help people in need. Engaged in Ship to Gaza, and now on the ships, are parliamentarians, professors, artists, journalists, film makers, and many others.

The news are now spreading of nineteen people dead and several injured in the Israeli Military attack. An attack on peaceful demonstrators in peace time and on international waters.

Words are not enough to express the despair this creates.

Categories: Art Blogg Creative spaces International

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31 maj, 2010

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How are you effected by the economic crises?

Listen to a conversation on how some cultural organizations in USA cope with the economic crisis and how they have been affected.

14 oktober, 2009

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PV-FV=NPV • Project work in Kenya

An article in Kenyan paper the Nation (June 27, 2009), written by journalist Gitau Gikonyo puts forward a new tendency he sees. As the middle class is growing in Kenya, the engagement for social issues is declining. The middle class seem to be happy with their lives, driving the car back-and-forth to their jobs, living in houses, children going to good schools, and as the number within this class grows, the interest for politics and to work for a better society for all diminishes. The only ones left to lift these issues are either the elite or the very poor, the article states. In India the middle class accounts for around 200 million and is the economically most dynamic group on this planet. But overall they don’t care about politics or social reforms, Gikonyo states. They are well as it is.

People we meet in Nairobi are very committed. They want to see change, take the opportunity. But for the Arts in Kenya one major question is: Is the Art sector ready for change? In Kenya Art and culture is not described in economic terms, as it is in Europe. And to reach changes, basic needs like img_9212food, electricity, sanity and infrastructure have to be in place. Working with culture without a conscious mindset also on social and societal issues just does not work. ”Freedom of Speach is not recognized in this country since Art is not recognized” one person tells us.

Culture have a mindset towards society. How does this fit with private investors’ interest? The complexity rises. Investors have another rationale and value system than the Arts. The market value chain also looks different. The traditional industry is a linear process from origination to consumption, in creative industries it’s a disruptive process. It doesn’t follow linear expectations, rather you need to in every step from origination to distribution and consumption think in several different options (for more, have a look at Donna Ghelfi’s report below). Time value of money, opportunity cost, as well as net present value counted in the figure: PV-FV=NPV is all investors talk, which has to be layered with cultural production and entrepreneurship if you want these to different fields to meet. Without loosing the value of the Art, the Artistic integrity and the social aspect so closely linked to Artistic work. How should this be done?

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. Below you can find some of the reports used in the environmental scan for the project.

Read the much debated report on the post-election violence in 2007 written by the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence, the Waki Report: wakirep.

For information about culture in Africa, have a look at Obervatory of Cultural Policy in Africa. Another interesting initiative is the Arterial network, which started with a conference in Senegal in 2007. The report can be downloaded here: arterialconferencereport.

Read also the reports by Dominic Power, at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, on creative industries, intellectual property and so forth, download here one: dominic-power_-revisied-cluster-theory-for-cultural-industries. Download Donna Ghelfi’s, Programme Officer at Creative Industries Division, interview with John Howkins, a leading thinker on creativity and intellectual property, here: cr_interview_howkins. For an economic perspective on Eastern Africa, look at the report prepared for the investment company Swedfund in 2009 by Peter Stein: reporteastafrica-publ

Check out this fantastic presentation by Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm at ted.com (or below) where he gives perspective of global development.

30 juni, 2009

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The funding gap • Project work in Kenya

As we in the project team pursue the question of interaction between business and cultural field during our sessions, several things emerge. And as we get in to the thought of investors investing in cultural businesses to make profitable returns, a few more things get clear.

Many of the people we meet talk about the potential of creative industries in Kenya, people from both business and cultural side. There is an opening, a collective thought is, a potential, which should be addressed. But how? How would you do to catalyze this potential and at the cost of what? What are the trade-offs?

Samuel Muvelah, at Zimele Asset Management Company Limited, has long experience of project work in different parts of Kenya, venture capital and is now a money manager for those who put in around 50 dollars and want their savings to grow. ”The reason the creative field is not seen, is that it’s lacking sufficient institutional organization to integrate with formal capital structures”, is his major point. ”The field is disorganized, so how do you find talent? How do you begin to cooperate with creative industries?” ”To catalyze the potential you need an entry point!”

Muthoni Udonga, on the other hand is musician and a real entrepreneur. She runs festivals with a variety of the top East African Artists, run workshops, and she does this with the perspective of both doing excellent music events, and do activities that develop the field. All this at the same time as she runs her own music career. ”Film, tv, music are really taking off here in Nairobi. On small budgets and very entrepreneurial”, she says. Together with producer Robert Wawawei, they describe a growing and bubbling music life with many upcoming new Artists. It’s a growing field, but one also struggling with skills gaps. ”Artists have to think like entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t happen here”, is Muthoni’s point. Together with few funding bodies, lack of investment money and an unpredictable audience, it’s hard to come forward. Hard – but not impossible.

So how could this funding gap between investors wanting to invest in creative industries but don’t know how, and a creative field wanting to be able to live on their content be resolved? How can bridges be built? In September the first meeting will be held in Nairobi putting these partners together to find concrete suggestions to come forward.

But in such a complex project there are many things to consider, and the team of Godown Art Center, Mangowalla Ventures and Nätverkstan, have been digging deep in to these discussions. A few things has emerged, perhaps not so new, but still very evident.

1. Investors expect an economic profit in their investments. Considering the creative field, which consists of a wide variety of activities from the Arts to design and media, only a few will be in consideration. Only a very small portion of cultural businesses and organizations has the chance to make these sorts of profits. They exist, of course, and there is a point to build bridges so they can meet, but for the cultural field as a whole, this will not be a solution.

2. Majority in the creative field are single Artists, small-scale cultural entrepreneurs and organizations that run not-for-profit entities. These might not be in the viewpoint of the investors, but are important as job creators. Here future jobs will be created.

3. Content production and symbolic value are becoming more and more important in the business world. The business field needs the creative field to be able to sustain the value of their products in a world in fast transition.

4. The Artists and investors have one common denominator: they both live on taking risks. The Artist takes risk to create meaning, the investor to create returns.

5. What are the trade-offs? For the investor one such is perhaps the relation between the higher expected returns, the less quality of the Artistic work, if you in the ”quality”-word also put in the aspect of uniqueness. This relation might not be binding, a film production selling very well and generating a large profit might also be of high quality. But for most cultural entrepreneurs striving in the field, there will not be large amounts of money to be made, unless you put less amount of time into increasing quality or your Artistic talent or do something else.

So for the Artist on the other hand, the relation between Artistic value and survival are true. Will you be able to live on your Art? If you want to earn money, is there a trade-off on your Artistic value?

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.

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27 juni, 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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After the Crunch

Read more about creative industries, creativity and thoughts of the current state of the economy and how the field we work in should respond in order to create a better future. Several different contributors has given their thoughs and ideas in ”After the Crunch”, a project started by John Holden, John Kieffer, John Newbigin and Shelagh Wright, their common work is also expressed in creative-economy.org.uk.

Download ”After the Crunch” here: after_the_crunch.

14 juni, 2009

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Creative industries – a new direction?

Professor Justin O’Connor at Queensland University of Technology, Creative Industries Faculty, in Australia has written two interesting papers on creative industries. Developing a Creative Cluster in a Post-industrial City: CIDS and Manchester and Creative Industries: A new direction?. Both can be downloaded here. Read also a note on the website of Arc Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation.

Downloads: cciextended and cids-revised.

9 juni, 2009

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Five myths of entrepreneurs

These days, when entrepreneurship is put forward as the solution of the cultural field’s economic difficulties, and when funding bodies on all levels are talking more frequently of Artists and cultural organizations having to be more entrepreneurial, searching for ”sponsorship”, ”alternative funding” and ”market demand”, it might be time to kill some myths.

An issue of the Economist this spring (March 14–20, 2009) with a special focus on entrepreneurship, put forward five myths of entrepreneurs that needs to be put aside if we are to understand and catalyze entrepreneurship.

Myth 1. Entrepreneurs are lonely, socially incompetent geniuses that come up with great ideas. Instead, the article argues, entrepreneurship is a social activity. An entrepreneur might be very independent, but needs a business partner or social networks to succeed.

Myth 2. Most entrepreneurs are extremely young. Some have been very young, like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, the article lift forward. But a significant amount is also older, like Gary Buller who started the GPS company Garmin at the age of 52.

Myth 3. Entrepreneurship is driven mainly by venture capital. In fact, venture capitalists fund only a very small fraction of start-ups. Majority of money put into start-ups, the article shows, come from personal debts and of the ”three f:s”: Friends, fools and families.

Myth 4. To succeed, entrepreneurs must produce a world-changing product. Instead, experience shows that the most successful entrepreneurs focus on processes rather than products.

Myth 5. Entrepreneurship cannot flourish within large companies. Small start-ups are very important, the article points out, but also large companies are being successful in keeping an attitude of entrepreneurship. The company Johnson & Johnson is put forward as an example.

The personal computer, the mobile phone and internet has made entrepreneurship flourish. Many initiatives has grown since these technological changes were introduced, entrepreneurs come from all parts of the world. Due to falling prices in communication, a global market can be reached instantly.

One interesting initiative is the The Indus Entrepreneur (TIE), started in Silicon Valley in 1992 by a group of Indian entrepreneurs living in the valley. Today they have 12.000 members spread in 12 countries. The idea was to promote entrepreneurship through mentoring, networking and education. A network meeting is held in Stockholm, on 27th of May, organized at the Stockholm-based meeting place the Hub.

25 maj, 2009

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Georgian – Swedish Cultural Exchange. Continuation.

”We need a new Georgian Utopia”. Magda Guruli, Curator and Artist, meet us in her  home in Tbilisi. 1970s and 80s was a very artisticly interesting period in Georgia, she tells us. Many interesting initiatives with artistic high quality were taken. After the Soviet period, this infrastructure fell  and everything needs to be rebuilt. A whole new infrastructure is needed. This takes time. Perhaps the gap between systems will allow for new ideas, a transformed artistic scene?  ”In the system of Art, we are still in the mentality of Soviet. We need something completely new”.

Many Artist have their own NGO, as the platform to work from. They have their offices at home. The driving force is to do Art with high quality, but also be part of transformation of society.

Human Rights Center is a center working with issues like freedom of speach, discrimination, injustice. Through newsletters, research, workshops, training and projects they want to work for mutual understandning between ethnic groups in Georgia and put the focus on injustices performed by the Georgian government. Informing the public is as important as working with target groups like refugees. They offer services like legal support and counselling in entrepreneurship.

”Through Art you can make the changes otherwise not possible.”

The visit to Georgia is part of the project EKAE2009, run by Natverkstan and financed by the Swedish Institute.

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12 maj, 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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Authors

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

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

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