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In December 2014 the cultural journals found themselves in the centre of the Swedish media debate.
The State Cultural Committee (Kulturutskottet) decided in a meeting just before christmas to cut the budget for the cultural journals with nearly 80%. The debate was instant and agitated. The effect of the decision would be that the majority of cultural journals would have to close down. Qualified critical journalism and writing was in danger.
Cultural critics, journalists, writers, politicians from left to right, professional organizations and interest groups, were roaring writing articles, debating and arguing.
The debate showed the importance of these journals for the public debate.
At MEG 2015, the Media Days in Göteborg, the media elite in Sweden has gathered to discuss and debate. Nätverkstan with artist Helena Persson has commented on the role of the cultural journals and their near-death experience last December in a Lit de Parade for the journals: an installation called ”The Resurrection”.
It was followed by a seminar with editor and Nätverkstan Chair David Karlsson and journalist Siri Reuterstrand on ”The blue-collar workers in the public sphere – The role and importance of cultural journals”.
Never before have cultural journals been in the centre of the debate in Swedish media.
After the decision of the State Cultural Committee (Kulturutskottet) to cut the budget of the cultural journals with nearly 80%, the debate has been roaring.
Everyone: Cultural critics, journalists, writers; politicians from left to right (yes, even colleagues to Chair of the Committee, Per Bill, in the Conservative party have raised furious voices); professional organizations and interest groups, are writing articles, debating and arguing.
The decision has still not been changed to save the cultural journals.
But the Culture Minister who after the new election in March 2015 decides to reintroduce or even raise the support for the journals can only win. For a very small sum of money, this minister will gain respect and will be remembered as the one who saved the public critical dialogue and debate in Sweden.
Categories: Art Artistic practice Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Journals Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Democracy Digitization Distribution Economy Education Entrepreneurship Innovation Literature Regional Development
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Digitization, Distribution, Economy, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Literature, New economy, Social entrepreneur
”A whole segment of critical debate is erased (…)” describes editor and critic Kim West in an article in Kunstkritikk where he writes about the outrage that hit Sweden on Friday (December 12th).
The coalition of Liberal-Conservatives is cutting the support for the rich variety of cultural journals in Sweden by around 80%. This means a whole art form is being closed down and killed. In one stroke of the red pen. No other European country has done the same.
This is possible due to the dramatic development in Swedish politics the last few weeks where the Sweden Democrats decided to vote for the opposition party’s budget, instead of the ruling left-wing coalition’s budget. This meant that the government’s budget didn’t win the election in parliament and therefore has to rule on the opposition party’s budget in waiting for the new election on March 22 2015.
And apparently the coalition of Liberal and Conservatives now take the chance to fulfil cuts of 365 million SEK in the cultural budget. 15 million SEK of these are being cut in one area specifically: cultural journals. The support for this area is 19 million SEK in total today, cutting 15 million SEK of these leaves 4 million SEK left.
This means that a whole sector is sentenced to a sure death.
Cultural journals are already living on the economic edge. Editors, writers, and critics are getting very low payment for their articles. These people are magicians who have dedicated their time to make sure that critical journalism and quality texts are still produced. The wide variety of critical and intensifying perspectives have been a pride in Swedish democracy. The Liberal-Conservatives showed on Friday how easily this could be ruined.
This is also done in a time when the media crisis is being discussed (just lately in three articles in the daily Göteborgs-Posten), newspapers are closing down their cultural pages, and critical and culture journalism is being severely threatened.
These times calls for action!
Sign this petition just to start with: Rädda Kulturtidskriftsstödet (Save the support for cultural journals).
Categories: Art Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Journals Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Democracy Distribution Economy Entrepreneurship Innovation Literature Regional Development Reports, articles and books
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Distribution, Economy, Education, Employment, Entrepreneur, Literature, Research, Social entrepreneur
Nätverkstan visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, recently to in cooperation with the Swedish-Ethiopian cultural organization Selam start look at capacity-building needs for the artistic scene.
Five days filled with meetings, interviews and a seminar on Cultural Leadership, the two-year International Cultural Project Management education Kulturverkstan, and the Creative Entrepreneurship Course in Nairobi, Kenya, run by The GoDown Arts Centre.
An art piece outside the Bibliothèque Nationale in Rabat (Morocco) called ”Digital” is reflecting on the new society. Old traditions meet the new knowledge and digital society.
”It’s not one modernity”, said South African poet, writer and Professor Pitika Ntuli in an engaging and poethic speech: ”there are several parallel modernities”. ”It’s time for the African Cultural Renaissance”, he continued.
Several examples of a growing cultural scene is shown. In Nigeria the film industry (Nollywood) comes to 10% of GDP in a country with around 174 million inhabitants. In Senegal the music industry is thriving and growing. South Africa is showing important examples as well as visual arts and museums in Morocco.
The global value of Cultural and Creative Industries is said to be around 600 billion USD.
Africa’s share is less then 1%. This is the topic of the three conference days.
Categories: Art Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Democracy Digitization Distribution Economy Education Entrepreneurship International Regional Development Seminar
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Digitization, Distribution, Economy, Education, Employment, Entrepreneur, Globalization, International exchange, New economy, Social entrepreneur
Gävle Symphony Orchestra is rehearsing as we pass by the auditorium to meet up the next interviewee for our analysis. Soft music is slipping through the closed double-doors.
During November and December we have been asked to do an analysis of Gävle Symphony Orchestra and Concert Hall, and suggest future development scenarios.
We stop at the sound of the music and peek in through the loophole in the door to get a glimpse. The music is overwhelming, concentration tense.
This is just an ordinary day at work in the concert hall.
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.
The chairman of the Committee of Culture in Region Västra Götaland, Alex Bergström, together with vice chairman Lars Nordström, proudly presented the decision in the committee of establishing a fund for essays. The fund will give up to 500.000 SEK for essays published in a cultural journal. The fund is unique in Sweden.
The other new initiative is support for translation of literature written by immigrant authors living in Sweden.
The region has also decided to become a region for refuge authors and artists and has become a member of ICORN (International cities of refuge network).
Chairman of the Writer’s Centre in West Sweden, Carl Forsberg, saw this as an important development and possibility for the small, often economically restrained, cultural journals and for authors.
The seminar was moderated by David Karlsson, chairman of Nätverkstan.
When Theatre Goose on a String started in 1968 it played an important role in the resistance movement against communism in what then was Czechoslovakia. By sneaking in one or two words of the revolution into the performances on stage, the audience and the actors came to play different roles in strengthening the struggle in the real life drama.
Society has changed dramatically since then. Czechoslovakia has become Czech Republic and Slovakia. Communism has ended. The theatre has had to find its role in this new context. And more changes are to wait.
The platform Centre for Experimental Theatre consists of three theatre stages: Theatre Goose on a string, Theatre On the table, and HaDivadlo. They play together around 600 performances (theatre plays, events, festivals, readings) per year for full houses. Of the budget of 2 million euros per year, two thirds (2/3) comes from the city of Brno, the rest is through other income sources such as ticket sales, tours, projects. Sponsoring is zero.
They seem to be one of the few theatre’s of today having full capacity ensembles, with around 150 actors full-time employed. But changes are expected.
In Prague, changes have already happened. The formation of the theatre had to change from a benefit organisation (and thereby owned by the city) to a contracted one. This means that funding is not secured any more and every five years they have to compete with other theatres to get the grants. This has also meant that the actors have lost their jobs to become contractors.
The Centre for Experimental Theatre see the same development in Brno around the corner, and “there is no way to prepare for this”, as our guide Ondrej Navratil tells us. Conversation with the municipality is going on, as so many other cultural organizations they struggle with describing their value and to explain for the event- and tourist focused politicians, that an independent theatre is important.
But the show must go on. In the evening Amadeus, based on the film by the same name by Milos Forman (1984) is on stage. Amadeus’ hysterical laughter fills the auditorium as he enters the stage. He runs it, stops suddenly, looks around over a salon packed with people, and runs laughing out as the play starts. Another full house at the theatre.
The study visit was part of the 22nd Encatc Conference in Brno, Czech Republic, on 17–19 of September 2014.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, International exchange, Social entrepreneur
Each year in beginning of Fall after everyone is back from vacation, the staff at Nätverkstan gather to discuss what we do, why we do it, if we do the right things, and future strategies to continue take an active and proactive role in the cultural scene.
Discussions are high-ended, open, critical, and with wide perspectives. We work in workshops as well as share presentations and knowledge. This year David Karlsson presented the contextual view-point from the board; Mikael Löfgren talked about his newly written report on value within arts (in Swedish: Inga undantag), written for a network of Art Exhibition Spaces named Klister and inspired by the british consultant Sarah Thelwall‘s report Size Matters; and Karin Dalborg who gave a summary on environmental scanning and the result from a staff workshop earlier this year.
It’s also about inspiration and sharing; it’s the only time when (nearly) all staff members are gathered at one spot for a lunch-to-lunch meeting outside of Göteborg.
It’s both valuable and fun; useful as well as playing around and just enjoy. This year the Kick-off, as we call it, was at Slussen, one of our favorite spots for these meetings.
Two of the participants in the latest Creative Entrepreneurship Program run by the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi come from Slum-Drummers, a community-based organization that wants to share musical talent to engage and encourage young people in the slum areas.
Many of the ten members of Slum-Drummers are themselves former street children and have been trained in music by an Italian artist since 2005.
They perform and work specifically with activities for street children, the drums they use are designed and produced by the group from recycled materials which are also sold for income; plastic containers, cans of air refreshener, cooking pots, broom sticks, plastic pipes and other things become drums, drum sticks, kalimbas.
The organization has been partly supported by the Italian organization Gruppo per le Relazioni Transculturali (GRT) and now they are phasing out the funding. It is part of their strategy, a representative from GRT tells us, to work away from dependency. From January 1 2015 they are supposed to be standing on their own two feet, generate their own income – an enormous challenge for the group.
Slum-Drummers have identified areas where they need more knowledge to be able to sustain themselves: finance literacy, marketing and communication, entrepreneurship, and group identity as the main training needs.
The GRT says it’s necessary to move away from dependency, and either the group make it or not.
The situation is both complex and difficult.
Firstly, the whole question of the situation for street children is multidimensional and difficult. No efforts have, I am told, been done to try to grasp the full situation: the structural level as well as the individual, the community level and the families.
Slum-Drummers and other such projects take the initiative and do make a difference. In a dance-project some years ago, run by dancer and choreographer Isaac Karanj where they encouraged street kids to join dance classes instead of hanging around the dangers of the street, some of the now grown-up former street kids are performing dancers. In the meeting with Slum-Drummers several of the members point out that the music and the group have saved their lives.
The value generated should be unquestionable. It could be counted as public value, social value, and cultural value. It is definitely a value for the individual. Or if you will, economic value: the children that get the chance to get off the street and sustain a living are a less economic burden for society.
Secondly, The Kenya government shows low, if any, interest in putting sustainable programs and incentives in place. Corruption is still a problem. Where the state doesn’t take responsibility, civil society and international organizations will.
Thirdly, project money are short-term, and the international community is tied with political decisions in their home countries who follow a sort of ”trend”-budgeting. A project can’t go on forever and GRT in this case is quite conscious and responsible about this and phasing out slowly, giving tools, support, and capacity-building.
Forthly, international organizations do struggle with the dependency-situation. At some point the dependency need to be challenged and cut. At least this is the argument.
But it can also appear cynical. Resources are not distributed equally in this world. Having resources also mean having power: power of economic resources as well as decision-making. Structures and possibilities are different.
An Italian NGO in Kenya will survive. A local organization where the international funding stops have very few other alternatives.
Categories: Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Economy Education Entrepreneurship International Kenya Music Performance
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic collective workshop, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, International exchange
The lake Ljusnaren is quiet, laying still, perhaps waiting for the afternoon’s big drama being played right here, in the woods outside the city of Kopparberg: Guiseppe Verdi’s crime passionnel Otello.
People arrive in cars and buses. Some have taken the direct train from Stockholm and step right out on the ground and walk slowly in the warm afternoon towards the entrance of the large wooden saw mill.
”I imagine that it would be like being in the body of a violin” says director William Relton in an interview about the acoustic. It’s a warm and very clear acoustic in the mill, he describes it, and perfect for opera.
It’s also what seems to have inspired opera-singer Sten Niclasson when he ran into the closed-down saw mill. The acoustic was impressive; the place, right on the edge of the lake Ljusnaren in Bergslagen, inspiring; and the mill in all its granduor and size as if made for opera. Not least the train rail connecting the mill directly to Stockholm, was all factors that landed the idea of exchanging wood for opera.
Opera på skäret, a summer opera festival, started in 2004 after long hours of work and discussions with local municipality, the region, and different funders. In 2014 the neighbouring municipality Örebro decided to raise the yearly amount invested in the festival.
As so many municipalities around Sweden, also Ljusnarsbergs municipality is trying to deal with a declining population, lack of jobs, young people moving to the large cities, and a challenging economic situation. Art and culture, Creative Industries, becomes a light in the dark with hope for attractiveness of people’s interest for living, establishing, and visiting.
The 795 seats are not filled this afternoon, but nearly enough. Many people from near and long away have found their way to the opera on the edge to follow Otello‘s way to his ruin driven by only one thing: jelousy.
Nätverkstan did together with Sture Carlsson an analysis of another opera in Sweden in 2014: Wermland Opera. The book can be found here.
Getting funding for renting facilities during a project period or to build shared spaces is getting harder and harder. Your project should preferably be run with excellent content, but no physical spaces.
There seem to be an idea among funding authorities that sharing spaces, need for offices and physical meeting places have ended. In these digital times you may as well sit at a café or at home, have meetings on skype, through facebook groups or twitter.
Eventhough this of course suits some people, we see a parallell trend that is showing the opposite; the need for meeting and sharing physical spaces.
In Göteborg we have several examples, and not only those build up from the 70s-90s. People gather to find solutions for expensive equipment and places to meet and work all the time.
But just to start with the 70s, Konstnärernas Kollektivverkstad Göteborg (Collective Workshop for Artists) was formed in 1974 with the aim to share heavy equipment, ceramic ovens, facilities for metal, wood, graphic art for professional artists. You find several of these collective workshops around Sweden. These are still up and running.
Medialab in Lagerhuset started in 1998 to share hard- and software, printers, video editing equipment, and work spaces. Other initiatives are ABF Medialab for study groups, Frilagret for young people, Collaboratory, the DIY days which is all about sharing knowledge, ideas, and spaces, the newly started CopyPaste. Several of these initiatives just decided to work together in the network Göteborgs Makerlabs. Just to mention a few.
The lastest in the row is newly opened Kompani 415 in Kviberg which is about the same thing. An empty house in need of some renovation that has been taken over by an association to provide working spaces, studios, and rentable rooms for people within arts and culture. So that people can meet, talk, discuss, and share.
Who has stated that we see an end of sharing?
Within a week, three seminars has taken place in Göteborg and Stockholm with the ambition to bring knowledge and perspectives on cultural policy, cultural and creative industries, and the myth of the creative city.
To begin with the last.
Justin O’Connor, Professor at Monash University in Australia and the authority on cultural and creative industries, did a quick stop in Göteborg on his way to Stockholm to talk about Cultural Economy and Cultural Citizenship. Beyond the Creative City. Göteborg is one of all the European cities being promoted as the ”creative” city and the ”most creative region” in Sweden, eagerly cheered by the American economic’s Professor Richard Florida during his visit in 2006 when he identified Göteborg and Sweden to be a role-model of creativity and innovation.
Interesting since at the same time Göteborg is one of the most segregated cities in Europe, something that seemed to have slipped away from the Professor’s research.
Justin O’Connor said three things to be important:
1) Reinstall the value of art and culture and move away from ”creativity”,
2) Don’t run away from economics! Culture is part of the economy. Don’t leave it for others to handle and do not escape by saying economy is only for Neo-liberalists, and
3) The public space is for all. It’s time to reinstall Cultural Citizenship.
Cultural and Creative industries was in focus in Stockholm when Professors Justin O’Connor and Birgit Mandel, from Hildesheim University in Germany, discussed CCI – and beyond. Are we seeing the end of CCI? Or is it time for a revived understanding of the concept? Where are the artists in the discussion of CCI?
And the message was clear: Drop ”creativity”. This has only messed up the discussion. Go back to cultural economy. Discuss and define economy from the perspective of the arts and culture.
And today, lastly, a day with focus on cultural policy on the regional level of Region Västra Götaland tossing and turning on Whose Culture? Whose Plans? Whose Money? The seminar ended with politicians answering questions on what they think is the most important cultural policy question that they will bring to this year’s election. Participation, inclusive culture, culture to children and youngsters, integration was some of the answers.
The most important words, though, were said by Poetry Slam Winner Nino Mick, who summarized hen’s impressions during the day in a poetic reading that went straight into the heart.
The Göteborg event with Justin O’Connor is found here.
The invitation to the seminar in Stockholm: KN_Seminarieinbjudan_pdf.
The Cultural Policy day here.
Categories: Art Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Democracy Economy Education Entrepreneurship International Leadership Literature Regional Development Seminar
This is some of the content…
”Since the 1980s cities have used art and culture to promote their image, regenerate older districts, attract tourists and creative professionals, and latterly, rolled into the creative industries as a new dynamic economic sector. There is no doubting the contribution all these approaches have made to the transformation of the urban landscape. But they have also provoked a growing crisis as to what exactly is the value of culture? Distinctions have been made between ‘intrinsic’ and ‘instrumental’ value; or different levels of cultural, social, economic and environmental ‘impact’; or even new kinds of ‘public value’ measures which use quasi-markets to valuate cultural assets of programs. A great many policy documents have used these and other models to try to ”fix” the value of culture for public policy.
This talk attempts to sidestep these debates by revisiting, first, the idea of cultural citizenship and second, that of cultural economy. I will suggest that these two ideas should not be separated into the socio-cultural and the economic but need to be combined in a new agenda for urban cultural policy.”
Check the event on Facebook. The seminar is possible thanks to Göteborgs Kulturförvaltning (City of Göteborg, Cultural Department), Frilagret, Konstnärsnämnden (the Swedish Arts Grants Committee), and Nätverkstan.
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Economy, Entrepreneur, Globalization, International exchange, Social entrepreneur
In the middle of the roaring debate on the future of Lagerhuset, the Warehouse, a building in central Göteborg housing small-scale independent cultural organizations, publishers, and cultural journals, the digital journal Alba and Tidskriftsverkstan i Väst arranged a debate on cultural policy in the House of Literature (located in Lagerhuset).
It couldn’t be better timing.
But let’s start from the beginning. The old warehouse built in beginning of 1900 was for a long time a toll free warehouse for goods stored waiting for taxation to continue into the city. The building was then empty for a long time but in 1999 a group of small-scale publishers moved in together with Nätverkstan, Tidskriftsverkstan i Väst, the journals Ord&Bild, Glänta, and Paletten.
Other small businesses moved in, such as photographers, psychologists, architects, and editors.
In 2013 Frilagret started its cultural space for young people with dialogue processes and an active group of young cultural-interested people setting the agenda, an organization owned by the municipality. In October the same year the House of Literature opened its doors for readings, discussions on literature, space for writing, debates and discussions with authors, another of the municipality owned activities in the building.
And in March 2014 it was clear that the landlord, another part of the municipality, their own real-estate company Higab is chock-raising the rent for those in the house negotiating their contracts. One publishing house is leaving already in June.
The cluster of small-scale cultural organizations and entrepreneurs has taking long to create. And it can be destroyed in a second. No one can afford 30-35% higher rent.
With one hand the municipality is investing in a cultural house, while the other is pulling the rug under the feet of all the cultural organizations already in the building.
Of all the seminars, conferences, public debates and discussions on the cultural and creative city over the last ten years, Higab must have missed them all.
And they missed yesterday’s debate as well. Where are they? Are they at all concerned of the context and society they work in?
Categories: Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural Journals Cultural Policy Culture-led Development Economy Entrepreneurship Innovation Literature Medialab Music Nätverkstan Regional Development
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Literature, Renewal, Social entrepreneur
Is there a need for a joint Capacity Building program within Art and Entrepreneurship on the regional level in East Africa, driven and run by the cultural field? If so, what could a program look like?
Those have been questions discussed on the second meeting with representatives from cultural organizations as well as artists from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda. The meeting in Kampala on March 6–9, included several large questions.
What kind of competence building is needed among artists and cultural organizations? Is the perspective of livelihood a useful one? What are points of similarities in the context and cultural scene in the different countries, and what are the differences?
Three intense conference-days, with visits of cultural organizations in Kampala, ended in the conclusion that this process, discussion, and concrete ideas need to continue.
Three concrete points already happening is:
1) the GoDown Arts Centre start a term 1 course in Creative Entrepreneurship in May.
2) it might be possible to hold a facilitators’ course and training-for-trainers with regional partners sometime between May and August,
3) another meeting on the East Africa level will be held, probably in August, this time hosted by either Tanzania or Rwanda and with local artists invited.
On the meeting in Uganda artists within performing arts, writing, and visual art was participating, as well as representatives from Bayimba Cultural Foundation (Uganda), Femrite (Uganda), 32°East (Uganda), Autumn Ventures Africa (Uganda), MUDA (Tanzania), Ishyo Arts Centre (Rwanda).
The meeting is part of the project ”East Africa Capacity Building Program for Creative Entrepreneurs and Artists” funded mainly by the Swedish Institute and is a cooperation between GoDown Arts Centre (Kenya) and Nätverkstan (Sweden).
Etiketter:Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Economy, Education, Entrepreneurship, International exchange, Literature
During some winter months Nätverkstan, together with Sture Carlsson who is former CEO of the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Performing Arts and more, have dug deep into the situation of Wermland Opera.
Opera is probably the most expensive art form and operas around Europe are facing the same problem: increasing costs and lowered or stagnant public funding.
In many countries in Europe the tradition is to put a high degree of public funding into opera and concert halls. Today the situation is changing and for Italian opera houses – the cradle of the art form – the situation is acute. The accumulated deficit for Italian opera houses is enormous 300 million euro.
Wermland Opera, a small opera house situated in Karlstad in Region Värmland, is no exception. Although already getting a relatively large amount of the regional cultural budget (72%), the reality is that they have had to cut in expenses (mainly staff and productions).
Wermland Opera has showed impressive artistic results in its productions. In 2011 they put up the full Wagner Ring trilogy – something even large opera houses find challenging – a production that caused ripples far outside of Värmland with Wagner fans from all over the world traveling to the city and the national press praising the effort.
The opera house has managed to show high artistic quality opera in a small format, something that perhaps can be described as a new model of working for small opera houses with relatively limited budgets in Europe.
But they also face challenges. They can’t cut more in the economy without endangering the artistic quality. At the same time, getting such a high amount of the regional cultural budget as they do, leaving crumbles for other cultural initiatives, they also have a large responsibility. They need to open up for cooperations and to a larger degree see themselves a regional cultural resource.
Read articles in Swedish Television Värmlandsnytt, Swedish radio P4 Värmland or download the following articles here: Articles_WO.pdf. Read also the article ”The End of Italian Opera: Will They Wait for the Fat Lady to Sing?” in Newsweek. Read related post here.
A study from the Arts Grant Committee (2010) showed that women within art generally have lower income than their male colleagues. Men’s part of income also increases with higher income figures.
At the same time, women within the art field are more highly educated than their male colleagues, and in comparison with women in the population as a whole.
Looking at income the following are shown.
Visual art have the lowest salaries and are dominated by women, while music has the next highest median income level – and to 70% consists of men. Theatre seems to be the most gender balanced art form with the highest median income level, but also the art form with highest differences in salary due to gender.
A lot more needs to be done when it comes to equality within art and culture, something that the New York-based group Guerrilla Girls have picked up. The following art piece could be seen at this year’s GIBCA (Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art).
So stand tall, fellow Guerrilla Ladies, and don’t let gender and equal rights slip away unnoticed!
Arts Grant Committee, Artists’ Income from a Gender Equality Perspective (Part 2, 2010)
After about one and half hours with bus from St Petersburg on the highway towards Estonia we arrive in the small town of Kaykino. Here Olga Gracheva, former fashion designer and now project manager and business consultant, and Victor Grachev, a sculptor, have decided to live and be part of working for a lively and interesting society in rural areas.
Their home is their project. From the house and garden cultural projects are created, ideas developed, and sculptures formed by artistic hands in material such as stone, wood, metal.
And they involve their neighbours, the children’s culture school, the Agriculture College, and others in Kaykino. It’s about involvement and creating possibilities, because the simple fact is that agriculture is dying and young people move to the big cities.
During a four day visit to St Petersburg, we spend a lot of time discussing what this means. We meet with the Art Academy (Stieglitz), Kuryokhin Center, and the Children’s Culture School in Kaykino as well as the Agriculture College.
The visit was initiated by NGO Creative Project Kaykino in St Petersburg and is supported by the Nordic Culture Fund and included invited guests from Not Quite, Tou Scene (Stavanger), StoneZone, and Nätverkstan. The visit ended with a seminar with invited authorities, a report will be written as the end of this exchange project. A former post you find here.
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