Posts with tag Flexibility

Musical roadtrip in the woods of Värmland

As the bus with the musicians from Wermland Opera leaves Karlstad to go to the evening concert in Karlskoga, darkness comes early and fast. Most of the trip goes through the woods of Värmland in pinch black darkness and in poring rain.

The orchestra at Wermland Opera, normally based in Karlstad, does tours like this now and then to small cities in the region to let opera and classical music reach out to the different corners of Värmland. The concert this evening is arranged by Karlskoga Konsertförening and is this year’s Epiphany Concert led by conductor Henrik Schaefer.

Karlskoga (Karls Skogar/Woods of Karl) got its name from king Karl IX who saw these woods as his royal woods and is a small city of around 27.000 inhabitants. Between 1970–2010, the municipality of Karlskoga was second on the top list of municipalities in Sweden loosing most inhabitants.

When the bus stops at Bregårdsskolan, the location for the evening concert, the musicians eat, change, rig the stage, do the sound check, and start in no time. Around 150 people have found their way to the school assembly hall, average age being sixty plus something, to listen to the tones of Richard, Josef, and Johann Jr Strauss, and composer Constanze Geiger.

Karlskoga born opera-singer Anna-Maria Krawe sings and on Oboe is Malin Klingborg. Conductor Henrik Schaefer guides the audience through the concert in a pedagogic way that inspires, and the story of how he digged deep in the library in Vienna to find a suitable piece to perform by female composer Constanze Geiger is open and inviting.

After the concert, everything is packed back in the accompanying small trucks, musicians in the bus, and within thirty minutes or so the assembly hall is empty as if nothing has happened.

Research has been done to try to prove what art and culture mean to us human beings. At University of Gothenburg you find Centre for Culture and Health, a centre focussing on research and statistics to show the positive connections between culture and health.

It’s hard to say if the audience of this concert got healthier after listening to the orchestra. Or if people are more willing to stay and live in Karlskoga thanks to events like this (another large discussion in Europe). If so, these effects are secondary. First and most, it was a wonderful moment of music.

12 januari, 2014

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Perfect combo

On the second conference on the course Cultural Entrepreneurship Workshop (Knep) three guest lecturers with very different approach held seminars in the old barn, now a conference venue, restaurant and brewery of local beer.

Placed in the fields about two hours drive from Göteborg around twentyfive artists gathered this beautiful autumn day to listen to the perfect combo.

David Hansson and Thomas Hansy who form Gothenburg Combo and make a living on their acoustic guitars told their story from Music Academy to international touring.

Ulla-Lisa Thordén wrote the book Luspank och Idérik (Broke but full of ideas, my translation) and gave a talk on how to sell and communicate your art to others.

Claes Bohman, who, among many other things, have been part of the team starting Transit, the incubator that was connected to University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, was giving a speach on the process from idea to the audience or customer.

During this combination of lecturers and storytellers two thing were significant: The importance of quality, artistic quality, in the work; and working on different levels of understanding. David Hansson and Thomas Hansy want to reach both the ”amateur” audience as well as other professionals. To do that they need to work on different levels in their music.

Read more here.

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4 oktober, 2011

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Book industry in transformation

”To see how profoundly the book business is changing, watch the shelves”

In the latest issue of Economist (Sept 10th–16th 2011) you can read how digitization is transforming the book industry. What has been known in newspaper and music world since late 1990s is now heading towards publishers. This year sales in the first half of the year of consumer e-books in America overtook those from adult hardback books.

As an example, watch the bookshelves, Economist say. IKEA is introducing a new version of the classic bookshelf ”Billy” next month, a shelf not necessarily for storing books, but a deeper one with glass doors to use for ornaments and other things.

Digitization has given new life to old books. Harlequin has digitized more than 13.000 of its books and the firm has started to publish romances as only e-books. Amazon is selling more copies of e-books than paper books. Digitization has for small publishers showed a way out of the difficulty of managing inventory. If you print too many books, many of them will be returned by stores. Print too few and publishers will get a problem of costing more than it tastes to reprint.

There are two important jobs for publishers:

”They act as the venture capitalists of the words business, advancing money to authors of workthwhile books that might not be written otherwise. And they are editors, picking good books and improving them. So it would be good, not just for their shareholders but also for intellectual life, if they survived”

Nätverkstan has started Samladeskrifter out if these exact ideas: to make small publishers’ and authors’ books available over time and possible to read in different digital formats. It’s both a digital tool for small publishers and authors to make books available on Internet, and a sales window towards the market. Building this has been an interesting roller-coaster ride through a book industry in transformation.

Read more here.

17 september, 2011

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Future cultural leadership?

Do you know the price of oil? Could you tell the eight Millenium goals set in 2000?

Venu Dhupa, Director Creative Development at Creative Scotland, starts with a quiz with the audience. We live in a globalized world and as leaders of cultural institutions it is necessary with a global perspective.

”Institutionally we are out of touch” and the question Venu Dhupa asks is: ”Are you looking for people just managing things or are you looking for leaders?”

Other skills are important for leaders such as ability to deal with uncertainty, question and reflection, perspective, a sense of place in the world and sense of value,

A series of two seminars took place recently, the first at Kulturhuset in Stockholm led by Sune Nordgren, and the second at Hanaholmen – Hanasaari kulturcentrum in Helsinki, to discuss leadership within cultural institutions and small organizations with guest speaker Venu Dhupa.

The seminars were arranged in cooperation between Kulturhuset Stockholm, Hanaholmen – Hanasaari Kulturcentrum, Kulturfonden för Sverige och Finland, Cultural Leadership Award in Sweden and Nätverkstan.

Download invitation here (in Swedish): seminarleadership.pdf. Read more related posts here and here.

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1 juni, 2011

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Structure vs individual

Over a twenty-years period, the portion of permanent hired ensembles on the theaters in Sweden has declined drastically. Actresses and actors are to very high degree freelancers. In Sweden there are about 2300 actresses and actors, ninety percent are freelancers, ten percent has permanent positions.

On Stockhom Stadsteater (Stockholm City Theatre) the portion of people with permanent jobs have declined from 70 to 20 percent over the twenty-year period, at the same time as the number of plays performed has risen. Benny Fredriksson, the Director of Stockholm Stadsteater, has been seen as the leader of the modern theater in his efficiency, number of plays performed, and not the least, getting audience to come.

The crack in the glamour started yesterday, when the actor Ulf Friberg wrote in a big article in the daily Dagens-Nyheter about the conditions for actors and actresses at Stockholm Stadsteater. He means that the fact that so many are freelancers creates a quiet culture, critics are swallowed in fear you will not get the next job. Mr Fredriksson has drawn the efficiency too far, is his point.

The ones standing with the cap in their hands are the ones creating the content, of without every theater is only an empty shell: The actresses and actors.

We have seen it before. Some years ago a debate roared in Sweden due to the fact that one of the biggest museums in Sweden, Moderna Museet (Modern Museum), didn’t pay the visual artists for the time to put together a new exhibition for the museum. Everyone else was paid. The Director, administrators, guides, and the caretakers. But not the artist. They should be happy to be able to have an exhibition at all at such a prestigious museum. But you can’t pay rent with honour.

It’s interesting in times when the mantra from local authorities to the state, from business life and bureaucrats, even among ourselves within cultural life is: Artists have to know how to price themselves and their work!

For the theater it would be fine if the hourly payment for freelancers covered costs for development, reading and rehearsal. It doesn’t. Instead different competence-programs are started, all with the aim of teaching artists to become better at selling themselves.

When in fact, the present crisis of the theater has structural reasons. It can not be blamed on or solved by individuals. No matter how many entrepreneurial programs we set up.

2 mars, 2011

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Money&Meaning • Nairobi • Step 2

The workshop ”Money&Meaning” (or ”The Art of living on Art” as we also call it) in Nairobi is a continuation of workshops done in Nairobi and Mombasa during 2009 and 2010.

The idea is also to build further educational possibilities for artists in East Africa. The project is a cooperation between Nätverkstan and GoDown Arts Center in partnership with Sian Prime (UK), during 2010 funded by Swedish Inistute.

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3 december, 2010

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Kick-off at Nätverkstan

During two intense days at the guesthouse Slussen, placed right by the ocean side, Nätverkstan gathered all staff to discuss the coming year. In the sunny August-light, the focus was the future vision aiming for Nätverkstan the year 2020.

Two positions were explored, inspired by a method used by Cristina Ortega Nuere, University of Deusto in Bilbao. The first was to envision the catastrophe. Everything had gone wrong. Two and two we discussed things like: What happened? What were the factors leading to the catastrophe? What was missing? The second was to envision the success. Nätverkstan was the most talked about cultural organization in Europe, everything turned into to gold in our hands. What had gone so well? What were the factors leading to such a success, what had been in place? What were the success criteria?

To envision the organization in such terms, pretending it was 2020 and looking back on these two scenarios, opened an intense discussion on where the organization is now, the content, projects, economy, workload, joy and so forth. We ended with a list of conclusions of things we could see were important for the planning of activities in 2011.

We also took help of communication consultant Kent R Andersson and talked about different communication methods. Everyone ended outside on the porch in preparing a small presentation of a colleague. Intense, a lot of fun, and important!

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3 september, 2010

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Filemaker Development Conference 2010

It was a Grand Opening!

On four giant screens we could see the a thin and charismatic man given us the facts: the numbers are great, the future is bright. A big Wheel in the Sky. The speaker was the president of Filemaker Corporation Dominique Goupilon in his keynote speech. A fairly short but intense opening speech was followed by appearances of the company´s engineers. One after the other they went on stage to describe new features and the crowd was ecstatic!

Chief engineer Andrew LeCates made some entertaining presentation of FilemakerGo, a new and promising product on the IOS platform. Filemaker on iPhone and iPad. This is the most interesting aspect of Filemaker for the moment and I am going to attend every session on that topic during the conference.

The opening session was over and time to party. Live music, food and drinks and lot of networking. Tomorrow agenda is packed with sessions from 8 in the morning until 10 in the evening and I can hardly wait…

Written by Christian Stensöta

Christian Stensöta is a colleague at Nätverkstan in charge of database and Filemaker solutions for the cultural and civil society field. He is visiting the Filemaker Development Conference 2010 in San Diego, USA, August 15-18.

Have a look at: http://www.filemaker.com/products/filemaker-go/for-ipad/

18 augusti, 2010

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Art and entrepreneurs

Archana Prasad, an Artist in Bangalore, has been extremely active the last year. It started about a year ago when she was having her first single exhibition in Bangalore and confronted the lack of Art spaces. There was no good Art space around at a decent price. She had her exhibition, but out of the experience grew a drive to find solutions.

So she started, together with colleague-Artists, a series of initiatives. Jagaa, described in the former post, was one of them. What if you could build a movable Art space and use empty spaces in town to temporarily put it up? The solution was one architect with a piece of land and a construction-site solution of an open gallery. The construction fits into one container when taken down into pieces and takes about a day to put up.

Together with a collective of Artists, she started another gallery, Samuha, where they shared a space to put up exhibitions. Just recently the Artist Raghavendra Rao had an exhibition called ”Between Yes and No”, where poetry met performance and movement. Archana is also releasing a web-based journal starting next week, Art and the City, where the Art scene in different Indian cities will be analyzed.

Another interesting space is 1 Shanti Road, an Artist led initiative that is a venue for exhibitions, seminars, debate, space and incubator of experimentation of contemporary Art.

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7 december, 2009

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Thinking outside the box…

We need to think outside the box, we are told. Especially in times of crisis. Be creative. You are in a box, just go outside it and you will find new solutions. It’s a statement often presented to cultural entrepreneurs and institutions as an answer to lack of funding. You have to cooperate, look for co- funding bodies, sponsorship. Just think outside your normal structures and you will find new partners, new possibilities and, finally, new money.

The Norwegian Consortium Koenigsegg Group yesterday officially withdrew their offer to buy Saab Automobile with their factory placed in West Sweden. A devastating decision for Saab, who now stands without owner, and for West Sweden, where a lot of people already lost jobs due to the crises in Volvo and Saab. Another 8000 jobs are threatened in the region if Saab has to close down, a figure states in Dagens Nyheter.

”We are in desperate need of fantasy” a comment states in today’s daily Göteborgs-Posten. David Karlsson, cultural journalist and Chair of Nätverkstan, continues, ”Only a vivid cultural life can give us the durability needed to survive when hurricanes are sweeping away the Saab factory and jobs”. The crises affect cultural policy and culture. We need literature, film, theatre and the cultural expressions more than ever when, as in a crises, identity is lost.

Cultural industries are growing, this is where jobs will be created several reports have stated in recent years. Yet, the governement is responding by putting billions of SEK into infrastructure; roads, railways, maintenance.  Isn’t it time to think outside the box?

26 november, 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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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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Community Art Lab

On a café in San Francisco close to Union Square, in a rest between meetings with cultural organisations and Artists, the Artist Jörgen Svensson together with a few of us from Nätverkstan started a discussion on how Artistic competence could be an asset for city development. It was June 2008 and the European Commission were assigning the coming year as the year of creativity and innovation. The question intriguing us was: What boosts creativity? And how can an Artist’s competence be used in real life challenges, not only as an Artistic project, but as an asset for city developers? The project Community Art Lab took form.

The idea is simple: Put together people with different competencies to create a creative process which will enable new perspectives and ideas to form. This will become a resource for city development and innovative ideas. In this project we want to have local authorities, Artists, Art University and other expertise working together. The process is led by an Artist, and starts by the city authorities presenting a real challenge they are dealing with. All participants in the process are equally important for creativity to take form; the working method is to work in a genuine and long-term cooperation in a group of the different competencies, and through the process created catalyze ideas and find alternative solutions to challenges.

The project start with a five day Lab in the city with the partners involved. The starting point is the presentation by city authorities and where the invited group are seen as an asset to find alternative solutions and action plans. An intense five working days in a Lab-form starts. The process continues over time, between three to six months. A process leader leads the Lab and is a guide and mentor in the continuing work. The Lab-form is flexible and new competence and expertise can be added as the work proceeds.  Read more of the project in the outline: community-art-laboratory_090603.

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To read more of the study trip to San Francisco, look under Category with the same name. A quick look can be done on ”Thought on the road” and ”Public art and entrepreneurship” . The democracy project the South Bank Process in Göteborg, can be found on ”Transformation: from Warehouse to Cultural Center” and ”Democracy projects”. Read also about the Encatc Working Group ”Creative Entrepreneurship and Education”. Also read about the Artistic group Berlin, working with process as a method, and also the project Art and Politics in Västra Götaland.

4 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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Skifte – Reflections around work and everyday life

How do we look at work and employment? What is our relationship to working? How does time linger after people left? How do our perception and dreams change as we grow up? Are we prepared to do anything to reach our goals? What is meaningful work?

Skifte is a collective digital exhibition with filmmakers, animators, photographers, artists and poets, who all reflect on the theme work. Nine pieces showing different aspects and expressions, putting forward questions rather than answers. The exhibition is part of Medieverkstäderna i Väst, a collective of digital workshops in Region Västra Götaland, where members are visual artists, editors, photographers, poets and film makers.

Curator has been Stina Karlsdóttir Vestrin, who is also a student at Kulturverkstan. In the folder coming with the exhibition she writes:

”The fact that our work is one of the things forming us, building our identity and creating a community in a social context, we can all agree on, work is a central part of our lives. I would like, with this exhibition, to do some pounces in everyday working life and lift reflections around its structure. What is a job? What is a good job? Why do we work and what makes an honourable day’s work? The same occupation can in some cases be a job and in others not. In today’s society it’s more and more important to be adaptable and flexible on a more and more demanding labour market at the same time as the boarders between working life and leisure is erased. Working conditions is  constantly shifting and each time as its problems to solve.

The war of ants has disappeared from our TVs. The digital era has its own noise, its own war, other ants. Internet is today an obvious part of labour market. Fifteen years ago you hardly knew what it was, yet it has since changed labour for many people all over the world. It also affects those workers who don’t have access to computers. A shift has taken place. Changes can sneak on you slowly without us understanding a shift is on its way. What happens to our jobs? The new is growing out of the old, breaking out from it, against it, want to be free. It is in this contradiction that we find other ways and tramp our own tracks.”

The exhibition will be touring in Region Västra Götaland and is on Internet 25 of April to 24 of May 2009. Look at www.skifte.se and click for English. Download (in Swedish) the catalogue here: skifte_katalog.

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27 april, 2009

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The Legacy of Mourning

Venu Dhupa, Jane Wildgoose and the Memorial Library

Jane Wildgoose’s home is to the brim filled with collected things of different sorts. A horse cranium is placed on a shelf together with Indian statuettes, a prisma of glass, medical pots and a small replica of the coffin of Lord Nelson. Over it all, a stuffed raven enthrones together with a crocodile. All rooms in her typical English terraced house groan with memories.

”I have been thinking a lot about the history of mourning and in which way things can create support and comfort. Twenty years ago people didn’t want to speak about this, but now lots of people come here, some in mourning clothes.”

She started building her Mourning Library eight years ago, the collection is still growing. Starting point was that she wanted to use hair in her Artistic work, and she discovered how many memories the human material was carrying. Memory and death have since been her main theme. It’s very Victorian, which gives an extra dimension: The societal idea about death and sorrow that is now lost.

Jane Wildgoose has, Venu Dhupa says, in a very conscious way showed the power of pedagogic; on how you can work with existential issues with a planned working method. That’s why she five years ago could convince National Endowment of Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta) to put in project support in the Wildgoose Memorial Library. This is a difficult issue, Venu Dhupa says:

”You always need to create a structure, but it doesn’t have to be a scientific one. It might as well be a structure that is created as you go, by following your heart. We are not aiming for the results, but what is happening during the process.”

img_0074The Wildgoose Memorial Library was the start to continue the reflection of how you create creative environments that can handle risk and uncertainty. That is why Venu Dhupa, on the assignment of British Council, created a competence development course on issues like how you deal with risk and create an environment that can handle uncertainty. How do you deal with risk in a responsible way? How do you adjust to different – sometimes extremely difficult – circumstances?

”It is now, today, we are creating the inhabitants of tomorrow. And in the contemporary society you have to be able to deal with a duality, and not rarely also sorrow and sentimentality, and still, in the 21st century these are taboo issues in society.”

The secret, Venu Dhupa continues, behind creating a creative working climate and creative leadership is called ”mixed groups”. The people in India know this best! Why is someone in London telling what is best in China?

”I am working with small teams all around the world and send their results back home. In that way we have created a real global working method. I am working with six different groups in six countries. Each group consists of a large amount of different nationalities. I say it again: Think outside the box!”

After working with multicultural issues for over ten years, Venu Dhupa has a clear picture of what is needed to do to: From a bottom-up perspective achieve a heterogenic society that consists of many voices.

”We treat the ethnical groups like consumers, not like creators. The measurement is consumption! But what happens if we are serious with everyone’s possibility to create on equal terms?”

We don’t give our politicians time enough to reflect on these issues, she says, and therefore we get the response from politicians that we deserve.

”We don’t get intelligent answers from our political sausage machine! George Bush (who was) the busiest man of the world played golf 95 days out of his first year as president!”

The text is written by Ylva Gustafsson, secretary at Region Västra Götaland. The visit in London on March 3–6, 2009, was part of a study visit by politicians and civil servants from Region Västra Götaland. Nätverkstan was a connecting partner for the Region on this visit. Related blogpost is on Other Art and other practices and Bangalore.

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17 april, 2009

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Cultural Leadership

”Running cultural institutions and cultural projects of tomorrow into the 21st century will put new demands on leaders. Competencies as flexibility, risk taking, courage, intercultural awareness and international outlook are increasing in importance for leaders in organisations.”

Eight leaders of important cultural organisations and institutions in Sweden gathered in a think tank last November to discuss leadership omslag_2within Art and culture and the idea of a Cultural Leadership Award in Sweden. The results are put forward by Nätverkstan in the newly published report on cultural leadership: ”To lead Art into the Future. An idea to develop leadership within culture” (in Swedish ”Att leda konsten in i framtiden. Om en idé för utveckling av ledarskap i kulturlivet.”).

Leadership within the field of Art and culture is an ignored area, and possibilities are few for development. Management-courses are many, as well as courses in laws and regulations, staff management, economy and likewise. But how do you develop the leadership role? This has to do with personal skills as well as a continuous interest in reflecting on experiences. The model for the idea put forward in the report is from UK; the successful ”Cultural Leadership Awards” run by Venu Dhupa, which at the time was put up by Nesta. The award was dedicated to exceptional leaders within Art, technology and science and showed to be an innovative way of developing leadership. As Venu Dhupa says ”an investment in leadership is necessary for the future of cultural life”.

Leading Art and cultural institutions and projects is difficult and put specific demands on leadership. Again you are expected to be an all-area-Artist. And there are, argued by people in the field and Art Management researchers, specific conditions in the cultural field you have to handle. The main goal is rarely profitability, but rather human, Artistic, social or aesthetic goals. It is therefore more difficult to show when goals are achieved. It’s easy to put economic figures on paper, but how do you measure social or aesthetic goals? For many working in the field, money is not the main goal. This means motivation, drive and belief in higher values are important factors for anyone working in the field and a factor when motivating staff. It is a production-driven field, research shows, and not consumer-driven as in so many other areas. Another factor is that Art production doesn’t follow the logic of competition and is often unprofitable. All these factors put demands on the leader, who also has to adjust to a changing society where flexibility, risk taking, resilience and resourcefulness are necessary personal skills. Interestingly the same skills were put forward in an article in the Hindu, in October last year, when discussing necessary skills when working in the Indian context. Read a short version here.

The report was written by Karin Dalborg, Manager of Nätverkstan’s training programme Kulturverkstan, and Lotta Lekvall, Director at Nätverkstan. Download the report (in Swedish, a translation is hopefully published soon)  kulturledarskap2009. You can have a look at the model for the Swedish Cultural Leadership Awards on the attached images, just double-click to make them larger.

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13 april, 2009

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Authors

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

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