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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.
Etiketter:Bangalore, Creative Industries, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Cultural Policy, Democracy, Development, Digitization, Distribution, Economy, Globalization, Literature, New economy, Transformation
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.
Etiketter:Artistic practice, Creative Industries, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Journal, Development, Distribution, Economy, Entrepreneurship, Globalization, Literature, New economy, Transformation
Often debated, and the politicians in Region Västra Götaland love to join the choir, is the relation between the central city or capital and the periphery. Urbanization has made this a burning question. A constant topic on politicians agenda is how to deal with depopulation of the countryside.
The discussion is often built as if the center is in opposition to the periphery. Instead of a perspective of how the two can support each other in development. American–Canadian activist and writer Jane Jacobs (1916–2006), who had a great interest in urban development and communities, wrote in mid 60s about this dilemma. Her main thesis was that cities are the main drivers of economic development.
The June 30th number of Economist puts London on a high as the international hub in UK and discusses its role for development of the rest of Britain. And the lack of appreciation of its brilliance among policymakers.
”Now history is moving on, and the policymakers are messing up. They could tip the city into a decline without even noticing it, for the ecosystem of a great city is a complex and fragile thing.”
”Stay open to stay great” is the conclusion of the Economist leader article. Staying open means continue to let foreigners and immigrants coming into the country. They have helped built London to the city it is and more help is needed. Building a fortress around Europe doesn’t seem like the most forward-looking idea.
The verdict fell heavily yesterday on the two Swedish journalists, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, in prison in Addis Adeba, Ethiopia.
They were charged and convicted by Lideta Federal High Court for being terrorists, the most severe of the charges they were accused for. It’s no doubt that the conviction was political, and so the trial.
Johan Persson and Martin Schibbiye are not terrorists. They went to the Ogaden-province to document and inquire about the multinational oil companies work in the area and the consequences of this. It’s a completely closed area, and word is that people live in the most severe circumstances and in complete absence of human rights as well as international law.
The verdict is a clear statement to journalists to keep out, and of course a large threat to freedom of speech and the journalists task as critical observers and reporters. We have seen many examples of this, just recently artist Ai Weiwei’s as well as many other political writers and journalists imprisonment in China. On December 15 Nätverkstan arranged Imprisoned Day in Lagerhuset, an arrangement together with the PEN club, to put the light on imprisoned writers.
Read other posts on Ai Weiwei here, and Imprisoned Writers’ Day here. Also related reflections from an article in New York Times in April this year by Salman Rushdie here. Read todays daily Göteborgs-Posten (in Swedish).
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.
Two tables away from me in a smaller restaurant in New York the other week, I spot the well-known author Salman Rushdie talking intensely with a friend.
I see his backside, but still recognize his strong appearance. I remember seeing him November 2008 in a TV-sent seminar together with Italian author Roberto Saviano arranged by Svenska Akademin under the name ”The free word and the lawless violence” (original title: ”Det fria ordet och det laglösa våldet”). Two writers living under death threat because of their artistic work.
The day after the visit at the restaurant I read an article in New York Times (April 20 2011) written by Salman Rushdie.
Art can be dangerous. Very often artistic fame has been proven to be dangerous to artists themselves.
The imprisoning of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and other activists and artists in China is the latest example, he writes. And when the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, of which Salman Rushdie is the chairman, invited Chinese writer Liao Yiwu to the festival opening on April 25, he was denied permission to travel to the USA.
The latest issue of the Economist (April 16th 2011) follows the same line of thinking with the headline: ”China’s crackdown”. The detention of artists and activists in a steady flow sent to prison and ”disappearing” is following the latest ”freeze” in China and at least three things casts hope of a more open China into doubt, an article notes.
The detention of Ai Weiwei; the duration of this crackdown is longer than the former; and the cruel method of the repression picking up people under ”arbitrary detention rules and then made to disappear”.
I was reminded of Salman Rushdie’s strong article in New York Times reading this.
The lives of the artist are more fragile than their creations, Salman Rushdie writes.
The poet Ovid was exiled by Augustus to a little hell-hole on the Black Sea called Tomis, but his poetry has outlasted the Roman Empire.
We can perhaps bet on art to win over tyrants. It is the world’s artists, particularly those courageous enough to stand up against authoritarianism, for whom we need to be concerned, and for whose safety we must fight.
He could be writing of himself.
If we ever forget why art is important, this is a reminder.
Read former post on Ai Weiwei here.
The French artist JR is described to have the largest gallery in the world: The streets and public room around the world. He is a photographer working like a graffiti artists, he communicates by posting in huge formats photographic posters of people on walls, bridges and other public areas. It does give associations to the British graffiti artist Banksy, where his often humoristic yet critical art work is seen on walls in the public space.
The film Femme Anonymes et Héroiques (Women are heroes) is a beautiful film on women in the world, living in the margins of society, often in poverty and violence. The English title looses the word ”Anonymes”, where women are the anonymous heroes in the everyday struggle in a favela, township or slum. Hopes and laughter combined with sorrow, dispair and an enormous drive to change one’s situation.
With the film, the French artist has combined the documentary format with an art project, both working together with the people he film in a project at place, and documented it in the film where the destiny of these women around the world becomes a collective knowledge and struggle for a better world.
The Region Västra Götaland is now reworking its vision of culture in the region. Where will art work like this fit in into policies, incentives and objectives?
The film was shown on Swedish Television recently and can still be seen on SVT Play.
When we first talked about inviting Google to a seminar in Göteborg, people, not the least from the publishing houses, saw red. Why in the world would we invite someone who is ruthlessly digitizing literature without proper concern of the public domain?
Santiago de la Mora, Head of books and libraries at Google in Europe, had his message clear. It’s the user who decides the need for Google and its products. There are today 1,8 billion Internet users, he says, where Google want to reach more readers, more revenue and engagement in Internet. Reading habits have changed since the introduction of the web, from the printed newspaper reading from cover to cover to more individual articles on specific topics. It’s a browsing mentality and more scattered reading. The user has a choice, the representative from the absolute biggest search engine on Internet emphasizes. You can choose other search engines if you would like. For Google the foremost goal is the user experience and for example the thought that you should be able to read books anywhere at anytime. ”It’s an enabler, not something instead of”, says de la Mora.
The informal motto for the company is ”don’t be evil”, which implies that they could be evil but decide not to, moderator Mikael Löfgren pointed out with the question: ”What is it that you are not doing that could be evil?” Answering this question as for others of that caliber, Santiago de la Mora was vague. That was neither surprising, nor the most important with the afternoon.
The five-headed panel of experts from the fields of publishing, journalism, library, European cultural journals, and archives, reflected on the presentation by Google, making several interesting points and posed some crucial questions:
”The dichotomy is not between digitization or printed texts, it’s about how to finance quality content in the future?”
”The state and the public domain have not taken their responsibilities in dealing with digitization. This has left the floor free for other innovative solutions like Google”
”Make a national all-inclusive cultural policy for digital times. We have to stop talk about preventing or compensating.”
”What do an open democratic society want to promote concerning digitization?”
Perhaps it was not a surprise that publishers were not present in the audience. Also politicians were glowing with their non-presence, except for two parties (m) and (fp). But it was a mistake. It’s obvious that the politicians have to lift the discussion to include the democratic and public domain view into digitization discussions, not only copyright laws, something it seems to be little awareness of. And the publishers have to dare to look this new threat to their traditional business models in the eye and start thinking of new ways to continue publish books. This seminar provided that opportunity.
The seminar was arranged by Göteborg Book Fair and Nätverkstan, together with Stampen, Göteborg&Co, Västra Götaland and Stiftelsen Framtidens kultur. It’s part of two conferences on this theme, the other one can be found here. Mikael Löfgren has written a report to introduce the topic (in Swedish) found at samladeskrifter.se.
An over the rim full plenary in the bastion of the trade union Landsorganisation i Sverige (LO) could on Saturday 14 August listen to Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, who invited by Broderskapsrörelsen (Swedish Christian Social Democrats) (!) talked about the latest development around his news agency. Or what ever you should call Wikileaks, which has gotten both Pentagon’s as well as right-wing leading editorials disapproval. Is Assange an archivist, investigative journalist or Internet activist (he has been called many different things)?
He himself prefers to resemble himself with a lawyer in public service: one who publishes documents and let citizens themselves consider the content.
The interest of Assange and Wikileaks is huge, not least thanks to the sensational revelations of 90.000 documents around the war in Afghanistan. It is a paradox that a lot is mysterious both around Assange’s person and Wikileaks. Assange states that the organization only has five full-time and around 20-40 project-based employees. In addition around ten– perhaps hundred thousands people work voluntarily for the organization.
Undoubtedly Wikileaks represent a new phase, not only in the history of journalism but also in actual public life. The question is how long the operation can go on in protection of (not least Swedish) Principles of Public Access? There is no doubt many states as well as security and intelligence agencies which would like to see Wikileaks close down. Will established media jealously guard their information monopoly and submit to mudslinging Wikileaks, or will they let themselves get inspired and cooperate? What position will citizens, civil society and their organizations take?
Wikileaks raises a lot of exciting and fundamental questions. We hope to be able to discuss these with Julian Assange in a big seminar coming up in Göteborg shortly.
So keep eyes open!
Written by Mikael Löfgren
Mikael Löfgren is journalist and cultural critic, and also colleague at Nätverkstan. Translation from Swedish by Lotta Lekvall. Read former posts on digitization, public sphere and IPR here, here and here.
Last week Arvind Lodaya from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore held a seminar on Cultural Innovation in Göteborg. Find the video from the seminar below or click here. Read the a former post from the seminar here.
The two women at Print Design in Lidköping are keeping very busy. They do prints for porcelain and when we visit they are about to start working with gold details, something that takes patience and precision. The knowledge they have is rare and they have kept their aims high. Their small business have had a fairly steady stream of orders since the start in 2006 when Rörstrand closed down the porcelain factory. Now it’s particularly busy. Print Design got a large order to do all the prints to the porcelain for Swedish Crown Princess Viktoria’s wedding in June and also the memory porcelain sold to the public.
The story is not un-known of these days. Rörstrand started their business producing ceramics and porcelain in 1726 in Stockholm. They grew quickly, got well-known for the quality porcelain and from 1936 the main office was placed in Lidköping together with the factory, employing around 1500 people (about 25.000 inhabitants in Lidköping) in the beginning of 21 century. In 2005 the owner, Finnish Ittala, decided to close down the factory due to the heavy investment costs of new ovens and move the business from Lidköping. All employees lost their jobs. For the small porcelain-town Lidköping, situated right at the south end of the lake Vänern in Sweden, this was of course a disaster. The porcelain factory and the shop attracted around 450.000 visitors each year. Closing down meant a catastrophe. The municipality got cold feet and the landlord stood with thousands of square metres empty space.
Gunnar Hansson, who had been working at Rörstrand, got the question if he would try to do something with the empty space and started slowly building on what today is a cluster of small-scale businesses, small production space for ceramics and porcelain, education in ceramics and a porcelain Museum. To have a platform to work from, he started the development company, Rörstrand Kulturforum with the aim of developing Rörstrand’s factory area to an attractive area for ceramic production. They started from scratch where people who had been working for the same employer as long as twenty years, were suppose to become entrepreneurs and needed education in things like how to do a budget, how the selling process worked. They also wanted to start the production of ceramics again, but where was the market for producing ceramics to a reacenable price? If you produce more than 30.000 cups you make them in Bangladesh, Gunnar Hansson tells us, and 30 cups you can produce in your own home-oven. What about producing 3000 cups?
Maybe that’s a market share they could take. In these changes Print Design started, where the two women had a very specific expertise, but had never run a business before. Now they do prints for the Royal Family in Sweden. With a combination of education, creators and Artists, business, small-scale entrepreneurs and new ideas, Rörstrand factory area has managed to keep the attraction. What is the key to success? ”We have lubricated where lubricate is needed”, is Gunnar Hanssons simple reply. One such grease is, no doubt, money.
Look also at the small Art and design studio In Every Tree, Stockholmbased, but they also have a studio in the old porcelain factory in Lidköping. See a former blogpost from Biella, Italy, where the textile industry met the same destiny. The visit was part of a study visit with a think tank on creative industries in Region Västra Götaland.
When Bangalore-based film director Girish Kasaravalli introduces his film Gulabi Talkies at the Göteborg International Film Festival and Museum of World Cultures in Göteborg, he very humbly describes his idea as trying to grasp three processes in India that occurred simultaneously: The war between India and Pakistan that affected the relation between Hindus and Muslims, the change in fishing regulations on the coastal villages in Karnataka, and the introduction of private and public cable TV in villages. He wanted to show the effects of these processes in the everyday life in a small village.
The film is one of the films within the theme Beyond Bollywood at the festival. It has lifted the question of independent film making as such, as well as the Bollywood film industry and the specific situation for filmmakers in India. At the seminar after the show of Gulabi Talkies, Girish Kasaravalli and film- and theatre person Prakash Belawadi discuss the situation in India and point out that a theme like ”Beyond Bollywood” creates another misunderstanding. It’s as if Bollywood films are the narrative, everything else is beyond. This is not true, they say. Bollywood might involve a lot of money (often connected to either illegal or accounted activities we learn), but seen in the number of films produced, it’s a small part of films – less than 25 procent – made in India. Yet, it’s seen by the world as the pan-India, while in fact it has very little to do with ordinary life in India.
There is a strong urge for simplicity, for stereotypes. Francis B Nyamjoh, Head of Publications and Dissemination in Senegal, quoted before on this site, writes in Cultures and Globalization: The Cultural Economy, that the global cultural entrepreneurs; the large film, music and literature companies are asking only for stereotypical stories from African scene. They don’t want to distribute alternative stories, since this is said not to sell.
At a workshop in Nairobi last September (look under Kenya) many of the participating writers were saying that if you want to sell, you need to write stories of the Big Five, the largest wild animals in the African wild life. Otherwise no one will invest money or distribute your story. Doreen Baingana, a Uganda-born writer wrote a beautiful story of three sisters growing up in modern Kampala a few years ago. The Tropical Fish has won prizes and can be found on searches on the Internet. Anjum Hasan is a Bangalore-based writer who recently published her book Neti, Neti, a wonderful story of being a young woman in modern Bangalore. So, there Is no need among young women in the world of these stories?
Who is continuously reproducing the need for stereotypical stories? The audience, customers, distribution chains, large global entrepreneurs, investors? Perhaps Internet can be an important tool to change this.
Photos and film: Leif Eriksson, Filmhögskolan Göteborg University.
Maja’s day starts early, at around nine o’clock in the morning and continues until late evening. She walks up and down the beach, trying to sell her things. She is one of several vendours doing the beach-walk in Palolem, India, everyday. ”Do you remember me?” is a common opening question. ”Would you like to see my things?” and ”Very cheap!” Everything is sold; pirate copies of movies and music, bracelets and necklaces, stickers, beach doties, do Henna, manicure, pedicure, pinapple and coconut and much more. Many, as Maja, come from Rajasthan and travel in the beginning of each season on the three-day trainjourney to Goa where the tourists are. They stay 6-8 months away from family and friends to earn an income and then go back.
Tourism is the prime industry in Goa, handling, according to wikipedia, 12% of all tourist arrivals in India. In 2004, there were more than 2 million tourists reported to have visited Goa, 400.000 were from abroad. The goal of 2020 is, says today’s Goan issue of The Times of India, to improve infrastructure such as roads and carparks, but also to change focus from only sun and beaches to promote the local agriculture, food and culture. A necessary thing, if, as said in the article, Goa want to be able to compete with other tourist attractions in the world such as Thailand and Malaysia. But with tourism travels problems such as drugs and prostitution, and worries are put forward that a whole genereation of Goan youngsters are lost in drug trafficking.
The pros and cons of tourism has been put forward in the local papers the last two weeks, very much triggered of a story of a young Russian girl being raped in Goa by a policeman. The story was lifted in the papers with the headline: ”Is Goa safe for tourists?”. Today’s paper pose a retoric question: ”But are Goans safe from tourism?”
New job opportunities are created and formed. The old one changes. The young man at the bar in Palolem used to as a kid run around an almost empty beach, where the only industry was fishermen. Now he works at one of the popluar hang-outs at the beach. And Maja, 37 years old with most of her family left in Jaipur, Rajasthan, has during the past five years done the journey to reach the tourists and business opportunity. How many foreign workers that reach Goa each season to work is hard to find an exact figure of.
How do deal with tourism is a delicate question. An interesting reflection of African cultural production and what attracts the global cultural entrepreneurs is written by Francis B Nyamjoh, Head of Publications and Dissemination in Sengegal, in ”Cultures and Globalization: The Cultural Economy”. Somehow relevant in Goa.
The pile of books this summer is growing. There is so much to read! Here, some old and new books on cultural and creative industries, artistic practice and economy, cultural policy, situation for Art and Artists, black identity and post-colonial analysis, the new global and Free market and so forth.
Bill Ivey, ”Arts, inc. How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights” (University of California Press 2008). Bill Ivey was Chairman of National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) in USA 1998-2001, and is now founding director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. Interesting about Bill Ivey’s experience as Chairman of NEA and how Art and Artists enrich our lives, but where neglect from the governement as well as the market is endangering the future.
David Throsby, ”Economics and Culture” (Cambridge University Press 2001).David Throsby is Professor of Econimcs at Macquarie University in Australia. The book behind the circle-model put forward by Department of Culture, Media and Sports in UK in 2007 (look at this post) is this one, and with very well analysed material on the two grand entities: Economics and Culture.
Daniel H. Pink, ”A whole new mind. Why right-brainers will rule the future” (Penguin Group 2006). For a review read the one by Associate Professor Lane B Mills at East Carolina University. Daniel H Pink has written several books on the changes of work in the world, where this one focus on the rise of right-brain thinking in modern economics. The book has inspired many, and was recommended by Sian Prime as a source for inspiration for the models used at the Creative Pioneer Programme at Nesta in UK (read the following interview with Sian Prime from 2006).
Steven J. Tepper and Bill Ivey, ”Engaging Art. The Next Great Transformation of America’s Cultural Life” (Taylor & Francis Group 2008). Seems in line with the above mentioned topics.
Chris Anderson, ”Free. The future of a radical price” (Hyperion 2009). The editor in chief of Wired Magazine and author of ”The Long Tail”, about the change of market in a globalized world, how an online market creates niche markets and – the topic of this new book – how prices online tend to reach zero which forces a new line of thinking on products and what is a sellable product.
Franz Fanon, ”Black Skin, White Masks” (Grove Press Inc 1967). Franz Fanon was born in Martinique in 1925, studied medicine in France, specialized in psychatry and wrote several books on the African struggle for liberation. The book was first published in 1952.
On the train-trip from O’Hare Airport into Chicago a young man steps into the train and sit down in front of us. His eyes are covered with shades, he speaks loudly in his phone, holding another, an iphone or perhaps it’s the ipod, in his other hand together with a bottle of apple Snapple drink. As we confused try to figure out where to get off, he overhears or feels, our confusion and turn around to help out. ”So, where are you guys from?”, he asked when our end-station was figured out. ”Sweden”, we reply and he turns a bit more towards us: ”Oh, that is so nice! I hope to be able to travel there one day…”. ”What do you work with?”, I describe that it’s about Art and culture. ”So, you are more driven by passion, than money?” he looks at me, lean back and smiles: ”That’s so amazing!”. And as the train moves to the city he starts talking, telling us his story.
On the fortyfive minute trip a story unfolds of a young boy climbing the fence between USA and Mexico with his family (”Do you know what that does to you, seeing your mother climbing that fence?”). They tried several times, got caught and sent back but finally, when he was the age of 12, managed to get into the States. They moved around a bit, he went to some schools but it didn’t work out. He didn’t know the language and was not treated well, he says. They were illegally in the country and for that reason had no rights, or didn’t dare to pursue their rights. He is still, at the age of around 25, illegally in the US. And the price for this is high, he told us.
”You have no rights. I can’t do anything, but I don’t want to end up where most Mexicans do: doing low-paid jobs at a factory or as cleaning staff with no hopes of ever getting a change. I am not doing that. I have a job, it’s ok, but the personal price I pay is too high, I think. I don’t like it. It’s haaard. I have to go to all these parties, and you drink and there are drugs you have to take…If you don’t, they think you are weak…The drugs I can handle, but the alcohol…mmm…”, he gives a crocked smile, ”It is hard, you know. I really want to get out of this shit, but you have to socialize. You just have to”, he takes a sip of what I now realize is not apple drink, but alcohol hidden in a Snapple bottle. ”Sometimes you just want to cry, but I can’t cry. Never show weakness. Just deal with it. You just don’t talk to anyone. I have never told this to anyone.” and he looks at me through his shades and asks ”What do you think? What should I do?”
On the plane over to Chicago I read a tribune to Barack Obama and the election promises that are now slowly coming true, the magazine proudly presented. Words of Hope. Change. American Dreams come true. The young man on the train had a dream, but no hope and few possibilities for change. The story follows me several days. What could he do to change his situation? He himself saw no ways other than the track he was following. A lot, of course, due to his illegal status.
The other morning we visited the House of Blues and listened to gospel so strongly sung that the rooftop nearly lifted. You could sense the enormous power generated among people in the room, the sense of hope, the strength to change a difficult situation. The power people got from gospel and spirituals played an important role in the change for African Americans in the USA, from slavery to civil rights.
One man without hope. A president urging people to believe in hope. A gospel choir singing their hearts out of hope. How is it related?
Nätverkstan is in Chicago, USA, to be part in the conference ”Creative Entrepreneurship and Education in Cultural Life”, arranged by Colombia College Chicago and Encatc. More to come about this. Read also this post of the Mexican–American border.
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 food, 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
Categories: Art Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Democracy Digitization Distribution Economy Entrepreneurship Innovation International Kenya Reports, articles and books Tackling poverty
Etiketter:Africa, Artist, Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Distribution, Economy, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Flexibility, Globalization, International exchange, Kenya, New economy, Social entrepreneur
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?
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.
Etiketter:Africa, Artist, Artistic practice, Burning Platforms, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Economy, Education, Employment, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Globalization, International exchange, Kenya
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.
Etiketter:Business idea, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural Policy, Digitization, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Flexibility, Globalization, Innovation, New economy, Resources, Self-employment, Silicon Valley, Social entrepreneur
The relationship between aid policies and democracy is being debated at the moment among activists, donors, scholars and policy-makers. Africa is especially put forward in the discussion. Is it the political landscape in Africa that is the main reason for poor development or is it perhaps external donors that help sustain a status quo of political conditions?
At the website of the network OpenDemocracy, you can find articles on this burning topic, among them Democracy and aid: the missing link, written by Anna Lekvall, Senior Programme Officer at International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).
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