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”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.
Etiketter:Creative Industries, Cultural Journal, Cultural Project, Development, Digitization, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Flexibility, Literature, New economy, Policy for Global Development, Renewal, 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).
”Meeting can sometimes be more dramatic than showing a Bergman-movie.”
We are at the Swedish Embassy in Georgia, Tbilisi, talking about the project Exchange of Knowledge and Experience (EKAE) 2009 just starting in Tbilisi. Johan Öberg, from Faculty of Art at Göteborg University, describes the importance of combining working with events with meetings, working with processes is a working method for the project EKAE 2009. Today, Saturday, four intense working days start where a delegation of thirteen people from literature, Art, Art faculty at the Göteborg University, publishing houses, and film in Sweden has travelled to Tbilisi to meet colleagues within these areas to discuss future exchange and a possible event in Sweden 2009–2010.
A pilot group travelled to Tbilisi to prepare and met with visual Artists, textile Artists, Theatre and Film Instute at the Tbilisi University, publishing houses. Beyond the geopolitical situation and the internal wrestling in Georgia, cultural practitioners meet and continue their work over boarders. We listen to the textile Artist, Nino Kipshidze, working with the new flow of immigrants from South Ossetia in Gori, visual Artist Anna Riaboshenko from the network Tram, planning projects with the neoghbouring countries and North Caucasus to raise the status of Artists, and Levan Khetaguri at the Film and Theatre Institute on educating young filmers.
Etiketter:Add new tag, Artist, Artistic practice, Creativity, Cultural Project, Democracy, Development, Education, Entrepreneur, Georgia, Globalization, International exchange, Literature, Policy for Global Development, Social entrepreneur
One of the more interesting suggestions in the new report on Swedish Cultural Policy put forward by the Committee of Inquiry on Cultural Policy is what is called cultural policy as aspect policy. With this it’s stated that cultural policy should interact with societal issues like education, business, regional development, health and environment.
”We understand cultural policy as an aspect of all policy areas”. The intention is that ”perspective, creative talent, knowledge and insights that the authorities, institutions and practitioners within the cultural field hold can be important for societal development”. Quite rightly, it’s pointed out that this is not new, but the Committee believes that the development needs to ”accelerate and accentuate”.
To the extent it has been noticed, the suggestion has been met with positive response. Hopes have been put forward that the issues within the cultural field will be treated as issues within the environmental field. Today all public activities and all political decisions should be saturated with environmental awareness.
It sounds fantastic, but is it realistic? From what position does culture invite for interaction? And what sort of societal development is addressed?
A better comparison is perhaps done with the aid policy? It’s an area of policy that has been equally questioned and debated as cultural policy. It’s an area as exposed to cyclical changes and ideologies.
In 2003 the Parliament adopted Sweden’s new Policy for Global Development (PGU). The new development policy should include ”both an effective aid of high quality and coherence that includes all policy areas”. Hopes were high. But what happened? During the governance of the Allians parties, the results have had a reverse PGU, where all other policy areas impoverish aid and its budget: Refugee camps, dept depreciation, depreciation of costs for Swedish embassies.
1998, the same year as the Region Västra Götaland was formed; Göteborg formulated its Strategy for Cultural Policy, the so-called version 1.0. One of the main tracks was that culture should ”permeate all policy areas”. Now, around eleven years later we can ask: Is this what happened? Or did culture become an aid-assistant for health, regional development, and integration?
There are many good reasons for the aspect policy that the Committee is looking at. Culture can and should contribute to societal development. But if small policy areas like culture will be able to play such a central role, its integrity as to be ensured. Then you have to make sure that cultural policy is neither invaded, nor dissolved in other policy areas.
Written by Karin Dalborg, Manager of Kulturverkstan, Education in Project Management within culture, run by Nätverkstan. The article was published at the Internet Journal Alba on March 9, 2009. For the Swedish original, have a look at here.
”We are living in a more globalized world, whether we like it or not”. With those words introduced Professor Jan Aart Scholte a seminar on Building Global Democracy. He continued: “The world also tends to be governed more global. Global problems need global response. But how?” As one of a group of academics, practitioners and policy makers, he has created a network called the Building Global Democracy Programme (BGD). Their aim is to give a clearer picture of the concept of Global Democracy, put it on the agenda, raise the consciousness about it, give publicity to different initiatives and hopefully formulate some proposals of what to do to create a more democratic world.
It is not an easy task. Finding new solutions to old problems. Even this small seminar demonstrates the difficulties. We are around 30 people in the room. The facilitator asks us to put questions to the panel as an input to the discussion? We are also asked to present ourselves by name and nationality, as if each and every one of us could represent her or his country. This is only one example of how old structures and perceptions are being reproduced.
However, the initiative is very interesting and worth looking into: www.buildingglobaldemocracy.org
Yesterday evening we witnessed a historic event in a huge exhibition hall in the outskirts of Belém. Tens of thousands of enthusiastic delegates to the World Social Forum greeted Brazilian president Lula as he entered the stage together with four presidential colleagues from the South American Continent, among them Venezuela´s controversial leader, Hugo Chávez. The meeting can be interpreted as one of the outcomes of the Forum process: civil society in Latin America has managed to get their candidates elected president.
Written by Karin Dalborg, Manager of Kulturverkstan, the Project Management Training Programme at Nätverkstan.
Welcome citizens of the world!
Coming from Nätverkstan, Gothenburg Sweden, I’m one of 100 000 people from all over the world attending the 9th World Social Forum. This time it is held in Belém, Amazonia Brazil. Opposed to the World Economic Forum in Davos this is a meeting place for Civil Society Organisations, activists, scholars, networks and other people interested in making “another world possible”. The Forum aims to be a space for alliances and platforms for action, discussion and new perspectives.
The official opening took place on January 27th with a march through the city. During six days some 2000 self-managed activities (seminars, workshops, cultural activities) are taking place. The topics span from democracy, Human Rights, climate changes, our natural resources…
This year the WSF enlarges its territory. Local social forum events express their participation in Mexico, Kongo, Pakistan, Sweden (Malmö), Palestine, France, Sudan, to mention some of them. This Belém expanded has been prepared through the social networking website of the WSF.
Nätverkstan has been following this process since 2003, participating in both the global and the regional (European Social Forum) forums. It’s difficult to grasp but it’s definitely one of the most interesting events in the 21st century. A grassroots initiative that indicates a global civil society. What will come out of it? I think it’s too early to evaluate.
Written by Karin Dalborg, Manager of Kulturverkstan, the Project Management Training Programme at Nätverkstan.
With Barack Obama in power the future looks a little bit brighter. But the challenges for him are huge, to say it mildly. One of the greatest challenges for him and other global leaders are The Millennium Development goals. The goals in itself is not controversial today – but the question is how to get there. Some says aid, some says trade. Others are more radical. Many puts a great blame on the European agricultural subsidies. A very interesting and thoughtful campaign is Help Sweden. By reversing our way of thinking (especially on Africa) it helps us to understand what’s at stake. Please check it out and, if you agree, sign.
Nätverkstan will during the period October 2008-January 2009 assist LSU (The National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations) in a training project. We will assist the Swedish TPT- team in a process of development from a group of competent individuals to project team. Tackling Poverty Together is a project with the aim of realizing the millennium development goals. The Tackling Poverty Together project aims to strengthen the role of young people in poverty reduction strategies. Twenty-eight youth participants have been selected to attend the workshops, four from each of the following countries: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Nätverkstan will only work with the Swedish team. From Nätverkstan is Olav Fumarola Unsgaard in charge.
”What blocks do you remove to make it easier to start initiatives?” Mr McNulty from Partners of Livable Community looks at us intensively and repeats. ”What blocks does your society need to remove to welcome people?” Immigrants will form forty percent of all small businesses in US, he tells us. ”Who will welcome these people? Probably Art and Culture”. Anne L’Ecuyer from Americans for the Arts concluded her speech by saying that the role of structures to let innovation take place, is to make sure of two things. Get out of the way. And get rid of the blocks.
Three interesting seminars was arranged by the Region of Västra Götaland and University of Göteborg in Washington on May 10-13 2008 on ”Mutual Benefits”, ”Building on Thin Air?” and ”Artistic Entrepreneurship”. The seminar took place at the House of Sweden and several interesting initiatives, organisations and Universities from both USA and Sweden discussed Art and culture as a resource for social transformation, new partnership building and the need for interdisciplinary environments, Art Universities and how they should deal with entrepreneurship and much more.
You can download the speech held by Nätverkstan here: natverkstan.pdf
An article in Swedish about the event is also found at the website University of Göteborg.
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