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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.
Have you ever heard the sound of money pooring into to your cash register? The sound is illustrated with a big ”Ka-tziing” (at least in Swedish…) when figures like Scrooge McDuck in the Donald Duck cartoons is pooring more gold coins into his already dense cashbox.
”Kablonk” documentary filmer Bengt Löfgren illustrated the sound of the few coins he could cash in after his large film projects. Despite many successful film projects, winning prices and being shown on television, his pockets were still echoing empty he said with a smile. But you have to keep on, not wait for the money, and continue ”listen, learn, and develop” he concluded.
One of the stimulating points of the conference ”Ka-tziing!” in Göteborg on November 14, was when artists within film, literature, visual art, handicraft, performing arts, and music told short pecha-kucha stories of how they live on their art.
The conference and small market fair gathered 250 energetic and interested participants from art, culture, regional office, and organizations working with cultural entrepreneurship, to discuss, mingle, network, and get information of what Region Västra Götaland is doing to facilitate the entrepreneurial side of a cultural and artistic freelance work.
Guest key note speaker was Giep Hagoort, researcher of Utrecht School of the Arts (Holland), focussing on the entrepreneurial dimension of cultural and creative industries (also the title of his latest booklet), addressing the main point that all discussions and research on art and cultural entrepreneurship have to start in close relation to the actual artistic scene – to the practice.
Researchers have a tendency to sit in their ivory towers and not meet with the practice. To reach new interesting research, this needs to be challenged. And a quick hand-up on how many researchers this conference had attracted showed one person.
Perhaps no glimmering new solutions of how to get Ka-tziing instead of Kablonk in your pocket, but ideas, perspectives, inspiration, and a lot of time to mingle and look for connections among those who can support in how to a little better sustain yourself.
The conference was an initiative by Region Västra Götaland and Knep, an educational project run by Nätverkstan, supported by the European Social Fund. Funding the conference was European Social Fund and Region Västra Götaland. Performers during the day was Uttryckslabbet. Download the program here: Ka-tziing_inbjudan.pdf.
Etiketter:Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Project, Economy, Education, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Research, Self-employment, Social entrepreneur, Västra Götaland
Today the Cultural Affair’s Committee in Region Västra Götaland is gathering to decide on the proposal of the regional culture plan for 2013-2015.
The culture plan is part of the new ”trunk model”, decided by the Swedish government in December of 2009, introduced, after another round of detail study in how this model should be performed, in 2011 to move (some) decisions of cultural investments from the state to the regions. This way, the argument is, the decisions are taken closer to each region’s citizens. Instead of the state deciding where money in a specific region should be spent, the region gets to decide.
1,2 billion SEK of the cultural budget is moved from the state to the regions. But to get the hands on the money, each region has to present a plan, a cultural plan, and inform and negotiate with the state, here handled by the Arts Council, on where to spend the money. This has of course caused a lot of discussions. Is the trunk model only a paper product, where the Arts Council is taking the real decisions? Are local politicians to be trusted? Do local politicians really know enough about art and culture to be able to decide on investments and make the difficult priorities needed?
Västra Götalandsregionen was at an early stage the role model for the trunk model. The negotiations between the Arts Council and Region Västra Götaland started earlier where the region did very well in negotiations and held a high profile in debates, discussions and visions of the role of art and culture in the region.
Now the region seems to have out-dated itself. The culture plan for 2013-2015 is without any vision and, to be a bit bold, not even readable, something also noted among many of the parties, including Nätverkstan, responding to the circulation of comment before the decision (se today’s daily Göteborgs-Posten). ”It’s a culture plan without a plan”, as David Karlsson puts it.
To the leaders of Region Västra Götaland’s culture affairs we are many that wonder: Where are you heading with arts and culture in the region?
Find attached the culture plan of Region Västra Götaland that is up for decision here: Västra Götalands kulturplan.pdf. See also Nätverkstan’s respond to the circulation here: remissvar vgr_kulturplan_120905.pdf. Read a post by Swedish Radio from 2010 here. And former posts here.
First came shipbuilding. Then came Volvo. Now comes Film Industry to Göteborg.
The text, found on the wall at Gothenburg Film Studios, tells in three sentences the changes that Göteborg, and specifically the North Bank Side of river Göta Älv, has been going through the last forty years.
Shipbuilding was a large industry in Göteborg for a long time and the city was an important international hub for import and export of goods as well as ideas and contacts. Swedish East India Company had its base here and 37 of their ships were built in docks in the city. In the 70s the big crisis hit shipbuilding and many people lost their jobs and the deserted area has now changed into fancy residents. New businesses and centres are created with TV. Radio, IT, and film industry as a growing industry.
Now the car manufacturing industry is in a crisis and Saab sadly had to close down its business last year. Again people have lost their jobs. What will come instead is a question, but also strong in Trollhättan is film, animation, computer games, visual effects and the Science Park.
The impact of these new emerging industries are difficult to define and as hard to nail down into numbers. How can you evaluate and measure the effects of these new more small-scale industries? What indicators are needed? How do our statistical agencies streamline statistics from EU to local level so information can be compared? How do we assure to not only measure quantity, but also qualitative aspects? And how can we be clear of what is not measured, not to loose important aspects of art and culture and leave politicians with only numbers?
Etiketter:Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, crisis, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Development, Economy, Employment, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, EU, International exchange, Västra Götaland
Under the crystal chandeliers in Stora Teatern, a theatre built 1859 in centre of Göteborg and with walls whispering of wonderful operas, musicals and ballets during its golden days as the musical scene in Göteborg, Italian Economist Pier Luigi Sacco and Director Christer Gustafsson talked about the role of art and culture for society development on Saturday (25th of February).
It is madness, Pier Luigi Sacco stated, what many European leaders are doing at the moment cutting cultural budgets. Art and culture is the main raw material for innovation, well-being, health and development. And he backs his arguments with research and cross-testing inquiries in different matrices. It shows for example that going to a classical concert may well have give you a longer more healthy life.
His main argument is ”active cultural participation” and he shows the innovation index shown on this page (18th of February) and puts it next to another ranking: Active cultural participation Eurobarometer. In both rankings Sweden is ranked number one. When putting these two independently done rankings next to each other, it could mean that active cultural participation has an effect on a country’s ability for innovation. If you argue for putting public money to boost innovation, make sure to also invest money in local theatre groups, music training, or different dance centres from young age and up.
Pier Luigi Sacco has a system-based method of understanding and analysis a city or region. This has been done in many places, among them he was a consultant for Vancouver (Canada) in forming a cultural strategy: The Power of Arts in Vancouver. Creating a Great City.
Christer Gustafsson is now working with the same method in the region of Halland, a region in between the two large regions Region Västra Götaland and Skåne. The placement might feel a bit squeezed at times, but this system-based and culture-led way of development is new for Sweden, Halland, and Kulturmiljö Halland, is in the forefront of these discussions. It’s about culture-led regional economic and social development.
Culture and art is the core. It’s the ”soft-ware”. The major raw material to build on.
Download the presentation of Pier Luigi Sacco (English) here: Sacco, Halmstad-Goteborg.pdf. Christer Gustafsson presentation (Swedish) can be found here:Stora teatern, Göteborg, 25 februari 2012.pdf .
Pier Luigi Sacco also visited the Conference arranged by Generator last year. And listen to an interview on youtube here done by the European network Encatc. You find another blogpost on the seminar (Swedish) here.
The seminar was an arrangement by Västra Götaland, the think tank Kombinator, in cooperation with Kulturmiljö Halland and Nätverkstan.
Etiketter:Artistic practice, Creative Industries, Creativity, Cultural economy, Cultural Policy, Cultural Project, Development, Digitization, Economy, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, New economy, Västra Götaland
The artist Staffan Hjalmarsson called it ”Five Squares of Sorrow”. He was referring to a report, the index- and indicatorstudy, in a blogpost during the large conference arranged by Region Västra Götaland last year. The study was showing how the Region had fulfilled its indicators within the different focus areas. All focus areas had information and follow-up except one: Culture. This was glowing empty like five squares of emptiness and sorrow. Here there were no ways of measuring, no indicators that could be followed up. No statistics.
The question of how to measure and follow up culture is a difficult one. What is to be measured and how? What should be measured by indicators, what should not? What are the evaluation criteria?
In Sweden two different authorities has been formed for analyzing, evaluating and measure statistical datas of culture: Myndigheten för Kulturanalys (Authority for Cultural Analysis, my translation) and Tillväxtanalys (Growth Analysis). While the former are working for the Ministry of Culture and follow effects and evaluate cultural activities initiated by them, the latter is working for Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communication. Tillväxtanalys is the authority following for example business support activities – cultural entrepreneurs and businesses also fall under its responsibility.
On EU-level ESSnet-Culture was formed in september 2009 with the task to during a two-year period improve methodology and production of data on cultural sectors and also improve comparability within EU-countries. They have now published a final report from its four different task force areas: 1) update the cultural framework, 2) define cultural economic indicators and cultural employment, 3) on cultural finances and 4) cultural practices and the social participation in the culture.
Region Västra Götaland held last week a first small seminar to discuss statistics and evaluation methods of cultural entrepreneurs. The seminar was initiated by the regional think tank Kombinator. A seminar on the work of ESSnet with invited guests is also planned by the regional office later on this spring.
Read ESSnet report here.
The three year old current culture exchange program between the state of Karnataka, India and the region of vastra Gotaland, Sweden has kept developing and does incorporate collaboration in many art and culture fields today.
Nätverkstan was part of the initiating process concerning this collaboration and is still an active actor in Bangalore.
KMV, the film, culture and media production centre based on sociala entrepreneurship in Bergsjön, a suburb in Gothenburg, has since a year back started to cooperate with Nätverkstan and Mediaverkstan.
During the Bangalore International Film Festival a joint seminar by KMV and Nätverkstan was held with Leif Eriksson from Nätverkstan as the key speaker. The seminar, held at the Department of Information in Bangalore, attracted a large audience consisting primarly of youngsters and young women, most of them active as film makers, or studying film and media production in Bangalore.
The seminar emphasized new ways of funding feature film in the ongoing digital paradigm shift as well as a case study on ”Bloody Boys”, the feature film produced by KMV. Topics in the seminar included issues concerning how the film was financed, how amateurs and residents in the suburb collaborated with top actors and crew from the professional part of the swedish film business. An intense discussion was initiated raising questions about filmproduction, social entrepreneurship and media production catalyzing social change.
Another aspect of the discussion also included new ways of nonlinear collaborative postproduction work in the digital flow-work. ”Bloody Boys” was also screened during the fim festival and was sold out on every screening and did receive intense media attention.
Text by Leif Ericsson, film producer and Nätverkstan
The seminar is a cooperation between Nätverkstan and KMV in Bangalore, India. Se more posts here on the exchange in Bangalore.
For a long time Region Västra Götaland has been a model region in Sweden with its offensive cultural policy. But what’s happening now?
Cultural critic and Chair of Nätverkstan board, David Karlsson, puts the light on the regional cultural policy in an article posted in the daily Göteborgs-Posten last week.
On Thursday November 17, the Cultural Affairs Comittee of the Region took two important decisions; a new Cultural Policy Strategy, and a detailed budget for 2012. As the Cultural Policy Strategy is a visionary and analyzing document, probably the most powerful cultural policy document in the country, the budget is depressing reading. It shows nothing of the visionary, or interest for the art and culture outside the traditional art form limitations.
The whole question falls back on the leadership of the region. Does anyone know where Region Västra Götaland is heading?
Download the article (in Swedish) here: vgr_debatt.pdf.
So far the first course, with workshops taking place at four different places in the region with around 8-10 participating artists in each, has ended and a new round of courses started. Last Saturday we had the full-day conference with David Karlsson talking about Cultural Industries, Gothenburg Combo on how they live on their art, and Ulla-Lisa Thordén on selling and pricing with all participants gathering in Vänersborg.
This is the road-trip around the Region of Västra Götaland this fall meeting artists in Skövde, Borås, Ulricehamn, Uddebo, Tranemo, Lidköping, Gerlesborg, Vänersborg. More to come!
Read more here.
Categories: Art and Business Artistic practice Blogg Creative Industries Creative spaces Cultural entrepreneurship workshop (Knep) Economy Entrepreneurship Regional Development The Art of living on Art
Tonights highlight. A warm summer-evening working with artists on the Art of living on Art in the small town of Uddebo.
Nätverkstan is running a European Social Fund project on art and entrepreneurship, Knep. The courses are run at four different places around the region of Västra Götaland, from large cities to small. Read also here.
On Monday the project, Knep, a cultural entrepreneurship workshop for artists, started around the region of Västra Götaland.
The workshop is a series of six evening-meetings, of these two full-day conferences, the content covers everything from how to live on your art, visions, where you are now, to marketing, budget and other useful things. We will go from practical work to an overview of the discussion on cultural entrepreneurship in Europe. The aim is for each participant to develop their entrepreneurial thinking.
We are holding workshops at four places in the region of Västra Götaland at the same time. It’s important, we find, to go to where people live and work, not only, to stay in the large cities (which in this region is Göteborg). All participants from the four different corners of the region will meet at the conferences, a way to enlarge your network and meet others.
Even in a small region of 1,5 million people networking is difficult and often an obstacle. Yet so important in an artistic work which often means lonely work in your studio.
Photos: Sara Vogel–Rödin.
In Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland political parties with less tolerance towards immigrants are growing in popularity.
In an article in today’s daily Dagens Nyheter (April 9 2011) you can see that sympathies for Fremskrittspartiet (Norway), Dansk Folkeparti (Denmark), Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden), and Sannfinländarna (Finland) are growing in popularity.
In Sweden, Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats) got seats in Parliament in the last election 2010 (and in Finland Sannfinländarna are expected to get into Parliament in upcoming election on April 17). Ever since, Swedish politicians have had different strategies and theories of how to handle the situation and not give these nationalists any power. With mixed success.
In an article in Eskilstuna-Kuriren on March 28, you can read that it is shown by research and practice that if the other political parties meet nationalistic parties’ hostility towards immigrants with other arguments, they loose and the nationalistic parties gain votes. It is said to be built on the assumption that immigrant hostility is stronger among voters than among our political representatives and when an argument is met with another argument, the questions become more housetrained. These thoughts are now being backed by a working report by Quality of Government Institute at University of Gothenburg, which is pointing in the same direction (download paper below).
A better strategy to meet the nationalistic arguments would, then, be to do the opposite. Instead of trying to burst an argument or point-of-view with a better argument, just meet it with silence.
At the conference Kulturens roll i samhällsutvecklingen (The role of culture for social progress) last Friday (April 8, 2011) representatives from the 49 municipalities in Region Västra Götaland were invited together with civil servants and some cultural organizations to discuss just that: The role of culture in local and regional development. Proud political representatives showed examples of cultural projects and its effects for their local community. Everyone was movingly in agreement of the role of culture. And the need for arms-lengths distance between politicians and artistic content.
But in the region we still have in memory the discussion on the first meeting in the Regional Parliament held on November 2, 2010, where Sweden Democrats argued to take away a whole chapter of text in Kulturplanerna 2011–2012, the Cultural Plans of coming two years, concerning the importance of intercultural dialogue and how the region should work with issues like ethnicity, human rights and crossover cooperation with the aim of building understanding and knowledge instead of prejudices. This should, the Sweden Democrats argued, be erased from the document.
Their suggestion was voted down, but interestingly two persons from one of the largest parties, and one of the parties at the moment in Swedish Government, Moderaterna (Conservatives), voted together with the Sweden Democrats.
This is the everyday practice of political work. And shows how thoughts from the Swedish nationalstic party, with a background in neo-nazism, is slowly sneeking into the political arena and decisions.
Read former post on Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, Time to guarantee artistic freedom.
Download the working report from Quality of Government Institute, University of Gothenburg, wwwqogpolguse_working_papers_2011_5_dahlstrom_sundell.pdf.
Johanna Abrahamsson is a rope walker and hula hoop dancer living outside of Uddevalla, a bit north of Göteborg, and with an enthusiasm that is directly catching.
She started with rope walking at a young age, inspired and picked up by the local (and internationally known) rope walker Reino, who devoted time and energy into the young girls progress. She has since then continued with formal education in circus, worked as a freelancer and with circuses in Sweden and elsewhere. She now wants to start a circus school for children in the area where she lives. In a way going back to where she started herself.
It’s the last day of the course ”Learn more on Cultural Industries!” for business advisors. Johanna Abrahamsson is one of the invited artists describing her work and how she does to live on her art. It’s hard to resist her joy over her profession and the possiblities she foresee for the local area.
How should business support to local small-scale cultural businesses and freelances like Johanna’s be designed to be able to see and pick up the potential in this field?
Ruhr area is described as a metropolis in Germany. For the first time an area has become the European Cultural Capital of 2010 (one of them), an area of 53 cities (se comments), where five cities are put forward as central: Dortmund, Essen, Bochum, Oberhausen and Düsseldorf together form the metropolis and the base for activities during Ruhr.2010.
But at the tourist office in Dortmund, they are not sure. Information of Ruhr 2010? No….we don’t know. The only thing going on in Dortmund that evening is the Philharmonic playing Haydn and Brahms at the Concert hall, we learn (a beautiful concert!).
The next day we find the designated place for Ruhr 2010 in Dortmund, only a few blocks away from the tourist office; the U. The Dortmunder U is an old beer brewery now becoming a centre for art and creativity. It’s not finished yet, plans are it will gather cultural education, media center, museum, and exhibition halls in one building.
The Ruhr was the center for old coal and steel mining industry in Europe and as such been the zone for conflicts and wars. Here the EU was born, the first steps were taken around 1950s with the Schumandeclaration. It was crucial in Europe to make peace, not war, and therefore necessary to find ways of cooperation around coal and steel mining.
Today this industry is closed down and many of the old mines are now museums. Other buildings are left empty and the hopes are that these will be filled with other activities and businesses. Such as art and culture.
Is the artistic community dense enough to be able to talk about a creative industry? Will this create the new jobs? And does the ambitious programme of activities in Ruhr 2010 include the community so that changes and ambitions will continue after the Cultural Capital year? Views go apart on this when you ask around.
The changes in Ruhr are not new. It started around ten to fifteen years ago, which might set out for a more long-term view of changes which will hopefully lead to new sustainable jobs.
When Swedish researcher Lisbeth Lindeborg visited the Ruhr area in 1991, she in her report Kultur som lokaliseringsfaktor – erfarenheter från Tyskland (my translation: Culture as localization factor – experiences from Germany) pointed out the fact that art and culture played an important role in changes of cities and regions. Art and culture were the factors for localization of businesses and well-being in an area.
A statement creating a harsch debate in Sweden at the time, specifically among the artistic community. Art should not be seen as an instrument for something else. Art is important for its own sake, was the argument.
For another view than the official, you can read at the blog Ruhr Barone of journalists blogging on the Ruhr area. Here a post by Stefan Laurin: Die Kreativen und die Politik im Ruhrgebiet, where he says that Dortmunder U only has become an exhibition hall and museum.
Some facts on German Creative Industries:
Work force in 2006 within Creative Industries was 938.000 people. In 2007, 970.000 people, and in 2008 over 1 million. In 2008 it was 3.3% of the total workforce in Germany.
Turnover in these industries was estimated at 132 billion euro and there were around 238.000 companies in this field.
Gross value added was for 1) Engineering industry 74 billioen euro, 29 Automotive industry 71 billion euro, and 3) Creative industry 61 billion euro which was 2,6% of economic output.
Source for information: German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Final Report Culture and Creative Industries of 30.01.2009, through the information leeflet handed out by Dortmunder U: Boosting the creative industries.
The visit in Germany is part of a study being produced on knowledge production and research within creative industries, a work done for the think tank on these issues in Region Västra Götaland.
The day after the Swedish Election to parliament on September 19, many Swedes woke up in chock.
For the first time, a racist party had managed to get seats in the parliament. The Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in neo-Nazism, had gotten 5.7% of votes (4% is needed for parliament) and were about the same size as the other small parties in parliament.
For Sweden this was new, although our neighbours Norway and Denmark have had racist parties in their parliaments for some years, something that follows a European trend in politics at the moment. In Denmark Dansk Folkeparti is as big as around 13%, the third largest party in the country.
The Sweden Democrats holds the balance of power. The Alliance, the cooperation between Moderaterna (Conservatives/Moderate Party), Folkpartiet (Liberal Party) and Centerpartiet (Center Party), is in minority, which means to get decisions through; they have to find allies in one of the other parties.
Discussions have gone warm on what this means in reality and how members of parliament should act to completely shut out the Sweden Democrats from any political power. In this, all parties have agreed. The Sweden Democrats should be kept away from political influence and met with what they are: A party building politics on people’s ethnic and cultural background.
This only works if the traditional parties and their members have a clear idea of where they stand in their political act. That they wash their own dirty linen, so to speak.
In Region Västra Götaland, at the first meeting in the Regional Parliament held on November 2, we saw what this means.
After about five weeks of negotiations, the political alliance leading the region was formed. Socialdemokraterna (Social Democrats), Vänsterpartiet (Left Party) and Miljöpartiet (Green Party) form a minority governance together with Sjukvårdspartiet, a one-question party focused on medical care, as a balancing power. Still, together they hold only 74 seats, for majority 75 seats are needed of a total of 149. The Sweden Democrats holds 7 seats.
On the discussion on Kulturplanerna 2011–2012 (Cultural Plans), Patrik Ehn, a Sweden Democrat, argued to erase a formulation describing a trend of Europe becoming more and more racist and the fact that Sweden have a racist party in Government. But instead of suggesting to erase this specific sentence, the whole paragraph from the end of page twenty-nine, starting with the headline (my translation) “Region Västra Götaland wants to develop intercultural pedagogic”, to the end of page thirty, should, he argued, be erased from the document.
The paragraph Patrik Ehn urged being taken away is describing the importance of intercultural dialogue and how the region should work with issues like ethnicity, human rights and crossover cooperation with the aim of building understanding and knowledge instead of prejudices.
In the voting, 139 members voted to keep the paragraph, ten voted to erase it from the document.
Sweden Democrats acted as expected. They voted against and also asked for a two minutes break to leave a written reservation. The unexpected act was performed by some of the others. Of the ten members voting to erase, three were members of Moderaterna (Conservatives). Three members of the largest of the three ruling parties in Sweden voted with the Sweden Democrats.
It does give a scary indication of what we have in front of us.
Download the Kulturplanerna 2011–2012 here: underlag-till-regional-kulturplan-101022.pdf. See the clip from the first meeting in the Regional Parliament on 2 November 2010 from the discussion on Kulturplanerna here.
Yesterday was the start of the education in cultural industries aimed for business advisors. Ten participants from different organizations giving business advise to small-scale entrepreneurs drove through the snow-storm hitting West Sweden to meet at Innovatum in Trollhättan to discuss cultural entrepreneurship.
Today the turn came to business advisors in Skaraborg, a county council of fifteen municipalities, where twelve advisors from different parts came to Skövde for the training in cultural and creative industries. Questions like: What does these industries consist of? Cultural entrepreneurship, how does it work? And discussions of business models in culture, cultural policy and enterprise policy, cultural and economic capital and things like: Are there differences running a cultural enterprise compared to enterprises within other areas?
Several artists presented their work, challenges and how they did to live on their art. Graphic Designer Mattias Nilsson who runs Kning Disk was there via Youtube. Annika Törnqvist told her story as a musician and put economic figures on the different projects she is running, both as a musician, but also as a project manager.
Ceramist Pia Törnell told her story as a freelancer and the company StudioK. In the lattter, she and her husband produce their own products from idea to developing the moulds to get the perfect result, to the finished unique products. At the same time as they lay the roof or build the walls to the studio and production hall where, in the future, every part of the production can be done.
Multiskilled is an understatement in describing the competence and skills these artists possess!
Read more on related topic here.
It looks like the politics on creative industries started by the New Labour in 1997 has come to an end. The incentives started in the late 90s were new and has contributed to create a market for small-scale cultural businesses, models that have been exported in Europe, all the way to Shanghai in Far East. UK has long been seen as the cradle of creative industries.
When Chris Smith was appointed by Tony Blair in 1997 to be Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sports, he could continue a process started in the 80s centred around Greater London Council (GLC). GLC described the cultural scene in London as the new ”industry” being important for creativity, social inclusion and economy. It was an attempt to describe cultural initiatives as the new industry and redefine a term first used by the two critical theorists Horkheimer and Adorno. The two were upon their arrival to the US in the 1940s chocked by how popular culture was produced in almost a factory way producing standardized culture goods. It was like an industry, they said in disgust.
The Greater London Council changed the understanding of cultural industries in the 90s, to instead describe the small-scale, cooking, multi-skilled cultural life with a potential and importance for the economy in London. Chris Smith could pick up and continue on this road, creative industries have grown and has become an important part of society and, many reports have confirmed, contribute in a substantial way to economy.
This is an epoch now being buried. Tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct 20) is Axe Wednesday, as it has been called in UK, where the government will announce massive cuts in all sectors of society. TV-news is showing expected figures of 500.000 public jobs being lost. Culture is expecting around 40% cuts in funding.
Two large factors have completely reshaped the scene: The financial crisis and the Conservative government.
The present government is reinterpreting creative industries to mainly concern media, dismantling what most understand as the large contribution of cultural industries; social inclusion, regional development, and labour market.
Several effects are expected in the cultural field, such as a total dismantling of cultural policy where for example the Film Commission has seen its last days, a complete dismantling of the regional level, a probable redefining and change of creative industries, cuts on most cultural development agencies, enormous cuts in the universities which means more focus on employability and less money on research and long-term learning.
Will this mean that we see the end of creative industries?
Interviews done in London, 18-19 October 2010, a project commissioned by Region Västra Götaland (Sweden) to do a small knowledge and research survey. Interviewed were Paul Owens at Burns Owens Partnership, Tom Fleming at Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy, Sian Prime, Director of MA Creative and Cultural Entrepreneursip at Goldsmiths University, and Gerald Lidstone, Director of Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths University.
Wagner is said to have stated that if everything is destroyed, the nation clinging on to art will survive. A nation ignoring it’s art ends being a nation.
Arvind Lodaya’s thoughts of cultural innovation and democratizing culture seem to begin with the same standing point. Culture, art, innovation is done in everyday life among ordinary people – i e all of us. Without the social capital – all those things that count for most in the daily lives of people (to use one of the definitions put forward) – we will be poorer. And we seemed to have lost track of this.
Civil society is mentioned in every policy document now-a-days, from local, regional, and state level in Sweden to EU. We have to cooperate with civil society, we are told. Definitions vary and no-one seem to fully understand what it means. Another fact is that policy documents rarely reach ordinary people, Arvind Lodaya argues. ”Temples of Culture” are built and nurtured; artistic and cultural institutions whose existence only gather a few initiated and seem to exclude others. It’s dilemma not only of policy makers and politicians who put a lot of money into sustaining our cultural institutions. It’s something also pursued by artists themselves, artistic universities, and cultural and art organizations.
Cultural Innovation is about art and culture found in our ordinary lives, is the message of Arvind Lodaya. This is where the driving force for cultural change takes form. The Indian context where he takes his staning point is also like a melting pot of cultures, languages, and people. Small-scale cultural entrepreneurs are found in every corner in the urban India; tailors, fabric producers, crafts, design, game, IT-experts, writers and so forth. In Europe cultural entrepreneurs are also small-scale, although working in a different fashion and structure. It’s in this small-scale environment innovation and new ideas start growing. How can cultural institutions facilitate everyday cultural innovation and what does the interface between an institution and social capital look like? What could policy makers do to support innovation within culture?
Arvind Lodaya’s answer is clear: Innovation needs to be nurtured rather than strangled. One way is to stop reducing people to only being customers and from policy level regarding them as much more complex than this.
See the slideshow of Arvind Lodaya here. A film of the seminar will be available on Internet soon. The seminar was held in cooperation between School of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland, Encatc and Nätverkstan on May 24 2010. More on Arvind Lodaya can be found here and under cateogory ”India” on this site.
As part of the project Linking Initiatives, a project between Region Västra Götaland and Karnataka, Arvind Lodaya from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore will be a visiting scholar for one and a half month in West Sweden. His main project is to look into the notion of Cultural Innovation and explore this further with partners from different areas. Due to this a seminar is held on May 27th. Read Arvind Lodaya’s discussion note here: arvindlodaya_discussionnote.pdf.
School of Film Directing at University of Gothenburg, and has just come back from another visit in Bangalore to continue and be a partner of the start of a Film School in Bangalore for film directing and artistic film making. Also this is part of Linking Initiatives. Read about the results here: FH/Bangalore201005.pdf.
Read more under the category ”India” or the tag ”Bangalore”.
Shiva Subramanian is a cultural entrepreneur. He has a business degree, which he doesn’t use, he says: ”That’s why it works”. His view is that businesses put up so many barriers, so finally you can’t be human.
He has set up a row of different small companies and run different ideas and initiatives. His idea is to just get going, build on a social network and ”no paperwork!” He owns the Sona Towers on Millers Road in Bangalore, and has put up a space on the fifth floor for other entrepreneurs such as internetradio, an architect, a lawyer, graphic designer. What is the key factor for success we ask? The informal setup, his social network and culture.
”This wouldn’t work if it wasn’t within the art.”
Indian Institute of Management, along Bannerghatta Road within a green garden domain, would love an entrepreneur like the ones on fifth floor. On the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning the idea is to work within three areas: Research, teaching and training entrepreneurs, and incubator. In the incubator they look for unique and scalable ideas and a passionate team. During ”punchwhole meetings” they judge and try to punchwhole the idea and see how the entrepreneur respond to this. One challenge is to get the person focussed on the idea; a start-up work seventy percent with other things and not with the idea.
Alternative Law Forum is a collective of lawyers starting in 2000 with the idea that there is a need for an alternative practice of law concerning social and economic injustice. They have run several campaigns for sexual, women and civil rights and questions like: How do minorities get access to their rights?. The eleven laywers connected to ALF cover a large variety of issues, do research, campaigns and publish articles.
Running a perfume business these days is hard. Globalization has changed the market completely, and being a smaller business you just can’t compete with the large ones. The international connection is asked for by customers who would like to order a new perfume, and for a small business it’s just not possible. They have instead accepted to be in the second layer, Mr Vijayakumar explains, when he with love for his profession explains how it works.
The perfumery is one part of what they do at Vijayakumar Farm. The farm is named after the family name, where they have over the past few years planted over 250 species of plants and trees; endangered species, the sainted trees, spices and other things. One part is the breeding of a rare cow, which we are told, is both intelligent and has feelings. We also get to see a wonderful dance performance by Raadha Kalpa and the story behind traditional dance.
One sentence stay in your mind, said by one of the entrepreneurs: ”In India if you don’t succeed you die.”
The visit is part of the exchange program Linking Initiatives, an initiative between Region Västra Götaland and Karnataka in India. Read more under tag ”Bangalore” or category ”India”.
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