Culturelink Newsletter No. 104/February 2016
From the Focal Point
It is often stressed that cultural and creative industries are among the most dynamic European economic sectors, as well as a very important arena of development for knowledge-based societies. Therefore, we present here a review by Nada Svob Djokic, member of the Culturelink team, of the book Creative Economy and Culture. Challenges, changes and futures for the creative industries, which opens new perspectives in the debate on cultural and creative industries.
Creative Economy and Culture. Challenges, changes and futures for the creative industries
The relationships between creative economy and culture are discussed in this book through three chapters: I The Challenges (positioning economy, culture and technology as parts producing the new 'big systemic picture' that enlighten the role of creative industries as generators of creative economy); II Forces and Dynamics of Change: The Three Bigs in Action (describing the scenes and actors leading to new systemic changes), and III Future Forming (With Three Buts) discussing possible developments, aspects of technical, political and knowledge control of cultural production and its economic aspects, and summarizing the previously mentioned arguments for 'future-forming').
Culture is interpreted as 'the mechanism for producing newness in conditions of uncertainty' (p. 5). Being the source of 'newness' and 'implemented novelty' (p. 14) culture appears to be extremely important to economy and technology. The source for such an understanding of culture is a systemic interpretation of the world in which we live, and which consists of 'concentric spheres: geosphere, biosphere, semiosphere and noösphere (knowledge sphere)'. The works of Vernadsky, Lotman and a number of other theoreticians cited here offer a way 'to conceptualize culture as an adaptive, interactive (communicative) system' (p. 23) that largely contributes to the overall systemic changes in societies and human life in general. Creativity is interpreted as a feature of semiotic and noetic (knowledge) systems 'which individuals use and make their own without being or owning their source' (p. 34). Such interpretation sees creativity as 'the production of newness in complex adaptive systems' (p. 35).
Whatever they may encompass (from arts to journalism) creative industries represent a type of production that is being developed through relationships established in a 'social network market', which belongs to the economy of attention, 'an economy of signals as much as of monetary values' (p. 51). In this respect it demands a convergence of cultural studies (semiotics, anthropology, media analyses and others) with economics. The research here is focused on problems at the intersection of culture, technology and economy. In a short historical overview the public function of creative and cultural practices is constantly reinvented for each new era. Creative industries are interpreted as 'social technology of modernization' (p. 60) and a need to make cultural and creative industries a policy priority is expressed (p. 64). Their development is further described in different countries and regions of the world. Creative industries already influence a systematization of countries into groups such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey), etc. Four models of creative industries understood as producers of innovative outputs are identified: Creative Clusters, Creative Services, Creative Citizens and Creative Cities.
Creative processes are framed by the 'three bigs' - everyone, everything, and everywhere. These stand for overall communication within the creative processes that are developed from communication. Culture makes groups and these groups make knowledge. 'Groups learn and change in competition with other groups' (p. 210). They are organized in 'overlapping complexity' and individuals may belong to multiple groups (demes), simultaneously or successively. The authors clearly explain that 'Culture makes groups, groups make knowledge, but knowledge of the complexity of that arrangement makes for doubt, skepticism, relativism, multiple or ambiguous identities, and the need to be able to deal with difference and indeterminacy.' (p. 211) New analytical lenses are needed to understand and analyze the new systemic situation, and these are constructed through the 'three bigs': everyone (overall population included in creativity processes, following the individual interests and possibilities); everything (creativity extends from a specialist creative industries sector to all of the economy and to knowledge creative systems and their interactions); and everywhere (a planetary approach). The difficulties that such an approach meets in the present-day world are many, and may include technical, political and commercial controls, as well as economic, political and cultural divides (p. 215).
The authors of this book have tried to 'develop some simple models for the analyses of creativity in the context of contemporary global markets and digital mediated culture' (p. 209). They have illustrated the possibilities and needs of a new systemic approach to culture, economy and society in general. The policy aspects for such a new systemic approach have not been undermined and it is clearly stated that 'policy needs to move from a mechanical approach (engineered innovation in professional labs) to a probabilistic approach (population-wide random variation, institutionalized 'search' functions across groups and knowledge domains) in which 'everyone, everywhere and across all of the economy and culture is the participant' (p. 212).
This book opens a new perspective for the debate of cultural and creative industries. The analyses are based in a systemic approach incited by new technologies and digitalization processes. Instead of being discussed, analyzed and lived as a sector of creativity, culture appears to be its source and a source of a general systemic planetary change. In this respect cultural production is strongly related to knowledge production and deeply interwoven into the overall economic and social change everywhere. This is an inspiring view of creativity and culture: supported by new technologies and new knowledge they are understood as a chance for a new kind of development based on humankind's historical background and challenges of new views and possibilities.
Calls for Papers and Presentations
1. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CULTURAL RELATIONS IN EUROPE AND THE MEDITERRANEAN
The conference, to be held in Valletta, Malta on 23 - 25 November 2016, seeks to explore the social dynamics through which space - public, private and virtual - within a city serves as a site of discourse, contestation and critical reflection within and between communities, with a particular reference to the Euro-Mediterranean context and Valletta as European Capital of Culture in 2018. The deadline for the submission of proposals (abstracts) is 18 March 2016. >>>
2. ARTNODES JOURNAL - ISSUE ON ART AND EDUCATION
Artnodes is an e-journal on art, science and technology promoted by the Arts and Humanities Department, the IT, Multimedia and Telecommunications Department, and the Information and Communication Sciences Department of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). The next issue of Artnodes, coordinated by Aida Sánchez de Serdio, proposes to open a window of reflection on experimental, hybrid connections between art and education. Authors are invited to submit articles in Spanish, Catalan or English before 1 April 2016. >>>
3. INTERNATIONAL NWFASHION CONFERENCE: LOCAL FASHION COMMUNITIES
The Competence Centre Management, Culture and Policy of the University of Antwerp is hosting the 4th edition of the International NWFashion Conference, to be held in Antwerp, Belgium, on 24 - 26 November 2016. The central topic this year is how fashion can contribute to the development of local communities. Abstracts can be submitted until 15 April 2016.>>>
Calls for Entries and Applications
4. CALL FOR DONATIONS OF PUBLICATIONS FOR THE NEWLY ESTABLISHED RESOURCE CENTER IN ARTS MANAGEMENT IN TAJIKISTAN
The Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation in Tajikistan is about to launch a new MA programme in Arts Management in Dushanbe in 2016, in partnership with four local universities. This will be the first programme of that kind in the region of Central Asia. Cultural institutions, foundations, public bodies, universities, libraries and individual experts are kindly asked to donate materials to the new Centre (publications, books, documents, etc.). >>>
5. ANNA LINDH EURO-MEDITERRANEAN FORUM 2016: INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE
The Anna Lindh Foundation announces the Call for Participation to the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Forum 2016, which will take place in Valletta, Malta, on 24 - 25 October 2016. The deadline for the submission of applications is 15 March 2016. >>>
6. ROBERTO CIMETTA FUND OPEN CALL: EUROPE GRAND CENTRAL RESIDENCIES 2016
In the framework of the EU-funded project Europe Grand Central, the Roberto Cimetta Fund is launching an open call to invite Arab artists to submit proposals to six thematic European art residencies on the concept of borders. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2016. >>>
7. THE LOVING FESTIVAL FOR DIVERSITY, MULTICULTURALISM AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
The 6th Annual New Orleans Loving Festival is seeking original cartoons that address topics related to diversity, multiculturalism and social justice for a group art exhibition entitled A Loving Judgement, to be held from 4 June to 2 July at the Arts Council of New Orleans' Exchange Centre Gallery. The exhibition is curated by the Master of Arts in Museum Studies Program, Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO). The submission deadline is 15 March 2016. >>>
Educational Programmes and Fellowships
8. TRAINING AND CREATION WORKSHOP OF THE INDIA THEATRE PROGRAMME
The India Theatre Programme (ITP), an initiative by The Drama School Mumbai, offers a 4-week training and creation workshop for theatre makers, actors, dancers and performance artists, to be held in Pondicherry, India, from 2 to 31 July 2016. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2016. >>>
9. CULTURAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT COURSES AND WORKSHOPS
The Centre for Cultural Planning and Development of the International University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada is organising its 2016 session of online professional development courses and workshops, taught by international experts and senior practitioners. >>>
10. MASTER OF ARTS IN PUBLIC SPHERES (MAPS)
The MAPS - Arts in Public Spheres Master programme of the ECAV - Ecole cantonale d'art du Valais, Switzerland, is a 2-year degree in the visual arts, addressing artists and professionals wishing to question the contemporary artist's relation to the public sphere. The deadline for application is 8 April 2016. >>>
International Conferences and Seminars
11. LIVE ART IN DIGITAL TIMES
Live Art in Digital Times will be the main theme of the next IETM Spring Plenary Meeting to be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 14 - 17 April 2016. In collaboration with the National Dutch Theatre Festival, IETM will create a platform for enriching debate that will empower the participants with ideas, skills and courage to take advantage of the technological developments of these times. >>>
12. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DIGITAL HERITAGE
During its Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Netherlands will host a conference on digital heritage. The conference, organized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands, will take place in Amsterdam, on 29 - 30 June 2016, addressing the future of digital and digitalized heritage through three sub-themes which will be further explored in seminars and workshops. >>>
Books, Publications and Reports
13. THE CULTURE OF MIGRATION: POLITICS, AESTHETICS AND HISTORIES
The book The Culture of Migration: Politics, Aesthetics and Histories explores the ways in which culture and the arts have been transformed by migration in recent decades and, in turn, how these cultural and aesthetic transformations have contributed to shaping our identities, politics and societies. >>>
14. CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN AFRICA
Based on ethnographically contextualized life stories and case studies of female and male entrepreneurs, the book Cultural Entrepreneurship in Africa explores the diverse and partly new forms of entrepreneurial practice in Africa since the 1990s. >>>
15. CITIES: LIVING LABS FOR CULTURE? CASE STUDIES FROM ASIA AND EUROPE
The publication Cities: Living Labs for Culture? Case Studies from Asia and Europe presented by Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), showcases 27 innovative examples of policy and practice drawing from the experiences of over 40 cities in Asia and Europe wherein civil society organizations and public agencies are working together to actively integrate culture and creativity into urban planning. >>>
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