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Geert Lovink [c] on Wed, 22 Jun 2005 10:23:34 +0200 (CEST)

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(this is the big debate, wherever you go in europe, creative industries yes or
no... so, are you creative yet? /geert)


mentality and method


Professor Art & Economics

Chairman Research group Art & Economics/Cultural Entrepreneurship Utrecht School of
the Arts

1 Entrepreneurial Style

"Entrepreneurial style in the cultural sector means: take your own cultural mission
as a starting point to look for new chances in your environment. You can do this on
your own but my advice is to develop partnerships with other initiatives and
existing art organisations. As we know the cultural sector is a low or no budget
sector. In my own city, Utrecht, entrepreneurial artists start new initiatives
without money in their pocket but with original ideas in the field of art and
economics. We call this: doing cultural business with the 'bank-without-money'. I
have been working in Central and East Europe for many years and I have seen a lot
of examples like in Utrecht. And= I know it is important to have a strong
endurance. A complaining attitude is a dangerous pitfall.

2 Cultural entrepreneurship is based on history

"Cultural entrepreneurship, as explained in my books and papers, is not a West
European or an American approach. It is a real cultural quality with a strong
cultural history. Five centuries before Christ there were large-scale Greek
festivals based on an entrepreneurial method with a strong managerial structure
about artistic judging, sponsoring and audience management. All famous Renaissance
artists and cultural managers were entrepreneurs too. Suger developed innovation
workshops for renewing churches in Gothic style. Theatre maker Shakespeare, and
painters Rubens and Rembrandt had there own private firms. It is not needed to
concentrate on general American management concepts which ignore real cultural
values. On the contrary: do investigate your own cultural history and art
management values. Cultural entrepreneurship is a mentality and a method. It can be
used by individual artists and large cultural organisations like museums, theatres,

3 Central and East Europe

"Based on my work experiences in Central and East Europe I see a lack of what I
mention 'Concepting'. Concepting means: design your artistic dreams in interaction
with your environment and develop a long-term plan. Even in the case that you just
have an individual project it is important to create a cultural infrastructure
around you and to elaborate your ideas into concrete plans. Mainly during the
collective drinks after my sessions I emphasize again and again: stop complaining,
professionalize your art organisation and make attractive but realistic plans. And
stop saying: my town is different. Of course your town is different: deal with

4 Creativity is a unique strength

"The cultural sector has one unique strength: creativity. In the post communist
countries and the old, tired EU-nations only creativity can innovate communities,
cities and industries. If the creative sector can re organize itself on the
principle of networking, the business world, the bureaucrats and the traditional
world of universities know that the answers will come from creativity. But there is
one fundamental condition for this success: a flexible and meaningful cultural
policy on city, province and national level. It is important that the government
takes its own responsibility, in financing, in creating an infrastructure, in
taking care of art education and in supporting people to enjoy own art and culture.
To plead for a total free market in the cultural sector is based on a big and
dangerous misunderstanding about art and its history. In the history of Europe and
its rulers there was always a general interest approach for culture. The most
important arguments were: quality of live, the status of the residence, the
education of the people. I cannot see that these arguments are outdated. Only in
the USA the government is denying this responsibility en leaves it to the
multimillionaires. But in Europe we do appreciate a more civilized system.

5 Reorientation in Europe

"Because of the NON of the French and the NEE of the Dutch against the new EU
constitution we will get a fundamental re orientation on the position of the EU in
Europe. Together with the Council of Europe with its 46 members, the cultural
sector in Europe has to create new strategies. To my opinion the issue of Creative
Cities with cultural entrepreneurship and social inclusion will play a key role in
those strategies. The growing EU-bureaucracy has to be killed. More and more the
artists based practices will colour the discussion about Europe and culture. Europe
from bottom up is the motto, top down Europe is dead.

6 Cultural values

"If you combine your artistic activities with interesting social, spacial and
economic developments in your city of region, cultural values will be appreciated
as an important innovative factor. You are on the wrong way if you are isolated and
not known in your own environment. In that case my advice is: Please return and go
back, create your own path in connection with ideas about creative cities. This is
not just a statement but an expression of a lot of experiences: Custard Factory in
Birmingham, Hackischen Hofe Berlin, Newcastle Art Centre, Westergasfabriek
Amsterdam, Europahuis voor de Kunsten Utrecht.

7 Skills

"Nowadays an important skill for art managers is to combine their artistic
ambitions with financial and organisational possibilities. In our research group we
have developed the concept of Cultural Business Modeling (CBM). This is a
professional instrument for developing a mixed financial base for a cultural
organisation. We tested four cultural organisations on CBM and there were robust
results. Another important skill is to create local, national and international
networks. An example of interactive networking is the Europahuis voor de Kunsten
Utrecht (Europe House for the Arts), which has to be established in the art deco
post office in the centre of the city. We started just with the idea: to create a
place for artists living and working in Europe. For the success of this idea it is
important that the local artists initiatives and cultural organisations accept this
idea and become supporters. Within six month thirty cultural organisations express
that such a place is important for Utrecht to become a creative city on a European
level. Currently a steering group is formed which will be responsible for the
design phase in 2006. Without the network capabilities this step would never be
done by artists and art managers. Besides these skills it is in common that artists
and art managers professionalize their actions on the strategic, organisational and
marketing level. If creative people think they can function without this knowledge
they will have real problems in practice. It is necessary that art education -
academies, film schools, theatre schools, conservatories =96 educate their students
in these fields. For instance project management is an important tool to realize
artistic ideas. Without this tool it costs a lot of energy to fulfil artistic
tasks. So, art education students have to be trained in these project competences.

8 Projects without an artistic soul: artistic Newspeak.

"Projects are important for flexibility and innovation of the creative sector. The
project-based method can help you to realize your dreams. But without an artistic
core, I mean a fundamental artistic drive; projects are soulless and will have a
negative impact on cultural developments. If governmental bureaucracy pleads for
'cultural projects' without having a clear and challenging cultural policy
framework, these projects will be empty things. If foreign cultural organisations
want to co operate on a project base because the EU-funds ask for at least three
foreign partners, it is just creating artistic Newspeak without substance. Artists
have to ask themselves what are my own arguments to co operate within international
projects. To innovate my way of working? To exchange artistic experiences on an
international level? To discover new sources for artistic developments? To perform
on a European level? These things are important to consider. Just networking on a
project base without an artistic mission is waste of time

9 Small initiatives and Large organizations

"As sponsors the big business firms are focused on cultural institutes with a
strong status. The advertising world call this A-marks. When a foreign company
wants to sponor a cultural organisation, it will support the main theatres or
museums. And the government knows this and will also pay extra attention to this
cultural accommodations. On this level it is difficult for small organisations to
find private money. But there are some possibilities for them to co operate, First
of all: create your own bank-without-money, as I mentioned earlier. With the help
of this bank you can use empty places in large organisations. Large institutes have
always some possibilities but the question is: do the small groups really want to
co operate with them? Second: create your own financial fund. Ask your uncle or
cousin, who is a lawyer, to form such a fund which will be fed by donations and
gifts from the society and the managers from the corporate world. Three: make money
by selling your creativity to interesting parties. Again: your unique selling point
is your own creativity.

Because of the problems of small artists initiatives I develop in my book the
concept of guerrilla art management. This will say that artists can create a basic
camp for instance within an empty old industrial building and execute small attacks
-- in the cultural way of thinking -- on the established cultural world. This new
management approach is needed if the established cultural world neglects the spirit
of new, innovative cultural groups.

10 Future

"When we consider the future, it is necessary to look to the past. In the 20th
century we saw a dominant position for existing mono disciplinairy organisations.
Museums, opera houses, theatres and cinemas are the icons of this period. Cultural
policy was focused on the leading position of these institutes. But in this new
21st century there are fundamental changes in the society: need for creativity in
the society, digital communication around Internet, the growth of subcultures and
new cultural communities, globalisation. The old leaders have no possibilities and
flexibility to deal with these developments. New entrepreneurial initiatives and
networks with a strong cultural concept will take over their positions. Fortunately
some cultural leaders of the old organisations do have the idea that they have to
change their old cultural strategies and competences. These art managers want to
become a part of the new networks, which I call the Intercultural Network
Organisations (INO). The Heart of the Prague Quadriennial in 2003 directed by Tomas
Ziska was an example of an INO. And MAPA in Berlin in 2002 had also elements of an
INO. Another example is our own programme to support cultural Small and Medium
sized Enterprises (SME) in specific quarters of the city. Each consultant and
trainer is focused on the existing cultural organisations in the centre of a city.
We conclude that the future of culture will be build on the activities of these
interesting SME-organisations which form their ow= n networks in their own
environment with a strong European spirit.Our programme with the title 'Cultural
SME 2005/2006' supports these organisations and networks to innovate their
management. And existing organisations like Chamber of Commerce, Jaarbeurs,
universities and art schools are strongly involved. Based on my international
activities I can say that this approach can also be important for cities in Central
and East Europe like Prague, Kiev and Tbilisi.

As you see, the entrepreneurial style of art management is not a closed, scientific
system but an open and pro active way of thinking, knowing and doing to innovate
the cultural sector on a practical base. It is up to artists and art managers to
use its potentials.

Summer, 2005

This interview will be discussed during training sessions in Zilina, Helsinki,
Prague and Blagoevgrad.

giep.hagoort {AT} central.hku.nl

Giep Hagoort, Art Management Entrepreneurial Style, Eburon, Delft,

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