Cultural Engineering Group

Services & Ressources en ingénierie culturelle

The Future of Tourism in Europe

Promoting Competitiveness Through Sustainability and Digitisation 

The tourism industry is of great socio-economic importance for the European Union, accounting for 10% of EU GDP and employing about 12 million people (Eurostat, 2015). According to the latest report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), a market share of 40.3% of the global international tourist arrivals are directed to the EU-28, making Europe the most sought-after destination in the world. Eurostat data published in January 2017, further confirms the good health of EU tourism, indicating that the number of nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments rose by 4% in 2015, totalling 2.8 billion.

In recognition of the industry’s significant role in driving pan-European job creation and economic growth, the European Commission has introduced various initiatives, particularly aimed at promoting sustainability, accessibility, culture, and at boosting low season and coastal tourism. The Virtual Tourism Observatory, the Digital Tourism Network, and the tourism managing tool, European Tourism Indicators System (ETIS), have been established to modernise European tourism and improve connectivity and competitiveness. In addition, the campaign ‘Europe. Wonder is all Around’ has provided an innovative platform for promoting a plethora of diverse, sustainable and high quality travel destinations across the continent.

As tourists become more independent, connected and conscious of sustainability issues, Europe needs to embrace, and adapt to, their changing profile and priorities, and become better at promoting so-called smart destinations. New technologies moreover offer challenges and opportunities for European tourism. Whilst businesses need to adopt the latest digital technologies to remain competitive, research demonstrates that the smaller the business, the lower the rate of adoption of digital technologies (Report of the Strategic Policy Forum on Digital Entrepreneurship, 2016). In addition to digitising the sector, Europe needs to take opportunities to integrate culture and technology in new and innovative ways, targeting strategic investment in areas where it can be a world leader, such as cultural tourism.

This symposium will provide delegates with an invaluable opportunity to analyse the strategic role for the tourism sector in supporting economic and employment growth in Europe, and consider how opportunities offered by cultural tourism can be capitalised upon. Attendees will also scrutinise the challenges and prospects associated with the digitalisation of the sector and explore how ICTs can be better integrated into tourism and travel related services. The symposium will promote the exchange of ideas and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking debate.

Delegates will:

  • Examine initiatives implemented by the EU to promote and support tourism
  • Consider the economic and non-economic challenges facing the European tourism industry
  • Discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by digitisation and reflect on its implications for competitiveness and job creation
  • Assess how to improve digital competency and foster digital literacy amongst operators within the sector
  • Learn from successful projects on how to positively implement sustainability indicators systems such as the ETIS
  • Analyse strategies to boost city tourism
  • Engage in interactive discussions with stakeholders and trendsetters in the field of tourism
  • Share best practice of successful innovation projects to increase tourism accessibility

For further details, please refer to the enclosed event brochure. Do feel free to circulate this information to relevant colleagues within your organisation.

In the meantime, to ensure your organisation is represented, please book online or complete and return the registration form at your earliest convenience in order to secure your delegate place(s).

Classé dans:Evénements, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Outils, , , , , ,

Premier bilan et projets d’avenir pour Marseille Provence 2013

Même si la manifestation ne s’achèvera que le 31 décembre par un grand feu d’artifice – comme elle avait débuté – le bilan de Marseille Provence 2013 capitale européenne de la culture commence à se dessiner alors que se terminent plusieurs événements.

7,35 millions de visiteurs et le Mucem en vedette

Du côté de la fréquentation, les chiffres apparaissent plutôt à la hauteur des attentes, avec 7,35 millions de visiteurs enregistrés à la mi-octobre. La vedette incontestée est, bien sûr, le Mucem (Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée) qui, avec 1,25 million de visiteurs depuis son ouverture au mois de juin seulement, bat tous les records en la matière (voir notre article ci-contre du 17 septembre 2013). Il reste qu’il est difficile de faire la part, dans ce démarrage foudroyant, entre l’attrait du bâtiment et de sa situation exceptionnelle au cœur de la ville (contrairement à Pompidou-Metz et au Louvre-Lens) et l’intérêt pour les contenus et les expositions.
Le second événement en termes de fréquentation est l’exposition « Le grand atelier du Midi », une exposition à cheval sur Aix et Marseille qui vient de clore ses portes le 13 octobre. Si le succès est réel avec 462.000 visiteurs, il se situe néanmoins en deçà des 600.000 entrées attendues, ce qui devrait se traduire par un déficit d’exploitation. Viennent ensuite 400.000 personnes pour l’opération « Entre flammes et flots » (avec un éclairage du Vieux Port à la bougie) durant un week-end en mai, 300.000 pour « Transhumance » (des centaines de moutons, vaches et chevaux traversant Marseille en juin) et 200.000 personnes pour une association insolite entre la Patrouille de France, des voltigeurs de l’armée de l’air et la chorégraphe Kitsou Dubois.
En dépit de cette légère déception sur « Le grand atelier du Midi », la dizaine de musées marseillais – dont celui des Beaux-Arts, le musée Cantini, le musée d’Histoire de Marseille et le musée des Arts décoratifs et de la Mode de Borely qui ont rouvert pour l’occasion – ont bénéficié à plein de cette affluence. Le nombre de leurs visiteurs atteignait en effet 530.000 à la mi-octobre, contre 220.000 pour toute l’année 2012. Si environ un tiers des visiteurs venaient de Marseille et des Bouches-du-Rhône, plus de 50% étaient originaires du reste de la France et 15% de l’étranger.

Vers une « mini capitale culturelle » en 2015 ?

Même sur le plan financier, le budget initial semble avoir été à peu près respecté. A ce jour, la manifestation affiche un déficit prévisionnel de 2,9 millions d’euros pour un budget de 91 millions, mais, selon les organisateurs, « la situation est en cours de règlement » grâce à diverses économies. 
Sur le moyen terme, il est encore trop tôt pour mesurer l’impact économique de Marseille Provence 2013 (voir notre article ci-contre du 9 janvier 2013) et, plus encore, son impact sur l’image de la cité phocéenne, même si de nombreux Marseillais se réjouissent de constater que les médias ont enfin parlé d’autre chose que des règlements de compte ou de la grève des éboueurs. Comme à Lille en 2004, il semble toutefois dès à présent que Marseille Provence 2013 devrait laisser des traces et instaurer une dynamique nouvelle. Sans attendre la réunion prévue ce mois-ci, sous la présidence du préfet des Bouches-du-Rhône, une note interne du président de l’association MP 2013, intitulée « Bâtir l’après 2013 ou comment amplifier le succès de l’année capitale » et révélée par le magazine Télérama, propose déjà des pistes.
Adressée aux services de l’Etat, aux collectivités territoriales et aux parties prenantes de l’opération, elle cherche à identifier les forces et les faiblesses de la manifestation. Côté positif : le « redressement d’image », la fréquentation, le succès populaire, la réappropriation de la ville par ses habitants… Côté négatif : les couacs dans la préparation de l’opération qui ont nui à la crédibilité du projet, un démarrage tardif dû en partie à une communication insuffisante et pas assez tournée vers l’international, des faiblesses dans la programmation… 
Pour l’avenir, la note envisage de donner une suite à la manifestation, sous la forme de l’organisation, en 2015, d’une mini capitale culturelle de quelques mois, précédée d’une grande manifestation populaire en 2014 pour maintenir l’intérêt. Une nouvelle structure, sous la forme d’un GIP, serait chargée de porter ce nouveau projet. Un projet qui s’inspire très fortement de l’exemple de Lille qui a réédité l’événement en 2006, 2009 et 2012, à travers le programme culturel « Lille 3000 ». Il est toutefois peu probable que des décisions soient prises avant les municipales de mars prochain.

Source : Jean-Noël Escudié, Localtis.

Classé dans:Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , , , , ,

Marque France et marques économiques et touristiques de territoire

A l’heure où la France recherche une marque qui illustrerait « le récit économique français » (selon le communiqué commun des 4 ministres (commerce extérieur, redressement productif, artisanat – commerce et tourisme, économie numérique) qui ont lancé ce processus .. qui a fait l’objet d’un rapport – en pièces jointes – qui a retenu 3 valeurs pour construire la future marque de notre pays : « l’amour des gestes et des savoir faire », « la vision, la capacité à penser, imaginer et initier », « l’art de la surprise » …et qui a fait des propositions aussi convenues que « l’importance de l’accueil » (proposition 5), « le pays du design » (proposition 6), « les grands événements » (proposition 8), « la traçabilité des droits de l’homme et de la RSE » (proposition 19)), de nombreux territoires français (départements, régions, villes et intercommunalités) ont déjà entrepris cette démarche de « branding territorial », dont il conviendrait peut être de s’inspirer.

Car à l’instar d’un produit, un territoire est une marque, qui, selon le grand expert de cette problématique – Jean-Noel Kapferer, professeur à HEC – « conduit à se reconnaître dans des valeurs, une vision du monde, une culture » (in revue française de gestion n° 218-219- 2011). Or comment construire une marque France ex-nihilo sans s’inspirer des succès et des échecs des marques territoriales existantes pour certaines depuis des dizaines d’années ? L’ADETEM (association nationale des experts en marketing) qui renferme en son sein un club marketing territorial note ainsi le 17 juillet 2013, avec le regret de ne pas avoir été consulté, que « au regard des enjeux, il nous semble essentiel d’apporter une contribution positive au débat national pour que la marque France s’enrichisse des initiatives territoriales tant sur le fonds que sur la forme. Autre point à aborder, les marques territoriales doivent-elles être alignées sur la marque France pas encore née ? N’est-il pas temps de construire la marque France enrichie des marques territoriales et inversement ? » (Vincent Gollain, Christophe Le Bret et Gérard Lombardi).

Dans cette perspective, nous nous proposons de faire un rapide tour d’horizon des marques territoriales et des évolutions récentes du marketing territorial sur le fonds comme sur la forme, et notamment : apparition des marques globales (tant économiques que touristiques et résidentielles), effacement de l’institution derrière le territoire, fin programmée de l’autonomie des marques touristiques, recentrage sur des « signatures » évitant les fausses promesses, les messages abscons ou prétentieux…

D’abord, la marque globale partagée, marque ombrelle derrière laquelle tous les acteurs économiques, touristiques, culturels, de la ville ou du territoire…se retrouvent. Contrairement à une idée fausse que veulent nous faire passer certains « gourous » de la communication qui ne jurent que par les exemples étrangers (Ah le Valais suisse, cité dans tous les colloques), nous avons repéré de bons exemples en France : Only Lyon, So Toulouse, Nantes just Imagine …et plus récemment Loire et Orléans, marque conjointe partagée du département du Loiret et de l’Agglomération d’Orléans. Sur ce dernier exemple, l’initiateur principal, le sénateur Doligé – président du Conseil Général du Loiret – déclare lucide (enfin) « Nous ne défendons pas nos institutions mais un territoire ». Il y avait urgence et la simplicité, l’évidence est apparue : Loiret ne parle à personne, alors que « Loire et Orléans », tout est dit. Au passage, cela oblige les multiples agences économiques, urbaines et touristiques à travailler ensemble et non plus dans leur coin. La marque partagée est le signal du nécessaire regroupement des agences économiques départementales et des Comités départementaux du Tourisme, ce qui a déjà commencé dans la Sarthe,  en Vendée ou dans les Vosges voire dans certaines régions pionnières (absorption du CRT Languedoc Roussillon dans la SEM Sud de France par exemple, création de la SEM économique et touristique des Pays de Loire…).

Il y a évidemment du « ménage » à faire, car les marques – notamment touristiques – pullulent surtout au niveau des départements, un peu moins des régions.

En ce qui concerne les régions, pour qui trouver un message fédérateur « une signature », au delà du logo est difficile (ainsi Bretagne, Rhône Alpes, PACA, Bourgogne, Alsace se contentent d’un logo bloc marque relooké ; ce sont d’ailleurs soit des régions historiques qu’il n’est pas besoin d’expliquer, soit des créations administratives ex-nihilo sans identité…), le mouvement est néanmoins amorcé avec l’exemplaire et récent « Originale Franche Comté », « Auvergne Nouveau Monde », ou le tout nouveau « Midi Pyrénées, les vacances en vrai ».

En ce qui concerne les départements, quasiment tous ont une signature touristique, mais peu portent aussi loin que «Aude pays cathare » (d’ailleurs une des premières marques partagées, 20 ans en arrière ) : on a vu ainsi fleurir pèle mêle récemment « Corrèze, tout de suite ailleurs », « Côte d’Or, l’absolue Bourgogne », « Creuse, être libre », « Doubs, les belles rencontres », « Hérault, Languedoc », « Vosges, je vois la vie en Vosges »…..Mais que comprendre quand dans un même département, le Maine et Loire par exemple, le tourisme communique avec « Anjou, cultivons l’émotion » et l’économie avec « l’avenir pousse en Anjou » ?

Alors tentons quelques conseils, analyse subjective sous forme de 3 recettes illustrées :

  1. privilégier les évidences géographiques
  2. éviter les marques prétentieuses (Ah le sens ! et les audits identitaires !) porteuses de fausses promesses
  3. recourir aux clins d’œil pour se différencier

Quelques exemples à l’appui des évidences géographiques…qui reviennent en force :

  • « la Champagne, la Marne » (tout simplement car ce département fait corps avec la région et le vin…bien que le Champagne ait été impossible, vu du Comité des Vins de Champagne)
  • la Saône et Loire, « Bourgogne du sud »
  • le Morbihan « Bretagne côté sud »
  • ou encore l’exceptionnel Languedoc Roussillon « Sud de France »

Quelques exemples à l’appui des marques prétentieuses à éviter (même en s’abritant derrière le sens, les audits identitaires, et la fierté retrouvée des habitants car la fausse promesse n’est pas loin !) :

  • Limousin « Osez la différence »
  • Nord Pas de Calais « créateur d’horizons »

A l’inverse Paris Ile de France « source of inspiration » est évidemment en phase avec l’histoire artistique innovante de cette région, « Esprit de Picardie » marche bien car il n’y a pas beaucoup d’autre chose à vendre dans cette région que les habitants (pardon pour la baie de Somme et le tourisme de mémoire).

Enfin recourir aux clins d’œil pour se différencier est délicat mais peut s’avérer payant :

  • « l’N on l’M » pour l’Aisne
  • « Je vois la vie en Vosges »
  • « Normandie pour la vie »

Mais gare aux formulations, comme « Loire Atlantique Oh La La » ou le célèbre « Point G » en Gironde (heureusement retiré).

En guise de conclusion provisoire :

Au niveau des territoires, si le rapprochement des marques touristiques et économiques est en marche et c’est tant mieux, deux questions restent en suspens :

  • tous les territoires méritent-ils du « branding  territorial » ?, ce qui renvoie à la question du territoire pertinent de communication (en tourisme, notamment tous les territoires ne sont pas dotés d’atouts suffisants pour devenir des destinations attractives…vu de l’externe bien sûr des clients…pas des politiques qui se préoccupent avant tout des habitants et de leurs électeurs donc de l’interne…il est probable que quelques départements à l’identité et l’attractivité trop faible aient intérêt à se ranger derrière l’étendard régional par exemple),
  • saura t-on partout mettre au second plan les institutions et regrouper tous les politiques d’un territoire, le contre exemple étant donné en 2013 par la campagne « Montpellier unlimited » sur fonds de rivalité politique agglomération/ ville ?

Au niveau national, la marque France doit accoucher d’une proposition simple, rapide (car la concurrence se déploie) et discrète pour pouvoir être reprise en « ombrelle » par les territoires partis en avance: Marca Espana vient de se lancer à Paris sur fond d’armoiries espagnoles or et sang simplissime avec un site internet remarquable, et l’Italie ne nous a pas attendu pour déployer « Italian Way of living » (au même moment où le rapport sur la marque France évacue le concept « art de vivre », concept non directement économique !!!).

Jean-Michel Puydebat*

Du même auteur :

*Jean-Michel Puydebat est consultant spécialisé en management de la culture et du tourisme, directeur de PV2D, président du réseau de consultants CPIP et membre de CEG.

Classé dans:Non classé, , , , ,

Une mission parlementaire va expertiser le projet d’une Exposition universelle en 2025

logo_expofrance2025

A défaut des Jeux olympiques, une Exposition universelle ? En mars 2012, Jean-Christophe Fromantin, député-maire (UDI) de Neuilly-sur-Seine, bientôt rejoint par Luc Carvounas, sénateur-maire (PS) d’Alfortville, lançait l’idée d’une candidature française à l’Exposition universelle de 2025. En décembre de la même année, une association – Expofrance 2025 – voyait le jour, avec pour mission de porter la candidature (sur le modèle des candidatures au patrimoine mondial de l’Unesco). Un certain nombre de personnalités et d’entreprises, mais aussi d’organisations comme l’Association des maires de France (AMF), rejoignaient alors le projet, doté entre-temps de trois porte-parole célèbres, en les personnes de la navigatrice Maud Fontenoy, de la chef trois étoiles Anne-Sophie Pic et du mathématicien et médaille Fields 2010 Cédric Villani.

Au printemps dernier, Jean-Christophe Fromantin annonçait le lancement d’une mission parlementaire sur le sujet (voir notre article ci-contre du 11 avril 2013). Si l’annonce était un peu prématurée, elle a néanmoins fini par se concrétiser. A la demande du groupe UDI, la conférence des présidents de l’Assemblée vient en effet de décider de former « une mission d’information sur l’opportunité et l’intérêt pour la France d’être candidate à l’accueil de l’exposition de 2025 ».

La mission devrait commencer ses travaux au début de 2014. Selon l’association ExpoFrance 2025, elle permettra de « mesurer l’intérêt culturel, économique, social et diplomatique » d’organiser une telle exposition, « de le partager et d’analyser son impact en termes de croissance et de développement ». 
La France a déjà accueilli une dizaine d’expositions de ce type – les définitions varient -, mais la dernière véritable Exposition universelle sur le territoire national remonte à 1900 (celle de 1937 étant une « exposition spécialisée » internationale intitulée « Arts et techniques dans la vie moderne »).

Pour justifier une éventuelle candidature française, l’association ExpoFrance 2025 met en avant l’afflux de visiteurs – qui pourrait encore être accru par le fait que Paris est déjà la première destination touristique mondiale -, l’impact d’une telle manifestation sur l’aménagement et l’embellissement urbains, la mise en avant du savoir-faire français et l’effet de levier économique d’une Exposition universelle (avec, bien sûr, en tête l’exemple de Shanghai en 2010).
Si la mission parlementaire débouche sur un avis positif et que l’Etat reprend la démarche à son compte, la candidature officielle de la France pourrait être déposée en 2016. Après deux ans de campagne, le Bureau international des expositions (BIE) prendra alors sa décision sur la sélection du pays organisateur en 2018. Celui-ci aura dès lors six ans pour préparer l’événement. Les prochaines expositions universelles auront lieu à Milan en 2015 (sur le thème de l’alimentation) et à Astana (Kazakhstan) en 2017, sur le thème de l’énergie. Le BIE doit prochainement choisir le lieu de l’exposition 2020 entre Dubaï, Ekaterinbourg, Izmir et Sao Paulo.

Source : Jean-Noël Escudié / PCA

Classé dans:Analyses, Evénements, Expériences, Politiques culturelles, , , , ,

Quel avenir pour le Printemps de Bourges ?

On en parle peu. En tout cas cela ne fait pas grand bruit jusqu’à présent dans le monde de la culture pourtant si petit, si visible, si politisé…

Tout est parti d’un article sur lemonde.fr le 26 avril dernier : Daniel Colling, homme de spectacle qu’on ne présente plus, souhaite vendre la marque du festival Le Printemps de Bourges, festival qu’il a lui même co-fondé en 1977, et développé avec le talent, la notoriété et le succès qu’on lui connaît.

Officiellement, tel que présenté par l’intéressé lui-même lors de la conférence de presse rapportée par lemonde.fr, une réflexion sur « l’après-Colling » est engagée pour que le Printemps de Bourges « continue sans créer de rupture », celui-ci devant « évoluer, soit en étant soutenu par une structure privée, soit par des partenariats publics ».

Plus précisément, Daniel Colling aurait proposé la vente des entités qui composent le festival, y compris la marque « Printemps de Bourges ».

Alors qu’il s’apprête à fêter ses 67 printemps bien à lui, Daniel Colling souhaite encore diriger le festival en 2014, 2015 et peut-être 2016. Il ne serait toutefois plus un de ces hommes pressés mais un homme très occupé qui se presse de tenter de « lever le pied ».

Il est vrai qu’entre la gestion des Zénith de Nantes et de Paris (qu’il a contribué à créer), une entreprise de spectacles (Victor Gabriel), la société Coulisses (direction technique du Printemps) et sa filiale « Bourges événement », le Marché des musiques actuelles (MaMA), la présidence du Réseau Printemps de Bourges, et la SARL le Printemps de Bourges, ses journées sont bien remplies et son parcours ne laisse rien au hasard. Il ne faudrait pas oublier non plus qu’il a notamment été président Conseil d’Administration du Centre National de la Chanson, des Variétés et du Jazz pendant près de 7 ans (démissionnaire en 2009 pour « convenance personnelle »), qu’il a géré jusqu’à une dizaine de Zénith mais aussi le Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse et qu’il est Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.

Ses détracteurs lui reprochent d’être à la tête d’un « empire Colling » qui règnerait en maître sur la ville de Bourges et sur certains domaines du secteur culturel. Il faut en effet ajouter à la liste ci-dessus le Palais des Congrès « Palais d’Auron », le Parc des Expositions « Pavillon d’Auron », le « Carré d’Auron », la salle Germinal rebaptisée « 22 d’Auron », ou encore le « Quai d’Auron », etc. qui font de la société Coulisses la propriétaire de la plupart des salles de spectacles de Bourges.

Mais au moins, ses détracteurs ne peuvent pas lui reprocher, après un parcours aussi rempli qu’engagé, de vouloir désormais passer la main.

La première question qui se pose est bien évidemment celle des conditions dans lesquelles cette transition voulue aussi douce que possible va se faire.

En effet, parmi les possibilités envisagées par Daniel Colling : vendre le festival et ses marques qu’il gère par le biais de sociétés privées à un consortium public rassemblant la Ville de Bourges, la Communauté d’agglomération, le Département du Cher et la Région Centre. Prix affiché publiquement lors de la conférence de presse : 3 millions d’euros.

C’est là que les choses méritent une attention toute particulière.

Il n’est pas question ici de chercher à établir si il est moralement acceptable ou non que l’Etat, les collectivités et les contribuables doivent à nouveau mettre la main à la poche pour que le festival puisse continuer d’exister alors qu’ils ont versé pour cela depuis toujours des subventions directes et indirectes aux organisations de Daniel Colling et à ses satellites. Chacun est libre de se faire sa propre opinion.

Il s’agit en réalité ici du devenir de la marque et au fond de la propriété du Printemps de Bourges

Au-delà du fait que l’ancrage local du festival est une partie consubstantielle de sa marque et ne peut être remis en cause, c’est tout d’abord les bases de l’estimation financière des 3 millions d’euros qui sont à examiner et plus précisément la part que la marque représente dans ces 3 millions.

Chacun sait qu’une estimation financière de ce type peut être réalisée selon différentes méthodes, que l’on peut obtenir tout et son contraire selon ce qu’elle recouvre, et qu’il peut s’écouler un certain temps entre les expertises et les contrexpertises commanditées avant d’aboutir à un accord sur une transaction.

En revanche chacun connaîtra-t-il les termes précis de la transaction ? Rien n’est moins sûr. Sans aller jusqu’à considérer que, compte tenu des arguments évoqués plus haut, cette transaction devrait être soumise au débat public, les élus (en tout cas les représentants de l’entité « repreneuse ») devront être vigilants et précis dans les réflexions ou les négociations qui seront conduites et notamment sur le fait qu’il y ait ou non une valorisation en numéraire concernant la marque dans la transaction.

Lorsqu’on fait l’historique des marques « Printemps de Bourges » déposées par Daniel Colling à titre personnel ou par une de ses entités, on voit clairement que le premier dépôt a eu lieu en 1996 et que trois autres dépôts ont eu lieu en même temps, peu après l’édition 2012 du festival.

Si les raisons et les conditions pour lesquelles et dans lesquelles ces dépôts ont eu lieu méritent d’être précisées (avec quel consensus, accord ou information de la Ville de Bourges et des autres contributeurs publics ?), il conviendrait à minima de s’interroger sur le fait que la question de la marque du Printemps de Bourges n’ait pas été posée pour le nom et pour le compte de la collectivité entre 1977 et 1996.

Trois explications possibles : soit personne ne s’en est véritablement préoccupé, soit on a tout simplement laissé faire sciemment ou non, soit la Ville de Bourges a donné formellement ou informellement, directement ou directement son accord.

Il convient de noter que la Ville de Bourges est parfaitement légitime pour se préoccuper à minima des marques ou des initiatives qui associent son nom et en la matière, il faut bien reconnaître que la notion de marque (mais aussi d’image) pour l’Etat ou les collectivités territoriales et locales n’est en définitive qu’une préoccupation relativement récente.

De nombreuses situations fleurissent ces dernières années, nombreuses parmi celles-ci font l’objet de contentieux, et au fond ceux qui s’en tirent le mieux sont les territoires qui ont pris en main leur marketing ou qui l’ont repris en main. La marque « Paris » en est le meilleur exemple.

Mais bien des situations se découvrent à posteriori et il peut parfois être complexe de tenter de vouloir se réapproprier ce qui constitue au fond un patrimoine ou un bien commun, même si cela est légitime.

Cela pourrait être le cas du Printemps de Bourges.

Il serait donc déplacé de reprocher à un opérateur privé d’avoir pris des initiatives et de le taxer de tous les maux. Cela peut être de l’opportunisme (au bon comme au mauvais sens du terme), cela peut être une volonté de patrimonialisation au fil du temps, cela peut être une « bascule » financière pure et dure, cela peut être une tentative de transfert à la collectivité, cela peut être un retrait des affaires ou de certaines responsabilités, cela peut être un volonté de se mettre en conformité, etc. Seul l’intéressé le sait et peut le dire.

Il serait tout aussi déplacé de reprocher à une collectivité qui, comme toutes les collectivités abat un travail colossal au quotidien (ne serait-ce que pour maintenir une adéquation entre mission de service public, ambition et moyens, de façon la plus pérenne et soutenable possible), aurait soit manqué de vigilance, soit aurait été abusée, soit aurait consenti, soit aurait accordé, soit aurait omis, etc.

En tout état de cause, par les temps qui courent, mettre une telle initiative sur la place publique de cette façon et afficher un tel montant sans justification précise et immédiate n’apporte aucune garantie solide pour aborder l’avenir du festival, même à court terme, qu’on ne s’y trompa pas. Il y a une problématique à éclaircir, à préciser et à résoudre.

Certains disent que la transaction est un art, comme la guerre, dont personne ne veut sortir perdant. Il serait regrettable qu’un événement culturel comme le festival du Printemps de Bourges en soit tributaire.

Les deux « parties » portent une responsabilité partagée, celle d’une certaine idée du service public (en l’occurrence la mission de service public culturel, même dans un festival reconnu pour la part minoritaire des subventions publiques directes dans son budget annuel). Cette idée du service public a très certainement évolué dans le temps, ce qui est une réalité au sens plus général, de façon voulue et/ou subie.

La véritable question qu’il conviendrait de préciser très vite, quitte à la remettre à plat si nécessaire : s’agit-il bien de la même idée du service public culturel pour le Printemps de Bourges,  a-t-elle évolué dans le même sens au fil des ans et entend-elle évoluer dans le même sens à l’avenir ?

Une fois cette question tranchée, les « réflexions », les « discussions » ou, le cas échéant « les négociations », pourront avoir lieu et les solutions ne manquent pas.

Tout cela nous amène au fond à réinterroger (I) les évolutions de l’écosystème public-privé dans lequel la culture se trouve et (II) les modes de gestion des structures culturelles subventionnées, notamment au regard du droit communautaire depuis l’entrée en application du pack Almunia Barnier au 1er février 2012, mais également de prêter une attention plus appuyée quant à l’état et le statut de leurs marques. On voit bien que, notamment avec le Printemps de Bourges, les enjeux sont considérables, et ils ne sont pas que financiers ou économiques.

Classé dans:Analyses, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, , , , , , , ,

Plymouth City of Culture 2017

538109_263457633787771_42639855_nThe UK City of Culture programme is an initiative which aims to encourage the use of culture and creativity to promote and encourage aspiratoins, ambitions, innovations and inspirations for everyone who lives in and visits the city.
The aim of Plymouth entry into the UK City of Culture competition is that Plymouth should fulfil its potential as a distinctive, dynamic cultural centre of regional, national and international renown. Plymouth is a city defined by the moors and the Ocean, by his history, his heritage, his resilience, and by his aspirations for the future.
The Plymouth City of Culture 2017 bid is led by the Plymouth Culture Board. This Board is made up of expert volunteers from a variety of backgrounds with strengths and influences across a broad range of the cultural sectors in the city.
Culture – our « Vital Spark » – is not exclusive, not just for the « elite ». It is as much about reading a book, kicking a ball in the park, going to a gig, meeting our friends, eating and drinking, as it is about opera, ballet and Shakespeare. It is about what people do, and how people do it, about what people think is important. It taps into our ideas, knowledge, values and beliefs. It gives us roots and affirms our sense of identity.

Classé dans:Evénements, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , ,

Les clusters culturels et médiatiques : émergence, gouvernance et évaluation

mime-attachmentLes journées d’économie de la culture et de la communication du DEPS réunissent tous les deux ans des chercheurs, des acteurs économiques et des professionnels du champ culturel et médiatique pour mettre en débat les résultats de la recherche en économie portant sur les arts du spectacle vivant, le patrimoine, les arts plastiques et les industries de la culture et de la communication.

La 6e édition des journées sera consacrée à l’émergence, la gouvernance et l’évaluation des clusters culturels et médiatiques.

Les rapports entre les activités culturelles et médiatiques et les territoires font l’objet d’une attention renouvelée. Ils sont au centre de nombreux débats contemporains et occupent une place importante dans les prises de position et la communication d’une grande diversité d’acteurs nationaux et territoriaux. L’agglomération intentionnelle sur un territoire d’entreprises, d’organisations et de structures – appelée cluster, grappe ou pôle – est un des phénomènes les plus observés et discutés récemment.

Au cours de la dernière décennie, de nombreux travaux ont porté sur les clusters du domaine culturel et médiatique, poussés, entre autres, par des interrogations en matière d’intervention publique sur le caractère spontané de leur constitution et la possibilité pour les pouvoirs publics d’initier, ou du moins d’encourager, le phénomène d’agglomération. Face à l’ampleur, la diversité et l’hétérogénéité des résultats d’études et de recherches sur le sujet, il importe de faire un point sur l’état du savoir économique tout en discutant ces résultats à la lumière des expériences françaises et étrangères.

Les intervenants (économistes, urbanistes, géographes, responsables et professionnels) traiteront des deux thématiques suivantes : les choix de localisation des organisations créatives et l’émergence des clusters ; leur gouvernance et leur évaluation.

S’inscrire et participer

Source : ministère de la Culture et de la Communication et Stéréolux

Classé dans:Evénements, Gouvernances, , , , , , , ,

Paris a des progrès à faire pour garder son rang

Même si ce type de classement est toujours sujet à caution méthodologique, les résultats de la dernière enquête du site international TripAdvisor.com, présentée le 13 décembre, devraient faire réfléchir tous les responsables du tourisme parisien. Ces résultats sont en effet particulièrement mauvais pour ce qui demeure la première destination touristique mondiale.
Le site international TripAdvisor, qui recueille les avis, conseils et photos de tous les voyageurs, a en effet dépouillé et analysé les avis et les commentaires de 75.000 de ses utilisateurs. Objectif : établir un classement des 40 principales villes touristiques du monde les plus appréciées des touristes. Les villes ont été notées et classées sur la base de neuf critères touchant principalement à la qualité de l’accueil et à l’impression immédiate laissée aux visiteurs : l’amabilité des habitants, celle des chauffeurs de taxis, les meilleurs services de taxis, la propreté des rues, la facilité à se promener, la qualité des transports publics, le rapport qualité-prix, le meilleur « shopping » et les villes les plus sûres.
Personne ne s’étonnera du mauvais classement des taxis parisiens en termes d’amabilité (30e sur 40). Petite consolation toutefois pour ces derniers : l’amabilité des Parisiens est encore plus mal notée que la leur, puisqu’elle figure au 33e rang sur 40 !… Et une petite consolation pour les Parisiens : leurs vieux rivaux londoniens sont 39e… Les résultats parisiens sont médiocres également sur le rapport qualité-prix (31e), sur l’offre de taxis (29e), sur la propreté des rues (24e) et sur la sécurité (22e). Les seuls classements honorables concernent les transports en commun (10e), la facilité à de promener (11e) et le shopping (11e). Si TripAdvisor n’établit pas de classement général, il ressort très clairement que la ville préférée des touristes internationaux est Tokyo, qui occupe cinq fois le premier rang sur les neuf critères étudiés. Ainsi que l’exprime sobrement le communiqué de TripAdvisor France, « malgré sa réputation de Ville Lumière, Paris a encore beaucoup à faire pour séduire les voyageurs du monde entier et faire un sans-faute sur certains des aspects pour lesquels ils ont le plus d’exigence ».
On pourrait certes contester certains aspects du classement (quel rapport entre Paris et Punta Cana ou Charm el-Cheikh ?) et se dire que la capitale s’en sortirait mieux si l’enquête avait également pris en compte la richesse du patrimoine et l’offre de culture et de loisirs. Mais il reste que la médiocrité de l’accueil des touristes est désormais un fait établi par de multiples enquêtes. Plusieurs rapports officiels se sont d’ailleurs penchés sur la question. Une charte « Qualité de l’accueil en France : une ambition partagée » a même été signée entre l’Etat et les acteurs du tourisme en mars 2011, avec huit engagements déclinés en 24 « actions opérationnelles » (voir nos articles ci-contre du 2 mars et du 1er décembre 2011). Le moins qu’on puisse dire, au vu de l’étude de TripAdvisor, est que les résultats laissent encore à désirer..

Jean-Noël Escudié

Source : Localtis

Classé dans:Analyses, , , ,

L’année du design n’aura pas été vaine à Helsinki

Helsinki est cette année capitale mondiale du design. Selon un sondage du quotidien Helsingin Sanomat, seulement un cinquième de la population de l’agglomération d’Helsinki a participé à l’une des nombreuses manifestations. Pour le quotidien libéral, cela n’est pas dramatique : « Le principal, cette année, c’est que les citoyens, les décideurs et les chefs d’entreprise aient commencé à réfléchir au design et à la planification. Bien planifier peut permettre de faciliter la vie et la rendre plus agréable. Parallèlement, un design de qualité est lucratif pour les entreprises finlandaises et pour le pays tout entier, et apporte la célébrité. Il est dommage que seul un cinquième de la population de la capitale ait participé à une manifestation de ce type, mais ce n’est pas une catastrophe. L’objectif de cette initiative n’était pas d’amener les citoyens à faire la fête dans les rues. … Nous pourrons observer les résultats de ces événements seulement dans quelques années. Nous pourrons alors constater si le design de qualité a eu des répercussions sur la planification d’usines, d’offres gastronomiques pour les seniors ou sur le paysage urbain. »

Source : BpB

Classé dans:Evénements, , , , , ,

Maribor, une capitale de la culture prometteuse

La ville slovène de Maribor est capitale européenne de la culture 2012. Malgré quelques problèmes d’infrastructure préalables, il est toutefois encore beaucoup trop tôt pour juger de la réussite ou non du projet, estime le quotidien Delo : « Nous ne pourrons parler des effets que lorsque la génération des adolescents actuels aura atteint l’âge mûr, c’est-à-dire dans une dizaine d’années. Mais seulement si la jeune génération actuelle continue à se rendre aux manifestations culturelles. … L’art soutient la compréhension de la culture, car il peut générer des impulsions fortes voire même choquantes. Celles-ci peuvent avoir des répercussions immédiates et changer fondamentalement nos vies, à condition que nous y soyons préparés. Le succès du projet de capitale européenne de la culture n’apparaîtra que si les jeunes continuent dans quelques années à se rendre au théâtre, dans les musées et aux concerts. Cette année, Maribor offre des programmes dans ce sens – plus qu’il n’en faut. » (Source BpB).

La question particulièrement intéressante sous-jacente est de savoir si ces grandes opérations de capitales européennes de la culture qui régénèrent et dynamisent des territoires entiers avec plus ou moins de succès à partir d’une logique ambitieuse d’offre, régénèrent-elles et dynamisent-elles aussi les pratiques culturelles sur le moyen terme au point de faire évoluer les politiques culturelles territoriales. L’idée d’évaluer cela sur une génération pourrait révéler bien des surprises…

Classé dans:Analyses, Gouvernances, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

Londres 2012, un pari de passion et de raison ?

La BBC a diffusé tout récemment une très riche enquête de terrain en deux parties, venant s’ajouter à la longue liste des témoignages sur les régénérations urbaines et socio-culturelles en cours sur l’Est de Londres, et plus particulièrement dans les quartiers où se situe le site olympique. Un plaidoyer pour la dynamique politique et l’initiative culturelle et sociale « à l’anglaise » qui produit un effet miroir édifiant pour les territoires qui se replient sur eux-mêmes et qui démontre de la puissance et de la force économique, sociale et culturelle de la métropole, de ses communautés, de son état d’esprit si unique.

On ne peut pas éluder la question : les moyens colossaux mis en œuvre pour faire sortir de terre les équipements olympiques dans les temps (12 milliards de livres), auxquels s’ajoutent les plus de 600 millions de livres pour les Olympiades des Arts, pouvaient indiquer non sans craintes que cette course ne serait motivée que par le grandiose, l’éphémère de l’événement, la recherche du maximum de profitabilité et de visibilité immédiates, le tout au détriment de l’essentiel. Et bien, à ce stade, le sentiment général est partagé entre passion et raison.

Les aigreurs plus ou moins argumentées ou justifées de l’échec de la candidature française pour les JO de 2012 sont littéralement balayées par les dynamiques et les pratiques locales qui voient le jour et qui ont été initiées dans le cadre de la candidature de Londres en lien étroit avec la politique de la ville. Si on prend le quartier de Newham, zone industrielle sinistrée, c’est une métamorphose complète qui s’est opérée en 10 ans alors que tous s’accordent à dire qu’il aurait fallu 3 à 4 fois plus de temps pour obtenir le même résultat sans les Jeux.

La contribution des Jeux est colossale, elle déplace le centre de gravité de Londres et permettra à la métropole de s’offrir le plus grand parc urbain créé en Europe depuis 150 ans, de créer un complexe immobilier de 1429 maisons, de faire pousser un centre commercial à Westfiled qui aura coûté 2 milliards de livres (!), de revigorer l’emploi (40 000 personnes ont déjà travaillé sur les sites olympiques) et l’économie (avec 98% des contrats de constructions conclus avec des entreprises du Royaume-Uni), etc.

Pour ne prendre que Stratford City, le projet immobilier dont les coûts sont partagés entre secteur public et secteur privé, l’Etat a procédé à la viabilisation des terrains et c’est au promoteur Chelsfield, d’assurer la livraison des équipements et résidences entre 2007 et 2020. Les 4 800 logements destinés à accueillir les sportifs des Jeux seront revendus ou transformés en partie en logements sociaux. Ce projet de 1,3 million de m², inclura aussi 460 000 m² de bureaux, 150 000 m² de commerces, 2 000 chambres d’hôtel.

Tous les ingrédients économiques, touristiques et culturels sont réunis pour que Londres prenne une nouvelle avance dans tous les domaines et comme Barcelone en son temps, la métropole se réinvente en prenant bien soin de réunir tous les facteurs clés du succès de son attractivité pour les décennies à venir, ce qui était très loin d’être le cas dans le projet de candidature parisienne quoi qu’on en dise.

Dans ces documentaires et reportages, chaque image transpire la fierté et le sentiment d’être partie prenante, directement ou indirectement, quelle que soit la communauté à laquelle on appartient, quelle que soit sa catégorie socio-professionnelle. Chaque témoignage porte l’espoir d’un nouvel avenir bien au-delà de l’événement et c’est peut-être cela qui décuple les énergies du « ici et maintenant », comme on dit depuis que la compétition entre les métropoles du monde a décuplé sous l’influence des fonds souverains. Mais peu importe, il faut aussi savoir regarder les choses au plus près du terrain et au-delà de la vitrine qu’on s’efforce de nous proposer pour 2012.

Ce qui frappe dans cette fierté, c’est son caractère familier, intégrée dans l’esprit de chacun et dans les moindres aspects du quotidien, support d’action des instutions culturelles et sociales, objet de toutes les initiatives ou presque. Un espoir de régénération qui fait oublier les chantiers, les problèmes de circulation et de stationnement, qui atténue le poids de la crise, parce que ce qui se joue va bien au-delà de l’événement proprement dit : c’est la qualité du cadre de vie dont on prépare assiduement un héritage positif mais néanmoins complexe et préocupant.

Ce qui frappe c’est l’énergie déployée pour faire revivre le territoire, c’est l’enthousiasme de tous, y compris parmi ceux qui ont souffert et qui souffrent de la marginalisation de ces quartiers après la désindustrialisation ce cette partie tant déshéritée de Londres.

Ce qui frappe, c’est la quantité des projets locaux, comme si chaque personne était un projet en soi bénéficiant d’une émulation inconnue jusqu’alors.

C’est peut-être là que la différence se fait : dans la conviction que l’initiative privée est un support de l’intérêt général, dans la responsabilité partagée collectivement et individuellement et dont la cohésion sociale qu’elle engendre n’est pas qu’un objet de discours ou d’expérimentations vaines. C’est un fait culturel qui n’a rien de dogmatique ni de politique, contrairement à notre manière de concevoir la société en France, c’est un état d’esprit qui ne se fonde sur aucune règle établie de manière normative, autoritaire et centralisatrice. C’est une différence et une spécificité culturelles essentielle pour prévenir de toute tentation de transposition ou de comparaison à des fins électorales (comme c’est le cas avec l’Allemagne en ce moment dans la campagne présidentielle actuellement en France qui compare tout à tout pour soit créer les conditions du changement maintenant soit exploiter toutes les forces du pays pour sumonter la crise).

Alors oui, Londres, comme Barcelone en 1992, souhaite utiliser les JO pour véhiculer un message puissant au monde, Londres instrumentalise les JO pour véhiculer plusieurs messages : 
 incarner la ville de demain, tenir son rang de capitale économique du monde tout en étant une ville agréable à vivre, une ville durable et innovante, mais où l’innovation sociale est aussi importante que le développement économique. Et il est passionnant de voir comment tous les talents sont mis au service de cette innovation sociale.

Pour autant, avec de telles ambitions en construction, cela va-t-il entraîner une « gentrification » des ces quartiers comme c’est déjà le cas des quartiers plus à l’ouest et au sud de Londres ? La fameuse classe créative de Florida respectera-t-elle tant que cela la mixité sociale du terrain et les populations locales vont-elles tirer profit de cette régénération ?

La question de l’héritage des Jeux une fois ceux-ci terminées se pose depuis le début et compte tenu de la part laissée aux promoteurs immobiliers, l’impact économique des JO peut laisser supposer que les prix de l’immobilier risquent d’exploser et de pousser les habitants actuels à s’installer dans d’autres quartiers si rien n’est fait pour préserver la mixité. En même temps, on peut tout autant espérer que ce qui est approprié et en train de s’approprier par les habitants favorise dès à présent une inclusion sociale qu’on a rarement vue ailleurs et qui devra être prise en compte lors de l’après Jeux.

Les promoteurs bénéficiant d’un niveau général de taxe relativement bas à Londres, ils financent les équipements locaux en contre partie, c’est une mécanique anglaise bien huilée.

Dans ces conditions, on peut considérer les enjeux de deux manières complémentaires :

  • la régnération urbaine qui se régule uniquement par les infrastructures et les équipements fait courir le risque d’une déresponsabilisation de la collectivité vis-à-vis du sort réservé à ses administrés et la collectivité doit se donner les moyens (y compris contractuels) d’une vigilence totale en la matière ;
  • Londres est une ville qui se renouvelle continuellement au grès de ses mutations fonctionnelles et modes architecturales et de ce point de vue les Jeux (avec toutes les leçons qu’on peut tirer des éditions précédentes) portent les conditions de la soutenabilité de la régénération urbaine des quartiers les plus défavorisés respectueuse de la mixité et de l’innovation sociale tout en démultipliant autrement le rayonnement et l’attractivité de la métropole.

Si vous avez assisté aux cérémonies du nouvel an à Londres et notamment le spectacle pyrotechnique époustouflant à tous les sens du terme et à sa ferveur londonienne, on a envie d’y croire dans tous les cas. Rêve ou mirage, il y déjà de nombreux éléments de réponse sur le terrain.

Classé dans:Analyses, Evénements, Expériences, Financement de projet, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Outils, , , , , ,

Eventful Cities: cultural management and urban regeneration

We are pleased to announce that the book Eventful Cities: Cultural Management and Urban Regeneration has now been acquired by Routledge Publishers. To mark this event they are offering a 20% discount, which is available via the code on the attached flyer. The book can be ordered via the Internet on the link below.

Processes of globalization, economic restructuring and urban redevelopment have placed events at the centre of strategies for change in cities. Events offer the potential to achieve economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes within broader urban development strategies.This volume:

  • analyzes the process of cultural event development, management and marketing and links these processes to their wider cultural, social and economic context
  • provides a unique blend of practical and academic analysis, with a selection of major events and festivals in cities where ‘eventfulness’ has been an important element of development strategy
  • examines the reasons why different stakeholders should collaborate, as well as the reasons why cities succeed or fail to develop events and become eventful.

Eventful Cities evaluates theoretical perspectives and links theory and practice through case studies of cities and events across the world. Critical success factors are identified which can help to guide cities and regions to develop event strategies. This book is essential reading for any undergraduate or graduate student and all practitioners and policy-makers involved in event management, cultural management, arts administration, urban studies, cultural studies and tourism.

Classé dans:Analyses, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Outils, Politiques culturelles, Ressources, , , , , ,

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / Final

We are honoured and deligheted to publish Dr Roberta Comunian’s* last article engaging with the current research and debate about the creative city and the importance of cultural infrastructure in contemporary cities. It argues that much of the focus has been around the investment of cities in specific regeneration projects or flagship developments rather than addressing the nature of the infrastructures, networks and agents engaging in the city’s cultural development. The complexity theory and its associated principles can provide a new understanding of the connection between the urban space and the systems of local cultural production and consumption. Drawing on interviews with creative practitioners in the North East region of England, the paper argues that the cultural development of a city is a complex adaptive system. This finding has implication both for policy makers and academic research. It emphases the importance of micro-interactions and network between creative practitioners, the publicly supported cultural sector and the cultural infrastructure of the city.

6. Conclusions: rethinking the creative city

How can complexity theory help us rethink the structures and potential of the concept of the creative city? First, complexity interaction imposes a new way of looking at how local contexts and the cultural agents and actors of the city interact. It suggests that in order to evaluate or research the creative city, a multi-level approach must be kept in mind, to allow consideration of how different actors and institutions interact in the city.  The literature suggests that the creative industries have been characterised as “having a ‘hive mentality’, informally networked ‘scenes’ which can operate very effectively in some ways. But in others the very informality can be problematic in terms of policy development” (O’Connor, 2002, p.28). Much of the regeneration literature and policy action towards the creative city have been focussed on formal investments, large cultural flagship projects, and image. On the contrary, networks seem to be central to the delivery of a better and more sustainable support system which answers the needs of creative industries. However it also important not to limit support to the mainstream, established networks. and also support the more hidden or transient ones, as these can provide the vital first steps into the sector. For example, in the North East, along with supporting established organisation like New Writing North it is important to support smaller local networks of writers or people interested in literature, as in the case of the The Blue Room [i], where interaction occurs on a wider social level without implying any strong commitment.

Culture North East (2001) states in the Regional Cultural Strategy for the North East of England “the regional cultural strategy calls for agencies supporting the sector to be entrepreneurial and opportunistic in their approach, to help create an environment where there is serious investment in innovation and risk taking at the grass roots level, which supports a continuum from cultural activity to commercial activity and retains talent in the region” (p.27). The opposition between large capital investments in the region and support for local networks can become a challenge. Sometimes it possible to see that public money is more easily directed towards large institutions or infrastructures while networks represent a soft infrastructure which is difficult to define and to invest in.

This paper has attempted to use complexity theory to highlight some of the dynamics in the creative economy of a city against a common tendency towards reductionism, where the creative economy discourse is used as a mathematical formula which can be applied to all contexts and times. The arguments presented suggest that we should consider the creative and cultural factor as constitutive and grounded in the urban context rather than simply instrumentally additive to other urban discourses of economic growth.  Also, Ormerod (1998) argues the need for a less mechanistic approach to the study of economic phenomena: “Economies and societies are not machines. They are more like living organisms. Individuals do not act in isolation, but affect each other in complex ways” (Ormerod, 1998: x). As Landry (2000) recognises “successful cities seem to have some things in common – visionary individuals, creative organisations and a political culture sharing a clarity of purpose. They seemed to follow a determined, not a deterministic path”  (Landry, 2000, p.3).

New understandings of the dynamics of the creative economy need to be implemented. This new approach must bridge the gap between the top-down approach of policy making and investment in the cultural infrastructure of a city, with a grounded understanding of the emergent structures arising from actors and agencies interacting in the sector. As Green (2001) underlines the challenging aspect  of complexity theory when applied to social systems is that instead of seeing how a social system changes as being a function of how it is, it clearly acknowledges that how it changes – even those small little changes at the grassroots level – affects how it is, and how it subsequently change again. This should be the new challenge for researchers wanting to investigate the role of culture in urban environments.


[i] The Blue Room is a project supported by the Arts Council North East with the aim to “encourage new women – and men – writers to read their work, and promoting new audiences for live poetry and prose”  (from the website www.blueroom.org.uk) and consists of a serial of monthly informal events taking place in a local pub / venue.

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*Dr. Roberta Comunian is Creative Industries Research Associate at the School of Arts, University of Kent. Prior to this, she was lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Southampton. She holds a European Doctorate title in Network Economy and Knowledge Management. She is interested in: relationship between public and private investments in the arts, art and cultural regeneration projects, cultural and creative industries, creativity and competitiveness. She has been visiting researcher at University of Newcastle investigating the relationship between creative industries, cultural policy and public supported art institutions. She has previously undertaken research on knowledge transfer and creative industries within an AHRC Impact Fellowship award at the University of Leeds.

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Previous chapters :

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 1

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 2

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 3

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 4

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 5

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 6

Classé dans:Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 6

We are honoured and deligheted to publish Dr Roberta Comunian’s* last article engaging with the current research and debate about the creative city and the importance of cultural infrastructure in contemporary cities. It argues that much of the focus has been around the investment of cities in specific regeneration projects or flagship developments rather than addressing the nature of the infrastructures, networks and agents engaging in the city’s cultural development. The complexity theory and its associated principles can provide a new understanding of the connection between the urban space and the systems of local cultural production and consumption. Drawing on interviews with creative practitioners in the North East region of England, the paper argues that the cultural development of a city is a complex adaptive system. This finding has implication both for policy makers and academic research. It emphases the importance of micro-interactions and network between creative practitioners, the publicly supported cultural sector and the cultural infrastructure of the city.

5.3 Connectivity, interdependence and self-organisation.

A complex system is characterized by interaction and inter-connectivity of the agents of the system and between the system as a whole and its environment. The level of interaction generates the complexity. If one looks at the culture offered by a city, it is easy to see how different organisations build partnerships and collaborate on events and projects. The private and public sectors often come together, and the connectivity in the contemporary art and cultural scene arises from the overlapping and exchange between different art forms. One element that is perceived as a key factor for the development of this connectivity in the context of Newcastle-Gateshead has been the joint bid for the Capital of Culture title. Although the title was eventually awarded to Liverpool, the process behind the joint bid started to build dialogue between different organisations, and fostered a new ability to work together. Matarasso (2000) stresses the importance of the bidding process itself, specifically referring to Newcastle-Gateshead. It promoted the debate on the importance of culture; it encouraged the networking of cultural institutions, created partnerships and common goals and provided a strong experience in terms of acquiring competences for cultural planning and management which is long-lasting legacy in the urban context.

In the first 18 months I was here we worked in shared public projects with almost every cultural organisation in the city it was a very deliberate policy, we also opened the building to creative people, young people in the region, people who had no real access to other venues […] the first people were not filmmakers but DJs, poets, people working at the fringe of this medium (Director, Public Cultural Organisation, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

But the connectivity and interdependence runs not only at the macro-level of agencies and institutions, but also at the micro-level in the creation of networks between creative and cultural practitioners (see paragraph 5.5). Responding to emergent properties or to particular innovative and enabling contexts, a complex cultural system can experience self-organisation. In the context of cultural and creative practitioners, self-organisation seems to be a common trend. In particular through collectives of artists, voluntary run spaces and galleries, but also through networks which are run organically and developed from the grassroots by artists (see paragraph 5.5)

 

5.4 Emergent properties, qualities, patterns or structures.

One of the complexity aspects which also characterized the creative and cultural infrastructure of the city, is the emergence of specific structure that regulate and inform the environment.

These emerging structures can be identified with creative clusters (Pratt, 2004) and the development of organic and institutional networks to support and govern the cultural actors and their agencies.

The fast growth of the sector as a whole can be seen as an emergence pattern: “The North East has grown faster than any other region except Scotland, but from a lower base than any other region” (CURDS, 2001, p.23). As Allen (1997) suggests these emerging structures are not determined uniquely by the context and its parameters, but are also dependent on timing and specific external intervention. This is where the public cultural policy seems to play a role in the complex development of a creative economy (Hesmondhalgh, 2005; Pratt, 2005). Nevertheless, this intervention can only provide non-linear impacts on the context. As Allen (1997) suggests in terms of the traditional beliefs in planning, the concept of what policy can or should do needs to be completely revisited.

Feedback is one central element of all the aspects and dynamics of a system. It can be read both as positive or negative feedback mechanisms that regulate the stability of the system. If we look at the cultural infrastructure of an urban context, there are many feedback mechanisms at various levels. For certain elements and commercial aspects the market represents feedback regulating production and consumption. In the cultural economy feedback is also provided by a variety of gatekeepers (Caves, 2000) and mediators (Albertsen and Diken, 2003) which regulate the access to the production facilities, even though the new technologies seem to have weakened the strength of formal gatekeepers providing direct access to audiences and markets.

There are a number of institutional organisations which provide feedback on the creative economy, and public policy and public funding appear to be a strong reinforcement

I felt the big thing we were getting from the Arts Council for the gallery business was their experience of similar ventures, it was almost like a vote of confidence, if they were willing to invest some funding it meant that we are heading down the right track, you never really know, it was reassuring to hear that (Commercial Art Gallery, Northumberland)

Nevertheless, peer-to-peer support and review seem to also be an important structure for the development of innovation. “The learning and innovation capacity of CI businesses depends to a high degree on the wider learning and innovation capacity of these surrounding networks” (O’Connor, 2002, p.9).

5.5  Networks as emergent properties or frameworks for public policy

A large part of the literature relating to clusters and regional economic development suggests the importance of networks (Christopherson, 2002; Coe, 2000; Crewe, 1996; Ettlinger, 2003; Gordon and McCann, 2000; Grabher, 2002; Johns, 2006; Knox et al., 2005; Meusburger, 2000; Mossig, 2004; Neff, 2004; Sturgeon, 2003) and these arguments have been, on various occasions, interconnected with the urban cultural infrastructure through terms such as cultural quarters or cultural milieu. Although in the economic argument networks are important mainly in terms of inter-firm trade, the creative industries seem to rely on networks for other aspects as well. The network structure in the creative and cultural industries seems to provide access to the market, but also to support the exchange of ideas and social interaction that is instrumental to the development of their work. Artists and craft makers rely on the network as a market building strategy and as a marketing strategy in itself. One example, in the context of the North East, is Designed and Made, which promotes designers and makers in the region and helps them to establish a brand and a way to promote their work and their practice.

I think it is really important for the North East to show that this kind of work exists in the region, that there is work here which is pushing the boundaries, and unless you have something like Designed & Made, other regions, and the rest of the UK and the world won’t know about the North East and what is going on here (Designer and Maker, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

Another example is Network Artists. Artists use the network to promote their practice and through the open studios Art Tour project they even get direct access to the market to sell their work. Cohesion, the glass artists’ network started by the local authority of Sunderland, has a specific focus on promoting the market for glass art and does so by specifically investing in exhibitions and the participation of artists in art fairs.

Networks are emergent structures which function in terms of support for creative practitioners. Another useful dimension of the network is the support that people get out of it. On one hand it may be moral and psychological support, which as suggested by a jewellery maker, is often a response to the isolated work of the artists / makers.

On the personal level it was really good for me because I was new to the region and I did not know many people so I found it quite a life-line because it got me involved with the artistic community and it made me feel part of something […] I think it is really important because as an artist/designer people work on their own and feeling quite isolated, it makes you feel there is other people out there that you can share experiences with, you get ideas bouncing ideas to people, it just helps” (Designer and Maker, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

Creative industries hardly identify themselves with the mainstream business support offered by local agencies. On the contrary, they believe that the best people to provide support or business advice are the people who work in the same sector or have experience in their field; therefore the peer–to-peer support through formal and informal networks seem to be a means to create the personal support infrastructure which a creative practitioner needs.

The most important thing is mixing with other people, you can make do without all the services provided and business advice but the most valuable information comes from other people doing the same things as you who are a year or two years further down the line and can remember how it is like to be in your position but they worked through those problems and they can advise you on how to do things (Jewellery Designer and Maker, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

Creative industries tend to rely on different types of networks. Although they would attend events and be within the network of specific formal organisations, they also have a smaller network of peers with which they talk more often and from whom they would seek advice.

It seems that sometimes formal networks are considered useful but impersonal and too structured; they are more like professional development organisations than actual networks. As Kauffman (1993) suggests in reference to biological systems “ecosystems are not totally connected. Typically each species interacts with a subset of the total numbers of other species; hence the system has some extended web structure » (Kauffman 1993, p.255). One element which seems central is the social dimension of the network and the type of bond and experience that holds people together. In this respect, it is often the case that within large formal networks people form smaller and closer social networks.  “Connectivity between individuals or groups is not a constant or uniform relationship, but varies over time, and with the diversity, density, intensity and quality of interactions between human agents” (Mitleton-Kelly, 2003, p.6). As an artist who started a network in the Newcastle area suggested:

I thought the network would grow and become more established, but it remained quite organic and it is made by how much people want to interact with it. It is very organic, in this sense because, as a living organism, sometime it is very active and lots of things go on, some other times it is more quite and slow but this is how it should be because it is organic and it follows the will of people to interact with it (Visual artists network manager)

The emergence of organic networks alongside institutional ones presents some critical challenges. In fact, institutional networks seem to force the social networking, while in the organic networks the social aspects are spontaneous. Furthermore, as an artist suggests, organic networks seem to respond more directly to the need of the people involved in the sector, 

Yes it is very important, because it is artist-led we are making it what we need, we know what we need and we are making it that, coming from us it is going to be more relevant than if it was coming from people in the public sector, who have the best intentions but they do not work in the sector and they do not exactly what we need (Glass artist, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

Although networking is often considered part of business practice, people working in the creative industries do not always perceive the need to network as part of their business development. The traditional idea of networking is often considered conventional, and frequently implies mixing with people from very different contexts or business sectors, thus making it seem irrelevant. Conversely, the social dimension, and the trust relationship which can be built (Banks et al., 2000) are perceived as very important for the person and their work. Therefore, networking often takes place informally and as part of normal social interactions, such as sharing common spaces, meeting down at the pub etc.

it was a voluntary organisation, it was founded by two writers and had come from grassroots level, we used to have a meeting once a month, we would have a speaker in and then go down to the pub, it was fantastic, then when Northern Arts decided to have a new full-time officer, a professional came in […] it seems to me that everything now is so much more formal rather than informal, that kind of social network disappeared (Freelance scriptwriter, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

As suggested by O’Connor (2002) “these networks are underpinned by infrastructures of knowledge and expertise which do have formal, institutional dimensions, but equally are embedded in more amorphous social and cultural infrastructures – described as ‘soft infrastructure’, or ‘critical infrastructure’, or ‘creative infrastructure’. These last terms concern those informal networks, those place specific cultural propensities, those ‘structures of feeling’ which are very difficult to grasp, let alone strategically direct, but which nonetheless are crucial to the urban regional ‘innovative milieu’” (p.27).

 

5.6 Networks and support to the creative economy: new planning for the creative city

Considering the general use of the local networks of local creative industries it could be argued that supporting different networks and communicating through them could provide an effective structure for support. In fact, if we think about the development of some formal and informal networks in the North East, it seems clear that public policy and funding have considered them a strategic way to support and sustain the sector.

Some examples of this would be the Cohesion glass artists network, started by the Sunderland City Council, Designed and Made, started organically by a group of artists and makers and than supported by public funding from the Arts Council of England North East, the Aurora Project (a development network for arts and crafts) supported by Northumberland County Council and European Regional Development Funding, and New Writing North, which started organically, and was then institutionalised and supported by the Arts Council North East, and has become the writing development agency for the North East of England. The public sector sees these networks as a useful support infrastructure for a number of reasons. First, it allows the public sector to delivery information and support to different people by supporting one organisation. It is an efficient way to spread relevant information, organise meetings and seminars and involve the larger sector. Secondly, it creates a critical mass for people coming from the outside and looking for information or deciding whether to start up in a specific sector. It presents the region as a place where creative people are sharing knowledge and are supporting each other. Lastly, it makes public investments more sustainable: instead of investing in one single person the sector can present its investment as sustaining the whole sector. It is an efficient and effective way to promote the regional creative industries to the outside, presenting strength and the potential for further development. However this public support has also caused some undesirable side effects. On one hand it makes the network much more institutionalised and bureaucratic. In fact, if we consider how much interaction, support and participation come from social networks, turning them into public support organisation to deliver specific outcomes can be risky, and can change the nature and quality of the network itself. Another problem is the thinking that the network encompasses the whole sector and all of its actors. Because there is a network of artists or designers, the public sector tends to invest in the network and support it. The risk is that people who do not want to take part in the network, or simply do not fall into the remit of a specific network feel like outsiders, cut off from the possibility of further interaction.

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*Dr. Roberta Comunian is Creative Industries Research Associate at the School of Arts, University of Kent. Prior to this, she was lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Southampton. She holds a European Doctorate title in Network Economy and Knowledge Management. She is interested in: relationship between public and private investments in the arts, art and cultural regeneration projects, cultural and creative industries, creativity and competitiveness. She has been visiting researcher at University of Newcastle investigating the relationship between creative industries, cultural policy and public supported art institutions. She has previously undertaken research on knowledge transfer and creative industries within an AHRC Impact Fellowship award at the University of Leeds.

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Previous chapters :

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 1

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 2

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 3

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 4

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 5

 

 

 

 

Classé dans:Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 5

We are honoured and deligheted to publish Dr Roberta Comunian’s* last article engaging with the current research and debate about the creative city and the importance of cultural infrastructure in contemporary cities. It argues that much of the focus has been around the investment of cities in specific regeneration projects or flagship developments rather than addressing the nature of the infrastructures, networks and agents engaging in the city’s cultural development. The complexity theory and its associated principles can provide a new understanding of the connection between the urban space and the systems of local cultural production and consumption. Drawing on interviews with creative practitioners in the North East region of England, the paper argues that the cultural development of a city is a complex adaptive system. This finding has implication both for policy makers and academic research. It emphases the importance of micro-interactions and network between creative practitioners, the publicly supported cultural sector and the cultural infrastructure of the city.

5 The principles of complexity within an urban cultural system[i]

5.1 Urban cultural economy: spaces of transition

In the general literature about the creative city and urban regeneration there is always a strong element of change, a movement from the industrial to the post-industrial, flagship events or buildings designed to enable cities to turn grey pages of the past into bright futures. Nevertheless, very little attention is given to the phase of transition and the passage between the old and the new.  It can be argued that this is because there is in fact no such turning point, and the evolution of events and interaction in the urban cultural landscape evolves slowly, hardly ever experiencing a distinct turning point. In this respect, complexity theory uses very interesting terminology to describe how complex systems experience change. A system changes usually because some of the elements of the system create small changes that push the system « far-from-equilibrium”: “for a system to be innovative, creative, and changeable it must be driven far from equilibrium where it can make use of disorder, irregularity, and difference as essential elements in the process of change (Stacey, 1995, p.490). If we read the complex history of the decline of the industrial economy in our cities and the way in which certain cities have been developing within cultural and creative economies, it can be interpreted as the development of a new order coming from the existing conditions created by the system. Nevertheless, it is often the event, such as the European Capital of Culture or a specific investment, such as a new flagship museum, that is the main catalyst, and therefore the reason for the changes taking place. Many of the explanations and motivations for change are not sought for in the contexts of the way local actors experience transition or change, but instead change is somehow considered to be already there. Another interesting idiom found in complexity literature is the idea of « space of possibilities ». Again, none of the literature which looks at ‘creative cities’ and ‘urban regeneration’ consider the real spectrum of possibilities within an evolving urban context, and the majority of case studies presented in the literature are positive examples and good practice, which hardly take into consideration possibilities for a different development and the role of failure.

We are still in the post 2008 cultural capital bid, so it is a bit of time for reconsideration, reflection at the moment and I do not know how it will plan out, but I think it was good that we did not get 2008 in order to see what is the most sustainable, longer term cultural infrastructure and expectation for the region; we got a problematic balance in terms of the fact  that Culture 10 programme is much about big events and tourism development but what risks getting lost is some really good quality art programming and cutting edge in terms of the content. (Manager, Voluntary Sector Visual Art Organisation, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

 The exploration of the space of possibilities can be read at different levels. At the city level, it can be argued that different cities have seen in the support and development of culture economies and infrastructure the exploration of new possibilities and solutions for their competitiveness and development. This is true if we compare different urban strategies and strategic plans. It seems also quite important to understand to what extent the post-industrial decline, the crisis derived from it and its social implications have opened different spaces – from physical empty buildings to space for new organisations, such as regional development agencies or local trusts, to grow – for cities to think about their future.  This is explained by a local policy maker in the context of Newcastle-Gateshead referring to the political will of the council to bring about change in the city

the drive was very much from the public sector, particularly Gateshead Council, them to have the ambition and guts to say this is a region which has suffered for hundreds of years of decline, declining industry, mining, shipbuilding, high unemployment, not a lot going for itself, they have looked at alternative ways to reinvigorate the city (Public Sector Officer, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

But at the same time as we can consider the exploration of new possibilities at the city level, it seems to work at the individual level as well, where gaps and constraints result in different choices and innovative thinking

 I decided I did want to carry on being an artist […] I just realised that there was a very big gap in Newcastle for an artist run gallery, a project that came from an artist project so that became my focus […] it was quite strategic in terms of my own career as an artist because I felt quite invisible in the North East as an artist (Visual artists, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

Allen (1997) talks about “a collective, spatial response to changing conditions” (p.6). In this respect it is easy to recall that the growing importance of culture and cultural economies has been a social and spatial response to the decline of the traditional industry. Even spatially in the city context the old industrial warehouses have been the first spaces to be taken over by artists and new creative practitioners in order to develop their practice (Zukin, 1985). This has occurred in Newcastle-Gateshead in the areas of Grainger Town where derelict buildings have been converted into office space for media industries and in the Ouseburn Valley area where artists have clustered around an old warehouse building, 36 Lime Street. As a photographer suggests in the context of Newcastle-Gateshead

I think people underestimate the North East culture, I think it is very deep-rooted in various areas like the industry that used to be here in the area, things like shipyard and mining and I think the lack of that now has left a bit of a void and some of the art works have helped to fill in that gap (Photographer, Northumberland)

5.2 Non-linearity, feedback and adaptation and co-evolution

Although in the literature there is a strong pressure towards homologation and to see the cultural development of a city as a positive event in which there is wide consensus, in fact complex systems do not interact on the basis of consensus and cause-effect developments, but of non-linearity, which is often what can be seen in the cultural development of cities. The fact that interactions are not regulated from above but are depending of internal and external feed-back of the system, and its connectivity and adaptive capacity, implies that making predictive assumptions about outcomes and trends, can no longer be given for granted (Holland, 1995). It also means that “behaviour patterns can emerge without being intended and in fact often emerge contrary to intention, producing unexpected and counter intuitive outcomes” (Stacey, 1995, p. 480).

 There is often an assumption that public policy and investment act in a direct causal way, and have a straightforward effect on the matter addressed. On the contrary, listening to cultural agents, creative industries and agencies of the city there is great room for non-linear interaction, also influenced by processes of adaptation and feedback between agents. Even large investments such as the establishment of a new contemporary art gallery which could be addressed as an injection having direct impact on local cultural economies sometimes do not provide a direct connection with local artists or development of creative industries.

I think Baltic is kind of this great resource that we’ve got, but it’s not, it’s kind of not functioning regionally; artists aren’t trying a connection with Baltic, and Baltic’s not really helping artists in the region. (Director, commercial art gallery).

In the development of the Baltic, the contemporary art gallery in Gateshead, a specific focus has been on recognising the importance of building audiences and involving the local community in contemporary art. Nevertheless, as complexity theory suggests, microscopic interactions can result in new and different possible structure at the level of the whole. So if we look at the outreach and participation programme of a museum or a gallery, we could certainly argue that it could have a role in building an audience for arts events and for the art market – ultimately having an impact also on local artists. A possible non-linear effect of the system convergence towards arts and culture in the North East region through public investment and development of private commercial galleries can be seen in the impact of the Own Art scheme. The North East region of England accounted for 23%[ii] of the national sales of contemporary art supported by this scheme. One explanation for this concentration of sales is the stimulation of an art-buying market through the awareness of art created by the investment in this region. The growth in art sales can also function as positive feedback to the system as a whole. However, it is impossible to attribute this effect to one single element or incident, but it needs to be linked to a combination of many elements and their interaction: “nonlinear feedback system operates at the edge of instability, therefore, agents in that system cannot intend the long-term outcomes of their actions. Instead, those long-term outcomes emerge from the detailed interactions between the agents” (Stacey, 1995, p. 483).

The same non-linear effects can be seen in the growth of the creative industries sector in the region. Although it could be interpreted as an effect of the region’s investment in culture, it needs to be further conceptualised not in the attraction of talents and international companies[iii], but in the regional supportive environment and its grassroots cultural development. The non-linearity of the regeneration process has been described elsewhere: “these developments were underpinned not by economic imperatives, but by a will and determination on the part of local arts activists and politicians to provide the area with the cultural facilities that it deserved. It may well be the case that the cultural imperative is the crucial ingredient here” (Bailey et al., 2004, p. 61). The possibility to support and implement creative economies without a direct investment, but with indirect support from audiences and the market, through advocacy and participation is further presented by a designer:

from the public sector perspective I think that’s were they should be putting the main effort in educating people, helping people understand, highlighting, showcasing and that would do more for the design business than any grant that they give out, grants just increase the number of businesses while this would increase the number of contracts available and the industry would expand consequently (Designer, Newcastle Upon Tyne)

Part of the public strategy behind the development of the cultural infrastructure of Newcastle-Gateshead has been in the long-term embedded approach to culture and in the focus on participation and access. This kind of policy seems to respond to a need for the agents of the system to co-evolve, to change within a changing environment, and to reciprocally influence each other. The evolution of one domain or entity is partially dependent on the evolution of other related domains or entities (Kauffman 1993). It is not just simple adaptation; it is an evolution which changes the agents and changes the environment. This is suggested by the following description of the change which occurred in the cultural landscape of Newcastle-Gateshead “these developments succeeded precisely because the local people took ownership of them, not as exclusive symbols of wealth but as sources of local pride that regenerated a local source of identity as much as they did the local economy” (Bailey et al., 2004, p.61). The co-evolution is also suggested by the long-term implementation of the cultural investments which started in the early 90s to culminate in 2004 with the opening of The Sage Gateshead but which have been also implemented through Culture10, a 10-year support programme of festivals and events running until 2010.

you see places like The Sage Gateshead, people are making hard business decisions, obviously thinking that it is worth investing in it and they would not be doing it if there was not a market, it is fantastic for the city and the knock-on effect is that you get smaller people following, it is a sort of piggyback effect and hopefully it is gathering momentum (Director, Commercial art gallery).


[i] The use of complexity theory and its principles in the present article does not aim to provide a simplified overview on the long evolving literature on the subject, which the author herself is still investigating and exploring. Nevertheless, referring to this framework of analysis aims to introduce a new critical approach to the study of creative economies, which is better informed of the wider debate on the complexity of urban and economic interactions and avoid the temptation to established simple causal links between a city economic development and its cultural infrastructure.

[ii] Own Art is a loan scheme developed in UK by the Arts Council. It allows a 0% loan for buyers of contemporary art in different commercial galleries associated to the scheme. Almost a quarter of all loans (23%) were made by galleries in the North East region, with the highest percent of sell achieved in any other region.

[iii] This approach which is typical of large American cities studied by Florida is probably not part of a European perspective of the creative economy if we exclude few European capital cities (see Gibbon, 2005 and Nathan, 2005).

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*Dr. Roberta Comunian is Creative Industries Research Associate at the School of Arts, University of Kent. Prior to this, she was lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Southampton. She holds a European Doctorate title in Network Economy and Knowledge Management. She is interested in: relationship between public and private investments in the arts, art and cultural regeneration projects, cultural and creative industries, creativity and competitiveness. She has been visiting researcher at University of Newcastle investigating the relationship between creative industries, cultural policy and public supported art institutions. She has previously undertaken research on knowledge transfer and creative industries within an AHRC Impact Fellowship award at the University of Leeds.

_________________

Previous chapters :

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 1

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 2

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 3

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 4

Classé dans:Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, Ressources, , , , , ,

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 4

We are honoured and deligheted to publish Dr Roberta Comunian’s* last article engaging with the current research and debate about the creative city and the importance of cultural infrastructure in contemporary cities. It argues that much of the focus has been around the investment of cities in specific regeneration projects or flagship developments rather than addressing the nature of the infrastructures, networks and agents engaging in the city’s cultural development. The complexity theory and its associated principles can provide a new understanding of the connection between the urban space and the systems of local cultural production and consumption. Drawing on interviews with creative practitioners in the North East region of England, the paper argues that the cultural development of a city is a complex adaptive system. This finding has implication both for policy makers and academic research. It emphases the importance of micro-interactions and network between creative practitioners, the publicly supported cultural sector and the cultural infrastructure of the city.

3. The creative and cultural economy of the city as a complex system

The creative city model, as we have highlighted, has been used as an instrumental approach to developing cultural and creative economies in different urban contexts. Nevertheless, the limitations of this approach are clear in terms of sustainability, social inclusion and development of local grassroots cultural economies. It is important to see how support and cultural policy should therefore be developed without imposing strategies and characteristics which are extraneous to the local environment (Nathan, 2005), instead supporting and developing local assets and actors to enable them to build a sustainable cultural economy.

Much of the economic literature relating to creative industries and regional economic development mentions the importance of networks and co-location in order to build a vibrant economy (Coe, 2001; Coe, 2000; Gibson, 2003; Kong, 2005; Lange, 2005; Scott, 2004; Turok, 2003). The creative industries sector is comprised of small and medium size companies, and sole trading is typical. It is therefore easy to see how networking can have a role and an impact in the development of economic growth and support for the sector.

When investigating the potentials of the creative city, it is not useful to establish which kind of investment and assets are needed if we do not first understand how creative and cultural practitioners work, and what kind of agencies they require for their practices. It is important to investigate how culturepreneurs “act in order to build up networks, to arrange meetings, and to establish urban laboratories where new products can be tested and where experience and knowledge may be shared” (Lange, 2005, p.82).

Therefore, it is essential to look at the development of local creative and cultural economies, adopting a new approach. In this respect complexity theory can offer useful insight into the cultural dynamics of the city (Allen, 1997; Batty, 2005), particularly as it examines the importance of a bottom-up approach where the determinants of the cultural development of the city do not depend only on the political choices of the leaders, but on the complex network of relations which the cultural agents and practitioners of the city build and develop. In this respect, Florida’s (2002) study of the creative class  suggests an interesting correlation of the relationship between cultural factors and the development of creative economies, but the way in which these cultural factors can be implemented or stimulated has often been misinterpreted.

As many authors (Finch and Orillard, 2005; Mitleton-Kelly, 2006) point out, complexity theory is not a single unified theory, but has been developed through the study of complex systems in different contexts, such as biology, chemistry, computer simulation, mathematics and organisational science. Nevertheless, part of this corpus of study has focused on human systems, and suggests that complex social systems (such as an urban environment) share features with other complex systems, and are able to create new order and innovate. Complexity theory offers some useful suggestions regarding the principles which guide the evolution and development of complex systems, and how cultural factors and agents interact, respond and evolve in different ways in specific contexts. More recently, Martin and Sunley (2007) have investigated the potential and the challenges of using complexity theory in economic geography. The way in which the principles[i] developed within the context of complexity theory can be applied to the social and economic dynamics of a city or region has been questioned, and as suggested by Green (1999), even though we can have snapshots of the complexity of a system and its complex behaviour, it is more difficult to address its evolutionary nature.

Using the framework developed by Green (Green, 1999) the second part of the paper seeks to question how the cultural economy of a city needs be studied as a complex co-evolving system (CCES), meaning that creativity and the cultural aspects of the urban context do not just adapt to changes in the environment (such as a specific policy or a large investment) but they also influence and affect that specific context. “The process is not unilateral but reciprocal or co-evolutionary. CCES have a set of interrelated characteristics that influence each other and enable them to create new order” (Mitleton-Kelly, 2006, p. 225).  In order to understand in which terms the cultural development of a city should be analysed through the lens of a complexity approach, we draw upon the case study of Newcastle-Gateshead and interviews carried out with cultural and creative practitioners of the North East region of England[ii].

4. Methodology and case study

The results presented in the following section were gathered over two years of research carried out in Newcastle-Gateshead and the North East region of England between 2004 and 2006. The project included 136 interviews with local creative practitioners in the region and people working in the cultural sector not only in the private but also in the public and not for profit sector. The central focus of the research was on the importance of place and networks in the creative economy, using both qualitative interviews and social network analysis.

The context of Newcastle-Gateshead and the North East represent a somewhat challenging case study for research into the development of local creative and cultural industries. On one hand, the region’s growing attention towards this sector is part of a long-term regeneration commitment, and on the other, Newcastle-Gateshead, unlike many of the famous case studies addressed by the literature, missed the cultural summit and missed the opportunity to be European Capital of Culture 2008 in favour of Liverpool.

The region’s focus on cultural investment began in the early nineties when the region attracted the Year of Visual Arts in 1996. The ability of some regional actors (lead by Northern Arts, now the Arts Council North East) to attract large public investments to the region in order to revitalise the local economy and develop local participation in arts activities is widely acknowledged (Bailey et al., 2004). These investments enabled the creation of large publicly funded cultural infrastructures, not only in contemporary art (The Baltic) and music (The Sage Gateshead) but also in theatres (refurbishments of the Northern Stage, Theatre Royal and Live Theatre), crafts (National Glass Centre, expansion of the Shipley Gallery), literature (Seven Stories), dance (Dance City) and other important events. Nevertheless, the question of whether and to what extent public sector infrastructure has benefited and boosted the local creative economy is not a simple one to address. The region, and specifically Newcastle-Gateshead have definitely benefited from a new image as a ‘creative city’[iii], but local development followed different patterns when the Capital of Culture event was no longer to take place in the city and new motivation and reasons to keep the city’s commitment to its cultural investments needed to be found.

At the beginning of the 2000’s, the RDA, local authorities and support agencies started to look at the potential economic impact of the creative economy locally and regionally, with a strong commitment to the idea of ‘cultural quarters’ as a hub of the city. At the marketing and promotional level, a first formulation of the ‘cultural quarters’ map of the city was developed by Newcastle-Gateshead Initiative (NGI), the city destination agency. In this first presentation 5 cultural quarters[iv] where included: the Quayside, Grainger Town, the Haymarket, Chinatown and Jesmond. The interpretation of what a ‘cultural quarter’ is was based mainly on the consumption of culture either through the presence of large cultural institutions or trendy shops. In this classification, no mention was made of the Ouseburn Valley, the largest co-location of artists and creative practitioners in the area.  Since 2002-3, a second ‘cultural quarter’ strategy has been led by the University of Newcastle, which developed a new master plan and major refurbishment initiative for its cultural facilities, but also addresses the role of cultural production (specifically through the Culture Lab and the Northern Writer’s Centre).  Additionally, investments in the Ouseburn Valley as the cultural production heart of the city, on the opposite side of the shiny Quayside buildings, started taking place.

More recently, a wider focus has been developed, based not on clusters, but networks. Specifically, various networks and infrastructures have been put in place to address the needs of the various creative sub-sectors. Agencies like Codeworks (for media industries), Northern Film and Media (for the moving image sector) or New Writing North (for writers) and others have been in charge of developing schemes and training to boost the local creative economy.

In the following paragraphs, we use the material collected through interviews and ethnographic research to address how the cultural and creative development of a city should be read from a complexity perspective. In particular, within this complexity perspective, we try to present a system which interacts at a variety of levels and the different ways in which changes and structures are experienced and understood by people acting at different levels in the system, particularly practitioners and policy makers.


[i]  For an useful overview on the principles of complexity theory see Martin and Sunley (2007) p. 6.

[ii] The field work undertaken for the present research included 136 semi-structured interviews with people working in the creative and cultural industries (within the private and the public and not for profit sector) in the North-East region of England. Interviews took place between November 2005 and April 2006. Furthermore, social network analysis has been used to test the role of networks and infrastructures.

[iii] Newsweek Atlantic Edition on 2nd September 2002 wrote “Newcastle-Gateshead listed as one of the world’s eight most creative city”.

[iv] The information are present on-line and include a map of the city cultural quarters http://www.visitnewcastlegateshead.com/cultureQuarters.php#  (accessed on 5 January 2008)

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*Dr. Roberta Comunian is Creative Industries Research Associate at the School of Arts, University of Kent. Prior to this, she was lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Southampton. She holds a European Doctorate title in Network Economy and Knowledge Management. She is interested in: relationship between public and private investments in the arts, art and cultural regeneration projects, cultural and creative industries, creativity and competitiveness. She has been visiting researcher at University of Newcastle investigating the relationship between creative industries, cultural policy and public supported art institutions. She has previously undertaken research on knowledge transfer and creative industries within an AHRC Impact Fellowship award at the University of Leeds.

_________________

Previous chapters :

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 1

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 2

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 3

Classé dans:Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 3

We are honoured and deligheted to publish Dr Roberta Comunian’s* last article engaging with the current research and debate about the creative city and the importance of cultural infrastructure in contemporary cities. It argues that much of the focus has been around the investment of cities in specific regeneration projects or flagship developments rather than addressing the nature of the infrastructures, networks and agents engaging in the city’s cultural development. The complexity theory and its associated principles can provide a new understanding of the connection between the urban space and the systems of local cultural production and consumption. Drawing on interviews with creative practitioners in the North East region of England, the paper argues that the cultural development of a city is a complex adaptive system. This finding has implication both for policy makers and academic research. It emphases the importance of micro-interactions and network between creative practitioners, the publicly supported cultural sector and the cultural infrastructure of the city.

2.2 The contradiction of a global creative city and the importance of local assets

Although the concept of the creative city appears to be a very attractive and sophisticated policy instrument, few people have considered its global reach and local limits. As with many fuzzy concepts (Markusen, 2003) and global branding exercises (Jensen, 2005; Kearns and Philo, 1993), it can be seen as another globalised brand which has been accepted and adopted without critical debate or intervention. In particular, Europe has been very receptive to the concept (Florida and Tinagli, 2004), although previous research adopting a more embedded approach to the creative city (Bianchini and Landry, 1995; Landry, 2000) did not enjoy the same success. However, Montgomery (2005) points out that the creative cities listed by Florida (especially in the European analysis) often do not reflect the reality of the creative economy[i], and argues that “the only indicator that matters is the strength of a city’s creative economy, measured in the number of businesses and employees, and by the wealth they produce” (Montgomery, 2005, p. 339). As Gibbon (2005) suggests, even though Florida’s theory might be valid for the American context, this does not imply that a similar correlation can be found in British and European cities.

According to Bailey et al (2004), Florida’s creative class is far from promoting the kind of local culture and identity that is central to many successful urban regeneration projects. They argue that this paradigm promotes a globalised culture that can cause a location to become anonymous by virtue of its prescribed ‘diversity’: “the city allows you to modulate the experience: to choose the mix, to turn the intensity level up and down as desired and to have a hand in creating the experience rather than merely consuming it” (Florida, 2002, p. 232). On the contrary, successful urban regeneration projects are, according to the authors, those implying a strong involvement of the pre-existing community and local identity. In these terms, culturally based urban regeneration processes should not aim towards a multicultural and multi-identity town, offering the widest choice of cultural opportunities for the creative class. Instead, it should recover a sense of place, history and belonging. This vision is almost in antithesis with the decline of the identity and community links typical of Florida’s globalised city model. Furthermore, an unconditional and uncritical acceptance of this approach tends to underestimate the need for balance between the attraction of “foreign” talent and the development of local talent. In this respect, if the focus is the attraction of a highly mobile creative class, cities would have to continuously compete for the retention of those highly skilled people with other fast-growing creative metropolises. Furthermore, as some authors suggest with reference to the development of creative economies and creative clusters, the grassroots development of creative industries can provide a long-term view: “there is a growing awareness that the development of a viable indigenous sector is crucial to providing a long-term basis for employment in the industry.” (Coe, 2000, p. 392)

Moreover, this could lead to the possibility of many investments and projects attracting the creative class towards a city or town causing the progressive exclusion of local artists. This phenomenon could cause processes of gentrification and segregation, resulting in the formation of a dualistic development model. In particular, Zukin (1995; 1985), takes a critical standpoint with regard to urban regeneration processes based on culture. She claims that the goals of these interventions are mostly speculative and tend to involve arts and culture as a simple add-on, merely instrumental to raising the property value. In particular, Zukin reports the typical effect of the fast rise of the economic value of certain regenerated areas. This phenomenon can cause the artists who originally generated the attraction to be forced out of the regenerated area due to rising property values.

In their ideal of the creative city, many policy makers have forgotten to analyse the social problems and inequalities that are caused by excessive competition for the attraction of talent at the expense of the development of local communities (Brooks, 2000). Theoretically, there is no guarantee that investing in the attraction of “outside” talents produces better long term results than investing in the “empowerment” and consolidation of local talent. However, with an inward looking approach there is a risk of being trapped in defensive and self-comforting localism, rather than enhancing exchanges and interactions with other similar locations.

Bell and Jayne (2003) consider the role of design and design-led urban regeneration, and critically acknowledge that although some interesting case studies could be addressed, like the one regarding Barcelona or Glasgow, there is always a limit in practice. While there is often success in the re-imaging of the city and creation of levels of business involvement, and in terms of consumption, there is no evidence that the involvement of members of the community, or their view of the city or how design affects their life is being taken into consideration. In this respect, the potential in terms of social impact and social inclusion, often quoted as being one of the specific outcomes of these investments, is not so clear. The relation between creative economy and urban regeneration remains still an assumption that needs to be investigated further.

A careful reflection on the features of the promoters and beneficiaries of the “creative city” model is needed. It is suggested that “until we have a serious debate concerning values and ethics, the creative city will remain a comfortable ‘feel-good’ concept for consultants, policy makers and politicians rather than a serious agenda for radical change ” (Chatterton, 2000, p. 397). As Garcìa (2004) suggests, in the lessons to be learnt from past examples of culture-led urban-regeneration “the hype is surrounded by strong pressure among policy-makers and cultural practitioners to find the perfect model of action […] there are no straight answers, or clear models to follow “(Garcìa, 2004, p.322). From this perspective, cultural investments aiming at the promotion of creativity also have to meet a series of social needs and goals, such as the promotion of social inclusion, intercultural dialogue and the promotion of human and civil rights against economic and social exclusion (Donald and Morrow, 2003).

 

_____

*Dr. Roberta Comunian is Creative Industries Research Associate at the School of Arts, University of Kent. Prior to this, she was lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Southampton. She holds a European Doctorate title in Network Economy and Knowledge Management. She is interested in: relationship between public and private investments in the arts, art and cultural regeneration projects, cultural and creative industries, creativity and competitiveness. She has been visiting researcher at University of Newcastle investigating the relationship between creative industries, cultural policy and public supported art institutions. She has previously undertaken research on knowledge transfer and creative industries within an AHRC Impact Fellowship award at the University of Leeds.

________________

Endnotes

[1] For example, Montgomery (2005) suggests how Leicester becomes the second most creative city in UK, just because too much weight is put on the fact that it has a large non-white population even if its creative economy is not developed more than other UK cities.

[2] For an useful overview on the principles of complexity theory see Martin and Sunley (2007) p. 6.

[3]  The field work undertaken for the present research included 136 semi-structured interviews with people working in the creative and cultural industries (within the private and the public and not for profit sector) in the North-East region of England. Interviews took place between November 2005 and April 2006. Furthermore, social network analysis has been used to test the role of networks and infrastructures.

_________________

Previous chapters :

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 1

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 2


 

 

 

Classé dans:Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , , ,

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 2

We are honoured and deligheted to publish Dr Roberta Comunian’s* last article engaging with the current research and debate about the creative city and the importance of cultural infrastructure in contemporary cities. It argues that much of the focus has been around the investment of cities in specific regeneration projects or flagship developments rather than addressing the nature of the infrastructures, networks and agents engaging in the city’s cultural development. The complexity theory and its associated principles can provide a new understanding of the connection between the urban space and the systems of local cultural production and consumption. Drawing on interviews with creative practitioners in the North East region of England, the paper argues that the cultural development of a city is a complex adaptive system. This finding has implication both for policy makers and academic research. It emphases the importance of micro-interactions and network between creative practitioners, the publicly supported cultural sector and the cultural infrastructure of the city.

 

2. Complexity thinking and the creative city

2.1. Complexity theory and its principles

While this paper cannot present a full account of CT, it attempts to explore how this theory might provide a new key for a deeper and more articulated understanding of the cultural dynamics that unfold in urban contexts. In order to do so a brief outline of the theory is provided and its main principles are introduced.

Secondly, the application of complexity to cultural economy is explored, in particular as related to creative industries and cultural production in previous research. Finally, methodological issues are addressed to explore the potential and limits of using CT in the creative city debate.

As many authors (Finch and Orillard, 2005; Mitleton-Kelly, 2006) point out, complexity theory (CT) is not a single unified theory, but has been developed through the study of complex systems in different fields, such as biology, computer science and organisational studies. The CT was first developed in scientific disciplines but has recently been adopted and integrated in the social sciences approaches (Byrne, 1998; Urry, 2003).

This new focus on human systems has suggested that complex social systems, such as cities or institutions, share features with other complex systems. CT offers some useful suggestions regarding the principles which guide the evolution and development of complex systems and how agents interact, respond and evolve in different environments. Nevertheless, it can be argued that its insights have not had wide adoption in social and economic geography although some seminal papers such as Thrift (1999) and more recently, Martin and Sunley (2007) have attempted to clarify its potential and challenges

Across different disciplines, a system can be considered ‗complex‘ when it displays the characteristics and specific principles outlined in Table 1. The key feature of the system must be that its elements interact in a non-linear way: it is not possible to forecast the behaviour and direction taken by the system as a whole by simply having knowledge of its components.

The first step to understand a complex system is identifying who are the agents interacting within it. These can be both human and non-human elements. This is particularly relevant to the cultural field as non-human elements such as a specific place, idea or cultural product can have powerful influences on a city‘s cultural development.

Complex systems are also open systems; therefore, external elements interacting with the cultural field must also be taken into consideration. Elements which might be marginal to the cultural development, such as the local environment and its economic development can have important influences on the system. Through CT we accept that there are no deterministic patterns that can be followed, this is one of the main criticism to the creative class theory.  The value of using CT lies in the possibility to understand the micro-dynamics of the system. This allows us to identify the emergence of structures and organisational forms that support and facilitate the connectivity and growth of the system will be addressed.

Another key aspect of CAS is their evolutionary nature; they develop through processes of trial-and-error, ―failures and successes are not primarily the signals of right or wrong policies but, rather, the by-pro duct of a natural learning process‖ (Lambooy, 2002, p. 1033).

Table 1:  Principles of CT and possible application in the cultural field (sources: Colliers (1998); Pavard and Dugdale (2000), Martin and Sunley (2007))

 

 

2.2. Complexity and the creative industries

As suggested, there are a variety of ways to read the development of cultural economies in cities as a CAS. To support this view, there are a series of other contributions, which are linked with the creative industries literature, which needs to be acknowledged. They also seem to integrate the complexity perspective at different scales: looking at interactions between creative industries within local clusters and, at the macro-level, in relation to the interaction between creative products and their global markets. The paper argues that these perspectives need to become part of the policy thinking also at an urban development level. The limits of the current debate, specifically in relation to the opposition between cultural production and cultural consumption, needs to be considered. When analysing creative industries production systems, the importance of patterns and dynamics of cultural consumption in the city is often overlooked. On the contrary, when cultural consumption (from the perspective of regeneration, image or participation) is studied, the system of local cultural production of that specific context is often ignored. [5]

At the micro-level (interaction among creative practitioners and local networks) there have been key contributions underlining the role of local intermediaries in facilitating interactions among local creative industries (Fleming, 2002), the importance of social dynamics in the interaction of creative industries (Kong, 2005) and the role of place as creating consensus among different agents (Julier, 2005). A large part of the literature relating to clusters and regional economic development suggests the importance of networks (Christopherson, 2002; Coe, 2000; Crewe, 1996; Ettlinger, 2003; Gordon and McCann, 2000; Grabher, 2002; Johns, 2006; Knox et al., 2005; Meusburger, 2000; Mossig, 2004; Neff, 2004; Sturgeon, 2003) and these arguments have been, on various occasions, interconnected with the urban cultural infrastructure through terms such as cultural quarters or cultural milieu.

At the meso-level (the urban development and its cultural dynamics) the contributions have been weaker in reference to identifying key structures and dynamics but the need to a better understanding of the interaction between consumption and production in the creative city as been acknowledged (Chapain and Comunian, 2009; Hall, 2000, 2004; Pratt, 2009).

At the macro-level (the markets dynamics in the creative economy) there has been a growing recognition of the specificities of the creative sector, particularly: its social contagion dynamics (Kretschmer et al., 1999); the thin boundaries between the creative, knowledge and information sectors (Cunningham, 2004); its evolutionary dynamics and the role of social network markets (Albertsen and Diken, 2004; Potts, 2007; Potts et al., 2008); the role of consumer and meanings creation (Hartley, 2004) and the breaking down of barriers between producer and consumer (Uricchio, 2004).

The nature of the creative industries, as described by the literature mentioned, seems to suggest a potential role for CT, without directly acknowledging or applying it.  In fact, while creative industries are embedded in closely linked local networks (Banks et al., 2000; Coe, 2000) they also are part of a global cultural production system (Scott, 2004). The interactions between public and private in the sector also implies a strong openness and instability (O’Connor, 2002). This is further accentuated by the bifurcated structure of the sector where few multinational corporation co-exist with a miriade of micro-enterprises, freelancers and sole-traders (Jeffcutt and Pratt, 2002). All these features inevitably add to the complexity of the sector and its relation with the urban context.

The understanding of micro-dynamics among creative industries and other agents at the local level is key in the understanding of the development of creative cities. This needs to be also integrated into the bigger picture of the creative economy and its global dynamics, although for space constrains this paper will only superficially consider this.

 

2.3. Methodological implications and limits

The application of CT encourages a stronger focus on process rather than outcomes. It does so by exploring the interaction among agents alongside the changes taking place in the context. We must consider what the manifestations of these interactions are and how they can be capture by the researcher. This is one of the most challenging aspects of CT. Most of the changes and interactions are hard to identify as they involve micro-interactions within the system.  It can be argued that this long-term complex perspective should be embedded in most of the academic research, but the reality is that the ‗short-term‘ policy (Jayne, 2005; Oakley, 2004, 2006) does not take into account this complexity perspective.

The application of CT allows for a variety of research methods, from qualitative approaches to mathematical modelling and network analysis. In this paper, the results from qualitative interviews and ethnographic materials from NewcastleGateshead are used to demonstrate the way in which the cultural development of the city behaves like a CAS. The findings imply an awareness of the agents of the complex network of interactions in the cultural economy of the city. The manifestations are very different across different sectors of the creative industries [6] as well as across public, private and not for profit sectors.

The way in which the principles of CT can be applied to the social and economic dynamics of a city has been questioned. Green (1999) argues that, although we can have snapshots of the complexity of a system and its behaviour, it is more difficult to address its evolutionary nature. This is a limitation which could not be overcome in this research, as it would require revisiting the context over time. Using the framework developed by Green (1999) the last part of the paper seeks to question how the cultural economy of a city needs be studied as a CAS, meaning that creativity and the cultural aspects of the urban context do not just adapt to changes in the environment (such as a specific policy or a large investment) but they also influence and affect that specific context.

The results presented in the following section were gathered over two years of research carried out in NewcastleGateshead and the North East region of England between 2004 and 2006. The project included 136 interviews and collection of social network analysis data with local creative/cultural professionals in both the private, public and not for profit sectors.

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[5] I acknowledge the suggestion of one of the referees in the necessity to point out this limit of the current debate.

[6] Although it would be interesting to explore these difference among creative industries sectors, for space limitation the paper will not aim to do this.

_____

*Dr. Roberta Comunian is Creative Industries Research Associate at the School of Arts, University of Kent. Prior to this, she was lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Southampton. She holds a European Doctorate title in Network Economy and Knowledge Management. She is interested in: relationship between public and private investments in the arts, art and cultural regeneration projects, cultural and creative industries, creativity and competitiveness. She has been visiting researcher at University of Newcastle investigating the relationship between creative industries, cultural policy and public supported art institutions. She has previously undertaken research on knowledge transfer and creative industries within an AHRC Impact Fellowship award at the University of Leeds.

 

Previous chapter :

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 1

  • Introduction
  • 1 Definitions and limits of the ‘creative city’
  • 1.1 What is the ‘creative city’?
  • 1.2 Contradictions and limits of the creative city policy


 

 

Classé dans:Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

Rethinking the creative city: the role of complexity, networks and interactions in the urban creative economy / 1

We are honoured and deligheted to publish Dr Roberta Comunian’s* last article engaging with the current research and debate about the creative city and the importance of cultural infrastructure in contemporary cities. It argues that much of the focus has been around the investment of cities in specific regeneration projects or flagship developments rather than addressing the nature of the infrastructures, networks and agents engaging in the city’s cultural development. The complexity theory and its associated principles can provide a new understanding of the connection between the urban space and the systems of local cultural production and consumption. Drawing on interviews with creative practitioners in the North East region of England, the paper argues that the cultural development of a city is a complex adaptive system. This finding has implication both for policy makers and academic research. It emphases the importance of micro-interactions and network between creative practitioners, the publicly supported cultural sector and the cultural infrastructure of the city.

 

Introduction

Cities have made significant investment in their cultural infrastructure and creative economies in the last two decades. Culture has been used as a means of urban regeneration (Evans and Shaw, 2004; M. Miles, 2005), economic development (Florida, 2002b; Myerscough, 1988; Scott, 2000, 2004) and possibly social inclusion (Belfiore, 2002; Merli, 2002).

Nevertheless, the approach of developing and investing in creative economies has developed a new type of competition between cities. The attention of economic strategies and policy interventions has been focused on the specific assets and infrastructures that a city should have in order to be or to become a creative. As stated by Oakley: “no region of the country, whatever its industrial base, human  capital stock, scale or history is safe from the need for a ‘creative hub’ or ‘cultural quarter’ “ (Oakley, 2004, p.68). These interventions are used as a successful recipe that can be replicated on different occasions, without taking into consideration the distinctive aspects and specificity of places and circumstances.

Authors have described the cultural dynamics of cities from different perspectives. Some have focused on cultural consumption (Jones and Wilks-Heeg, 2004; Molotch, 1996) and image (B.  García, 2005), while others have looked at cultural production  (Clifton, 2008; Grabher, 2001; Pratt, 1997).  However, very little attention has been given to the interactions between these two aspects (Chapain and Comunian, 2009; Hall, 2000, 2004; Pratt, 2008). Without a detailed understanding of these interactions, a misrepresentation of the potential economic value of the creative economy can be formed.

The pressure to develop ‘creative cities’ has encouraged policy makers to adopt standardised formulas for cultural development. This often takes the form of a check-list of requirements such as a new art gallery, an ethnic festival, a media cluster or some public art. However, with this method no attention is given to the process of cultural development. While these assets might provide an initial attraction for companies or creative practitioners, what processes can sustain cultural development ?

The present paper draws on the principles of complexity theory (CT) to present the micro-dynamics of the creative economy in the context of NewcastleGateshead. It argues that the cultural development of a city (i.e. the process of becoming or being ‘creative city’) is a complex adaptive system (CAS) responding to CT principles. While this implies a critique and dismissal of any ‘one-size fit all’, top-down policy and consultancy solution, it auspicates the use of a more agents-focused and interaction-based understanding for both researchers and policy-makers.

The paper begins with defining and understanding the concept of the creative city and its more recent interpretations. Secondly, it outlines the principles of CT and its previous association to creative economy literature. Limits and challenges of the CT are also illustrated.

In the third section, the case study of NewcastleGateshead is presented and empirical materials are discussed in order to demonstrate that a ‘creative city’ is a CAS. The focus here is on the agents and their interdependence and interconnection with the context.  Finally, the paper proposes the need to re-think the creative city and its link to economic and cultural development from the prospective of the agents interacting in this CAS.

 

1 Definitions and limits of the ‘creative city’

1.1 What is the ‘creative city’?

Part of confusion and misunderstanding which surrounds policies and theoretical approaches to the ‘creative city’ are linked to a poor definition as a concept and the connotations which have been attached to it.

The first coherent formulation of the concept of ‘creative city’ is to be attributed to Bianchini and Landry (1995). Their work, taken forward singularly by Landry (2000), was linked to new re-positioning of cultural industries and cultural regeneration in urban development in UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They present ‘creativity’ in its broadest sense, considering how thinking outside the box can help  cities solve their everyday problems in innovative ways. Any lack of creativity needs to be solved in a multi-disciplinary way: all creativity – be it scientific or artistic – can make a difference to cities.  Among the examples, many present the interaction between artists or art organisations and places or communities.

In these examples a vision of culture as an engine to support a cities’ image and  economic future is also portrayed. Their work coincided with a new interpretation of role of culture within the European Capital of Culture (ECC) initiative, specifically after the title was awarded to Glasgow in 1990 [1].

Until the end of the 90s, the European academic and policy interpretation of ‘creative city’ as a concept  largely corresponds to the regenerative potential of culture presented in the ECC vision. The focus in both interpretations is on an improvement of the city (with potential economic returns) and its image through creative interventions and cultural activities. The cultural economy, specifically focused on consumption and image, becomes central.

Nevertheless, from 1998 onwards, the word ‘creative’ become popular in a variety of contexts and interpretations which still influence the meaning of the concept ‘creative city’ today. This represents a shift towards the production of culture and creative products and the presence of skilled labour driving the new knowledge / creative economy. This shift is linked, chronologically, first to the emergence of the term ‘creative industries’ (DCMS, 1998) and secondly to the development of the ‘creative class’ theory  (Florida, 2002b).

In reference to the first, the acceptance of the term ‘creative industries’ and the DCMS definition implied a new focus on the production of cultural/creative products, the infrastructure behind them and the creative worker.  Therefore, a new interpretation of the creative city emerges as the city where work and production of creative industries is concentrated and supported (J Montgomery, 2005).  There are elements of consumption here, when the creative industries and their cultural scenes are able to shape the image of a city and attract visitors, but these are only peripheral to the production perspective.

The second, more recent and more powerful association is the one between the ‘creative city’ and the ‘creative class’ (Florida, 2002b). This has emerged from the success of Florida’s first book (2002b) and has added an extra connotation to the creative city term and in many cases has superseded the previous understanding. Florida’s theory (2002a, 2000b) suggests that the economic success of a city is determined by the presence (and attraction) of the ‘creative class’. This ‘creative class’ is encompassing  a wide range of professionals, of which creative industries workers are only a small proportion [2].

Nevertheless, the ‘creative city’ can now be interpreted as the city with the highest actual presence of – or potential to attract – the creative class.

Florida’s suggests that in order to appeal to this group, cities should foster a cultural climate able to promote diversity, investing in structures devoted to culture and entertainment [3]. Many American and European cities have seen in Florida’s (2002b) theories a ready-to- use methodology and a guide for local economical development.

However, his theory has been criticised on different fronts; for many authors adopting Florida’s hypothesis as a reliable methodology for the  development of future urban growth is considered a scientific overstatement. Limits of the theory can be identified from the following:

  • From an economic perspective. In reference to traditional measure of development, the correlations found in the research have not roven to have a precise connection of causality with economic development (Malanga, 2004). Furthermore, the theory does not seem to take into considération the decline that followed in many USA cities after the ‘dot com’ boom (Kotkin, 2005).
  • From a policy and political perspective. Florida has secured himself consultancy contracts and space in the building of a “fast urban policy” for creative cities worldwide: “so packaged, creativity strategies were in a sense pre-constituted for this fast policy market” (Peck, 2005, p. 767).
  • From a social perspective. Donald and Morrow (2003) highlight how many local policy makers, including Florida himself, tend to mistake tolerance – an open-minded approach towards diversity – with the simple presence of cultural diversity. Additionally, it is significant that Florida forgets to include in his indexes certain critical social factors (such as age, differences in income, racial segregation, etc.). Similarly, McCann (2007) underlines the strong links between the creative city-region approach and inequalities, which also for Florida (2004) remains an open question.

Although all of these criticisms are interrelated, the present article aims to consider the limits of this approach specifically from cultural policy perspective.

The limitation of this kind of policy intervention is that it is fundamentally based on developing assets for attraction and growth, from a top-down perspective. It forces the idea that for a city to be ‘creative’ there  needs to be specific local assets such as cultural amenities, café culture, cultural diversity, as well as a provision for high technology. It does not seem to explain how the creative class interacts with these types of assets, or what competitive advantages they actually create.

Many of these policy actions suggested by the ‘creative class’ theory are geared towards building an attractive façade that gives the creative class the impression of living in an appealing cosmopolitan and buzzing city, a “cool city strategy” (Kotkin, 2005).

Nevertheless, this façade remains there for mainly aesthetic reasons: it is hard to prove that the high-skilled knowledge workers of the new media sector are going to be the ones particularly interested in visiting an art gallery or taking part in an ethnic festival.

“What is not being argued here is that there is an intrinsic value in ‘culture’ that attracts the ‘creatives’” (Pratt, 2008, p.108). On the contrary, it seems that the creative class profiled by Florida simply merges together professions which have very different approaches to life and culture (Markusen, 2006b).

Many of Florida’s (Florida, 2002a) indexes are based on the presence of specific assets (‘hard’ factors) and infrastructures –  as well as specific type of professions (bohemians): for his ‘cultural index’ and ‘coolness factor’ the cultural infrastructure, such as museums and galleries –  is considered a proxy as well as the presence of nightlife and clubs.  The CT, which will be introduced in the next paragraph, suggests that while these assets can play a role, the key to understand the development of creative cities is not in the assets but in the interactions and relations developed between the community and these assets and between different elements of this infrastructure. It is argued that a complexity  perspective – which takes in consideration the importance of networks and non-linear interactions – needs to acquire a new, central role in the argument of the creative city.

 

1.2 Contradictions and limits of the creative city policy

The concept of creative city has a variety of connotations and is linked to a variety of perspectives on the role of cultural consumption and production in the city. However, it can be argued that the policy succes of the ‘creative class’ theory and the oversimplification it implies has created a strong contradiction between the ‘creative city’ as a global discourse and its possible articulation in local urban development. Furthermore, the paper argues, it has enforced globally a top-down homologated approach to local cultural development.  As with many fuzzy concepts (Markusen, 2003) and global branding exercises (Jensen, 2005; Kearns and Philo, 1993), it can be seen as another globalised brand which has been accepted and adopted without critical debate or intervention. In particular, Europe has been very receptive to the concept (Florida and Tinagli, 2004), although previous research adopting a more embedded approach to the creative city (Bianchini and Landry, 1995; Landry, 2000) did not enjoy the same success.

Some of the limits emerging in urban policy discourses can be understood in light of the following contradictions and policies dilemmas:

  • Creative class versus creative industries / cultural workers. In the policy arena these two terms are often confused but they refer to a very different set of ‘stakeholders’. It is wrongly believed that these  groups want the same interventions and that interventions will cater homogenously for both (Markusen, 2006a). This is examined by Montgomery (2005) who points out that the creative cities listed by Florida (especially in the European analysis) often do not reflect the reality of the creative industries [4]. Similarly, Gibbon (2005) suggests that even though Florida’s theory might be valid for the American context, this  does not imply that a similar correlation can be found in European cities.
  • Local values versus global competitiveness in urban regeneration. This relates both to the kind of assets that are promoted and the kind of audiences that are targeted. There is a contradiction in how urban regeneration and other policy intervention cater for the ‘creative class’ or for the local distinctiveness value. This is explained by Bailey et al (2004) who point out that Florida’s creative class is far from promoting the kind of local culture and identity that is central to many successful urban regeneration projects. They argue that this paradigm promotes a globalised culture that can cause a location to become anonymous by virtue of its prescribed ‘diversity’. This vision is almost in antithesis with the decline of the identity and community links typical of Florida’s globalised city model. This is also linked to a larger debate on who should be the audience and target for cultural development of cities: the local community that can interact with the development in the long-term but may not have high-spending capacity or the visitors with their short-term use of the city that can generate economic returns.
  • Short-term attraction versus long-term retention policies. There seem to be a tendency for policy to adopt a short-term perspective and underestimate the need for balance between the attraction of « foreign » talent and the development of local talent. Theoretically, there is no guarantee that investing in the attraction of “outside” talents produces better long term results than investing in the “empowerment” and consolidation of local talent. On the contrary, if the focus is the attraction of a highly mobile creative class, cities would have to continuously compete for the retention of those highly skilled people with other fast-growing creative metropolises (Evans, 2009). As Gray argues (2009, p. 19) “the Creativity Fix is most insidious when it assumes that every city can win in the battle for talent and growth. Creativity scripts, however, are better understood as “zero-sum” urban strategies constituted within the context of uneven urban growth patterns ».

On the contrary some literature suggests that the grassroots development of creative industries can provide a long-term view: “the development of a viable  indigenous sector is crucial to providing a long-term basis for employment in the industry.” (Coe, 2000, p.392). Moreover, this could lead to the possibility of many investments and projects attracting the creative class towards a city or town causing the progressive exclusion or displacement of local artists, especially when they are forced out of the regenerated area due to rising property values (Catungal et al., 2009; Zukin, 1985, 1995).

    These contradictions and dilemmas present in current policy are the result of a limited understanding of the system of relations and interconnections of the complex system which is the cultural development of the city. This has led to the wishful thinking that one policy solution can cater for all cities cultural development. As García (2004) suggests, in the lessons to be learnt from past examples of culture-led urban-regeneration « the hype is surrounded by a strong pressure among policy-makers and cultural practitioners to find the perfect model of action […] there are no straight answers, or clear models to follow » (Garcia, 2004, p.322).

    However, in this fast-policy world, it is suggested that a careful reflection on the features of the promoters and beneficiaries of the « creative city » model is needed “until we have a serious debate concerning values and ethics, the creative city will remain a comfortable ‘feel-good’ concept for  consultants, policy makers and politicians rather than a serious agenda for radical change” (Chatterton, 2000, p. 397).

    The next paragraph will introduce CT, its principles and its possible application to a better understanding of the cultural development of cities. It will be argued that a complexity perspective can help to better understand the interactions and dynamics concerning these different dilemmas.

     

    Next chapter : Complexity thinking and the créative city

    Notes

    [1] Glasgow is the first city to be given the title that had not been a culturally recognized leading European city; previous hosts had been cities like Florence and Paris (see García 2005). The choice of Glasgow was motivated specifically by the potential to improve of its image and regenerate the city.

    [2]  In Florida’s own words at the core of the creative class there are ‘people in science and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music and entertainment, whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology, and/or new creative content’, but also ‘the creative professionals in business and finance, law, healthcare and related fields. These people engage in complex problem solving that involves a great deal of independent judgment and requires high levels of education or human capital’ (Florida 2002b, p.8)

    [3] This is articulated further in the three Ts indexes: technology, talent and tolerance are the proxy by which the ability of a city to attract creative class can be measured and implemented.

    [4] For example, Montgomery (2005) suggests how Leicester becomes the second most creative city in UK, just because too much weight is put on that it has a large non-white population even if its creative economy is not developed more than other UK cities. He argues that “the only indicator that matters is the strength of a city’s creative economy, measured in the number of businesses and employees, and by the wealth they produce » (Montgomery, 2005, p.339).

     

    _____

    *Dr. Roberta Comunian is Creative Industries Research Associate at the School of Arts, University of Kent. Prior to this, she was lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Southampton. She holds a European Doctorate title in Network Economy and Knowledge Management. She is interested in: relationship between public and private investments in the arts, art and cultural regeneration projects, cultural and creative industries, creativity and competitiveness. She has been visiting researcher at University of Newcastle investigating the relationship between creative industries, cultural policy and public supported art institutions. She has previously undertaken research on knowledge transfer and creative industries within an AHRC Impact Fellowship award at the University of Leeds.

     

    Classé dans:Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

    L’événement, la fête, le festival : repenser les politiques culturelles et territoriales

    Les événements – festivals et fêtes – ont permis de repenser, voire de bousculer la politique culturelle. Ils ont été un moyen de développer l’intervention publique dans ce domaine, qui bien que sujet à de fréquents renouvellements, génère aussi de fortes résistances professionnelles. De plus, les dispositions très opérationnelles des événements, leur ont permis d’aller bien au-delà du champ culturel : ils sont devenus un mode de renouvellement des politiques publiques, et en particulier des politiques des collectivités locales. Car, à partir du moment où les territoires – villes, agglomérations, départements, régions –, commencent à être envisagés d’un point de vue décentralisé, ils acquièrent des fonctions nouvelles. Ils doivent notamment mettre en place des politiques économiques, des politiques de développement, des politiques sociales aussi.

    Les territoires ont alors trouvé des ressources pertinentes et spécifiques dans le domaine de l’intervention culturelle, qui est, depuis la création du Ministère de la culture au moins, un espace d’innovation administrative. De nombreux exemples en attestent : le recrutement de ses personnels – faisant appel à des personnalités qualifiées qui ont ensuite été intégrées à la fonction publique – ou ses dispositifs partenariaux qui impliquent des opérateurs nombreux – les Maisons de la culture ont été co-financées par les villes, pour l’investissement et plus encore pour le fonctionnement. La politique culturelle est, depuis une cinquantaine d’années, un laboratoire pour les politiques publiques. Et, pour les territoires, elles vont s’avérer une source féconde d’inspiration. « L’usage » ou le recours aux événements le démontre clairement.

    On peut dès lors émettre l’hypothèse que les événements ont été et sont toujours un puissant moteur dans un système politico-administratif français plutôt fi gé. Ils ont tout d’abord contribué à renouveler les politiques culturelles (I). Ils ont alors connu un succès exponentiel, dû sans doute à leur extrême plasticité qui leur a permis de s’adapter à des situations très diverses. Investis de fonctions toujours lus nombreuses, ils ont notamment participé à l’aménagement du territoire et en particulier à la régénération urbaine (II). Aujourd’hui, ils sont sans doute à la recherche d’un nouveau souffle, parce que leur propagation a tendance à annuler leurs effets. Mais des exemples récents tendent à prouver qu’ils demeurent efficaces : soit dans des projets d’envergure, initiés par des collectivités publiques audacieuses, soit dans des projets plus modestes, émanant d’initiatives privées (III)

    Plan du document :

    Partie 1 – De la mise en scène du pouvoir à la régénération des politiques culturelles

    • Ancien Régime : l’événement comme média politique
    • La laïcisation de l’événement
    • Comment les événements sont devenus le moteur des politiques culturelles

    Partie 2 – L’événement comme mode de management des territoires

    • Contribuer à la régénération urbaine
    • Stimuler l’urbanité en s’appuyant sur la tradition
    • Participer à l’identifi cation d’un territoire

    Partie 3 – La matrice événementielle « reloaded »

    • Les bailleurs face au choix : intuition versus audit
    • Événements et médias en mutation
    • Événements polydirectionnels pour consommateurs omnivores

     

    La démarche GRAND LYON VISION CULTURE vise à accompagner la Communauté urbaine de Lyon dans sa réflexion culturelle, à savoir :

    • construire et partager une approche commune de la culture ; alors que celle-ci est de plus en plus présente dans tous les compartiments de la vie sociale ;
    • enrichir les projets actuels et futurs du Grand Lyon, notamment en matière d’événements d’agglomération ;
    • imaginer des modes de relation innovants du Grand Lyon avec les artistes dans le cadre de différentes politiques : urbanisme, participation citoyenne, développement économique, etc.

    Dans quelle mesure les artistes peuvent-ils contribuer à une société de la connaissance et à la vitalité de la vie urbaine ? Comment les repérer et les solliciter ? Comment les associer à des dispositifs de politiques publiques ?

    Cette démarche est scandée par des rencontres élus-experts-professionnels. Chaque rencontre est introduite par un document de cadrage semblable à celui-ci.

    Vous pouvez consulter et télécharger ce document dans notre box Ressources.

    L’ensemble des documents relatifs à ce cycle destiné à préparer le Grand Lyon à intervenir dans le champ culturel se trouve sur le site millénaire 3 :

    Classé dans:Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Outils, Politiques culturelles, Ressources, , , , , , ,

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