Cultural Engineering Group

Services & Ressources en ingénierie culturelle

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…

Filed under: Analyses, Gouvernances, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

Singapore : arts and culture strategic review recommends ground-up cultural development

Following an extensive public consultation, the Arts and Culture Strategic Review (ACSR) Steering Committee has refined its recommendations and submitted its final report to the Government on 31 January 2012. The ACSR’s vision for 2025 is for Singapore to be a nation of cultured and gracious people, at home with our heritage, and proud of our Singaporean identity. To achieve this vision, the ACSR recommends that our next phase of cultural development be driven from the ground up, supported by a comprehensive suite of proposals aimed at creating a conducive environment for all stakeholders to enjoy arts and culture in Singapore.

Extensive Consultation Shows Strong Support for Arts and Culture 

  • The final report follows the ACSR’s seven-month long public consultation phase, comprising numerous consultation platforms to reach a broad range of stakeholders and members of the public. The public consultation platforms included an online consultation portal, telephone surveys, focus group discussions, interviews, and public forums.
  • During the consultation, the Steering Committee was very heartened by the strong affirmation from the respondents on the value of arts and culture, even from those who were not currently involved in arts and culture. For example, close to 90% of respondents to the telephone survey agreed that arts and culture activities can develop shared experiences and bring people closer to one another, and more than 80% agreed that they can enhance our quality of life.  The public also welcomed the ACSR’s proposals, and its efforts to bring arts and culture practitioners, the community and the Government together for a constructive conversation on the future of our arts and culture landscape. The Steering Committee views that this reveals a maturing society that appreciates the intangible value of arts and culture, that is ready to contribute their talent and enthusiasm towards improving our arts and culture landscape.

Changing Roles of the Community, Artists and Government

  • To achieve the ACSR’s vision, the Committee believes that it is necessary for the mindsets and roles of our community, our arts and culture practitioners, and the Government to evolve:
  • The community could adopt an open mindset to explore new interests, and consider being more active consumers, audiences and participants of arts and culture, by tapping on the wide range of activities already available, as well as resources provided by the Government. The community could also take greater ownership of our cultural development, organise activities, and co-create an environment and identity that authentically reflects who we are as a people and what we value.
  • Our practitioners, as creators of arts and culture, could consider providing a wider range of quality arts and culture offerings to reach out to more audiences, and help raise their appreciation of our local talent. They could also continue to strive towards raising their standards, and be recognised and well-loved both locally and overseas.
  • The Government could move towards being an enabler, playing a facilitative rather than a top-down role, by providing funding, facilities and frameworks to create a nurturing environment where artistic creation and participation can thrive. This could be open to all art forms and all segments of the community, to debunk the misperception that arts and culture is ‘elitist’.

Promoting Engagement and Excellence

  • To catalyse this transformation, the ACSR has recommended a comprehensive suite of initiatives, along two main thrusts
  • Promoting active participation in arts and culture: The ACSR recommends greater support for potential arts and culture participants, hobbyists and enthusiasts, to make arts and culture more accessible and easily interwoven into daily life. This includes enhancing our people’s ability to appreciate arts and culture; affordable and convenient venues for practice and showcase purposes; platforms to network enthusiasts with one another; and greater support for community interest groups (e.g. through start-up grants, starter toolkits, workshops and partnerships with instructors).
  • Enhancing capabilities of our practitioners – both enthusiasts and professional – to develop quality offerings: The ACSR recommends enhancing collaboration opportunities, showcase platforms, education and training, and infrastructural facilities for our practitioners. In addition, the ACSR recommends enhancing the Government’s funding frameworks to streamline administrative requirements and better meet specific needs of arts companies and institutions.

Proposed initiatives includes, amongst others, the following: 

  • “Arts and Culture 101” series: Programmes such as talks, hands-on activities, and the creation of art works under the guidance of practitioners are recommended to introduce the general public to arts and culture. This should include all forms of arts and culture – from more conventional forms such as poetry and painting, to more inclusive forms such as manga and community singing.
  • A one-stop portal, ArtsCultureSG: This portal could include an up-to-date database of programmes and activities, as well as facts, figures and write-ups on our cultural scene and professionals. It could serve as a connecting point for hobbyists and practitioners with similar interests to facilitate the organisation of activities, exchange of ideas and collaborations. Similar services could also be provided over-the-counter at the proposed “cultural concierges” in libraries.
  • Improved cultural facilities in heartlands: To establish more professional yet affordable practice and presentation spaces, existing cultural facilities in the heartlands such as auditoriums, music studios and dance studios could be enhanced to more professional standards, to support the arts and culture needs of the local community as well as practitioners.
  • Optimise funding to meet art companies’ different organisational and developmental needs: The Government’s funding frameworks should be reviewed to differentiate between established and emerging companies, as companies have different developmental needs at different stages of their growth. For example, established companies require funding to drive education, outreach and industry development, and raise their international standing, while emerging companies need funding for growth.
  • New continuing education and training (CET) opportunities for practitioners: Additional CET programmes should be provided and/or subsidised through collaborations with industry partners and arts institutions, as well as through establishing new CET providers. These sector-led and sector-focused programmes will raise standards among our practitioners, while helping to enhance their employability.

The full range of proposed initiatives will benefit all stakeholder groups, including students, working adults, families, hobbyists, enthusiasts, arts and culture companies and professionals. A sampling of the ACSR’s more than 100 initiatives, and their impact on the various stakeholders, is in Annex A. The full ACSR report can be found at www.acsr.sg.
The submission of the ACSR’s final report concludes the work which the ACSR Steering Committee began in September 2010. (See Annex B for the background of the ACSR and the composition of the Steering Committee.)

Source : MICA

Filed under: Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , ,

City of Chicago Launches 2012 Cultural Plan Initiative

Chicago Cultural Plan

Last week, the City of Chicago launched a new initiative to develop the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan. The plan will create a framework to guide Chicago’s future cultural and economic growth as the centerpiece for elevating the City as a global destination for creativity, innovation and excellence. The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is seeking input from Chicago’s residents, cultural organizations, neighborhood groups as well as the private and philanthropic sectors. The Plan will set out the blueprint for a vital and leading edge cultural Chicago.

Chicago has the third largest creative economy in the United States with 24,000 arts enterprises, including nearly 650 non-profit arts organizations, generating more than $2 billion annually and employing 150,000 people. Chicago’s creative vibrancy generates jobs, attracts new businesses and visitors to the city, and improves the overall quality of life in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

To further the conversation and to allow an even greater role, the planning process seeks input online and through comprehensive social media outlets with the launch of www.chicagoculturalplan2012.com. Additionally, a citywide public engagement process begins on February 15th, including town hall meetings, neighborhood cultural conversations, a youth forum, and cultural sector summits. The final plan will be unveiled in the fall.

“We are creating a new Cultural Plan to address the challenges our city faces today and to identify opportunities for the future,” said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “We want residents and community leaders to help shape a plan that will guide the City’s cultural growth and to reinforce Chicago as a global destination for the arts.”

For the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announcement, click here.

Filed under: Evénements, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, 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.

Filed under: Analyses, Evénements, Expériences, Financement de projet, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Outils, , , , , ,

« Happy Hours » : une étude de référence

Conformément à sa mission d’observation du livre et de l’écrit en Île-de-France, le MOTif a consulté, à l’automne 2009, les réseaux départementaux de lecture publique d’Île-de-France. C’est dans ce cadre que ceux-ci ont émis le souhait que soit réalisée une étude concernant l’impact des horaires d’ouverture sur les usages et fréquentations en bibliothèque, sujet qui constitue un véritable enjeu pour la modernisation de nos équipements territoriaux de lecture publique.

Beaucoup de collectivités font en effet le difficile constat que leurs bilbiothèques et médiathèques ne touchent pas suffisamment toutes les catégories des populations de leur territoire et qu’il est difficile de permettre à tous d’être accueillis compte tenu des rythmes de vie et de leurs évolutions ces vingt dernières années. La problématique des horaires est d’actualité parce qu’elle fait aussi l’objet de nombreuses réflexions politiques et professionnelles sur les thèmes de la lecture publique et des temps de vie. Les quatorze « Propositions de Frédéric Mitterrand pour le développement de la lecture » (mars 2010), dont la troisième concerne l’extension des horaires d’ouverture « pour les 50 bibliothèques municipales les plus importantes », les ont prolongées ou relancées en relayant l’idée d’une nécessaire modernisation : « Alors que le public de la culture est de plus en plus sensible à l’adaptation des équipements aux rythmes de vie et aux nouveaux usages, l’évolution de l’amplitude horaire est un sujet majeur. » Le rapport de M. Georges Perrin, avait pu lui aussi, en 2008, attirer l’attention sur la question, notamment en comparant les volumes horaires moyens français et européens, et proposer des solutions.

Il est donc nécessaire d’avoir des enquêtes et études de référence sur l’articulation des profils des fréquentants et des usages en fonction des horaires d’ouverture des bibliothèques-médiathèques territoriales car plusieurs tendances à la polyvalence et à la mixité des activités se développent, comme celle qualifiée de « troisième lieu » par exemple.

L’étude est téléchargeable sur le site du MOTif et dans notre box ressources.

Filed under: Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Outils, Politiques culturelles, Ressources, , , , , ,

Services publics locaux : la révision bat son plein

L’Etat français, le Parlement européen et les acteurs locaux regrettent que des contraintes supplémentaires complexifient souvent la réforme du financement des services publics qui se veut pourtant simplificatrice. Certes, le régime « de minimis » s’avère plus souple, mais les aides supérieures à 15 millions d’euros seront davantage contrôlées.

La Commission européenne a fait connaître ses intentions le 16 septembre. Depuis, les prises de position se multiplient sur la réforme des aides publiques aux services d’intérêt économique général, acception large qui recouvre aussi bien le transport aérien que la petite enfance.
Très imprégnée par le respect de la concurrence, la conception européenne des services publics locaux évolue à la faveur de la crise et de l’expiration, cette année, des règles adoptées en 2005.

Services culturels

Bruxelles a fait bouger les lignes, en acceptant d’élargir à de nombreux services sociaux les règles de financement simplifiées jusqu’ici réservées aux hôpitaux et au logement aidé. Mais de l’avis de nombreux observateurs, la révision européenne reste insuffisante. La France aimerait par exemple que les services culturels bénéficient des mêmes souplesses que les services sociaux, exemptés par la réforme des contraintes de seuils au-delà desquels l’aide publique doit être notifiée à Bruxelles.
Dans le rapport de l’Allemand Peter Simon (S&D), adopté la semaine dernière par la commission des affaires économiques et monétaires du Parlement européen, les élus s’inquiètent des contraintes supplémentaires que l’exécutif européen fait peser sur les collectivités locales. La Commission a ajouté dans ses propositions toute une série de critères « pouvant se révéler nécessaires pour garantir que le développement des échanges n’est pas affecté ».
Parmi eux, le fait par exemple d’éviter qu’un mandat (acte par lequel une collectivité définit les services rendus) ne « regroupe une série de missions » et fasse « l’objet de mandats distincts ». La Commission l’explique par la volonté de préserver « la possibilité pour les autres prestataires de services de faire jouer la concurrence sur ce marché ». Les parlementaires, de leur côté, estiment que ces nouvelles conditions sont sources « d’incertitude juridique ».

Habitants et chiffre d’affaires

D’autres points font débat. La Commission européenne propose par exemple de relever le seuil des aides de faible montant (dites « de minimis »), en-deçà duquel les prestataires de services et les collectivités sont libérées des contraintes européennes. Mais elle y intègre des conditions liées au chiffre d’affaires de l’entreprise (5 millions d’euros sur 2 ans) et à la taille de la commune (10.000 habitants maximum). « Si un tel critère devait s’appliquer, la réforme irait à l’encontre de la simplification recherchée et très peu de collectivités françaises bénéficieraient de l’assouplissement annoncé des règles », déduit la Maison européenne des pouvoirs locaux français, dans un contexte où beaucoup de petites communes françaises se regroupent pour mutualiser les SIEG.
Raisonnement identique sur la notion de chiffre d’affaires, jugée restrictive au regard de l’activité des entreprises : « Certains opérateurs ayant une dimension nationale peuvent très bien intervenir sur des activités de niveau local », poursuit l’organisation.
Un point de vue partagé par le gouvernement français, qui souhaite faire sauter les deux verrous introduits par la Commission, sans toutefois encourager le relèvement du plafond des aides de minimis. La Maison européenne des pouvoirs locaux, comme le Comité des Régions plaident pour une augmentation drastique à 800.000 euros par an. La Commission propose 150.000 euros. La France, de son côté, penche davantage pour une limite de 450.000 euros, mais répartie sur trois ans, afin d’apporter la souplesse nécessaire à une compensation éventuelle des dépenses d’une année à l’autre.

« Incompréhension profonde »

D’autres limites introduites par Bruxelles sont contestées. Les aides supérieures à 15 millions d’euros devraient par exemple être notifiées auprès de la Commission qui jugera de leur légalité. Auparavant, le seuil était deux fois plus élevé. « Les associations tiennent à exprimer leur incompréhension profonde », écrit la Maison européenne des pouvoirs locaux. Cette mesure, « difficilement applicable », générera de « nombreux problèmes administratifs », anticipe l’organisation.
Pour la Commission, ce regain de prudence est dicté par le développement de certains secteurs importants pour le marché intérieur, à l’instar des services à l’environnement. Avant d’appliquer de nouveaux seuils, une étude d’impact s’impose, estime Paris.
Si l’état d’esprit de la Commission européenne a changé, la culture de la méfiance ne s’est pas complètement évaporée des propositions. Bruxelles propose certes un système plus souple, où les Etats surveilleraient les surplus éventuels d’aides (« surcompensation ») tous les trois ans, renonçant au rythme annuel inadapté aujourd’hui en vigueur. Mais elle ne fait pas le distinguo entre les différents services d’intérêt général : « Les entreprises commerciales ne fonctionnent pas comme les entreprises sociales, qui ne peuvent pas réutiliser les aides publiques pour faire du business », résume Laurent Ghekiere, représentant de l’Union sociale pour l’habitat à Bruxelles. Les modalités de contrôle devraient donc être adaptées en fonction du service rendu. Dans le domaine du logement social, vérifier que le résultat d’exploitation a bien été réinvesti dans le service public pourrait suffire, selon l’USH.
Rompant avec la logique du tout public, les parlementaires européens rebondissent sur les propositions récentes de la Commission et introduisent une innovation dans leur texte. Selon eux, les emprunts obligataires (project bonds), constitués d’apports publics largement complétés par le secteur privé, pourraient être un « vecteur majeur de développement des services d’intérêt général ».

Source : Localtis

Filed under: Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

Quelle gouvernance culturelle pour la ville-monde ?

L’Observatoire des politiques culturelles (OPC), avec le concours de Culture et Développement et du Musée dauphinois (Conseil général de l’Isère), organise les Premières Rencontres Augustin Girard – René Rizzardo sur le thème Coopération internationale et diversité culturelle : quelle gouvernance culturelle pour la ville-monde ? les 1er et 2 décembre, à Grenoble (Isère).

Ces rencontres proposent une réflexion prospective sur l’articulation entre problématiques culturelles, enjeux de société et enjeux de politiques publiques dans un contexte mondialisé. Ce premier rendez-vous traitera des dynamiques de coopération et des enjeux de diversité culturelle, à travers notamment les échanges artistiques et culturels Nord(s)/Sud(s). 
Comment (re)penser à travers ces processus de coopération les enjeux multiculturels de demain ? En quoi la reconnaissance de compétences et de droits culturels représente-t-elle un facteur de cohésion et de paix sociale du local au mondial ? 
La manifestation mettra l’accent sur ce que les relations entre la France, l’Europe et le monde produisent sur les territoires impliqués en termes de représentation des cultures et dans la construction des identités culturelles en jeu. Loin de toute approche compassionnelle, les relations aux arts et aux cultures non occidentaux et notamment africains seront explorées à cette occasion. 
Il sera question d’éducation à la diversité comme facilitateur de rencontre et de respect mutuel. Le débat portera également sur la manière dont les politiques publiques se saisissent de ce questionnement à travers la métropole contemporaine. Quelle gouvernance culturelle dans la ville-monde faut-il inventer qui compose le local avec le mondial ? Quel rôle les politiques territoriales ont-elles dans les échanges culturels internationaux ?
Ces premières Rencontres consacreront également un temps de témoignages autour d’Augustin Girard et de René Rizzardo dont les parcours et travaux ont largement nourri les réflexions sur ces problématiques.
Un avant-programme du colloque est téléchargeable. 
Le bulletin d’inscription téléchargeable est à faxer ou envoyer par courrier à l’OPC. 
Contact : Observatoire des politiques culturelles, 1, rue du Vieux Temple – 38000 Grenoble (+33 (0)4 76 44 33 26 – fax : 04 76 44 95 00 – contact@observatoire-culture.net )

Filed under: Evénements, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , , ,

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

Filed under: Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

A propos de la présentation de l’étude « Culture & Médias 2030 » / 1

Nous participions le 25 octobre dernier à la Préfecture de région Ile-de-France à la présentation de l’exercice de prospective à long terme « Culture & Médias 2030 » auquel le secrétariat général du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication s’est livré via son département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques (DEPS).

Compte tenu de l’ampleur et de l’importance du sujet et pour plus de lisibilité et de clarté, nous proposons une  série d’articles suscitée par cette présentation.

Commençons par rendre compte de cette étude, car pour toutes celles et ceux qui voudraient consulter l’étude Culture & Médias 2030, elle est sensée être accessible en ligne ici, tel qu’indiqué sur le site du ministère et dans tous les supports de communication (« Le rapport public interactif en ligne, accompagné d’une analyse des 33 facteurs d’évolution sous forme de fiches, offre la possibilité de recueillir les contributions des acteurs de la culture »). Hélas, aucun accès au contenu de l’étude n’est possible à cette adresse. Une « problème technique » à résoudre rapidement.

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Dans l’auditorium de l’ancien siège de la Banque Populaire où se trouve la Préfecture dans le XVème arrondissement de Paris, c’est une matinée à géométrie variable qui s’est déroulée, géométrie variable au regard de la densité du sujet et des différents niveaux d’intervention. Après l’ouverture bien pesée de Daniel Canepa, préfet de la région Ile-de-France et préfet de Paris, c’est Muriel Genthon (directrice régionale des affaires culturelles d’Ile-de-France) qui a introduit le programme de la matinée pour passer ensuite la parole à Philippe Chantepie (chargé de la stratégie auprès du Secrétaire général du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication) qui a présenté la démarche et les scénarios de prospective de l’étude et auquel a succédé Pierre Oudart (chargé du Grand Paris à la DRAC Ile-de-France) pour une intervention sur les équipements culturels passés au crible de la prospective.

Il faut bien commencer par reconnaître que cette étude « Culture & Médias 2030 » est majeure et elle ne peut laisser indifférent, notamment parce qu’elle dresse avec une grande acuité un diagnostic fondé sur trois mutations majeures :

  • la France n’échappe pas à la globalisation de la culture et des loisirs : la France saura-t-elle préserver son modèle d’action publique culturelle encore très souvent regardé dans le monde comme une singularité, une exception ? Quelles stratégies de soutien aux industries culturelles françaises  dans un contexte de polarisation financière, stratégique et juridique des marchés mondiaux de droits et des techniques ? Face aux effets de la globalisation sur les migration, face à la diversité culturelle qui en découle dans la société et aux réactions qu’elle suscite – de l’ouverture au repli, de l’acculturation à des phénomènes de multi-appartenances, faudra-t-il redéfinir les registres de légitimation de la politique culturelle, ses priorités et ses moyens ?
  • Mondiale, la révolution numérique est pluridimensionnelle : opportunité, vraie ou fausse, d’accès aux contenus culturels, ou risque pour l’économie industrielle de la culture et la propriété intellectuelle, quelles seront les effets de la mutations numérique sur l’économie culturelle, en particulier les emplois, les modes d’organisation, de valorisation, de rémunération, de financement de la création ? Quels nouveaux équilibres à construire dans les régulations ? Comment orienter durablement l’avenir des réseaux, assurer la permanence des modèles économiques culturels ou leur profonde transformation ? Comment assurer le positionnement des industries culturelles françaises face à la montée des acteurs mondiaux, quelles stratégies nationales et/ou européennes développer ?
  • Les impacts des transformations sociales sont majeurs autant qu’incertains : commet notamment prendre en compte dans la politique culturelle la nature générationnelle des évolutions des pratiques et des rapports à la culture ? Comment agir contre la potentielle dissociation entre les pratiques relevant des « conservatoires » de pratiques culturelle et de la création et celles relevant des pratiques sociales, individuelles, communautaires, dont le contenu et le caractère culturels vont en s’amenuisant ?

Quatre scénarii de prospective des politiques culturelles se fondent sur ce diagnostic et sont développés à partir d’une trentaine de facteurs classés selon sept catégories (contexte international, contexte national, jeux d’acteurs publics de la culture, usages et pratiques culturelles, offres culturelles et leurs économies, financement et régulation, valeurs et représentation) :

  • scénario 1  « l’exception continuée » : notre modèle de politique culturelle perdure, en particulier les logiques qui ont donné naissance à une « exception culturelle française ». Les modalités  et les contenus de la politique culturelle française sont appelés à évoluer pour parvenir à maintenir un cadre d’objectifs identiques depuis plusieurs décennies. L’inertie des politiques culturelles ou leur non-renouvellement ne sont pas à l’ordre du jour. Des stratégies de choix délibérés et assumés, parfois des renoncements, voire des sacrifices sont nécessaires.
  • scénario 2  « le marché culturel » : les grandes mutations économiques, géopolitiques et techniques conduisent à marginaliser l’importance de la politique culturelle française et à banaliser les ressorts de la vie culturelle. La place du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication s’affaisse au profit d’un renouvellement mais surtout d’un renforcement des acteurs économiques de la culture.
  • scénario 3  « l’impératif créatif » : l’Union européenne lance un projet renouvelé de croissance durable articulant économie, culture, cohésion sociale et environnement afin de lutter contre une tendance au déclin relatif. La France adhère à la démarche qui voit dans la culture un facteur de créativité au service de la croissance dans une économie dynamique et durable de l’immatériel. Réorganisées, les institutions publiques de la politique culturelle cherchent à s’engager dans cette nouvelle croissance dans une stratégie d’industrialisation de la culture modifiant modes d’intervention et de régulation.
  • scénario 4  « culture d’identités » : alors que quelques valeurs partagées en Europe persistent, l’Etat se concentre sur certains fleurons d’une « culture française » et les collectivités territoriales, dans une logique fédéraliste, œuvrent à une vitalité culturelle « sociale » et communautaire, ancrée dans la vie des populations, selon une stricte segmentation.

Ces scénarii permettent de dégager clairement les défis, les enjeux et les stratégies auxquels les politiques culturelles auront à se confronter :

  • l’empreinte culturelle de la France (le terme est emprunté à la mouvance de l’économie mauve mais n’est pas traité de la même manière),
  • les articulations entre l’offre et la demande,
  • les transformations de l’Etat.

Transversaux aux politiques de la culture et de la communication, ces enjeux doivent notamment être déclinés de manière sectorielle (création, patrimoine, industries culturelles et médias, cinéma, etc.) et obligent à aller plus loin dans le débat et l’enrichissement pour mieux approcher les tendances et les spécificités des secteurs, des expressions, des métiers, des différents acteurs de la culture.

De ces enjeux, c’est un véritable programme de travail pour affiner ces scénarii qui s’engage, à travers un dialogue avec les acteurs culturels et les collectivités (la FNCC a déjà commencé à contribuer le 18 octobre dernier), mais également qui met à leur disposition la grille de lecture que cette étude permet pour penser les orientations futures de leur action.

Enfin, nous y reviendrons en détail, l’exercice prospectif est aussi conçu comme une démarche structurante pour envisager la future feuille de route du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication et ses services déconcentrés, feuille de route pensée au-delà des orientations gouvernementales issues des alternances politiques, quelles qu’elles soient, nous assure-t-on.

Ce programme de travail se décline de la façon suivante :

Empreinte culturelle de la France

  • fonder une géostratégie culturelle
  • reconnaître les actifs immatériels culturels comme un enjeu stratégique à long terme
  • renforcer l’Europe de la culture et des médias comme relais et plate-forme

De nouvelles articulations entre offre et demande

  • proposer des politiques d’offre en phase avec les mutations de la demande
  • assurer la présence d’un espace public numérique culturel
  • mettre en synergie des politiques culturelles et industrielles
  • garantir le financement durable de l’écosystème culturel
  • renouveler l’action culturelle
  • réinventer et relancer les politiques des publics
  • étendre l’éducation artistique et culturelle tout au long de la vie
  • favoriser les nouveaux espaces-temps de rencontres culturelles

Les transformations de l’Etat

  • réguler dans l’environnement numérique
  • inventer la régulation du « travail artistique »
  • imaginer la régulation des nouveaux territoires des patrimoines
  • partager l’animation culturelle des territoires
  • renforcer l’interministérialité sur des axes stratégiques
  • devenir un Etat culturel médiateur et intermédiaire
  • renforcer la fonction d’expertise
  • réinventer l’Etat financeur de la culture
  • penser la complexité, organiser l’expérimentation, susciter l’innovation

Filed under: Analyses, Evénements, Financement de projet, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Outils, Politiques culturelles, Ressources, , , , , ,

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

 

 

 

 

Filed under: Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

Culture et territoires 2030

Dans le cadre du séminaire national du 18 octobre dernier « Culture et média 2030 : quelles perspectives territoriales ? », la FNCC a publié dans sa Lettre d’Echanges n°75 des réflexions et des contributions sur l’étude « Culture et Médias 2030 » réalisée par le Département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (DEPS). Nous publions ici le point de vue développé par Vincent Rouillon, rédacteur de la revue électronique de la FNCC.

Culture et Média 2030 identifie trois grandes mutations qui, chacune à sa manière mais aussi de façon conjuguée, déstabilisent le principe même d’une politique nationale de la culture. Pour autant, la vivacité de l’interrogation des chercheurs ne serait-elle pas en elle-même une manifestation de la légitimité d’une approche nationale des politiques de la culture, même si (et surtout si) leurs principales modalités sont territoriales ?

Déclin, débordement et désaffection de l’horizon national de la culture

Selon le DEPS, nos sociétés subissent trois grandes mutations : la globalisation, la mutation numérique et la modification des rapports entre l’individu et le groupe. Or, la globalisation (mondialisation des échanges et des centres de production) semble ouvrir un déclin de l’horizon national, la mutation numérique induit le débordement de cet horizon et la montée de l’individualisme ainsi que de ses corollaires communautaristes en signale une certaine désaffection. En somme, la production, la circulation et la fonction sociale de la culture ne feraient plus nation : elles ne participeraient plus (ou beaucoup moins) à l’identification d’un groupe d’individus partageant un certain nombre de valeurs sur un territoire commun et sous une gouvernance commune. Au contraire, elles instaureraient un monde fait de communautés éparses d’individus singuliers dominés par des forces économiques supra nationales insoucieuses de l’intérêt général. Rien là qui corresponde à l’autorité et à la compétence du ministère de la Culture, du moins tel qu’il s’est pensé jusqu’à présent.

Historiquement, notre ministère s’est donné comme mission principielle celle de la démocratisation culturelle. Un objectif que Malraux définissait ainsi : « Rendre accessibles au plus grand nombre les œuvres capitales de l’humanité, et d’abord de la France. » A quoi il ajoutait cette précision : le ‘‘plus grand nombre” évoqué ici est « le plus grand nombre possible de Français ». Le ministère porte ainsi, dès l’origine, une mission profondément nationale, et ce naturellement en lien avec une guerre qui avait violemment menacé l’unité, l’autonomie et l’existence même de la nation française.

C’est toute la force de la prospective du DEPS que de signaler au ministère dont il est pourtant l’un des organes le danger d’obsolescence qui, de ce point de vue, le guette dans les décennies à venir. Ce qui explique peut-être, par ailleurs, l’accueil circonspect qu’a reçu l’étude Culture et Médias 2030 au sein même du ministère et dans les structures dont il a la tutelle. Le déclin, le débordement et la désaffection de l’horizon national de la culture sont, de fait, des données tendancielles difficilement digérables pour un ministère ‘‘national’’ de la culture.

Territorialisation

Un autre enseignement de l’étude du DEPS concerne le rapport du ministère avec les territoires. En 50 ans, ce lien est passé de la centralisation à la déconcentration (les DRAC – on peut noter, de ce point de vue, que parmi les quatre scénarios chargés d’éclairer le ministère dans ses choix pour les prochaines décennies, trois entérinent leur disparition), puis à la décentralisation (avec en particulier les associations départementales et régionales).

Quelle pourrait être la quatrième phase ? Mis à part le premier scénario, appelé « l’exception continuée » (une sorte de statu quo évolutif du fonctionnement actuel des politiques culturelles nationales, sous le signe d’une décentralisation qui conserverait, voire renforcerait, le rôle centralisateur de l’Etat), les autres font entrevoir une évolution différente : la territorialisation.

En effet, si la globalisation renforce la concentration oligarchique de la production de biens culturels à un niveau international et donc impose une uniformisation planétaire de l’imaginaire, elle génèrera inévitablement des revendications de la différence et de la diversité qui, elles, fonctionneront à une échelle infra nationale. Ce qui implique notamment une validation des politiques de proximité dont les acteurs politiques majeurs sont les collectivités territoriales.

De même, la mutation numérique pourrait entraîner ce que l’étude appelle une « migration numérique » : « A partir de 2020, le tissu industriel se renouvelle de façon dynamique par les franges », via une multitude de projets associatifs et individuels disséminés sur le territoire. Certes, cette « démographie dynamique des entreprises culturelles » suppose un ensemble de règlementations (pour favoriser l’initiative de PME et TPE culturelles) que seul l’Etat est en mesure d’instaurer. Mais, par la force des choses, ce foisonnement opèrera de fait une ‘‘territorialisation” de la culture.

Enfin, la troisième mutation – celle de la montée de l’individualisme – se doublera d’une sorte d’individualisme collectif, c’est-à-dire de communautarisme (qui peut être associatif et/ou virtuel, ethnique, religieux, générationnel, ou opérant selon des convergences de centres d’intérêt politique, professionnel, etc.), dont une part sera d’ordre territorial.

Dès lors, l’appel récurrent à un approfondissement de la décentralisation (voir la Déclaration d’Avignon 2010 des associations d’élus) instaurant les conditions d’une réelle autonomie et reconnaissance des politiques culturelles territoriales et, réciproquement, conviant les pouvoirs locaux à prendre leurs décisions à l’aune nationale, semble étroitement correspondre aux grandes évolutions de notre société décrites par le DEPS.

Un Etat qui se pense lui-même

Bien entendu, l’étude du DEPS ne prétend pas deviner l’avenir. Elle se revendique même d’une prospective « exploratoire » et non « descriptive ». Elle envisage les décisions qui pourraient être prises et non une succession déterministe de données subies. C’est en cela qu’elle est politique et non scientifique.

Or cette prospective politique est celle d’un outil de recherche ministériel travaillant au bénéfice de son ministère et à celui de l’Etat. Pour ainsi dire, le déclin de l’horizon national et l’accroissement de la pertinence des échelons de proximité sont des perspectives décrites de l’intérieur, pour renforcer le rôle et la place de l’Etat dans la vie culturelle de notre société et non pour le mettre en péril ou prévoir son déclin. La question traitée est : quel peut être le rôle de l’Etat culturel dans un monde où l’horizon national est en déclin et où celui de la proximité semble promis à une pertinence accrue ?

L’un des éléments de réponse est peut-être celui-ci : de la même manière que l’actuelle crise économique exige le renforcement du rôle des Etats pour que s’édifie une gouvernance économique européenne fédérale dans laquelle leurs prérogatives seraient moindres, de même, les politiques culturelles nationales pourraient renforcer les conditions de leur territorialisation. Cette fonction d’accompagnement plus que de décision n’exprime pas un retrait de l’Etat mais, tout au contraire, le renforcement de ses fonctions de réglementation, d’incitation et d’encadrement de l’ensemble des acteurs culturels ainsi que de lui-même. Pour ainsi dire, seul l’Etat possède la légitimité et les compétences pour se penser lui-même, pour se recadrer, pour s’autolimiter au bénéfice d’une nation qui ne se définirait plus comme transcendant les particularités individuelles, communautaires et territoriales, mais comme organisant leur développement et leurs échanges artistiques et culturels.

Qui d’autre que le ministère de la Culture est en mesure d’assumer une telle fonction autorégulatrice ? La globalisation, par nature commerciale, ne peut penser au-delà de son intérêt propre. Les acteurs de la mutation numérique, eux non plus, ne sont pas en mesure d’exercer une pensée réflexive en vue d’un intérêt supérieur au leur. Pas plus que ne le peuvent les communautés et les individus par définition préoccupés d’eux-mêmes et non des autres communautés ou individus.

Quant aux collectivités, n’est-ce pas en lien avec l’Etat qu’elles ont aussi la légitimité de penser au-delà d’elles-mêmes, c’est-à-dire d’inclure l’intérêt local (communal, communautaire, départemental ou régional) dans le cadre d’un dessein plus vaste ? N’est-ce pas si elles sont ensemble, entre elles et avec l’Etat, que l’horizon national peut résister à son déclin, à son débordement et à sa désaffection ? Curieusement, l’inquiétude palpable générée par la lecture de Culture et Médias 2030 provoque, in fine, un optimisme dont on ne se sentait plus capable.

Vincent Rouillon

Rédacteur de la Fédération des collectivités territoriales pour la culture (FNCC)

Texte paru dans la Lettre d’Echanges n°75, revue électronique de la FNCC

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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.

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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

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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)

_____

*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

Filed under: 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


 

 

 

Filed under: Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , , ,

La décentralisation nuit à la culture

Malgré les protestations des experts artistiques, la mairie de Trnava, en Slovaquie occidentale, a annulé un festival multimédia. Pour le quotidien de gauche Pravda, c’est une raison pour remettre en question la décentralisation de la politique culturelle : « Tout cela nous rappelle la période d’avant 1989. Les directeurs de l’autorité responsable des musée d’art en Slovaquie parlent de pratiques totalitaires. Mais que fait-on des pratiques totalitaires dans une société démocratique ? En outre dans le domaine de la gestion municipale autonome, là où il faut être proche des citoyens et de leurs souhaits ? Dans son programme, le gouvernement assure vouloir réévaluer la décentralisation dans le domaine de la culture. Cette déclaration fait craindre les pires expériences déjà rencontrées lors du transfert des compétences culturelles aux communes. A ce niveau, nous nous débattons avec des autorités incompétentes qui ne disposent bien souvent que du bac et croient comprendre la culture, quand elles ne connaissent que les histoires d’amour des séries télé. »

Source : BpB

Filed under: Analyses, Gouvernances, 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


 

 

Filed under: Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity

We are delighted to announce the publication of our member Sacha Kagan’s* new book « Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity ». This publication is the outcome of his PhD Thesis at Leuphana University. The book proposes an understanding of “culture(s) of sustainability”, “aesthetics of sustainability” and “art and sustainability”,  based on an in-depth theoretical elaboration and a critical discussion of several artists.

What is the cultural dimension of sustainability? This book offers a thought-provoking answer, with a theoretical synthesis on »cultures of sustainability«. Describing how modernity degenerated into a culture of unsustainability, to which the arts are contributing, Sacha Kagan engages us in a fundamental rethinking of our ways of knowing and seeing the world. We must learn not to be afraid of complexity, and to re-awaken a sensibility to patterns that connect. With an overview of ecological art over the past 40 years, and a discussion of art and social change, the book assesses the potential role of art in a much needed transformation process.

A4 flyer with the table of contents: PDF file

Links: Book page on the publisher’s website / Pre-Order page on the publisher’s website (besides, I noticed that pre-order seems to be also possible on amazon.de and amazon.co.uk)

Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity. Will be available in July 2011, ca. 476 p., ca. 39,80 € –ISBN 978-3-8376-1803-7

*Sacha Kagan is :

Sacha also published here :

 

Filed under: Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Outils, Politiques culturelles, Ressources, , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

     

    Filed under: Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Politiques culturelles, , , , , ,

    Le nouveau Cadre d’intervention en art public de Montréal

     

    Revolutions, Michel De Broin

    En 2010, la Ville de Montréal a adopté un nouveau Cadre d’intervention en art public, renouvelant ainsi ses engagements en la matière avec notamment : l’adoption d’un règlement sur l’intégration des arts à l’architecture pour toute nouvelle construction municipale; l’intégration de l’art public dans les grands projets d’aménagement urbain sous la responsabilité municipale; la mise en place d’une stratégie afin de favoriser la réalisation d’installations temporaires sur le domaine public.

    La vitalité de l’art public à Montréal est le résultat d’une collaboration continue entre le Bureau d’art public (Direction de la culture et du patrimoine) et ses partenaires. Dans cette ville en constante évolution, les artistes contribuent ainsi à façonner le paysage urbain en exprimant la créativité artistique de cette métropole francophone d’Amérique du Nord.

    Ce dossier sur l’art dans l’espace public à Montréal est accessible gratuitement ici.

    Oeuvres permanentes


    Oeuvres temporaires

     

    Source : Art-Public, premier portail europeen sur l’art public

    Filed under: Expériences, Gouvernances, 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 :

    Filed under: Analyses, Expériences, Gouvernances, Ingénieries, Outils, Politiques culturelles, Ressources, , , , , , ,

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