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C2C presenting cases from small and medium sized cities at the final conference of the Urban Creative Poles project

C2C presenting cases from small and medium sized cities at the final conference of the Urban Creative Poles project

The Conference Venue

The Conference Venue

On November 7, the INTERREG project Urban Creative Poles held its final conference in the lead partner’s city of Cottbus, based in the region of Brandenburg for which we develop our creative industries toolkit. The organizers had chosen the fantastic, post-modern setting of the information, communication and media centre (IKMZ) of the Brandenburg Technical University of Cottbus.

The keynote from Prof. Joan Ganau from the University of Lleida in Spain highlighted some of the weaknesses of intermediate cities with respect to creative industries development:

  • less dynamism
  • lack of opportunities for qualified jobs
  • difficulties to attract and retain talents
  • no economies of agglomeration
  • bad international accessibility.

From his perspective, the strengths of intermediate cities lie in

  • housing prices
  • more possibility of social cohesion
  • richer “social capital”
  • no formal social relation networks (more dense and fluid)
  • quality of life and sustainability
  • place identity, ensue of community.

The second keynote speaker, Ralf Ebert (urban planner and CEO of Stadtart) made an attempt to answer the question why CCI can be important for medium-sized cities:

  • for the marketing of the city
  • job creation
  • necessary part of business oriented service industries
  • sector as part of the regional innovation system
  • locational factor for companies from other sectors and for households
  • spill-over effects on city development.

Tom Fleming from the British creative consultancy TFConsultancy gave an inspiring speech and stressed the necessity of talent development and the need to invest in experimentation, convergence and disruption. From a governance perspective, he called for joined-up approaches to creative industries development including culture, tourism, innovation and wider “creative” spill-over effects. His considerations also confirmed another observation we discussed a lot recently: the observation that the role of business support for the creative industries seems to change the overall rationale of business support in the sense that facilitation, moderation, building of local, national and international networks and the enabling of collaborative practices becomes central to supporting an industry and therefore fundamentally challenges the self-understanding of business support as it has been practiced before. This implies that the discourse about creative industries may not take the shape of a “dolphin” (in the sense that it is a nice topic that makes everyone smile and evokes good feelings) as Tom Fleming pictured and highlighted. Rather, it is discourse that calls for action and  that should not be separated from other societal and economic transformation processes.

Although the small and medium sized cities have not been the sole focus point of our project, we of course identified and looked at creative industries support schemes in these contexts. Therefore, we were invited by the organizers to present some findings from this part of our research. From Sweden, we explained how the region’s initiatives were initially triggered by support from the national level. We presented the cases from Skåne of the consulting project Selfmade, the creative industries development approach of KELA as part of a wider urban development strategy in Landskrona as well as the incubator Creative Plot in the university city of Lund.

IMG_20131107_104340From our research in Italy we showed how the audience development initiative of the cultural department of the city of Bolzano managed to not only increase cultural
participation within the city but also from among the surrounding villages. This example raised for us the question how the smart use of (guerilla) marketing methods could also integrate the local creative industries. In the close to the city of Milan located Vigevano, the business department builds on the work of Leonardo da Vinci to redevelop the castle in the heart of the city that has been empty for decades. The plan is to establish a permanent exhibition but also to attract creative entrepreneurs from the field of digital media through offering coworking spaces.

The challenges of the adoptation of a support scheme initially designed for a city as big as Bologna became obvious in the case IncrediBol! This programme is being extended to the province now where stakeholders are dissipated and the needs of the entrepreneurs and public administration seem to be different from the ones in Bologna. Finally, we presented which challenges the introduction of the typically very urban infrastructure and networking concept “The HUB” brings with it when established in a city as small as Rovereto. Here it seems that more communication efforts are necessary to gain acceptance by the local population compared to a more urban environment and to provide an understanding of the work and life situation of entrepreneurs.

An overview about the actions and results of the Urban Creative Poles project can be found here:
http://www.creativepoles.eu/ucp-documents

Barcamp review: A toolkit for creative industries support

Barcamp review: A toolkit for creative industries support

This session was hosted by Dirk Kiefer, head of the Creative Industries agency in Thuringia and newly appointed head of the Center for entrepreneurship and start-ups in the region of Thuringia.. He is also the chairman of the C2C advisory board and dedicated to design a toolbox for the ideal creative industries business support. The two specially relevant aspects of new markets and matchmaking where each discussed with regards to the following five partial aspects and questions: Target groups and problems; Aim/how does success look like?; Instruments; General preconditions and assumptions, Critical issues and how to fail (or not)?

1. New markets

  • Target groups and problems: The target group are the creative services and product providers but also the traditional market. The problem is to break the „silos“, to create bridges between traditional economies and CCIs (the crisis is part of the value chain)

  • Aim/how does success look like? Success means to build bridges, to move and work together and to have a common language. Creatives should be integrated in the value chain from the beginning. This requires more dialogue and knowledge about other creatives/products

  • Instruments: Rational approaches have proven wrong. Instead: identify one person in the organization who carries the idea of creative services, who has an affinity for creativity (trojan horse, contamination lab, translators)

  • General preconditions and assumptions: to identify and create a community of “creativity champions” that can co-create a new model with creatives. There should be a change in the discourse about design/creativity. Involving creatives in an early stage is “more fun, less risky and cheap”.

  • Critical issues and how to fail (or not)? It takes too much time to connect different cultures. Companies don’t want/need the infiltration by the „creative link“, they are doing fine without it. They don’t understand it.

2. Matchmaking

  • Target groups and problems: the main problem is how to make the chaos generative = how to use the self organizing powers while finding the matches. The chaos is the motor /driving force, to instrumentalize it will cause harm so we have to keep it generative. We should try to bring order to chaos without losing the driving force, the potential

  • Aim/how does success look like? Matching creates value and acceptance (not necessarily money), the impredictable is a bonus.

  • Instruments: to bring people together for networking is difficult (to get a value out of it). People should be more open to match-making and therefore a new cultural approach can be useful (e.g. documentation with films). Another instrument is a pre-analysis of the resepective needs of all involved parties.

  • General preconditions and assumptions: One precondition is money, also to gather people with common interests (but it doesn’t have to be in a match-making sense). People have to be open-minded and willing to change and they should feel privileged and chosen.

  • Critical issues/how to fail (or not): to fail doesn’t have to be a waste of time because you will always learn from your mistakes and gain experience for the future. One risk is to promise too much or to have too high expectations. The lack of sustainability and the arrogance of partners (lack of respect) could also be a critical issue.

Creative collaboration in Brandenburg! A review of the C2C Barcamp

Creative collaboration in Brandenburg! A review of the C2C Barcamp

What happens if you put a group of experts on creative industries from five different countries and a variety of professional backgrounds together for a whole weekend? Add some post-its, a lot of coffee, a dash of sunshine and spoons full of open-mindedness … and you’ll get: creative collaboration!
This is what we experienced during the two intense days of the C2C-Barcamp last weekend in Brandenburg/Havel.
“How does a smart financial ecosystem for creative industries look like? How do we pave the way to a creative economy? What are the features of strong networks? What are smart approaches for cross sector collaborations? What is radical innovation? …” 
 were only some of the many questions we discussed  with our partners and other experts from Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Estonia and Germany. Their dedication and open contribution helped us gain important insights and we would like to thank them all!
The complete official
More detailed results of the 15 different workshop sessions will be published here in the following days. For now, we let the pictures speak for themselves …
A warm welcomeAny idea?Good morning! So, who are you?Morning pitching sessionMorning pitching sessionWorking on the schedule ...The pitched topicsThe schedule!Robert Karlsson and Gerda Hempel hosting a workshop sessionSome first results ...© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)© by Marie Jacobi (www.visualrecording.de)