Sweden opens up its methodical treasure chest: presentation of the handbook “Development of Cultural and Creative Industries in Practice

Sweden opens up its methodical treasure chest: presentation of the handbook “Development of Cultural and Creative Industries in Practice

It’s not a secret that Sweden is among the frontrunners when it comes to supporting creative industries. In order to share their experience and knowledge, Alexanderson Institute and Generator Sverige launched the book „To Do – Development of Cultural and Creative Industries in Practice“ on February 6, 2013 in Brussels.

From the national to the local level

Creative industries support poses a challenge to all policy levels. This was reflected in the presentations in the Skåne office in Brussels where the publication was presented: Johanna Skantze from Generator Sverige gave an overview over the national perspective on the creative sector in Sweden and presented the latest numbers about the sector: 146.000 employees work in CCI; 117.000 companies generate an overall annual turnover of 34 billion EUR and thus contribute 3,3% to the Swedish gross domestic product (GDP). Not at least a growth rate of 5,5% is something other business sectors can only dream of. This development might have been an important motivation for regions and municipalities to establish Generator Sverige in 2010 as a network for the creative sector. In the future, the organization wants to work even more intensively with European partners to improve internationalization efforts of CCI companies and facilitate collaborations with other business sectors as well as the tourism and public sector.

The history of creative industries support in Sweden now dates back more than ten years. Daniel Borgman from the Halland regional development council presented the regional perspective and highlighted the need to use cultural capital for the establishment of relations with new growth markets. In his perspective the growing economic impact of the CCI indicates a substantial change in the global economy. Consequentially, the implication for the regional level is: “We need to acknowledge culture and creativity not as an isolated sector but as the backbone of a new information, knowledge and content based economy.”

Finally, Anna Linton and Ida Boström from the Alexanderson Institute presented the local case of CRED – Creative Destination Halland.

Cultural and Creative Industries Support in Practice

The book „To Do – Development of Cultural and Creative Industries in Practice“ itself presents various methods for supporting creative industries in a very hands-on manner. It is structured into the main themes


Still many things to do in creative industries support

  • Management and strategy
  • Building a network
  • Physical environment
  • Co-production
  • Knowledge development
  • Brand building
  • Professional development
  • Business development
  • Methods of measurement

and provides the reader with real hand-on practices. In short: a useful tool for  those who want to become supporters of creative industries, who already are and who want to improve their activities.


As a handbook is still a handbook, it obviously cannot cover all aspects of creative industries support. The authors are thinking about expanding the handbook’s scope to a European dimension. One of the pending issues that will have to be addressed in the future is definitely the internationalization aspect that especially small CCI companies struggle with.

Further information:

Information about the Skåne office in Brussels

On Strategies for Creative Industries at city-regional level see e.g. Jo Foord (2008): Strategies for creative industries: an international review, Creative Industries Journal 1(2), pp. 91-113.

On international opportunities for the creative industries in the Dutch case see the final report “International opportunities for the creative industries” by Rob Aalbers, José Mulder, and Joost Poort for the Agency for International Business and Cooperation (EVD) of the Duth Ministry of Economic Affairs. (PDF)


Excursion to Sweden: Lessons on Warhol in Helsingborg and City Development in Landskrona

Excursion to Sweden: Lessons on Warhol in Helsingborg and City Development in Landskrona

Aurora af Helsingborg

Aurora af Helsingborg

Crossing Over

Crossing Over

As we’ve already stated before, it is difficult to be either in Malmö or Copenhagen without paying a visit to the respective other side. This time, we took the ferryboat to cross the Öresund in direction Helsingborg. Here we set off to SHIP (also home of THINK – see older post) to meet Nils Djurklou, project manager of the after work program After Warhol and founder of the Höganäs gruppen. Unfortunately the program was already in the first place designed to only last 9 month (from March to November 2012) and so we literally met Nils on his last day of „duty“ for the program.

After Warhol was a program run by the City of Helsingborg’s culture and economic department in close cooperation with different partner programs such as Boost Hbg or THINK, the city’s incubator and the headmaster of Lund’s university Helsingborg Campus. Its goal was to integrate culture and creative entrepreneurs with the business sector, to show how networking is possible and of course, as a result, to establish business contacts. These goals were adresses through 3 after work meetings and one seminar/workshop.

(For more information visit: http://helsingborgbusinessregion.com/sv/Start/Omoss/Framtiden-i-regionen/After-Warhol/)


Right after our meeting with Nils we hopped on the train to Landskrona. The city of Landskrona (30.500 inhabitants) is situated in between Malmö and Helsingborg on the coast facing Denmark. In the Skåne region, cities are developing arenas for cultural and creative industries (CCI). Since 2011 that development includes Landskrona as well, as a part of the national strategy that the Swedish government is leading. Landskrona used to be a prosperous shipbuidling industrial city until some decades ago and is now taking measures in creating a new industrial strategy with the CCI as one strategic factor.

This is the backdrop against which Sanna Lilje operates as project manager of KELA and ex-counselor of Selfmade.

Selfmade was set up to help creative people to develop and realize their ideas. Its vision was that everyone should be able to live from their ideas. Thus, besides the realization of ideas, the program’s goals were the professionalization of creatives and the growth of their network. The program ran from 2007 to the end of 2012 with 2 to 5 part-time employees in the cities Malmö, Helsingborg and Landskrona and was funded by the Malmö Folkhögskola, EFRE, Region Skåne, the Cities of Malmö and Helsingborg as well as the Development Foundation in Landskrona.

Each of the consultants was professionally experienced in the creative business sector(s) and had other freelance businesses going on besides their work for Selfmade. This was, in Sanna’s view, the smartest feature of the whole program, as it allowed the consultants to keep one foot in the same area as their „clients“, making them “professional buddies”. Sanna considers this kind of peer-to-peer situation as very important for counselling in the creative sector.

(For more information visit: http://selfmade.nu/)

KELA is set up for the period 2012 – 2014 and funded by the Region Skåne and the Development Foundation of Landskrona. The program’s mission is to contribute to a more vibrant and attractive Landskrona using sustainable cultural and creative businesses, relying on the input from the city’s CCI actors themselves.

By 2014, KELA wants to have created an overall supporting system for CCIs in the city and to be a project focusing on buidling networks, offering skill development and creating physical spaces for the cultural entrepreneurs that will remain in the city once the project is over as a part of the business development system. How is yet to be discovered.

So far, this is what KELA does: For competence development of CCI entrepreneurs, KELA hosts seminars on topics of interests, especially communication and branding. For experience and competence development, KELA also allocated five small scholarschips (20.000 SEK each), amongst others to help a local gallery invite artists (KELA’s financial support helped them pay for the travel and accomodation costs).

For the creation of space, KELA will open a “Creative House” which is supposed to be launched in the course of project.

This place could house:

  • An entrepreneurship / project management training for the creative and cultural entrepreneurs, in collaboration with Fridhem Folkhögskola,
  • Self Made – a pre-incubator with a large regional network and development competences
  • and offer jobs for those who are active in the house

Right now Sanna is working with 10 stakeholders from the CCI in Landskrona on a regular basis, but she estimates that there are about 150 people are active in the CCI in Landskrona, mostly painters and photographers.

Although targeted at CCI in the beginning, KELA’s nature has turned into a city life development project that uses CCI as a tool for general change.

(For more information visit: http://kelandskrona.wordpress.com/)

Research in Sweden, Trip 1, Day 4: Kulturkraft Syd, MEDEA and Media Evolution

Research in Sweden, Trip 1, Day 4: Kulturkraft Syd, MEDEA and Media Evolution

Our fourth day was loaded with three interviews, the first starting at 9 a.m. forcing us to get up early. With eyes still half-closed but with alert minds and our notebooks – both anaolgue and digital – packed with questions, we set out for meeting Robert Karlsson project manager of Kulturkraft Syd, a project that offers competence development to professionals and organizations within the area of performing arts, music, film, television, radio and interactive media. The program was launched in 2010 in Malmö and is half financed by the Swedish government (ministry of labour) and half by the European Social Fund. Its efforts are aimed at all professionals and organizations within the named branches, no matter if they have a permanent employment at one of the institutions, work for a company or as freelance artists. More

Research in Sweden, Trip 1, Day 3: Financing Forum for Kids Content and THINK

Research in Sweden, Trip 1, Day 3: Financing Forum for Kids Content and THINK

After our one-day extra-curricular breakout to Copenhagen, we were back in our homebase Malmö, where we started the day with a late second breakfast in a sweet little coffee shop just around the corner from our hotel, where the smell of cinammon and freshly grinded coffee made us feel like in coffee shop heaven. Here we met with Annette Brejner from the Financing Forum for Kids Content.

Research in Sweden, Trip 1, Day 1: Soft Landing Sweden

After arriving in Malmö, we had some time to acclimate ourselves as our first scheduled meeting had to be postponed due to the typical November flue wave. Fresh and well-prepared we then later set off to the already familiar Western harbour district to meet with Louise Månsson, project manager of Soft Landing Sweden, a business relocation support concept that is already established in the UK (London), USA, Mexico and Korea but is, up to today, the only one-stop-agency of its kind in Sweden. Its target group are (mostly) international and national media companies companies with an interest in Skåne as their business location. It started in 2011 out of the realization that the existing support system for such businesses was not sufficient, suceeding at attracting companies and creating and interest but not helping with the day-to-day business challenges in a foreign market environment …  More

Let the games begin: the first “real” interview and research trip to Sweden!

Let the games begin: the first “real” interview and research trip to Sweden!

Malmö Harbour

Only two weeks after the very successful pre-test (which had proved to be much more than just a test) we packed our bags to fly back to Sweden for the „real thing“ – the first real interviews. In the meantime we had used our insights from the pre-test to re-work our interview guidelines and scheduled an ambitious timetable with nine meetings.

On the first day we met Louise Månsson from Soft Landing Sweden in Malmö, then crossed the Öresund Bridge to Denmark, where we met with Daniel Hjorth, professor at CBS – Copenhagen Business School, who is doing the evaluation of the Creative Plot incubator in Lund, before dropping in at our Danish project partners’ Jakob and Robert from Refleks, who tried to help us get an overview of the Danish situation, we needed for our next research trip to Copenhagen two weeks later.

Refleks in Copenhagen – supergeil!

Refleks in Copenhagen – supergeil!

Back in Sweden, we met with Annette Brejner from the Film Financing Forum for kids’ content, with Sofie Karlsborn from THINK in Helsingborg, Robert Karlsson from Kulturkraft Syd, Karin Johansson-Mex from MEDEA, the Malmö Högskola’s innovation lab, with Emma Estborn, portfolio manager at Media Evolution, the cluster organisation for the Moving Media and on our last day with Jane Nilsson and Kamilla Rydahl from the Region Skåne in their fancy new building out in the Western Harbour district. Again, we would very much like to thank you all for your time, the insights shared and the inspiration you gave us!

Read more about the interviewed projects and the results in the upcoming posts!