The creative regions summer school has come to its end. Time flies!
The last session has taken place in Margate: a gorgeous seaside town with really interesting creativity-related initiatives happening. The meeting has been allocated today at the Turner Contemporary – the largest exhibition space at the south east outside London. The views from the gallery over the North Kent coast were amazing! We could enjoy them from the room where the sessions were taking place!
Karen Eslea (Head of learning, Turner Contemporary) has begun the day by introducing the Turner Contemporary. It has been a great experience to have the chance to discuss with her about the impacts the gallery has had in its immediate area. The debates have gone around issues as the extent until which the community can be engaged with the arts-based organization as well as the impact of the institution in the territory.
Roberta Comunian (University of Kent) has provided with a theoretical framework to Karen’s contribution. A presentation about cultural regeneration has completed with a solid basis Karen’s dialogue. Roberta’s work has also raised interesting questions while including at the discourse issues related with social inclusion and representation. The open discussion with the participants has gone around the tensions that ideas related with hard-branding the city might bring into the scene. The dialogue has been very useful to settle the importance issues related to sustainability in culture-led programs should sustain.
After the tasty coffee break the participants have had the chance to visit the gallery. Pieces from the 1970 to the present day have delighted their demanding thoughts!
Further matters have completed this last and thrilling session! Sarah Wren (Arts and regeneration officer East Kent) and Sophie Jeffrey (project manager of Margate Arts Creativity, Heritage) have presented a case study of the cultural regeneration at the region of Kent. To end up this exciting week, Stephanie Fuller (Arts council of England) has let us known how can culture deal with regeneration (and regeneration with culture!) in times of change.
It is time to say a warm goodbye to all the participants and organizations! The great climate provided has let the partakers go back home with new answers, new questions and new colleagues with whom share experiences, expertise and stimulating knowledge!
The fourth day of the summer school has taken place at the charming city of Flokestone. The members have been allocated at the Folkestone quarter house and have received a number of interesting speeches based on creativity-led urban regeneration.
To begin with, Caroline Chapain (University of Birmingham) has shown the example of the Soho film cluster. The illustration of the case with useful figures has been really useful to provide with guidelines for creativity-led innovation. Next, Roberta Comunian (University of Kent) has provided to the audience with an exciting presentation of how network modeling is linked to the dynamics of the creative sector. It has been a great contribution greatly appreciated by the geographers present at the summer school! After it, an examination of the flows of the creative spaces – which can be linked with the network theory- provided by Rachel Granger (Coventry University), has followed the rich intellectual-boost!
Afterwards, the participants have had the chance to demonstrate their creative skills by discussing about a little case. ‘Where would you locate a creative enterprise?’ This has been enquired to the participants who have provided with great solutions as to how to deal with opportunities and threats the creative industries bring into practice. To end up, Peter Bettley (Creative Foundation) has provided with a really practical application of what it has been seen at the summer school. He has discussed the implications of developing a creative quarter in Foklstone.
But… the greatest part of the day has taken place at the end of the session. Then, the audience has had the chance to experience one of the most stunning activities of the gathering! They have had the chance to visit the Folkestone Triennial! Two local guides have led the students thought the main attractions of the artistic event, like Hew Locke`s intervention on an historical church, For those in peril on the sea, an installation designed especially for the Triennal. Other attractions were A. K. Dolven´s Out of tune installation by the seacoast and Cornelia Parker`s Folkestone Mermaid. The Mermaid, in a certain sense, dialogues with the classic symbol of Copenhagen and while visiting these places the learners enjoyed the opportunity to further discuss the relation between art and urban regeneration.
At the fourth day of the summer school, the inspiration and warm atmosphere could be breathed in the air. Pictures have been taken both at the city and the sea, the amazing views have been contemplated together, intelligent queries have been raised, clever answers have been offered…
On the way back, the peaceful silence at the bus was confident of the inspiring and intense journey!
The day started at the studio 6 of the Jarman Building at the School of Arts of the University of Kent with an exploration of the international boundaries of the creative industries. Pablo Rossello (British Council) has covered -with a very dynamic and attractive speech- some key points the Latin American countries have in common when it comes to apply cultural policies. Pablo – providing very pragmatic yet well-contrasted information from his experience at the field- has highlighted the importance of the context when it comes to draw policy strategies. For instance, he has recognized the importance of the internal demand of a region to be kept in mind before applying cultural policies. He has provided some practical examples of success cases: for instance, the grass-root level initiative to put short story books on beauty salons. Participants coming from developing countries have found this intervention as very representative for these specific contexts!
Caroline Chapain (University of Birmingham) has completed Pablo’s intervention with a rather academic approach to the policies for the creative industries. She has followed the international approach with the cases of Marseille and Birmingham.
Before heading to the bus that will take the participants to a hands-on exploration of the creative industries, two innovative presentation covered the topic of the role of the institutions of higher education with the creative economy. Roberta Comunian and Louise Naylor (both from the University of Kent) have led the participants to discover really original applications of the creativity-related actions.
Roberta has provided with really practical examples of Universities working as cultural clusters. She has shown how the birth places of creative minds (the Universities) can use students as linkers to the community. Roberta has revealed that such challenging goal have been achieved by some UK universities, but she also presented the difficulties and challenges of interaction.
From now on, the participants will be aware of innovative approaches to creativity and its promotion. For example, that when people that otherwise wouldn’t have interacted get together do interact, creativity and opportunities of innovation arises, that a labyrinth written on the floor of a campus can boost the creativity at the minds of students from various disciplines, that a smart use of a university campus area can contribute to the development of skills of its students and that all of this can be formally materialised with the name of creative campus. All is happening right now at the University of Kent! Although the concept of creative campus it might look a great idea ,It is important to keep in mind that when presenting to the potential users or contributors such an abstract concept of collective intelligence developed with scarce resources can sound as a rather ambitious or complicated initiative! And, as creativity always require –given the difficulty to instrumentalise it and retain its value- coordination is hard for such a thing!
After lunch we have taken the bus to the Medway campus. Once there, we have had the chance to see some places that have been included in creativity-led regeneration plans. We have had the chance to visit wonderful venues planned for boost the artist activity in this lovely region!
Once at the campus of the University of Kent, five local stakeholders presented their experience and activities within Medway. It was very interesting to engage in the discussions of what we have previously observed!
After a first session of getting an idea of the nature of the debates the creative industries can offer, today’s session has examined deeper facets of the relation between the creativity-related economy and regional development.
To start with a set of attention-grabbing content, Caroline Chapain (University of Birmingham), has launched a bunch of valuable data very convenient to understand the measurements that evaluate the creative industries.
Subsequently, Nick Clifton (Cardiff School of Management) has related today the ‘creative class’ with its impact on regional competitiveness. He has used the case of the United Kingdom as an illustration. Nick has provided with useful figures that correlate the ‘creative class’ with aspects as the quality of a particular region. Moreover, his presentation has also raised interesting questions about the correlation of the ‘creative class’ with variation in economic outcomes. The debate has taken into the scene new lines such as the importance to keep in mind the balance when fostering both regional and national competitiveness.
The third intervention of the day has been performed by Charles Freeman (Partnership for Urban South Hampshire). As a practitioner, Charles has illustrated the existing relations between creative activities and local development with a really interesting example of a practical case. One of the indisputable features when it comes to understand this relation is on being able to measure the value of culture. One of the speakers of this second session, Alan Freeman (University of Kent) has provided with a few guidelines about it from a non-conclusive perspective.
The last speech of the session -by Radhika Desai (University of Manitoba) - has brought into sight a previously not deeply explored element. She has stressed the potential the arts might have to be considered as important contributors to Research and Development. This fact sets the arts in an essential innovative position. In consequence, the creative industries can be seen as contributing collaterally to the economy. It was also related to the improvement of regional economies as it has been argued that the arts cannot be exported. Therefore the creative industries can pretty much contribute to the innovative component at the region they are located in.
With rather specific issues faced at the session of today, the participants’ different geographical backgrounds have brought into the act the particular needs some areas might present. For instance, those participants belonging to of non-European countries (such as Syria, Russia or Brazil) have hooked on the importance of the stage of development or the nature of networks when it comes to plan creativity-related strategies. At the end of the day there were two sentences on the blackboard. Those stated the importance of the relation between the availability of data and the likelihood to go along with regional cultural planning!
First session of the creative regions summer school at Kent University
Fourteen participants from ten diverse nationalities representing three different continents have begun to discuss around core considerations raised by the four speakers of this first session.
Roberta Comunian (University of Kent) has been in care of defining the concept of the ‘creative industries’ whilst Caroline Chapain (University of Birmingham) has provided with useful guidelines to comprehend the notion of ‘creative economy’. Additionally, Nick Clifton (Cardiff School of Management, UWIC) has given an overview of the concept of the ‘creative class’ coined by the world-known Canadian academic Richard Florida. Following Nick’s considerations of Florida’s theories, Roberta Comunian has enriched the debate with a very thought-provoking presentation about the limits and challenges of the conception of ‘creative class’ that Florida defined. Although the relevance of the concept of the ‘creative class’ has been acknowledged by many of the participants, it has been also highlighted that special considerations to –mainly- its social implications must be kept in mind.
Besides the previously mentioned attempts to give a definition to the subject object to the summer school, a very stimulating case about the Parisian world music cluster has been presented by Amanda Brandellero (Erasmus University Rotterdam). Amanda has offered the opportunity to get to know in deep one relevant aspect for some creative enterprises: the cultural diversity at the point of cultural production.
The miscellaneous of backgrounds of the contributors have provided the debate with a transversal component. For example, the business side of the creative industries has been considered as well as rather social and political angles. Besides the wideness of the topics considered, some topics have been agreed as especially relevant. For example, it has been pointed out the importance of keeping in mind the implications that defining the sector in a certain way might have. Other factors have also been recognized as important; such the central consideration cultural production might when trying to define the ‘creative industries or creative economy’.
At the end of the day one can be convinced that debate will be assured! Furthermore, one of the most remarkable aspects of the journey has been the interaction of the participants. The great atmosphere created can be seen as a proof of potentially valuable and passionate discussions both formal and informal over coffee and lunch or dinner.
Only one week to go to the start of the Creative Regions Summer School 2011.
This year the University of Kent will welcome 14 participants, from Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, Russia, Syria, UK and Brasil.
We will explore the local creative economies of Kent and share knowledge and research experiences in this area ...
to find out more, keep reading our blog!