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Creative Cities & Future Jobs

I had a good chat last night with Monika, our Lithuanian ‘ontentee’ who spent two weeks with us in Warsaw last year.  Monika used the programme as part of her masters research into creative cities, and how entrepreneurs pay the bills, interviewing staff, festival volunteers, and other delegates as primary material.

Like Birmingham, in the UK, Vilnius, in Lithuania, is another  creative city. Her interest is in the ways that creative people (including social entrepreneurs) develop business models – how they make a living. For example, they don’t use the banks (usually because the banks won’t lend to them) and sometimes set up their our currencies, or distribute shares in IP. We discussed that this could be interesting for Contented to think of itself as a kind of virtual creative city, perhaps learning from models of barter trade and alternative currencies. Perhaps we might think about the filmmaker as a kind of social entrepreneur…

We agreed that it might be a good idea to create a flexible framework that national partners could use to tailor ‘ontente’ to their own local context and individual/organisational needs. Monika’s fairly tied up until the autumn but we’ve suggested that she would be a good collaborator on the Lithuanian leg of next year’s programme – and there certainly need not be any time pressure this year. Her knowledge of the British Council’s Creative Cities programme (Birmingham is one of them) could come in useful. When we met the British Council in Warsaw, we discussed a part of that programme called Future City Jobs – although this has actually been running in the Polish city of Wroclaw, and Lithuania’s Baltic neighbour, Estonia.

Here are some notes from our conversation:
–  make sure that the programme adds value to partners in some way (eg cash or some kind developmental learning);
–  get partners to think about what they might do together after the programme;
–  create some guidelines – a framework, including the EU objectives, and criteria to ensure that the participants still benefit.. These can be flexible but should give some kind of direction. It would b good to describe what should be the role of partners and participants;
–  we can work with national partners to develop a local framework. All partners can be encouraged to identify other people/organisations who might collaborate.;
– we could put togetehr some case studies from Poland and Czech Republic – what we liked that worked. these don’t have to be massive success stories but they could be seeds – we gave examples of the Warsaw design festival, the documentary ‘monitoring and evaluation’ group, collecting evidence for funders;
– creating time up front for delegates to research the place they are visiting – if you know in good time, and have a schedule and programme, you can take a look what else is happening in that place and see if there’s a way to give some people opportunity to participate. There are loads of festivals going on that may be of interest. Personal research about the country they’re going and what they would like to explore. Delegates might even get involved in some kind of fund-raising (eg finding an SME to sponsor them/send someone along);
– this need to ‘front load’ the programme is a key reason why we need to engage businesses.

We reviwed Indre’s webpage (see other blog post) and G will be speaking with her on Tuesday afternoon and suggested we might get the two of them and Rasa (ERA partner) together to discuss the local framework.

Initial draft framework. The more people are involved in the creation of the local programme, the easier it will be to understand what role each person might play.

Monika agreed to post some links relevant to her project.


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