Jessica, co-founder of The Artist and the Others in the Netherlands went to Italy in June 2017 to meet BASE through the European Creative Hubs Network and the Peer-to-Peer Scheme (P2P). This is her article about the experience of exchanging knowledge, creative hub to creative hub.
European Creative Hubs: Revitalizing our cities.
Jessica, co-founder of The Artist and the Others, intangible creative hubs based in Maastricht, with a network of creatives in the all Euregio Meuse-Rhein went to BASE in Milan.
Maastricht is currently developing its policy on Creative Hubs, thus, this journey has been very meaningful, interesting and inspiring.
Casa Base (home if we have to translate in English), it’s an incredible dynamic space full of great people.
A lot it’s happening there and a lot happened while I was there.
During my P2P program I was lucky enough to have the chance to attend and join, next to discover BASE and Milan, Art Lab. ArtLab is the most inspiring and powerful, independent platform dedicated to innovating policies, programmes and practices in and through arts and culture.
During this event it has been a pleasure to meet Valentina, the project manager at Base, but also Emre Erbirer from Atolye, Istanbul, Rosalie Hoskins from The FuseBox, Brighton, Valérie Senghor from Centquatre, Paris, and Marieke Zeegers from SAMOA – Creative Factory, Nantes and of course Damien Helly from the British Council.
It was great to have the opportunity to share knowledge with them in a panel discussion on the topic European creative hubs: revitalizing our cities, part of ARTLAB Milano.
During the discussion we talked about
> How can hubs best contribute to urban policy making?
> The advantages that hubs offers to the local cultural scene, but also about challenges that Creative hubs are facing.
Last but not least
> What would be the added value to have a network of hubs working with cities?
As reaction from the first question, it has been said that hubs play an important role as intermediary between governmental institutions and the creative community. At the same time, hubs reflect the needs of the creative community and help them in developing and connect with the local scene.
Among the conversation it emerged that Creative hubs:
– Offer, cheap office spaces for the creative community.
– Networking events to connect the right people together.
– Incubator and peer-to-peer system to their members.
– Evolve in a creative community that works together.
– Members are part of an active creative community.
– Getting the people together while creative a solid community
– Create interaction with other members.
– Create a long-term sustainable business plans, for the creative members.
In order to overcome these challenges, different creative hubs, initiated events that offer an instant solution. For instance, workshops focus on supporting the interactions with others members; workshop based on creating sustainable business plan, and networking events.
Moreover we’ve also talked about the role of creative hubs itself. It was an interesting point of discussion as the different participants were representative of physical and non-physical hubs, some of them located within the city, some other outside the city centre.
Incredible was to see how hubs and cities that are completely different deal with similar issues. This lead to the last question we had to answer which was, what would be the added value to have a network of hubs working with cities?
Definitely, as also the P2P program is a great example, the exchange of knowledge plays a pivotal role. We can learn so much from each other. While talking about similar issues, we can come up with great and good solution by offering what we’ve learn so far and provide different examples of projects created to overcome certain difficulties or issues.
Next to being part of the Artlab program, we’ve visited a lot of spaces with the other hubs manager and some by myself.
As the Artist and the Others focuses on artists and cultural professionals, most of the locations are a must to know for artists, but not only!
Have a look:
ArtLab was set up in 2006 in Turin by Fondazione Fitzcarraldo. Over the years, it has grown into the most inspiring and powerful, cross sectorial, independent platform in Italy, dedicated to innovating practices and policies in and through arts and culture by a structured dialogue among the stakeholders of the cultural and creative ecosystem.
ArtLab is a learning environment where cultural and creative professionals, the civil society, the corporations, the service agencies and policy makers share experiences and knowledge on how art and culture contribute to wellbeing as well as to economic and social growth: a unique opportunity to networking, sharing, searching for partners, nurturing ideas, compare programmes and projects.
ArtLab is characterized by its international perspective, hosting meetings within the different stages of cultural networks of European and trans-national projects presentations, debates on policies and programs and the dynamics of global markets, contributions by artists, managers, professionals and representatives of supranational organizations protagonists of significant and inspiring experiences.
We Make : Milan’s makerspace
We met Costatino who explained to us all the incredibly opportunity that WE MAKE offers
WeMake is an innovative start-up based in Milan and provides a series of services and training to the creative community of the region in the field of digital and traditional manufacturing, high-value technologies and access to a fully equipped Fab Lab. WeMake is a 250sq/mt urban multifunctional factory providing open and membership based access to digital fabrication tools. Clearing the difference between prototype and finished object, we foster the development of a new model of designer-producer (maker) and small-scale company by facilitating the prototyping phase, the rapid iteration of design solutions, the on-demand production of physical/digital artifacts. WeMake is partner with Coworking Login, the technological coworking of Milan and member of the International Fablab Network affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – the idea behind Fab Labs started in 2006 and now spans over 25 countries worldwide. Every Lab adheres to the Fab Lab charter and shares a common philosophy.
Mare Culturale Urbano
Mare Cultureale Urbano is an artistic production centre in west area of Milan, initiated in order to provide a new model for the development of Milan suburbs.
Circoloquadro is born to support artists through the realisation of exhibitions. Currently, it also organises workshop for artists and cultural professionals by providing them the MUST knowledge you need to gain in order to work in the contemporary scene.
Is a project run by Progetto Citta Ideale, it’s an old newsstand in the area of Navigli, now dedicated to exhibit contemporary artists, through different installations that still are connected to the old aim of that place.
They also do open call.
It’s an exhibition place, but also a place to talk and deepening the contest of contemporary culture.
CASACICCA it’s a Museum-House opened in 2012 and built thanks to the artworks and objects left by the artists, makers and host that have been staying at the house. Next to being a Residence of Art, its also a quite place very close to the centre, where you are welcome to stay and relax.
It’s an interesting art gallery with the opportunity to host artists. The owner is a great artist himself.
Macao is an independent center for art, culture and research. Avoiding the creative industry paradigm, and trying to innovate the old idea of cultural institutions, we started to consider art production as a viable process for rethinking social change, elaborating independent political critique, and as a space for innovative governance and production models. Our research concerns the labour conditions in the creative industry and cultural sector, the right to the city and new forms of organization and technological solutions for cultural production. Macao is currently based in a former slaughterhouse in the middle of a huge abandoned area not so far from the center of the city; it has a cross-sectorial program hosting performing arts, cinema, visualarts, design, photography, literature, newmedia, hacking and the meetings of citizens committees. It is coordinated by an open assembly of artists and activists.
Interesting to see also:
The Museum of Cultures of Milan is a centre dedicated to the interdisciplinary research on the world cultures. Taking inspirations from the civic ethnographic collections and in partnership with our communities, we intend to create a place where to dialogue on contemporary themes by the medium of visual, performing and sound art, design and costume.
Fundamental aims of the museum are
> the research, the collection and the preservation of non European cultures, in their material and intangible expressions
> the promotion of a public participation in the enhancement of the past, present and future heritage of the museum > the promotion of an active dialogue with all the involved communities: the ones identified with the Forum della Città Mondo, the ones which recognize the heritage of the museum as a fundamental element of their culture identity, the ones which are interested in the museum themes due to their own interest, profession, or just to take inspiration for their creativity.
Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli
The Foundation promotes several initiatives to valorise its patrimony and make its documentary collections known to a wider audience. To this end, it organizes exhibitions open and free to the public, hosts conferences, seminars, lectures and cultural events with the contribution of prominent Italian and international scholars. These initiatives may be directed either to a specialist audience or, with a more informative orientation, to the citizen who wishes to be kept up to date. The Foundation also organizes ad hoc meetings for events, processes and phenomena of contemporary history and prepares, on certain occasions, internal pages on its web site to commemorate, recollect and reflect on any issues and figures in our history, which might be appropriate to return to.
Of course there is much more to see in Milan, but this is a great start!
Thanks a lot to Valentina, Giulia, Marcella and the team of Milan for having hosted us. Can’t wait to go back.