Welcome to the International Conference on Entrepreneurship and Education in Cultural Life placed in Göteborg, Sweden, on May 31 to June 3 2007!

European Network for Cultural Administration Training Centres (Encatc) organise yearly a three-day conference for its member organisations. This year the conference will be held in Göteborg, hosted by one of its members; Nätverkstan. It is an honor for us to greet all partnerorganisations in Europe to this event at the end of the beautiful summermonth May.

The conference invites both members of Encatc and is open for any organisation in Europe interested in the issues discussed. We hope to create an open space and meetingpossiblities of many different cultural organisations and training centres. Hopefully the three days in Göteborg can create new projectideas, possibilities to meet and not the least stand as inspiriation for all of us working with artisitic and cultural issues in Europe.

The 2007 ENCATC conference will focus on entrepreneurship, culture, and education. By conducting a high-quality international conference on entrepreneurship and education in cultural life from the perspective of the active in the field in West Sweden, we aim, among other things:

  1. To provide an opportunity for the exchange of experience and knowledge between people who are activly involved in cultural life from all of Europe.
  2. To offer cultural organizations the chance to meet new partners and cooperations
  3. To advance the frontier of knowledge within the field of culture and entrepreneurship
  4. To share the spirit of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge that characterizes West Sweden, where there are several examples of initiatives that started from a “bottom up” perspective and which are well known today in the region, in Scandinavia, and internationally. There are several such examples, to mention a few: The Gothenburg Film Festival, the Clandestino Festival, the Book and Library Fair, Not Quite, the Water Color Museum, the Dance and Theater Festival, Film in the West, the Artists’ Collective Workshop, Dem Collective and Nätverkstan are some of them.
  5. To demonstrate West Sweden and its progressive spirit on the cultural scene


The world is undergoing a process of structural transformations in multiple dimensions: technological, economic, cultural, and institutional, so said the American Sociologist Manuel Castells in a speech at the University of Southern California in 2004. Globalisation affects all parts of society, at the same time a local identity is getting stronger. Some call this ”glocalisation” and it is not a coincident, that as the Kyoto-protocol is under discussion and world leaders are debating on methods to reach long-term sustainable environment, a small neighbourhood in Manhattan start a ”green-garden”-project to make their own local environment a little bit better. Cities change to be able to meet the new global demands, old industries are moving to other countries, others are closed down. At the same time new small and large-scale initiatives are growing in local areas. We talk about entrepreneurs within all sectors of society. The cultural sector consists of entrepreneurs, multiple jobbers, freelancers, and micro businesses. It is nothing new, the cultural sector has always worked on project basis, but the sector has shown extra-ordinary competence in meeting new demands on flexibility and fast changes. Something that is necessary in a globalised information based society (Justin O’Connor at Manchester Institute for Popular Culture).

Göteborg has, as many other old harbour and industrial cities, seen these changes and been forced to meet them. Today the old industry is just a small part of the production. We talk about the knowledge-based or telecom-city, some also want to put forward the Cultural City of the West Coast. But Göteborg, being the second city in Sweden, has always struggled with its identity. It has existed in the shadow of Sweden’s beautiful and metropolitan Capital City. The brain drain of educated people to Stockholm has always been a fact. All major institutions have their head office in the capitol and among civil society organisations and NGO’s not a single one have their head office in Göteborg.

In the shadow of Stockholm something else has grown. Göteborg is an old shipping and trading city where international networking and exchange has been important. Just fifty years ago ships from all over the world boarded the harbour of Göteborg to exchange goods and do trade. Today it is not the harbour as much as many organisations’ great interest in international networking that fills the international exchange. In Göteborg network building with Paris, Beijing and New York sometimes seems more natural than networking with one of the international suburbs just outside the city.

Göteborg, and West Sweden, is often described as open; open to initiatives, new ideas and with an open mentality. In the lack of all major institutions and head-offices or perhaps just by the fact of being the second, an entrepreneurial atmosphere has been present. Ideas developed by a few people have grown to large-scale businesses important on a global scene. It can be described as an underground perspective, where people outside the major institutions want to create alternatives, start something of importance, something outside of the institutions. West Sweden has many such stories where the entrepreneurial atmosphere has put the city and the region on the map, many of these are found within culture, to  mention just a few; Göteborg International Book Fair, Göteborg Film Festival, the Dance and Theatre Festival, the multicultural Clandestino Festival, the Nordic Watercolour Museum. Our own organisation, Nätverkstan, is also an example of an organisation grown with an underground perspective. It is an organisation, run by practitioners, people with large-scale visions combined with a practical down-to-basic way of working, large visions of what is possible to accomplish combined with worst-case scenarios.

Figures show that the cultural sector is growing. Newly published figures from EU shows a growthrate of 19,7% in the sector between 1999-2003. In 2004 around 5,8 million people worked within cultural sector in Europe, which is 3,1% of the total workforce in Europe. A very new report written by the Swedish researchers Filip Wijkström and Torbjörn Einarsson from Stockholm School of Economics shows the same thing. They have made a study focusing on the changing of the civil society organisational life, in which culture also is described. They have found that the Swedish civil society sector has grown between 1992-2002. Culture is one of the fields that have grown the most. The American Professor in Economy, Richard Florida, has suddenly put the flashlight on small-scale cultural organisations, artists and people within what he calls ”the Creative Class”. Although it might be a confusion of definitions between cultural and creative industries, cultural sector and so forth, one thing remains. The interest of the cultural sector and all those who work there has grown and so has the importance of the sector.

But how do we, all of us that work within this sector, deal with all these changes? How do Universities prepare and how do the practitioners and the entrepreneurs do? Another process can be seen called the ”business-style-management”; the management skills of the business and economic sector take over as the norm of how projects and organisations should be run. There are of course many skills that are essential within the business sector, but is it possible to find specific skills and management-methods within the cultural sector? What is the practice of cultural management and what is the theory?

The 15th Annual Encatc Conference 2007 would deal with all these issues. We will put all these questions into discussion. We would like to put forward the practitioners point of view. And have these views meet the Universities and Institutions and have them learn from each other. The conference will consist of both lectures and visits to different organisations. And we will get back to the question: What skills do you need to be working within the cultural sector in the globalised world? What skills and management methods need to be taught at the training institutions? What are the experiences of the practitioners in the cultural sector?