Spontankultur: a research report on Social Production and Cultural Policy in Malmö, Sweden

Together with the Swedish think tank fenomenal, Kesera has produced a research report for the Muncipality of Malmö, Sweden, on how to handle new, participatory cultural forms, like social production and citizen innovation. The abstract follows below, the whole report is available by contacting adam at adam [dot] arvidsson [at] unimi [dot] it

This report presents the results of ‘Laboratorum för Spontanklur’, a research initiative financed by the Culture Board of the municipality of Malmö in 2008.Laboratorium för Spontankultur worked for six months in 2008 with the task of defining the concept of ‘spontankultur’ (spontaneous culture) and elaborate a strategy for future cultural policy based on this understanding. Spontankultur refers to the proliferation of self-organized acitvities of cultural production that has become a feature of the informational city. Empowered by new information and communication technologies, people in different ages and life situations tend to organize their own cooperative networks to provide goods (like organic produce), experiences (like music or other forms of aesthetic expressions) and services (like care of the elderly) on an autonomous basis. These productive networks also constitute a revitalized civic culture that has the potential to compensate for the declining activity of traditional organizations. The report suggests that ‘spontankultur’ can provide a substantial resource for the development of the city of Malmö in three main respects. First spontakultur can work as a field of cutting edge cultural research, feeding the creative and cultural industries with new ideas and input. Second, spontankultur can serve as a way to revitalize the civic culture of the city, providing new spaces for interaction and democratic participation. Third, spontankultur can be put to work to generate strategies for sustainable livlng form below, offering an innovative take on sustainable city development. In order to work with this new cultural factor, the municipality needs to rethink its cultural policy. Culture needs to be conceived as a productive material, rather than as ready made products destined for consumption. A strategy to support and empower spontankultur would build on three factors. One, supporting actors, giving people the time and resources to engage in self-organized forms of production. Two, supporting environments, making sure that the city offers spaces for such spontaneous production, ensuring an active city life and contrasting gentrification. Three, empowering and enabling networks and projects, particularly through the simplification of regulations and forms of municipal financing. The report concludes by presenting a concrete suggestion for how such a new cultural strategy could be institutionalized in a specific municipal institution, Spontanlab.

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