enter stage right
The narrative of the day is creative entrepreneurship. At one level this is just a flag of convenience, renaming processes that have underpinned cultural production and distribution for centuries (Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, Hadyn’s favourite creative entrepreneur). But in reality the practice is not so benign and reflects the current ecosystems debate. If you place a monetary value on a coral reef do you help protect it, or make it expendable? Has everything a price, including our cultural heritage.
Henry Ford famously said “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large”. But the production led cultural sector can adopt a ‘build it and they will come’ approach and a more energised approach to connecting to the wider public in a time of shrinking public subsidies is clearly a good idea. Similarly, if the current attention on entrepreneurship leads to wider understanding of the interdependencies of our mixed creative economy then that should loosen up routes to investment.
In some ways the entrepreneurship ‘meta narrative’ is pathological. It foregrounds the one brand or person and hides everything else. There is a process of social production going on all the time in arts and culture. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Yet the Scottish social enterprise success story is underdeveloped in the culture and creative industries. There are alternative enterprising narratives to underpin innovative approaches to connecting up culture and markets, and these may be more sustainable outside of the metropolitan hothouses, oversupplied as they are with skilled creative labour. (Photo: author’s own – Hidden Door Festival)
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