Culture, a solution against the crisis? Utopian, at a time of competitiveness and globalization challenges? Let’s not forget that the shapes and the innovations which have changed the economic world come from the writing and drawing workshops.
Convinced that the individual and collective support to the cultural creators and entrepreneurs, the public and private cultural investment in culture and artistic and creative education constitute the levers to enrich and imagine our future, we would like to highlight the essential role of culture to get out of the crisis, particularly in Europe.
In a context of budgetary dearth where states cut cultural investments, where companies depend on creative innovation to conquer volatile consumers, it is necessary to continue the reflection on the role of culture in the economic development, its contribution to the attractiveness of territories and its contribution to the local social cohesion.
Relying on an international network of artists, experts, international consulting firms and public and private partners, collaborating in working groups, exclusive studies produced on the occasion of the international meetings of Avignon offer four reasons to hope for culture. Even if the open reflection tracks deserve to be debated, they offer fertile perspectives.
Culture is creating value. And they take many shapes: usage, patrimonial, social … and economic. And there is an individual and social impact to hope for culture. “The society of images isn’t always what
we think it is, it is also the storage space of the shapes that leads us to ponder the world” as the consulting firm Louvre Alliance wrote.
We speak in favor of a genuine estimation of the weight of the cultural and creative industries in the global economy: $2706 billion, i.e. 6.1% of the global GDP, $424 billion of exportations, that is 3.4% of the global trade. And we should not forget its impact on our country. The creative sector represents 546 077 jobs in France, against 225 000 in the car industry and 152 000 in the telecoms.
In Germany, it is 719 000 workers against 444 888 in chemistry, 234 000 in energy.
With challenges of image and geostrategic influence, and even of power, we must notice that China is increasing the public investments in culture by 23% per year.
A development springboard. “Everything is about imagination, Haruki Mirakami wrote. Responsibility starts with the power of imagination, Yeats said: “In dreams begins responsibility.” It is perfectly true.” To channel, stimulate, or organize this creativity, we must integrate organizations, procedures and motivations.
The management of creation is not new. The Louvre exhibition of Raphael shows how the artist knew how to transform his workshop into a production center, where more than fifty coworkers participated in the masterpiece.
The modern times reinforced the relationships between creation and mass production. Convinced by the American designer Raymond Loewy (“beautiful makes sell”) and the adman Ogilvy (“if it doesn’t make sell, it is not creative”), managers include creation at every stage of the productive process, from conception to distribution. And it works.
The companies which invest twice as much as the average in creative resources have 25% more chances to create innovative products. Do we have to quote Apple, first global capitalization, and the proportion of creative design in this success? Every industry should benefit from the creators to imagine their products and services. Two polls confirm this statement: 55% of the managers asked by the Ernst&Young consulting firm plan to launch in the five coming years services that do not exist today, 66% in France and 46% in the United States of America.
For 1500 CEOs in the world (60 countries, 33 industries) asked in 2010 by IBM, creativity constitutes what will help them in the more and more complex world, more than rigor, management, integrity or even strategic vision.
Diversity of publics. Contrary to the accusation of homogenization of the tastes by the cultural industry, cultural diversity spreads with the multiplication of the digital tools and contents. This emergence, that the consulting firm in strategy and management Bain & Co calls “Middle Way” is an intermediary space between mass and niche contents.
The first consequence leads to a smoothing of the blockbusters in the cultural sectors, even if they still contribute to the market stimulation. It enables more creators to finance their work.
We can see the evolution of the American but also the French cinema: the average receipts of the last ten years of the American top 10 decreased by 7% whereas the top 11-100 increased by 44% (in France, 27% against 98%). With the development of artists and cultural contents that are more and more territorialized, the creative and cultural industries make diversity an essential driving force of creation of value.
Especially when Ernst&Young shows that it is possible to reconcile the industrial time with the appetite of this Homo Connexus.
And, to those who worry about the impact of the virtual, let’s remind another diversity tool: the network of the cultural infrastructures. The one of the European Union, for example, includes more than 30 000 museums and as many screens of cinema, 300 sites on the Unesco List and 50 000 public libraries.
A “creative generation”. “If every generation has feared, every night, the decline of creation, every creator, in the morning laughed about it”: the reflection of the consulting firm Louvre Alliance is proven by the cultural habits of the digital generations, the 15-25 year-olds, polled by the Atelier BNP Paribas.
In 2012, a majority of young people with an access to computers create digital contents. For example, almost 59% if the young people declare that they create images and photos, more than 37% create movies and videos, and almost 37% declare that they create music, more than 30% create games and almost 30% create books.
The sharing of cultural contents, majority practice in India (54%), important in the United States (29%), in Korea (26%) and in Germany (27%) and medium in France (21%) has to be linked with a creative practice which blooms proportionally: 20% in India, 11% in the US, 8% in Korean and Germany and 6% in France.
As a perspective, let’s quote this reflection stemming from the Louvre Alliance study: The Slits or Folds allow creation to take place in a childish world. “It began in the midst of children’s laughter, with their laughter will it end.” The real challenge is to question themselves on the way we favor the cultural practices of the digital natives, Y and Z generations.
Does the answer come from the artist Julien Levesque “What interests me for the moment is working with older generations – non digital natives. It is in the generational perspective that I imagined with Albertine Meunier the Hype(r)Olds (hyperolds.com; hyperolds-75.tumblr.com) : internet workshops dedicated to women older than 77 years”, and his work in the rematerialization of the web contents?
Isn’t the challenge, which is also a reason to hope, to start up again with this “creative generation” which uses mass creation tools to make this desire an economic competitive advantage, even if for now those cultural practices remain insufficient to ensure the local employability, one of the essential criteria for relocation? Will France start again with the creation wish of a more and more curious generation? The appetence of a generation to share culture is a good reason to hope.
Laure Kaltenbach and Olivier Le Guay
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