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Research Report:

Creative hubs play a key role in local economic and social change and create new opportunities for intercultural dialogue.

WHY

Creative hubs are increasing in number and rapidly becoming an important player in supporting creative communities globally. They present a creative network of open, forward-looking and versatile international professionals, who are driven by social impact and the value they create for their communities. This report is a first step to better understand the underlying concepts of how creative hubs create intercultural dialogue and forms part of our effort to contribute to the development of the creative economy and cultural relations.

WE ASKED MORE THAN 400 LOCAL CREATIVE HUB EXPERTS AND STAKEHOLDERS IN GREECE, SERBIA, THE UK, AND TURKEY ABOUT THE IMPACT OF CREATIVE HUBS ON INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE.

What is a creative hub?

Creative hubs are places which bring creative and cultural professionals together. A creative hub is a convenor, providing space and support for networking, business development and community engagement within the creative, cultural and tech sectors. This can include clusters, co-working spaces, studios, creative centres, networks, online platforms, or alternative places and organisations that support growth, collaboration, interaction and development of the creative and cultural industry.

What is Intercultural Dialogue?

Intercultural dialogue is constructive and positive interaction between persons or groups which are culturally different from each other. Cultural diversity can be based on culture itself, nationality, religion, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, class, gender, age, disability, health differences, geographic location and more. Intercultural dialogue can take place locally or internationally.

Turkey
Istanbul
Population
80 Million
Population of Capital
5,017,996
GDP per Capita in US (PPP) (2018*)
9,311.4
Unemployment Rate (2017)
10.8%
Share of Creative Class (2015)
18.89
Creative Index
0.348
Greece
Athens
Population
10 Million
Population of Capital
3,154,152
GDP per Capita in US (PPP) (2018*)
20,324.3
Unemployment Rate (2017)
21.5%
Share of Creative Class (2015)
28.87
Creative Index
0.484
Serbia
Belgrade
Population
7 Million
Population of Capital
1,393,717
GDP per Capita in US (PPP) (2018*)
7,234.0
Unemployment Rate (2017)
13.5%
Share of Creative Class (2015)
28.78
Creative Index
0.484
The UK
Cardiff
Population
67 Million (UK)
Population of Capital
9,304,016
GDP per Capita in US (PPP) (2018*)
42,491.4
Unemployment Rate (2017)
4.3%
Share of Creative Class (2017)
43.60
Creative Index
0.881

Creative Hubs

Greece, Serbia, The UK, and Turkey show similarities and differences that help us to understand their specific contexs.

ATÖLYE is a 21st-century creative services organization that places a Strategic Design Studio within a vibrant Creative Hub.

‘Looking back to date, what we recognise at ATÖLYE is that our success mostly depends on our community, which has people at its core from different cultures, skill sets and experience. Our openness to be creative and strategic about how we bring together the best out of this community is what makes us unique and helps us to tackle wicked problems and create a positive impact in all the areas in which we work. As a member of the European Creative Hubs Network and The Fab Lab Network, we’re a valuable part of different creative communities across the world. In April 2019, ATÖLYE has joined kyu Collective, a collective of strategically curated creative organizations which share a belief that creative collaboration yields new solutions to the world’s toughest problems. ATÖLYE’s model for curating and engaging a diverse, creative community, when combined with kyu’s capacity to provide scale, will create a significantly more powerful and impactful offer in many new contexts. Furthermore, this partnership will grant ATÖLYE the opportunity to join forces with global creative organisations to hone and refine ATÖLYE’s craft, and to apply its approach in other areas, and develop more projects which serve for intercultural dialogue.’

 

- Emre Erbirer, Events Lead and Project Manager, ATÖLYE, Istanbul, Turkey
BIOS based in two buildings and a skate bowl/urban garden in the center of Athens, introduces and influences new interesting work in the Athenian arts scene, supports all creatives, business creative teams with artistic, educational and new technology focus, produces and hosts exhibitions, concerts, performances, collective actions, workshops and seminars.

‘BIOS’ creative hub is focused on community, welcoming and connecting new creatives and creative businesses. BIOS is very keen on hosting events that promote cultural diversity and social inclusion. Our creative hub is located in the Romantso building in the heart of Athens, where people with diverse backgrounds are concentrated. We always welcome community events and support activities that connect us with other cultures and realities. In general, Athens as a crossroad of populations is facing a lot of challenges and intercultural dialogue is the key to social cohesion and inclusion. BIOS is also a proud founding member of European Creative Hubs Network, a peer network of creative people and organizations around Europe that promotes intercultural exchange. Intercultural dialogue only helps us to learn, grow and build the future together.’

 

- Vassilis Charalampidis, Director, BIOS, Athens, Greece

Nova Iskra is a compact working space and studio located in the heart of the Balkans. As a meeting point for technology and creative industries, its users range from young professionals to solution-seeking creative industries for pedagogical, business and consultancy purposes.

‘Nova Iskra is one of the first creative hubs in the Balkan region, and since its very inception in 2012 it has been focused on developing bilateral and multilateral projects and affiliations with partners from all over the region, Europe and beyond. This led to Nova Iskra hosting a number of international educators across its programs, but also a good number of expats who moved to Serbia are using the co-working services of Nova Iskra, thus adding to the cultural mix in all of our workspaces on a daily level. Since 2016, Nova Iskra has been actively involved in the formation of the European Creative Hubs Network, as well as organized and took part in some of the important networking and education events organized by the network. Ever since then, we are in constant contact with many of our peers across Europe, and are exchanging experiences and collaborating with our colleagues and their collaborators and communities from different cultures is an integral part of our daily work and communications. We could not imagine Nova Iskra, and how it has developed over the last few years, without this essential component of intercultural dialogue, as well as the dialogues between different generations, professions, skills and approaches.’

 

- Relja Bobić, International Cooperation Manager, Nova Iskra, Belgrade, Serbia
Rabble Studio is a co-working space for freelancers, small businesses and remote workers based in and around the creative industries. They offer desk space and studio space, member-led workshops, communal lunches, regular social events and a close community of aspirational people that spend their work days together.

Rabble Studio is a co-working home for freelancers, small businesses and remote workers based in and around the creative industries. We offer our members the opportunity to connect with each other and the wider creative network in South Wales by curating an aspirational community of co-workers with shared values and intentions. As an active member of the European Creative Hubs Network we can also engage internationally, across borders to further create intercultural dialogue between spaces, cities and communities by providing workspace for our partner hubs’ members and vice versa. It is important for Rabble, as a smaller creative hub based in a rapidly growing city, to be part of intercultural dialogue conversations and projects. Intercultural dialogue broadens our horizons, creates opportunities for knowledge exchange and helps to develop collaborative projects that can have real cultural and economic impact within our communities.’

 

- Dan Spain, Director, Rabble Studio, Cardiff, UK

CREATIVE HUBS HAVE AN IMPACT ON INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE ON A MICROLEVEL WITHIN THE HUB, ON A MESO-LEVEL WITH ITS SURROUNDING NEIGHBOURHOOD OR CITY AND ON A MACRO-LEVEL ACROSS BORDERS.

ON A SPATIAL LEVEL, A CREATIVE HUB CAN CREATE INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE:

Creative hubs are defined by a space (spatial or digital) and place (the city, the neighbourhood, the area). These spaces and places can bring together and connect people. The economic and cultural activities that are anchored in different spatial areas of a creative hub can also create new or support existing connections which in turn create intercultural dialogue

Our research has shown that the impact on intercultural dialogue of a creative hub can reach from a micro (locally within the hub) to a meso (with the surroundings of the hub) and to a macro spatial level (internationally) with different actors, collaborators and stakeholders.

ON A CULTURAL LEVEL, A CREATIVE HUB CAN CREATE AND ENGAGE IN INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE WITH.

Creative hubs are entities that work in relational, institutional and cultural contexts. As a result of globalisation, cities have become increasingly multicultural. People who live and work in an intercultural context, can use this to make connections across cultures and based on this develop, stimulate innovation and create cross-fertilisation of ideas. The creative nature of these hubs means that the development of new ideas and innovation is often at their core.

Creative hubs can also embody the complexity and contextual character of the different participating identities in a place. The research illustrates that there are three major groups connected by that creative hubs: people from different countries, people with different work backgrounds and minority or disadvantaged groups.

ACTIONS - WHAT ARE
CREATIVE HUBS DOING TO CREATE INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE?

We asked our experts in the survey and the workshops what creative hubs are doing to create intercultural dialogue.

Encounter
Communication
Discourse
Learning

CREATIVE HUBS
TAKE ACTIONS FOR PEOPLE

97 PER CENT OF CREATIVE HUBS ARE PLATFORMS FOR ENCOUNTER OF PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES

Creative hubs are organisations that focus on people. Community formation and serving their members is essential to their work, actions and activities. There are many different ways in which creative hubs engage their members, stakeholders and others in intercultural dialogue: through encounter, communication, discourse and learning.

Creative hubs provide spaces and connect to places, the city and surrounding neighbourhoods. Survey respondents report that 97 per cent of creative hubs enable them to meet with people from different cultures. Three out of ten hubs offer platforms for such engagement daily or on a regular basis.

97%

97 PER CENT OF CREATIVE HUBS ARE PLATFORMS FOR ENCOUNTER OF PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES

40%

40 PER CENT OF CREATIVE HUBS HAVE CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE IN SOME WAY INTEGRATED AS GOALS IN THEIR MISSION STATEMENTS AND BRING THIS INTO THEIR DISCOURSE

50%

50 PER CENT OF CREATIVE HUBS IN THE SURVER OFFER COURSES AND TRAINING TO DEVELOP INTERCUL TURAL COMPETENCES

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES - WHAT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED?

Creative hubs are organisations that
bring opportunities for the creation of
intercultural dialogue. Limited resources,
the wrong mindset and organisational
silos stand in their way.

ACCESSIBILITY TO RESOURCES AND FUNDING IS A KEY FOR NEW INITIATIVES THAT ENABLE INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE

THERE IS A NEED TO CHANGE THE MINDSET OF CREATIVE HUBS TO CREATE INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE

In the workshops, our experts highlighted the limited funding and resources available to create activities and strategies to promote intercultural dialogue. Creative hubs have limited resources and lack time to explore new activities. It is a challenge to create sustainable income from activities that relate to intercultural dialogue. However, our case studies provide examples of generating revenue from these activities, which can also attract new members. Creative hub members tend to be people who specifically value social engagement. The inherent openness and innovativeness of creative hubs and their members build a perfect platform for activities in the context of intercultural dialogue bringing people together and creating communities.

Often neither hub managers nor political actors think of creative hubs as organisations that can have an impact on intercultural dialogue. This hampers access to funding and the creation of incentives for creative hubs. Creative hubs are accustomed to acting as economic entities that create growth for the local economies. They often lack experience in pursuing societal aims, an institutional mindset that hinders change. Creative hub actors and political stakeholders need to be made aware of the opportunities and benefits that come from acting on the creation of intercultural dialogue. Creative hubs are mostly independent institutions who are often better equipped than political bodies in building trust among culturally different groups. Creative hubs have been described in our workshops as ‘unbiased’ platforms who can avoid political bias.

THE VALUE OF CREATIVE HUBS BRIDGING SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC LOCAL
IMPACT NEEDS TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED AND ACTED UPON

The increasing cultural complexity of our societies has impacts on our lives and working environments. Our research found that there are existing silos within organisations which have meant that creative hubs have struggled to engage in intercultural dialogue because of a lack of openness and collaboration from other public institutions. There is often a distrust from cultural institutions towards creative hubs. The distinction between cultural and economic policies have created this siloed situation. There is also evidence that organisations also act in silos internationally. Through historic ligations, we found that creative hubs from certain countries collaborate with the same countries making it difficult to create new connections and work together with countries with which people are not familiar with. The Council of Europe’s White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue highlights different spaces for intercultural dialogue and specifically mentions hubs and work spaces as sites that should not be ignored by policy makers. Diverse workforces can spark fresh approaches and enable tolerance, which has been found to be a significant factor in attracting the talent that is key to competitive success. Creative hubs should therefore be seen as a potential bridge that brings economic and social benefits and opportunities together benefiting the local space and place.

DO YOU WANT TO CREATE INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE? FIND OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CREATIVE HUBS AND THEIR STAKEHOLDERS HERE.

We have developed a list of recommendations for creative hubs, hub partners (existing and future), stakeholders, policy makers, and the academy from the research findings around three areas.

1. DEVELOPING AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE IMPORTANCE AND VALUE OF INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE

2. SUPPORTING HUBS, PARTNERS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS TO ENGAGE IN INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE

3. ANALYSING, MEASURING AND MONITORING THE OUTPUTS AND IMPACTS OF CREATIVE HUBS

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