— Cultural Sources of Newness

November 2013 Monthly archive

Dr. Cho Hyunjae, the 1st Vice Minister for Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea, welcomed the participants to the ARCOM conference at the Olympus Hall in Seoul on November 20 2013 with strong messages: “Art can make business dance and stimulate innovation.” “Organizations need creative kicks” because “corporations need to learn to stimulate the emotions of employees,” so “Korea is seeking ways to bring down barriers between art and business.” (quotations via translation by an  interpreter at the conference)

The ministry had contacted Professor Jeon Suhwan in 2011 to create ARCOM at the Korea National University of Arts to develop activities that would help the world of organizations and the world of the arts learn how to work together in new ways. For Professor Jeon, the experience with ARCOM has shown that, when given the opportunity, “many CEOs are interested in adopting art in their corporate environment” and their projects illustrate how “Korean companies are changing with the arts.” He believes that collaborations between arts and business can enable Korea to become a “creative economy.” And that the time has come for learning together globally.

Prof. Jeon presents ARCOM at Seoul conference

Prof. Jeon presents ARCOM at Seoul conference

Professor Jeon designed this conference to advance ARCOM’s objectives in two ways. Although there have been numerous artistic intervention projects in Korea these past few years, there has not yet been much research on the subject here, so he wanted this conference to present research from Europe, as well as additional cases from Asia.

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After two full days of presentations, interviews, and discussions here in Seoul, several features are emerging for us about how Koreans are learning from and with artistic interventions in organizations.

The fun and honor of being interviewed by poet and management professor Sim Bo seon, Kyun Hee Cyber University

The fun and honor of being interviewed by poet and management professor Sim Bo Seon, Kyun Hee Cyber University

  • The cases we have seen so far have all been in the IT sector–which may say something about the willingness of managers in this sector to embark on innovative approaches to innovation, but our sample is too small to generalize from.  It is not coincidental that in all of the companies the CEO or another manager is taking a course with Professor Jeon at the Korea National University of the Arts and they are all being coached by him in his role with ARCOM in designing their interventions. We are witnessing the birth of a Korean intermediary/producer of artistic interventions.
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It started with an email in May 2013 that looked like spam, with Asian symbols I did not recognize. Something prompted me to open it and to my surprise, it was from a South Korean researcher who had discovered my studies on artistic interventions and wanted to come to Berlin to interview me.  She explained that she was a researcher from ARCOM (Arts and Company), a non-profit agency at the Korea National University of Arts, that was dedicated to artistic interventions in organizations, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It was great to learn from this email that the reports I had written on the European Creative Clash project (2013) and the earlier TILLT Europe project (2009) were being read around the world, as well as the article I had published about intermediaries in the online journal Organizational Aesthetics based on the Creative Clash report (2011) .

Six weeks later, Soyoung Shin was in Berlin, after having visited my partners in the Creative Clash project, TILLT in Sweden  and before travelling onwards to conexiones improbables in Spain, and ending her trip in London to meet Giovanni Schiuma. Never have I been interviewed by someone who had read my work so thoroughly! After hours of talking at the WZB, I invited her and her photographer to join me with David and Emma Vidal, an artist visiting from Paris, for a picnic in the park of Schloss Charlottenburg, so that she could continue her questioning. She mentioned that ARCOM was hoping to organize an international conference later this year, would I be able to come?

Soyoung Shin from ARCOM joins us for picnic at Schloss Charlottenburg July 2013

Soyoung Shin from ARCOM joins us for picnic at Schloss Charlottenburg in Berlin, July 2013

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