— Cultural Sources of Newness

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Tag "intermediaries"

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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After conducting so much research on the impacts of artistic interventions in organizations and the roles that intermediaries play in the process of linking artists and organizations, it was particularly interesting to witness the potential beginning of a new project. I introduced an experienced intermediary for the Fondation de France program “Nouveaux Commanditaires  / New Patrons  to the CEO of a French Group. Over lunch I listened to their exploratory conversation and observed the zigzag movement between clarifying and blurring understanding, as they posed each other questions, explained the structures and processes of their organizations, and started formulating desirable and unwanted outcomes.

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When Berliners first saw the new WZB campus designed by James Stirling, they dubbed it “die Geburtstagstorte” (the birthday cake)–inspired by the timing (the 750th anniversary of the city) and the pink and blue stripes around several parts of the building that are reminiscent of thick layers of icing on a cake. When I went to the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart to speak at the 3rd Forum on “CSR und Kultur”  this week, I felt like I was visiting an older sibling of the WZB, because I was surrounded by familiar Stirling forms and colours. However, although we used many images during the presentations and discussions about the relationships between CSR and culture, “icing on the cake” was definitely not among them!

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

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