Critical Spaces Consultancy Workshop

Critical Spaces Consultancy Workshop

On 23 May 2014, ICCE hosted the London Consultancy Workshop for Critical Spaces.

Critical Spaces is a critical catalyst for socially-engaged artists. This includes all artists working in social contexts, including site-specific, situationist, public, community and outreach artists. We are currently developing a free online platform which will support these artists by:

  • Helping them to find other socially-engaged artists for critical conversations and collaboration – locally or anywhere in the UK, and using specialist terminology.

  • Sending ‘Critical Tasks’ directly to their inbox. These are short exercises created by other artists to stimulate critical thinking.

  • Creating a map of socially-engaged artists across the UK, to increase the visibility of artists working in this way.

It will also help curators and commissioners to search for artists to work with more easily.

So far, 281 artists have registered their interest in this initiative. As a result, 17 workshops have been held across England to support critical thinking, local networks and peer support… And, to figure out how this type of activity can be stimulated on a national scale.

ICCE hosted the last of these workshops, where the final model for an online platform was presented to and tested by a curated group of 17 people. These were predominantly socially-engaged artists, but also included a mixture of consultants, commissioners and curators working in this field.

To compliment these workshops, we will shortly be launching an online survey for those who were not able to attend any of the R&D events.


The need

Critical dialogue and reflection is essential for improving art practice. The use of art to deliver social policy has both brought new possibilities for artists and led to a decrease in criticality and critical language.

Where studio and gallery-based artists are dealing exclusively in art language, social art practitioners are immersed in the language of the Third Sector. They are undertaking professional development training to learn about public licensing, charity status, viral marketing, policy changes and bid writing. Studios become offices, and the curators are charities and governmental bodies. None of these spaces are asking artists to develop and define the value of artistic practice on their own terms.

On top of this, a new breed of student is demanding that their £27k art school degree leaves them industry-ready. These previously experimental spaces – where young artists would generate new terms, processes and concepts for seeing – are fast becoming business schools.

For artists working in the social realm, the designated space for reflection is often the evaluation report. Rather than critical contemplation, evaluation is in fact advocacy. In addition, the looming threat of the quantitative measurement of well-being and payment-by-results means that social value – and by extension social art practice – is increasingly articulated in economic terms. This brings art practice much closer to an economic debate than it is used to.

Within an increasingly pressurised situation – where the artists’ livelihood and an externally-defined value system become intractably intertwined – the critical justification of this work easily becomes a secondary concern. The space for artist-led, autonomous, critical discourse – essential for developing sophisticated practice – is in short supply.

“There is a power struggle that is starting to happen between artists trying to access resources and money. I think there is room for us to come together in some way, when the economic situation outside is splitting us apart and preventing us from serving the people we are trying to reach through art.”

– Myles Stewart, Artist and Art Therapist

“We are so used to scrabbling for funding, keeping ourselves afloat and justifying what we do, that we don’t actually look creatively at the very terms in which we think and act. The spaces where artists used to come together to think differently are diminishing.”

– Matthew Taylor, Artist and Researcher

“We need to create some kind of support network where we can develop alternative instructions and forms and processes [for demonstrating artistic value] than those being directed by policy – and we need to do that collectively.”

– Sophie Hope, Artist and Researcher

Further information

Critical Spaces is an initiative by Hannah Hull in partnership with ixia public art think tank.

Hannah Hull a situation-specific artist, creating social sculpture and political interventions.  As part of her practice, she delivers and consults on creative practice for social change.

ixia is a public art think tank. It promotes and influences the development and implementation of public art policies, strategies and projects by creating and distributing knowledge to arts and non-arts policy makers and delivery organisations within the public and private sectors, curators, artists and the public. ixia is a charity and is funded by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO). ixia also teach on the MA Arts Administration and Cultural Policy in ICCE.


Engaging the World: EU maps out Culture in External Relations

Engaging the World: EU maps out Culture in External Relations


Researchers from the Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, Rod Fisher and Dr Carla Figueira, are part of a group of independent experts and cultural organisations helping the EU develop a strategic approach to the use of culture in external relations.

The Preparatory Action ‘Culture in EU External Relations’ launched this week its final report ‘Engaging the World: Towards Global Cultural Citizenship’. This report is the outcome of a sixteen-month inquiry led by the Goethe Institut, Brussels, covering 54 countries – the 28 EU Member States, 16 countries included under the European Neighbourhood Policy and 10 Strategic Partnership countries (including the USA, China, Brazil, South Africa, Russia). It has uncovered a very considerable potential for culture in the EU’s international relations and has also explored the ways in which culture and cultural expression have been deployed already by European actors in multiple relationships with their counterparts elsewhere.At the same time, the inquiry has analysed how stakeholders from countries outside of the EU have partnered with European cultural actors and how they view their relationships with Europe.

The report validates the need for the deployment of soft power by the European Union through enhancing the role of culture in its the external relations and those of its Member States and the process set in motion by the European Commission’s 2007 ‘Communication on a European agenda for culture in a globalizing world’, which was endorsed by the Parliament and the Council in 2008.

The country reports examine the cultural situation, potentials and challenges in the respective countries, focusing on strengthened cultural relations between the EU and the country in question. Reports are available online for: Algeria, Armenia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Georgia, India, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Moldova, Palestine, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Tunisia, Ukraine and USA. Reports will also become available for Libya, Syria Belarus, Jordan and Azerbaijan.

More detailed information on the outcomes of the Preparatory Action here.

Daniel Merrill – Intercultural Co-production and the Cultural Entrepreneur







This article uses the vehicle of an international arts project to explore some considerations of the idea of cultural entrepreneurship. As such it will not focus on the practicalities of undertaking the project, or indeed many of the specific activities that happened as a part of it, instead exploring how considerations of the cultural entrepreneur come through in such activities.


1. The Projects Origins

In 2014 I successfully applied for the Artists International Development Fund, which is made available by Arts Council England and The British Council. The aim was to undertake musical research through active collaboration with artists in three countries – Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. The fund “offers early stage development opportunities for […] artists based in England to spend time building links with artists, organisations and/or creative producers in another country”. The project was to involve six weeks traveling between the three countries creating rapid collaborations with musicians in each country, exploring the potentials of combining my own music with contemporary arab music. This project arose in the form of a collaboration with Amina Abodoma, an entrepreneur based in Alexandria, Egypt who I had met whilst undertaking a Masters at Goldsmith’s Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship, her work with I-Act and as Manager of Teatro Eskendria has seen her playing an important role in the cultural sector within the country.

Having helped to co-produce an event for Egyptian band Masar Egbari at London’s Cafe Oto, a concert that proved interesting in its inter-cultural reach, Amina and I started to explore ideas about how to further develop concerts projects that would bridge between the Middle East and the UK. Throughout her time in the UK Amina had gained insight into the working of the cultural sector in the UK, and a project to develop reciprocal knowledge was conceived.

The project itself fits into both of the primary forms of international co-production as outlined by Staines, Travers and Chung being both a co-financing and an artistic collaboration. Previous experience has demonstrated that the importance of funders is often misunderstood by artists in developing projects. When seeking funding it is not simply about raising the money to do what you wish to do, but engaging potential funders in what it is that you are doing; starting a discussion. Funders often have much more to offer than simply the money, and a fruitful discussion will help move a project on tremendously. Co-funding not only makes this a multi-linear conversation, but helps to add assurance to further potential funders that your project has an established network that will   allow it to develop. This was therefore essential in this project, which received support in the UK from Arts Council England and The British Council, but by Goldsmiths University, Norwich Arts Centre and Colchester Arts Centre, and Teatro Eskendria and I-Act in Egypt. These organisations provided either financial support or income in kind to the project, but most importantly they assisted in shaping the artistic outcomes, as well as understanding the logistical considerations. The artistic collaborations were facilitated initially through Amina, whose previous work has assisted her in developing a regional network of creatives, venues and organisations. She facilitated contact with two of the most important contacts in the artistic development of the project, Tareq Al Nasser (composer and performer – Jordan) and Ayman Asfour (violinist and musical curator/educator – Egypt), whilst the network of people encountered through studying at Goldsmiths led to the development of contacts with Jackson Allers (DJ, producer and writer) and Jihad Sammat (founder of Radio Beirut) in Lebanon. These names would provide insight both into the music itself and the contemporary music scene and industry in the region.

2. The Thinking

Trends in international co-production are predicated on a number of factors (availability of transportation and communications, heightened institutional awareness of roles in global society), and provide many benefits for the various parties involved (artists, presenters and cultural institutions and audiences).  Various authors have dealt with how the cosmopolitan blending of cultures is an essential element in what has been termed the “creative economy”. Whilst courses such as the MA in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship that bring together a multi-national cohort can be perceived to fit into the landscape of the creative city envisaged by thinkers such as Richard Florida, or the roaming boarder-less creative class described by Nordstrum and Riderstralle, and the considerations of intellectual property developed through such endeavors is seen as central to the growth of the creative economy by government advisors such as Howkins the critical framework that underpins the course encourages students to consider the very nature of what cultural entrepreneurship is, and how it fits into political and ideological frameworks. Critiques of the culture industry presented by the likes of Adorno and built upon by the likes of Lash, McRobbie and Standing form an essential counterweight, and deeply enrich our understanding of the discourse we are entering. This is not simply about arts enterprise/business, it is about exploring the ideas that underpin this.

A more recent perspective to present itself is not simply the cultural entrepreneur as a hybrid between an artist and a business person, rather the cultural entrepreneur as a person whose work explores culture and cultural formations, presenting challenges and questions. A cultural entrepreneur is related to but is not the same as social entrepreneur. Both explore culture but in different ways. Social entrepreneurs develop businesses to address particular sets of issues, the point being that their enterprise makes profits from providing a social good, and that these profits are reinvested into the enterprise, or the communities they serve. In addressing these issues cultural attitudes and actions will need to change

The  idea of the cultural entrepreneur as presented by Martin and Witter starts elsewhere:

Social entrepreneurs solve problems by disrupting existing systems…. Cultural entrepreneurs, on the other hand, solve problems by disrupting belief systems[.]

Their work explores aspects of culture, which may then raise social considerations, with their economic and political ramifications (from which Social Enterprises may arise). Effectively the Cultural Entrepreneurs activity is in stirring up questions on which social movements or social enterprise might form.

The project would take place over a limited time period of six weeks, creating a natural limit to physical output. As such – though there are direct outcomes that would arise from a project, those which are quantifiable, allowing space for the project to develop considering things on a more conceptual and experiential level is equally, if not more important. It is from these psycho-geographic explorations that the seeds for future work would develop.

3. The outcomes

The project within itself had clearly defined outcomes. This is a further aspect that many artists find hard to bring into focus but is essential. Whilst making anticipated outcomes too specific can become a hindrance to the creative process, making them too vague makes a project open to criticism, making the project equally unmanageable. Funders from both private and public sector organisations are increasingly looking at the intended measurement and evaluation framework for projects, and this is reflected in the application processes and eventual project evaluation. Used effectively, the application process in itself can help you refine what your objectives are, and help to express more clearly what it is that you are actually applying (including understanding how it does and does not meet the potential funders, partners and audiences interests).

Having completed this initial research expedition, the next stage is how to further the relationships established through this. In a world of limited public funding, and between two considerably different formations of the music industry, exploring ways for collaboration that are viable (financially and personally) in the short medium and long term present presents a number of challenges and opportunities. The independent music scene in the Middle East has seemingly developed in the absence of major label influence, with these labels working more in regards to feeding the export market known as “world music”. Though the lack of interest from record labels perceived by artists within the region is a difficulty, and a culture of free downloading of music, it has created an appreciation and engagement with live music and a strong sense of entrepreneurship within the cultural sector. As the music industry in Europe continues to be more and more challenging, with majors and mid level labels alike struggling to maintain investment in artists and releases, there is a great deal for us to learn from this approach. Further opportunities to explore this might suggest potential models or collaborations in terms of industry practice that would be beneficial in both locations.

One of the outcomes in this project was hard to anticipate, and happened in advance of any of the travel that actually occurred. True to the afore mentioned definition of the Cultural Entrepreneur, the simple act of planning this activity became revealing of cultural norms which lead to a considerable questioning. The cultural norms presented were embodied in two words that I would encounter with almost every person with whom I would speak about t the project; “take care”. Having been performing, touring and collaborating with musicians across Europe and North America for over a decade, I am used to undertaking projects that probably to most people seem somewhat harebrained, or at least amusing. However, at no point have I have ever met such earnest requests as “take care”. These two words though said from a place of genuine good intent, when combined with multiple requests for information regarding my whereabouts, contact details, daily check ins etc… and the fact that these words have rarely been uttered in relation to European or North American projects, mask a cultural persepective I had not expected to encounter; the perception of the Middle East as a place of continuous danger.

It would be incorrect to try and present the Middle East as being a region without troubles. Indeed the legacy and living experience of these troubles were abundantly clear. The facades of Beirut’s crumbling buildings and infrastructure, both beautiful and poignant in a city where each district encounters daily power outages, were one vestige of this, and within a few nights I found myself conducting an interviewing a Humanitarian Munitions Disposal Expert, who could chart the history of the country in terms of the land mines and cluster bombs disposed of on a daily basis. In Alexandria, protests and riots are a daily occurrence and multitudes of unregulated (and largely illegal) housing developments are erupting all over the city taking advantage of the political vacuum, and talk of the revolution is still strong, if somewhat jaded. But the point is that for those wishing to travel to or work places listed in UK Foreign Offices orange zones, one of the first hurdles to overcome is convincing others that the events presented in the media do not translate directly to personal risks. For artists or entrepreneurs working on a smaller, or individual collaborative level (as opposed corporate levels), both in the UK and in the region, such perspectives can be paralysing.


Such observations about risks in travelling to Middle Eastern countries are passed off in ordinary discussion by a form of concern, but in fact mask an unthinking acceptance of media portrayals of exceptional events without consideration of the mundanity that forms the day to day. Here we brought to R.D. Laing’s considerations of how we use our relationship with others as means to defining our own being:

…Every relationship implies definition of self by other and other by self and that if the self does not receive confirmation by its contacts with the other, or if the attributions that the other ascribe to it are contradictory, its position becomes untenable and may break down.

In the phrase “take care” there is an implication of threat or danger, in this context a perspective that the nature of the countries to be visited (and the people that inhabit them) are  fundamentally less safe than than the country or society in which the statements are made. The statement is made with an assumption that the sayer (other) and the receiver (self) both working under the same perspective, be this a delusion (total self deception), illusion (partial self deception) or collusion (where two or more people participate in self deception).

A collusion is “clinched when self finds in other that other who will ‘confirm’ self in the false self that self is trying to make real… each [finding] an other to endorse his own false notion of himself and to give this appearance of reality”. Through this project the importance of international co-produced projects of this nature, and of the role of the cultural entrepreneur becomes strikingly apparent: to challenge such collusionary norms.

Supporting Creative Business: Cultural Enterprise Office and its clients

Siân Prime Director of the  MA Cultural & Creative Entrepreneurship in ICCE was invited to be respondent and contribute to a seminar held at the University of Glasgow on 3rd March 2014,that was part of the research project “Supporting Creative Business: Cultural Enterprise Office and its clients”. The AHRC funded project investigates how the Cultural Enterprise Office operates as a business support agency for creative sector micro-businesses in Scotland. Led by PI Philip Schlesinger and Co-I Melanie Selfe, it seeks to develop in-depth academic understanding of the workings of public support, provide research-based analysis to assist Cultural Enterprise Office, and analyse what lessons for public support in the cultural field can be drawn from the experience of the service and its clients. By mobilizing and analysing the implicit, embedded knowledge of those providing and receiving support, it aims to revalue organizational experience: transforming fragmented anecdotes into structured evidence, identifying models of best practice in cultural sector support and developing new methods and models for the effective evaluation and evidencing of cultural support initiatives.
Through the detailed case study of Cultural Enterprise Office, the investigation will address the following issues:
  • How does a cultural support agency understand its role and evolve its agenda within the wider policy and economic landscape?
  • How do particular practices, schemes and interventions enable the organisation to achieve its objectives, and to what extent do these activities meet the needs of clients and transform their perceptions and business practices?
  • What are the particular challenges of developing entrepreneurial skills and establishing micro-businesses within different parts of the creative sector? 
  • What can academic research bring to an understanding of agency-client knowledge exchange and how can future knowledge exchange be best facilitated?
  • What key lessons can be drawn from the experience of the service and its clients in relation to the challenges involved in framing and executing policies for support of cultural enterprise in the 21st century?
Whilst clearly situated in the Scottish context, the study addresses pressing issues relevant to a number of wider policy and creative economy debates. Findings are expected to contribute substantially to the understanding of the specific support needs of micro-businesses; the fit between entrepreneurial policy rhetoric and the career aspirations, professional identities and intellectual frameworks of creative workers; the relevance of concepts such as IP for small scale creative enterprise; and the way geographic clustering/dispersal affects the effective delivery of support. Current policy continues to position creativity as the engine of enterprise and economic regeneration. This study will use empirical research to identify the challenges of developing creative reputations and successful business profiles within a notoriously ‘precarious’ sector, and will inform the provision of effective creative sector support.
Siân was invited to participate as she was the founder-Director of the Cultural Enterprise Office, and developed the methodology that is used to support the cultural entrepreneurs. That methodology is still used by the Cultural Enterprise Office. The project has revealed the relevance of that methodology, and recognises the impact that it has on the cultural economy. She spoke about identity, sustainability and biodiversity in the sector,  the need for Universities to develop what Sennett calls and “Architecture of Cooperation” to support knowledge exchange between creative and cultural enterprises and the research and teaching communities to develop craftsmanship. The need to develop  emotional intelligence (all of us in our community of learning)  together with the craft, discipline and practice and abilities to think critically and creatively. She further spoke about Intellectual Property frameworks as much as the business models in the Creative Economy needing transformation

Art-house Cinema Management Event Lebanon March 2014

Siân Prime spoke to managers of independent cinemas from across the Middle East at the first specialised workshop for arthouse cinema management and programming in the Arab world.
Organised by The Network of Arab Arthouse Screens (NAAS) and Metropolis Cinema Association, in collaboration with ArteEast, Siân was the first speaker, opening the 5-day workshop, She spoke about the complexities of developing a business and management model as well as developing a financial model for cinemas in the region. Participants attended sessions, case studies, and panel discussions by experts in the field, as well as shared experiences and participated in discussions focusing on:
  • Creative film programming
  • Strategies for audience development
  • The business of distribution
  • Successful management of an arthouse cinema
  • Common issues facing arthouse cinemas in the region
    The event developed a strong network of programmers of the region, encouraging opportunities for collaboration, peer to peer support and allowing for new programming and audience development initiatives to be creatd. The workshop had 20 participants from the Arab world including : Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, U.A.E and Lebanon.
    The project is supported by Hubert Bals Fund, FSP “Consolidation et développement de la francophonie au Liban” and the British Council, and NAAS is incubated by ArteEast and supported by the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.

ICCE OPEN LECTURE Influence and Attraction: A Debate on Soft Power – John Holden, Associate at think-thank Demos


Wednesday, 27 November, 2pm-4pm, LG02 NAB


Influence and Attraction: A Debate on Soft Power

John Holden, Associate at think-thank Demos

John Holden presents the key findings of his report Influence and Attraction: Culture and the Race for Soft Power in the 21st Century 

In his own words:

“Cultural contact between nations used to involve high art and elite meetings: Harold Macmillan visiting the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow with Khrushchev in 1959 is a paradigmatic example. But in the 21st century both culture and communication have become democratised.  Cheap flights, 24 hour news, migration and the internet have combined to create a world of mass peer-to-peer communication; and the content of much of that communication is cultural. Culture – the means we use to express ourselves through art, film, music, dance, literature and so on – provides a bridge between people.

This has huge economic and social consequences that are discussed in the report. It also has political implications, because what happens in the cultural arena increasingly affects what politicians can do: cultural misunderstandings create political problems, while an ‘attractive’ culture gives nations a licence to operate, and a chance of being persuasive.

International relations is a rapidly developing field, with new players like cities and the private sector taking a role. It is also one where Western governments are decreasing spending – and hence ceding influence. By contrast, developing nations, and particularly the BRICS, see culture as an area where they need to be more active.

Hu Jintao greeted 2012 with these words: ‘The overall strength of Chinese culture and its international influence is not commensurate with China’s international status…The international culture of the West is strong while we are weak.”

Things are starting to change: K-pop is big in Peru, Brazil will host the next Olympics, and China has opened Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in 104 countries in the last seven years.

But the growth nations of the east and south will be making a big mistake if they think cultural relations are all about power and projection. The countries that ‘win’ this race for soft power will be those whose citizens are culturally, as well as intellectually and emotionally, intelligent. Nations need to spend as much time and effort learning about other cultures as they do on telling the world about their own cultures if they are to flourish in the next century.”

You can download the report here:

Interesting debate related with this report:

Follow the UK’s Parliament committee’s discussions on Soft Power and the UK’s Influence:

Risk, scale and investment in the creative economy

Goldsmiths, University of London

The Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) will present two key speakers on ‘Risk’.  Patrick McKenna, CEO of Ingenious Media , a leading entrepreneur and investor in the creative industries, and Baroness Morris of Yardley, holder of  several government offices in education, culture and the creative industries including those of Secretary of State for Education and Skills and Minister of State for Arts at the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

Patrick McKenna

Risk, scale and investment in the creative economy


Estelle Morris

Can government ever be a reliable partner in risk based industries?

This event will also mark the launch of the Patrick McKenna and Ingenious Scholarships at Goldsmiths.

Date: 23rd October 2013, Goldsmiths University of London, NAB LGO1.

6:00 – 7:30pm, followed by a post talk reception.

Mail: Libby Tuson   to reserve a place

Patrick McKenna is the chair of the ICCE/IMS external advisory board.

Estelle Morris is chair of Goldsmiths Council.

Past is Prologue: Creating Art form a Living Archive 2

Past is Prologue: Creating Art form a Living Archive    2



On Wednesday 18th September, ICCE and the Library at Goldsmiths hosted a one day symposium exploring new directions in the ways artists are working with archives towards the creation of new work across diverse media. The event, co-organized with engage and the London International Festival of Theatre, both of whom house their own archives at Goldsmiths, was chaired by Ruth Mackenzie and Caoimhe McAvinchey. Over presentations from Siobhan Davies, Tim Etchells, Richard Wentworth, Nayia Yiakoumaki, Barby Asante and Sue Mayo, as well as breakouts from Eileen Hogan, X Marks the Spot and Rachael Castell of Digital Theatre, delegates from a range of institutions and creative practices delved into myriad observations, cases, questions and theories of this ‘archival impulse’ and its significance to the present moment in art and creative culture.

Mollie  Cashwell  – conference administrator

Past is Prologue : Creating Art form a Living Archive’ on 18 September at Goldsmiths, University of London was a really inspiring event. Artists, curators and academics described working with archives through film, dance, music and the visual arts. Many of the projects involved artists and people working with archives, such as Barby Asante’s work exploring black music particularly with older people in London, and Eileen Hogan’s work with young people and the Baring Archive. The audience included archivists, artists, curators and education colleagues working in galleries and museums. Judging by their questions, the event gave them the opportunity to gather all sorts of ideas for fresh ways of working with archives and historical collections. The seminar also included interesting tours of some of the collections at Goldsmiths Library including the London International Festival of Theatre’s Living Archive and the engage Resource.

At engage, we are delighted that material about gallery education practice in the UK and internationally from the 1970’s onwards will soon be accessible at Goldsmiths Library.

Jane Sillis  Director      engage

The Past is Prologue was a really invigorating day profiling really exciting ways that artists have worked with archives. Though there were many artists presenting about their exciting work with archives it was also particularly interesting to hear the perspective of the archive curator from Whitechapel Gallery about their work.

Erica Campagne Participation Producer at  London International Festival of Theatre

Youth Entrepreneurship in Japan and the UK: New hope for ‘desperate societies’?

The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation


Dr Tuukka Toivonen  of ICCE at Goldsmiths, University of London will chair the following event

Seminar details:

17 October 2013

6:00 – 8:00pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:00pm

13/ 14 Cornwall Terrace, London, NE1 4QP

Youth Entrepreneurship in Japan and the UK: New hope for ‘desperate societies’?

Amid gloomy news about deepening youth unemployment and increasingly precarious labour conditions, entrepreneurship has been highlighted as an alternative career path for today’s young adults in both Japan and the United Kingdom. There seems to be a general consensus — or at least a widely shared hope — that more entrepreneurial activity by the young will lead not only to more jobs and greater opportunity, but also to more economic growth. Social entrepreneurship and innovation are also increasingly cited in high-profile books and proposals that consider ways to enhance national dynamism and well-being.

Puzzlingly little, however, is known about the ways in which young people get involved in entrepreneurship in practice, and few policy-makers or academics appear to understand how such involvement could be effectively supported via public policy, educational institutions or intermediaries. In order to address these conundrums, this session brings together two leading researchers of youth entrepreneurship in Japan and the United Kingdom. They will critically contrast the images of youth and entrepreneurship that prevail in these two societies with observed realities and practices, challenging us to reconsider the key structures, meanings and conditions that mediate young people’s involvement in entrepreneurship. Can youth entrepreneurship truly serve as a source of hope and vitality for our affluent but ‘desperate’ modern societies? Or are we mistaken to place high expectations on young entrepreneurs without supporting their activity at a level commensurate with these expectations.

About the contributors

Noritoshi Furuichi

Noritoshi Furuichi is Japan’s leading young public sociologist. His controversial second book, The Happy Youth of a Desperate Country (Kodansha, 2011, see here for an overview in English) attracted great attention in academia and the general media by arguing that young Japanese adults in fact enjoy high levels of life satisfaction even as they struggle with challenges such as rising unemployment and disparities in social security benefits between the young and older generations. This argument posed a challenge to the prevailing youth discourse in Japan that portrayed young adults as an unfortunate, disappointed generation with few opportunities, calling for a more reflective debate on youth and related public policies. Since the publication of this volume, Furuichi has appeared frequently on national TV, as well as in the national and international press (recently in the Financial Times). He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Tokyo, writing a thesis that sheds light on the sociological factors that regulate youth entrepreneurship in the Japanese context. His two most recent books are Bokutachi no Zento (2012), an ethnographic reportage on selected young entrepreneurs, and Daremo Sensou wo Oshietekurenakatta (2013), a critical exploration of the relationship between war education and young people.

External links:

Shiv Malik

Shiv Malik is a journalist who writes on political issues affecting young people, and co-wrote the bestselling book, Jilted Generation: How Britain Bankrupted Its Youth with Ed Howker. He started his career as a reporter after winning a bursary from the Guardian’s Scott Trust and obtained an MA in Journalism at the University of Sheffield in 2003. In 2008, he was involved in a landmark court battle with the Greater Manchester police to protect his sources on terrorism and was also selected as the Evening Standard’s most influential Londoners of that year. He is also co-founder of the think tank, theIntergenerational Foundation which seeks to find solutions to economic imbalances between those of different age groups in society. In 2012, he was assistant editor of a collection of essays on intergenerational justice, Regeneration. He currently works for the Guardian as an investigative journalist and is a regular contributor on UK media on economic issues affecting young people.

Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller is Senior Researcher at UnLtd – the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, with a decade of research and policy experience, much of which has been focused on improving outcomes for young people. UnLtd is the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK and offers the largest such network in the world. Stephen manages and delivers substantial research and evaluation projects from conception through to completion, and is currently overseeing the evaluation of UnLtd’s work to promote and support social entrepreneurship amongst 11-21 year olds in the UK. At this seminar, Stephen will share what he has learned from the past four years of UnLtd’s work in this area, looking at how it and other organisations are supporting youth social entrepreneurship in practice, the challenges encountered and the likely road ahead.

Dr Tuukka Toivonen (Chair)

Dr Tuukka Toivonen directs the new MA course in Social Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London, while serving as a research fellow at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford. His PhD research at the University of Oxford investigated how the state and entrepreneurial youth supporters strive to “activate” jobless young people in the Japanese context, leading to the publication in 2013 of Japan’s Emerging Youth Policy: Getting Young Adults Back to Work. He is currently writing papers about so-called “social innovation communities” that demonstrate the collective, collaborative nature of much of social entrepreneurship in today’s networked cosmopolitan cities.

Cred-Ability Developing accredited training programmes for delivering arts in prisons


Developing accredited training programmes for delivering arts in prisons

by Hannah Hull

On 4th July 2013 ICCE hosted a development event for this research-led project. Arts practitioners were invited to test module exercises and offer critical feedback to the current structure of the course. ICCE provided the perfect environment and context for this project, which shares ICCE’s aims of embedding itself into a social context in a functional but highly innovative way. I am developing a Critical Thinking module for this programme, a core module that underpins the project and provides knowledge transfer from ICCE to our European partners.

The CredAbility project is a European collaboration to develop training for artists that want to work in prisons. Five key organisations from Ireland, England, Lithuania, Latvia and Germany are contributing both their specialist knowledge and their cultural situation to the project, enabling the development of a comprehensive course that addresses the strengths and weaknesses of prison arts across Europe.

From the basic needs of obtaining funding and developing demand, through to critical thinking and innovation theory, the final course aims to treat theory and practice with equal weight. By embracing both the traditional and radical potential of this type of activity, the course will not only offer practical skills to learners, but also challenge their preconceptions about purpose of prisons, the notion of crime, and of prisoners themselves.

This ‘total’ approach means the course will benefit existing prison arts practitioners as well as new recruits, offering a space in which to redefine and challenge their own – and society’s – approach to prison arts.

 The often abstract and unconventional content, the scale of the collaboration, the diversity of languages (both academic and geographic) and the attempt to push the boundaries of its own context has made the development of a legitimate course structure a complex challenge for The College of Teachers. The ultimate aim, however, is to produce a learning offer and experience that is as appealing and clear to navigate for potential candidates, and organisations who want to offer the course to their catchment.




Further information:

Think Critical by Hannah Hull

An article for ArtsProfessional

“Working in prisons and other challenging environments is, well, challenging. Hannah Hull argues for the importance of thinking critically about what you are doing and why.”  


Main website

“Developing accredited training programmes for delivering arts in prisons”