The Forum d’Avignon Bilbao kicked off this morning with the first discussion: ‘A dialogue between the private and public sectors in the creative industries’, moderated by Jose Luis Rebordinos, Director of the San Sebastián Film Festival, and featuring a lecture by Jean Blaise, Director of the programme Le voyage à Nantes: culture et tourisme. The panel also included Katrín Jakobsdóttir, former Minister of Education, Science and Culture of Iceland; Maria Mur Dean, Director of the Bilbao-based art production company consonni; Gail Lord, Co-President of Lord Cultural Resources, Canada; and Joxean Muñoz, Vice Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of the Basque Government.
Jean Blaise provided examples of the creations welcomed by the city of Nantes in the past few years. He described them as ‘cultural expressions that can lead to the creation of a new economy for the city.’ The ‘peculiar’ architecture that residents in Nantes live with are not mere cultural centres but places where ‘you can experience the city, interact with it,’ Blaise remarked.
Katrín Jakobsdóttir talked about the ‘importance of public funding in the cultural industry in times of crisis.’ She explained that Iceland kept the cultural budget intact despite the cuts, and this resulted in ‘more participation in cultural activities, as well as in economic regeneration.’
María Mur Dean advocated cultural policies ‘for the common good,’ and she underscored the need to ‘encourage transforming cultural skills.’
Gail Lord, who addressed cultural transformation, shared this idea. She remarked that it was necessary to ‘boost cultural activity in both the private and public sectors.’ For this to happen, she said, ‘cultural and industrial policies should go hand in hand.’
Last but not least, Joxean Muñoz discussed the relevance of ‘cultural diversity’, even despite the reduced scale or impact of cultural expressions, or their existence outside the larger cultural markets.
After ‘A dialogue between the private and public sectors in the creative industries’, there came ‘Artists as a driving force in cultural and social change in cities’, a discussion moderated by filmmaker and journalist David Trueba.
The lecture by landscape architect and installation artist Vito Acconci was followed by speeches from Jochen Sandig, Artistic Director of Radialsystem, Berlin; Txomin Badiola, artist; Beatriz García, researcher in urban sociology with a focus on cultural policy at the University of Liverpool; and Christophe Cassan, Project Manager of Last Tour International, Bilbao.
The discussion opened with the talk by Vito Acconci, who gave examples of special, original or different architectural projects he contributed to develop as city-transforming tools.
Jochen Sandig talked about Berlin and its industrial facilities: how they can become ‘spaces for art and ideas’. According to the Artistic Director of Radialsystem, Bilbao experienced a similar transformation ‘from industrial to creative urbanism.’
Txomin Badiola was critical of the institutional treatment of culture. Institutions perceive culture as an industry, he observed, which means they have a narrow economic approach to it that should be broader.
Beatriz García explored city transformation based on culture – especially major events like the Olympics or the designation as European Capital of Culture. ‘This kind of events can be financially sustainable, and event-led regeneration is possible,’ she maintained.
Finally, Christophe Cassan discussed the quantitative and qualitative results of festivals like BBK Live, and their impact on cities and local development. BBK Live, for instance, a music event held in Bilbao, brought huge economic benefits to the capital of Vizcaya and the surrounding area, drawing a high number of visitors from the region and beyond.