Cultural Industries in Slovenia (2007)

A text from the Culture.si archive! It was compiled by Helena Pivec in 2007 for the 2nd edition of the Slovenia Cultural Profile to introduce the emerging field of cultural industries in Slovenia. Six years later we decided to republish it on our blog to reintroduce the subject. Please, note that in this article the data is not updated and that some sectors have been reformed. In the following occasional posts we will look into the current situation and the development of the concept of the cultural and creative industries in European Union and in Slovenia.

Terminology and definition

 

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The terms ‘cultural industries’ or ‘creative industries’ have become very common in the field of cultural policy research, regional policy or economic policy. However, not many people know that the term itself has changed over time with the emergence of each new technology. It began with Adorno and Horkheimer’s definition of the ‘Culture Industry’, that occurred as a result of the emergence of radio, TV and cinema. The term acquired its plural form ‘cultural industries’ with the work of Bernard Miege’s team for UNESCO and John Myerscough’s report The Economic Importance of the Arts in Britain (London: Policy Studies Institute, 1988), which highlighted the abundance of cultural production occurring during the last century, countering the negative critique of Adorno and Horkheimer.

Digitalization brought a new wave of cultural mass production and consequently a number of new variations on the term emerged, including ‘creative industries’, ‘creative economy’, ‘content industries’ (in the USA), ‘entertainment industries’ and ‘copyright industries’. ‘Creative industries’ should be a broader counterpart of the term ‘cultural industries’ as it covers also software production, advertising, PR and similar activities.

The UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) pioneered the definition mapping of the creative industries with its Creative industries mapping document, the first edition of which was issued in 1998. The DCMS defined the creative industries as ‘those activities which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property’, e g. advertising, architecture, the art and antiques market, crafts, design, designer fashion, film and video, interactive leisure software, music, the performing arts, publishing, software and computer services, television and radio. They showed how the profile of the creative industries could be raised and their role in economic and social regeneration strengthened by creating dialogue between professionals from the creative sector and policy makers.

Scratching the surface – first statistics

 

Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012

As yet there is no specific definition of the cultural industries in Slovenia, nor any specific overall legal framework within which the Slovene cultural industries can be promoted and developed. There is no programmed and systematic support for the cultural industries in Slovenia, though some attempt to design strategies has been made in the context of the National Programmes of Culture conceived by the Ministry of Culture. An interesting attempt at developing strategies for the promotion of the cultural industries was outlined on the local level as a part of the winning programme proposed by the Municipality of Maribor (prepared by Kibla Multimedia Centre) for the European Capital of Culture that was nominated by the Slovene Government to the relevant EU institutions in 2007. Submitted under the motto ‘Pure Energy’, the joint bid of Maribor, Velenje, Slovenj Gradec, Ptuj, Murska Sobota and Novo mesto was based on the notion that culture is a generator of development and that cultural services, creative industries and cultural tourism should present an important vehicle for European future development. In this way the intertwining of arts and culture with science, education, tourism and economy is in envisaged.

Attempts have also been made to develop a dynamic business environment; to develop and expand the talent and skills base; to increase innovation; and to enhance the international reputation of Slovene arts and culture also in the sense of creative industries.
In Slovenia sectors such as publishing or film and music distribution and production are generally privatised, generating funds from a variety of sources including public funding, sponsorship and also direct investment and earned income. The products of domestic cultural industries are distributed and consumed, not only in the domestic market but also internationally. For instance, films find their way to international audiences (mainly through festivals) and there are a few writers whose works are translated and distributed abroad. The EU support into these endeavours is valuable.

It is not yet known what revenues Slovene cultural industries generate or how many people are currently employed in the sector, although it should be noted that producing exact figures for the sector is difficult even in the UK, as the creative sector doesn’t follow traditional industry models. It has a high number of freelancers and micro businesses who move fluidly between commercial and non-commercial contexts. Some researches related to culture, especially in connection with the creative industries, tourism and sponsorship, have been carried out by the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (UMAR).

Brief information and statistics prepared by the Ministry of Culture covering audio-visual culture (film, broadcasting) and the publishing of music and books or periodicals is available in the Slovenia section of the Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 8th edition, 2007 (Council of Europe/European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (ERICarts)). The presentation of the scope of the cultural industries in Slovenia follows the categorisation of business activities within the Business Register of Slovenia and features estimated data on the size of the cultural industries in Slovenia for 2005, according to which the total number of employees in the sector is in the region of 8.300 (in 1.810 organisations).

Some funding schemes

 

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Although it is generally accepted that the growth of the sector will increase exports and create new jobs, there are as yet no specialised funding bodies which can invest in strategic projects and feasibility work in the sector. However, the Ministry of Culture has already introduced a number of funding schemes within its Directorates, offering support for the cultural industries within individual art fields.

In the field of audiovisual culture the Slovene state allocation for 2005 was 5.13 million euros or 3.5 per cent of the national budget for culture. Public tenders for subsidies are administered by the Directorate for Media and Slovene Film Fund. Slovenia also participates in the community programme for the development of the audiovisual sector Media Plus and is a member of the Council of Europe’s Euroimages Europa Cinemas Support Fund and of the Europe Cinemas network.

In the field of music publishing, too, the Ministry of Culture subsidizes new publications and audio recordings by top Slovene composers and performers, as well as supporting the publication of scores in co-operation with the Society of Slovene Composers and private publishers. The Ministry’s most frequent contractual partner in the publication of non-commercial CDs is the Založba kaset in plošč RTV Slovenija (publisher associated with the Slovene national radio and television), The Ministry works to a lesser extent with private publishers. The main criteria for the Ministry to grant subsidies in the area of musical publishing are top quality, notable success and appearance on non-commercial radio and television stations or on international concert stages, Slovene origins and first publication of archive music scores. It has also become traditional for the Ministry of Culture to subsidize portraits of individual Slovene composers on CD (five each year). Various societies also appear as publishers, this being their supplementary activity. In 2005, the Ministry of Culture subsidised the publication of 38 CDs, 47 scores and two musical journals. The Music Information Centre of Slovenia is a basic information point for access to information on Slovene musicians, music, musical heritage, and contemporary activities. The Centre promotes Slovene music to Slovenes and to an international public and provides access to musical material.

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The Ministry of Culture also supports activities in the book sector by co-financing programmes and projects. Until 2002 the majority of state aid was devoted to the publishing of books in the fields of literature and humanist studies, non-commercial journals in the areas of art, culture and magazines for the young, plus to a lesser extent projects in the areas of reading culture, promotional projects, literary festivals and international activities. In 2003 the Ministry published its first call for applications for bookstore programme support, specifically programmes in the field of reading culture, promotion of authors and promotion of bookshops. Since that time, in order to apply for the funding, bookstores should offer a variety of literature from the fields of belles-lettres and humanist studies, their trade must be created mainly by the sale of books, and their programmes must focus on the popularisation of reading. This measure has received wide support among the professional public. In 2004 the Ministry also introduced a special budget item to support bookshop networks, and in the period 2004-2006 the priority theme of public calls for tenders and appeals has been “developing a reading culture at all age levels”.

In this way the Ministry, in cooperation with other ministries, is attempting to encourage a systematic and harmonised approach of all actors which encourage a reading culture and increases the extent of existing programmes. Some new forms of support of the book sector has also been introduced since 2004 within the framework of the National Programme for Culture. One of these is the campaign “An Original Slovene Picture Book for Each Newborn”. Via this programme the Ministry pursues two aims: to draw attention to the importance of “family reading” and the importance of the book as an accompaniment of mankind from the cradle onwards; and to provide targeted support to contemporary creativity and the publication of original picture books.

Support organisations, festivals, awards, education

 

Poster for Magdalena International Festival of Creative Communication by Vladan Srdić, 2005

Magdalena International Festival of Creative Communication, 2005

Support organisations for the cultural industries in Slovenia are rare, and as yet there are no agencies, which specialise in the creative industries. However, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the Chamber of Craft provide umbrella support through its subordinate bodies. Numerous relevant organisations are engaged in advertising and design, e.g. Slovene Designers Society, the Brumen Foundation, or MM – Media Magazine. The database lists several Slovene advertising festivals as these show significant graphic design and audio-visual achievements. The sector brings high-quality products that are highly appraised also internationally.

Some awards were initiated several years ago, most notably the Trend Award for Fashion and Visual Creativity which has been bestowed since 2001 by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on creators of fashion, interiors, architecture, photography, graphic or product design and visual arts. To date Trend Awards have been bestowed on around 50 creators. In 2005 the prize was given to Almira Sadar (fashion design), Tomo Brejc (photography), SOTO (fashion design agency), Irwin group (visual arts) and Sadar Vuga arhitekti (architecture), in 2006 the prize-winners were dr. Andreja Vrišer (art history), Špela Lenarčič (stylist), Gregor Podnar (gallerist), Miljenko Licul (graphic design) and studio Nuvolari-Lenard Naval Design (product design). In the years since the Award’s inception recipients of the Trend Award for Lifetime Achievements have included Majna Sevnik (dance pedagogue), Bernarda Jeklin (fashion publicist), Vesna Gaberščik (fashion design pedagogue), Niko Kralj (product design), Saša J. Maechtig (architecture) and Matjaž Vipotnik (graphic design).

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Another two interesting awards are the International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year (IYDEY) Award and the International Young Screen Entrepreneur of the Year (IYSEY) Award, both launched by British Council. The awards champion the achievements of young design entrepreneurs – people working in the fields of architecture, design promotion, graphic design, interior design, product design and digital media – or working in the field of film and television, particularly in often untapped markets. In 2006 the British Council Slovenia launched the first competition for IYSEY. In 2007 the IYDEY award was organised for the third time in partnership with 100% Design, London’s international trade fair for furniture and interiors. Slovene finalist from the field of publishing was also sent to the UK networking trip.

T-5 Project Space is a space in Ljubljana for lectures, design exhibitions, art fairs and the Pecha Kucha Night events. The Pecha Kucha Night programme features 10-15 short lectures per night during which projects and ideas are presented with each presenter being permitted 6 minutes and 40 seconds. The first Pecha Kucha Night Ljubljana was staged in April 2007.

Where training and education programmes for cultural industry professionals are concerned, a special study programme for publishing at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. The Association of Publishers and Booksellers of the Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also developed regular training activities with the aim of informing, educating, sharing experience and discussing topics from the field. A major event in this regard is the Publishing Academy, which has taken place for the past six years during the annual Book Fair in Ljubljana.

Some initiatives relating to education for the cultural industries are international in scope, see SAE Ljubljana. Some workshops or seminars organised by the British Council Slovenia, the Faculty of Social Sciences organises an annual International Conferences on Corporate and Marketing Communications – the 13th International Conference took place April 24-26, 2008, featuring for the first time a special session involving academic journal editors. The theme of the CMC 2008 conference was “Corporate and Marketing Communications as a Strategic Resource; Response to Contemporary use, Challenges and Criticism”.

Research

 

Culture Ltd: Material Conditions of Cultural Production, Peace Institute Ljubljana, 2005

Culture Ltd, 2005

Extensive research on the Slovene cultural industries has been carried out by the Centre for Cultural Policy Research, Peace Institute, whose 2005 book Culture Ltd: Material Conditions of Cultural Production can be downloaded from the Internet in pdf format. This publication offers a social analysis that reaches beyond a purely economic approach, incorporating texts on cultural education programmes, investment in cultural infrastructure, and employment in culture and the wider (global) context in which cultural goods are increasingly being converted into market commodities. Aldo Milohnić and Maja Breznik also contributed to the conference/course Cultural Co-operation in South Eastern Europe. Managing Cultural Transitions: The Impact of Creative Industries, organised by Culturelink, the proceedings of which were published in the The Emerging Creative Industries in Southeastern Europe, also available as a pdf download. Maja Breznik concluded that the local cultural industries do not protect the community from the global entertainment industries, but are rather their Trojan horse.
Some books on the Slovene film and book publishing sectors have also been published by UMco.

 Sources

  • Kulturna industrija (“Cultural Industry”), Mirovni inštitut, 2000 – final report o the research undertaken by Peace Institute and led by Dr Gregor Tomc; done on request of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Culture
  • Analysis of the Impact of the Potential/Introduction of a Flat Tax Rate in Slovenia, Aleš Vahčič, Faculty of Economics, Ljubljana, 2005, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture
  • Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 8th edition, 2007 (Council of Europe/European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (ERICarts)).
  • Culture Ltd: Material Conditions of Cultural Production, Peace Institute Ljubljana, 2005 (pdf)
  • Cultural Co-operation in South Eastern Europe. Managing Cultural Transitions: The Impact of Creative Industries – The Emerging Creative Industries in Southeastern Europe (pdf; contributors from Slovenia: Aldo Milohnić and Maja Breznik)

 

Compiled and researched by Helena Pivec, Consultant Editor, edited by Tim Doling, Managing Editor, Cultural Profiles Project. Slovenia Cultural Profile is a defunct collaborative project of the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia and Visiting Arts, supported by the British Council Slovenia 2002-2008. Read more…

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