Innovatiefactor cultuur

Nieuws | de redactie
22 oktober 2007 |

In Canada wordt een bewust locaal en regionaal beleid gevoerd om cultuur, innovatie en nieuwe creative industries bijeen te brengen. “Urban revitalization initiatives see the opportunity for infrastructure redevelopment as both economically beneficial and socially and cultural beneficial. Cities have begun identifying themselves as distinctive and unique based on strong cultural industries or arts initiatives and festivals. Creative cities are emerging as urban centres with a high concentration of  economically profitable creative industries and an innovative and creative labour force.” Een beschrijving van wat daarbij mogelijk is leest u hier.

Municipalities that adopt culture as an industry have gained positive economic benefits for their communities. Cultural industries create job growth, turn ordinary cities into “destination cities,” create interconnections between arts and business, revitalize urban areas, attract skilled workers, and create spin-off businesses.

Culture-based businesses and organizations: provide direct economic benefits;  create job growth in the cultural sector, expanding the sector as a whole;  promote and enhance cultural development; help foster creative cities and communities;  improve the ability of urban centres to attract skilled workers; help a community distinguish itself based on strong identities, cultures, arts and crafts, etc; help a community gain a competitive advantage as a “destination city” for cultural tourism; spawn “spin-off” businesses, fortifying and diversifying the original initiatives’ strengths;  can lead to subsequent economic regeneration through urban revitalization.

Public and private assistance can facilitate the growth of arts and culture as a strong, interconnected, and legitimate industry. Municipalities that adopt community and cultural economic development frameworks have observed a significant increase in success in the arts and culture through closer connections between arts and business.

Several models and strategies for supporting culture have emerged within the past decades that reflect and attempt to balance the intrinsic value of culture (e.g., art for its own sake, and for contributions to cultural development) with its wider contributions to society and economy. Community and economic development theory advocates the promotion of local culture and identity within an economically sound operating structure. Urban revitalization initiatives see the opportunity for infrastructure redevelopment as both economically beneficial and socially and cultural beneficial. Cities have begun identifying themselves as distinctive and unique based on strong cultural industries or arts initiatives and festivals. Creative cities are emerging as urban centres with a high concentration of  economically profitable creative industries and an innovative and creative labour force. Currently, culture in Canada has found a fine balance between economics, identity, commerce, and creativity.

The direct economic benefits of profitable arts and cultural industries are economic growth and promotion of the arts and culture; the sales of tickets to plays, performances, exhibits, and museums produce direct profits for arts and culture initiatives. Profitable arts and cultural industries create job growth in the cultural sector and subsequently expand the sector as a whole.  Public and private assistance can facilitate the growth of arts and culture as a strong, interconnected, and legitimate industry. Private funding for the production of performances, or for the construction of facilities, helps the growth of the arts and cultural sector. Public assistance, grants, scholarships, and infrastructure funding also benefit the arts and cultural sector. Cities that distinguish themselves from other cities based on strong or profitable identities, cultures, or arts and crafts, gain a competitive advantage as “destination cities” for cultural tourism.

Een mooi voorbeeld is het Waterloo County and Area Quilt Festival (WCAQF) in de regio waar de toonaangevende technische universiteit van het Finland op het westelijk halfrond gevestigd is. “This is a non-profit organization that presents an annual 10-day Festival in May celebrating the art and heritage of quilting through 40 different events in 10 communities. This is the largest Festival of its kind in Canada, celebrating the rich quilting heritage of the Region and helping to promote Waterloo County as the “Quilt Capital of Canada.” The Waterloo Region has strong, historical German and Mennonite cultural ties. In the early settlement period, cloth supplies were limited and encouraged creative uses of available material.

Old clothing and blankets – even flour sacks – were recycled to quilt together items such as bed coverings. Quilting was a practical necessity for the early settler women in the Region, and over time, the craft transformed to incorporate designs and patterns. As material became more available, quilting began to be used to decorate the home. The “Crazy Quilting Era,” for example, used rich velvets and embroidery work. Women in the Waterloo Region also used the quilting bee as a social outlet to battle the isolation of pioneer life. Quilting bees were also formed around religious gatherings.

Even in the settler period, quilts were made for fundraising efforts. During the Second World War, people would donate money to have their family name embroidered on a quilt to help fund the war effort. These were known as “Red Cross Quilts.” “Red Cross Quilts” are still popular today in the Waterloo Region with its strong Mennonite culture of old and more modern day orders.

The local Mennonite culture and its artistic influences are a strong attraction and component of our Quilt Festival. Visitors can take in our exhibits, and while in town, have a Mennonite experience. The WCAQF raises public awareness and appreciation of the art and heritage of quilting in the Waterloo Region. It celebrates the social function of quilting within communities. The Festival is attended by quilters from across Canada and from around the world, making the Region a cultural tourism destination as “the Quilt Capital of Canada.”


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