strategy and pilot projects projects...

Whilst beginning this process of promoting understanding of the full possibilities of the Saint-Petersburg cultural sector and how changes in its governance might increase its potential, we have to realise that this will not be an overnight process. Moreover, it is a process that will require those in the independent cultural sector to act for themselves: this is not just because of financial needs, but because the sector's perceptions of opportunities and solutions to current problems can be helpful in influencing change in local structures of governance and levels of commercial activity. Manchester's Cultural Industries Development Service emerged from a long process of maturation in both the sector itself and in local government's understanding of it.However, there are some steps that can be taken.

   strategy and pilot projects ...
:: partners & members :::: policy & initiatives :::: creative industries :::: projects :::: forum :::: events ::

St Petersburg's rich heritage and classical performing arts give it outstanding potential as a world cultural city, but the research carried out this summer revealed that the creative industries are less well developed, particularly in the areas of contemporary arts, innovative popular culture and 'life style' activities (retail, cafes, clubs). The number of small, flexible creative enterprises is growing in St Petersburg's cultural sector, but it still has long way to go in comparison with successful European models like Paris or Barcelona, as well as Helsinki and Manchester.

  Strategic vision  projects

  • That the vision for St Petersburg embodied in strategic documents contain a specific emphasis on the way the city's cultural strengths can meet its economic and social priorities.
  • That the themes of cultural heritage, cultural tourism, creative industries and urban regeneration be brought together in a unified policy priority.
  • That the importance for St Petersburg's economic future of innovation - stimulated by specifically contemporary culture - be affirmed.

  Development policy  projects

  • That the legal, financial and taxation status of cultural enterprises and organisations be reviewed, possibly in the context of wider reviews of small business development.
  • In particular, specific note needs to be taken of the inflexible and damaging legal situation placing SMEs and not-for-profit organisations in strictly divided regulatory categories - the constraints on each side are seriously restrictive for business in general, but particularly in the cultural sector where much activity is related to state and foundation/ charity funding and where private-public funding mixes are common and effective. What are the options for more flexibility at local level?· Current initiatives for SME support and development can be adapted to the cultural sector, in areas such as training, advice and financial support - but these need specific tailoring to creative enterprise needs. Existing and emergent lead cultural bodies need to be partners in this process of adaptation.
  • That review be made of the role in creative industries of further and higher education institutions, and of their potential to interact with specialist creative producers. This includes both 'origination' (designers, artists etc.) and technical skills for manufacture.
  • That policies to promote ICT skills and businesses should be aware of the potential role played by the emergent creative digital media sub-sector in St Petersburg.
  • St Petersburg as a whole needs to develop an international 'brand' or image to supplement that of the historic flagship institutions - the creative industries will be crucial in helping create this brand and will benefit from it (see below).

  Sector structural development  projects

  • That informal network initiatives be supported and encouraged in order to strengthen cross-sector and intra-sectoral awareness and communication.
  • That there be high-level policy forums in which lead voices from the sector may articulate needs and problems.
  • That more formal organisations be promoted, such as business or trade associations with specific sub-sector focus.
  • That information initiatives should be supported and encouraged - in order to improve communication within the sector about grants, events, initiatives, policies and other professionally useful information
  • That sectoral and sub-sectoral marketing initiatives be encouraged and promoted to provide tourists, clients and investors with a better knowledge of the varied cultural and creative business 'offer' of St Petersburg.
  • That joint promotional activities be encouraged and promoted within Russia - showcasing St Petersburg creative industries businesses in other trade shows and through St Petersburg-based festivals and exhibitions. These should be linked to joint marketing initiatives.
  • Joint export and trade initiatives should be encouraged and supported, building on the success of the big flagship institutions but targeted at collections of small businesses - design, music, fashion, contemporary art etc.
  • All these marketing and promotional activities will benefit from the establishment of a St Petersburg 'brand' which reflects its vibrant contemporary cultural scene.

  Capacity-building within the sector  projects

  • All parts of the sector (commercial businesses, not-for-profit, state- sponsored and freelancers) lack a range of generic business skills in the areas of: management; business planning; financial management and planning; marketing; professional information gathering; ICT skills. These skills, though generic to some degree, need to be offered by SME development schemes, adapted to this sector's specific needs in conjunction with the creative industries' own lead bodies.
  • These generic skills need to be supplemented by the targeted development of specific professional services with knowledge of the creative industries sector - accountancy and financial advice, legal services (especially copyright and contracts), professional management and agents, and other key skills essential to the functioning of each sub-sector.
  • International expertise needs to be transferred via master classes and seminars, international visits and placements.
  • There is a need for trade directories and professional information services for the sector.
  • Resources such as international creative industries publications - focusing on design, music, architecture etc, but also trade magazines such as Variety, Music Week or Financial Times supplements that benefit small UK businesses - should be made available as part of any training and information services for the sector.
  • An industry-lead body, along the lines of Manchester's Cultural Industries Development Service, but adapted to the St Petersburg situation, is crucial in pushing forward these recommendations

  Continuing research  projects

  • Much better information needs to be obtained about St Petersburg's creative industries sector in order to inform support and development strategies; such information is also crucial in the promotion of St Petersburg's 'cultural offer' and in establishing a contemporary 'brand' for the city.
  • Statistical information needs much greater precision - whilst it is clear this may not come about in the short or even medium term, a closer review of existing sources could reap some benefits.· It should be noted that there is currently a general review of SIC and SOC codes as part of a review led by the United Nations - this is due in 2008. The UK government have asked the creative industries sector (via the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport) to provide input. How does Russia stand on this?· In the absence of statutory information, local quantitative 'mapping' research needs to be carried out in order to give St Petersburg a sense of what exists. There are now well established methodologies for this type of research.
  • This quantitative research needs to be supplemented by more qualitative research into the sub-sectors - including market position and opportunities, skills and financial needs etc. But a general assessment of the cultural 'assets' of St Petersburg needs to go beyond formal cultural institutions to include meeting places, cafes, alternative markets, alternative publications, key intermediaries, existing international connections etc.
For more details, see the Survey of Enterprise in St Petersburg's Cultural Sector Findings and Strategic Development Lines.

  Pilot projects  projects

  priority directions  projects

The project partners are now working on lines for development, plotting the St Petersburg findings against the successful experience of the partner cities. Several strategic lines are emerging: the need for joint marketing initiatives; exploring alternative sources of investment and micro-credit; developing business skills through a programme of mentoring and other means; accessing the considerable existing expertise in the city and making it more available; building networks, including formal and informal structures for support and debate.
In the next three months, through consultation with the City Administration and continuing discussion with practitioners the strategy for promotion of the creative industries sector will be constructed and refined. A parallel process will involve intensive discussions with potential international partners, and with donor and other support organisations - to identify possible funding sources and delivery mechanisms for 5-6 pilot projects to

  donor organization  projects

The Tacis-supported programme has the task of identifying pilot projects to support the achievement of its goals. At this point, Tacis does not offer specific funding to implement such pilots. However, armed with the commitment of St Petersburg's creative industries sector, and informed with specific expertise from within it, the project partners undertake to explore with international partners and donor organisations the possibilities for pilot projects to have real life.

  • The Eurasia Foundation
  • The Open Society Institute Soros Foundation
  • The Ford Foundation
  • The British Council

:: Леонтьевский Центр / Leontief Center :: :: Design 4 Masses ::