Cultivating a Self-Sustaining Ecosystem
On March 6th to 12ve, 2023, the founder of The Spark Creative Hub members, Michela Musto, visited Blivande House in Stockholm, Sweden. The aim of the visit was to build a bridge between the two creative hubs, sharing knowledge, management, and experiences while paving the way for possible future collaborations.
Before the meeting
Prior to the visit, The Spark Creative Hub team conducted research on Blivande House, analyzing their website, social media profiles and related news stories. This allowed to get a general idea of the activities, values and goals of the Swedish creative hub. The research helped also to evaluate the best activities to discuss and develop during the exchange.
Arrival at Blivande House
The Spark Creative Hub was welcomed by the Blivande House team, who introduced the creative hub and its space. The hub is located in a converted industrial area of Stockholm and has been described as a ‘meeting place for creativity and innovation’. However, much is gained by a cozy space that allows for cross-pollination between people of different skills and professions, such as sculptors and engineers, plumbers and architects, painters and lawyers, performers and computer scientists, and welders and scenographers. Diana Mosenberg’s welcome was warm and central to this experience. The team explained the history of the hub, how it was founded and how it has evolved over the years. Living the everyday life, with its event, meetings, planification and a constant flux of ideas and inspirations proved to be inspiring and crucial to understand how to enhance the quality and the internationality of The Spark Creative Hub in Naples.
Presentation of the activities
The Blivande House team presented the activities and initiatives that the hub offers to the local community. Activities relating to art, culture, technology and innovation were highlighted, with the aim of creating an inclusive and inspiring place for Stockholm’s creative community. The various meetings and workshops that the hub offers were illustrated, such as the tailoring workshop, the carpentry workshop and the 3D printing laboratory. It had been possible to assist in the planning of different kind of events, witnessing the approach and management of specific activities in terms of management, timing, financial resources, and community involvement. It had been possible to witness the first steps of the project Night Academy.
Exchange of information on laboratories
Both hubs shared information about their respective workshops and the activities that take place within their spaces. The differences between the laboratories, the equipment available and the methods of use were discussed, discovering new machines and understanding the modality of their availability to the community. Digital modeling methods and digital fabrication tools had been shared. The programs and activities offered by both creative hubs were also compared in term of design and personal branding.
Representatives from both companies discussed the viability of their respective businesses, including sources of funding, marketing strategies, and possibilities for future expansion. The various possibilities of supporting creative activities and the creation of new opportunities for local community members were explored through the understanding of the community management and involvement. Blivande blurs the boundaries between professional and amateur, and between artist and audience. This, in turn, opens up for collaboration across categories among its members. Members in the arts involve members in their projects who do not identify as artists, and trust and understanding are built among them. Incentives are geared towards cultivating a regenerative ecosystem; priming its members to strive for collaboration and synergy.
We discussed space management in terms of social media, organizational chart and management software. This allowed to share experiences and knowledge on the management of creative spaces and on best practices to optimize efficiency and productivity within the hubs. Methodologies and tools are developed and cross-referenced with other initiatives to learn and level up together with the creative community built around this space.
Organisation in the opening event of Blivande House
During the visit, The Spark Creative Hub team attended the opening event of Blivande House, where they met members of Stockholm’s other creative hubs. This provided a useful perspective on the state of creative spaces in Northern Europe and paved the way for possible future collaborations.
Conclusions In conclusion, The Spark Creative Hub’s visit to Blivande House was a highly educational and inspiring experience. Blivande is an experiment in stewarding and cultivating self-sustaining ecosystem, and the crucial aspect is the understanding that it is a model that potentially is replicable. The confrontation between the members of the two creative hubs made it possible to share knowledge and experiences, paving the way for possible future collaborations. The visit also provided valuable insight into the state of creative spaces in Sweden and Northern Europe.