NEWS: Eastern Europe Initiatives Congress Lublin, Poland


Very productive and inspiring to take part at Eastern Europe Initiatives Congress in Lublin, Poland 🇵🇱 exploring 🇪🇺 European Union cooperation with the Eastern Parnership Countries 🇺🇦🇲🇩🇧🇾🇦🇲🇬🇪🇰🇿 

The Congress has had a very ambitious and forward thinking agenda including a OECD Seminar on Public Services Delivery and Decentralization and Sectoral Panels on Business and Innovation, Culture and Tourism 

During the Congress, City of Lublin has received the Europe Prize goven by Council of Europe joining a selected Network of cities which promote European values and spirit.
Lots to follow up, keep tuned!

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Economics enters XXI century

“Economics is the art of making the most of life” G.B. ShawThe rentrée brings good news to the world of economics!

Economics is often criticized by many for the responsibility for not being able to predict the Great Recession or for not providing the right solutions to the crisis, the growing inequality and adverse consequences of globalization on local economies and growing populism. I am glad to have discovered on The New Yorker about the CORE Econ project an accessible, relevant, real-world economics teaching tool free to anyone to browse online.

Back to my University time, I remember that many students we were already frustrated because the curriculum was focused on the free-market doctrine, considering the real life ‘ceteris paribus’ or constant. The most interesting topics on how economics can transform the way we live and contribute to more inclusive and sustainable societies were part of textbooks too, however they came after the orthodox topics on consumer preferences, supply and demand curves, the theory of the firm and the efficiency properties of atomized and competitive markets.

Although the CORE Econ approach seems not to be very radical or fully original (The Institute for New Economic Thinking in the US –which has contributed with some funds to the project- and the New Economics Foundation in the UK, among other institutions, have been working for some time to research and disseminate an alternative approach to economics to tackle XXI challenges), the interactive methodology that CORE presents together with its emphasis on providing tools to students and general public interested on economics and on finding answers to the complex questions we are facing (inequality, pollution, migration, among others), the global and collaborative team behind it (more than twenty economists from both sides of the Atlantic and India from Universities such as University College London, Science Po, Columbia and Oxford) and the aim of creating a global community of teachers and learners make this project a landmark for economics to enter XXI century, making possible to create a global campus, harnessing critical thinking to find solutions to real world problems.

As Christian Gollier, one of the founders of the CORE Econ project, highlights ‘The CORE is the best innovation in economic education that I have seen in my career. A smorgasbord of ideas that refresh our old concepts, moving our standard discourse from dismal to light, from a dehumanized science to a spirited vision of the world’

It is particularly the move from a dehumanized science (centered on the rational behaviour and on the ‘homo economicus’) towards a curriculum which takes seriously economic history, the fact that people aren’t fully rational and the free market is actually the ‘special case’ rather than the norm, what opens up a new horizon to the future of economics and economists themselves.

A new wave of economic thinking is on the rise to define in a global and collaborative way more sustainable and inclusive society in which people and the planet would be at the heart. I have called a while ago the ‘Cultural Era’. So let’s begin!

NEWS: Speaking at Cultour International Conference ‘Creativity and Innovation for Cultural Tourism’ in Italy


I will be speaker at the Cultour+​ International Conference ‘Creativity and Innovation for Cultural Tourism Management in European Pilgrimage Routes and Heritage Sites’ to be held in Cori, Italy to deliver the topic🎤”Creative Storytellig for European Cultural Routes’ Audience Development” ✅

More info & registration: https://lnkd.in/gJpKXzQ  #EuropeForCulture
ESP/ Seré ponente en la Conferencia Internacional ‘Creatividad e Innovación para Gestión del Turismo Cultural en Rutas Europeas y Patrimonio Cultural’ que tendrá lugar en Cori, Italia

‘Trust’ and care, the wind for our sail

‘ The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them’ Ernest Hemingway
This week on the State Of the European Union debate #SOTEU, Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, introduced his speech highlighting that the ‘wind is on Europe’s sail’, and that ‘Our values are our compass. For me, Europe is more than just a single market. More than money, more than the euro. It was always about values’. He pointed out three principles that must always anchor the European Union:

A Union of freedom from any kind of opression

A Union of equality, remarking that ‘In a Union of equals, there can be no second class citizens’

Third, our Union is not a State but it is a community of law

However these principles are fundamental for the prosperity and cohesion of the European Union and, in a wider sense, to any region or community in the world, it seems that a large part of European citizens do not –at least- perceive these principles on their everyday lives. They do not yet feel the wind back on the Union, because they do not feel the wind back on their lives and on their communities. This discontent with the current ‘status quo’ has been spoken out by the British people vote for Brexit and by a growing number of euro-sceptics in Poland, Hungary and other Member States; and on the other side of the Atlantic by the election of Trump as President of the US.

So why is this disenchantment spreading all over the ‘Western’ societies?

I went yesterday to Elektrownia Studyjne Kino, (a cinema co-founded by EU at Masovian Contemporary art Centre, Radom, Poland), to watch the Polish ‘premiery’ of the last Palm D’Or at Cannes Film Festival, The Square, a Swedish film directed by Ruben Östlund (and also supported by EU), which helped me to find the path for answering this question and understanding what is happening.

The Square is a poignant satirical drama reflecting our time; about how the sense of community and moral courage have been lost; about the affluent person’s need for egocentricity in an increasingly uncertain world; about the lack of trust and care about others, about our community and, in consequence, about oneself as human being.

The Square shows a broken society in which there not only second class citizens, but ‘human waste’ as Zygmunt Bauman described the wasted lives of the ‘superfluous’ populations of migrants, refugees and other outcasts as an ‘unavoidable’ side effect of economic prosperity.

Christian, the protagonist of the film, presents the idea behind a new artistic project that will be shown at the museum of which he is director, The Square, which symbolizes ‘trust and care’: everyone in it has equal rights and responsibilities within. People refer to each other with respect and help themselves’. This sounds great, in theory, in practice the movie shows that elementary concern for another man seems to be utopia, which has no right to exist in a postmodern, socially overlooked society.

The principles that President Juncker has highlighted on his SOTEU speech sound also great in theory; however it is needed a strong effort to implement them in practice to be able to transform the actual populism and discontent into a sense of collective purpose and community based on mutual trust, care and genuine interest for the other, open to diversity and the richness of complex identities of nowadays.

Although the European Commission, the European Union and Member States have to work hard on transforming the ‘community of law’ –which is necessary but not sufficient- into a ‘community of citizens’ in order to open up new horizons for the European project, it is resposibility also of the citizens themselves and of the different actors and stakeholders who we together shape our society, our economy, our art and culture and our institutions.

In doing so, we all will be contributing to our own prosperity, economic and community development. Nonetheless Guidao Tabelini on ‘Culture and Institutions: Economic Development in the Regions of Europe’ (2010) proves that ‘trust’ and ‘values’ contributes to economic prosperity.

But how we can regain the lost ‘trust’? The best way, as E. Hemingway said, is simply to start trusting others.

A global perspective on ‘creative economy’ for development


It is very actual the debate about the term ‘creative class’ and the question whether Richard Florida assumption that the rise of the creative class implies -per se- economic development and social inclusion for cities and regions which would be able to ‘attract and retain talent.However the so-called creative class represents an important role on the dynamism of a place and on its innovative character, it seems that a more global perspective on cultural and creative economy is needed to fully spread the virtuous circle that creativity harnesses throughout the whole population and neighbourhood of cities, not just for the creative class or in the creative districts.

On this direction, I have had the privilege of attending Sir John Tusa ‘Masterclass’ this week at the I Cultural Economics Congress in Lublin (Poland) where he gave the insightful and inspiring lecture ‘’Nurturing the Grassroots in the Arts the Basis for a Healthy World of Creativity”. The title captures by itself the need for a global perspective on creative economy for ‘a Healthy World of Creativity’.

In order to achieve a Healthy World of Creativity, regional development policies have to consider a wider concept of ‘creative economy’, term often confused with creative industries; and harness a holistic development of the local ‘culture’ and people’s creativity to add value to the whole economy and society, as John Howkins defined creative economy in 2001.

Cultural and creative economy to be the catalyst for a sustainable and inclusive development cannot be implemented as a ‘branding’ strategy for attracting ‘cultural tourists’ to a ‘destination’ by iconic projects (museums, creative centers, etc.). Although these projects can be important to change the perception of a city or a place, there are not sufficient to achieve an integrated ecosystem able to thrive and nurtue creativity and transform it into an endogenous engine for economic development.

A bottom-up approach is, therefore, needed for cultural and creative economy to seed the ground, pollinizing the multiple economic sectors, resurfacing the local culture and identity and its linkages with the wider world; making people aware of their own creative power to transform their reality and, ultimately, themselves. That is why the emphasis has to evolve from atracting and retaining the ‘creative class’ –understanding that there are a class who is creative vs. others who are not- towards empowering people to be creative.

This has also been debated at Forum Europe Ruhr Culture 360 celebrated this week in Germany –which I have followed on twitter – underlining that when ‘the ministry of economics or science would have organized a cultural conference’ then ‘culture’ will play its full role (quoted from tweet by Bernd Fesel).

In consequence, cultural and creative economy have to be understood by governments, stakeholders and society not just as a sector but as a new paradigm of society built by creative people.

Get in touch for consultancy on creative economy ecosystem development and capacity building on developing creativity (individual and organizations): contact@economiacreativa.eu