Calling All Creatives

Wolfgang Senges
Jul 1, 2016 · 6 min read

Connect and Create!

photo & illustration: some rights reserved under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA International 4.0 licence by Wolfgang Senges; statue: ‘EUROPA’ by Jupp Zimmer (1980), Trier

The UK will be out of the European Union, politically. That’s a fact. But let’s stop complaining here. Now is the time to prove that the European community goes way beyond politics.

For me, after and whilst watching the Brexit happen it finally ignited something. I see nationalists on the rise everywhere. I’m watching the fragmentation of Europe continue. It is devastating. This hurts the vast majority of us deeply. Maybe even more it hurts the creatives.

More than any other, the Creative Community is an international one. Look at the creative communities of London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam, and there are so many more. We don’t want to lose that ultimate freedom of culture. The freedom in music, journalism, technology, design, photography, media and beyond. In innovation. We depend on each other as we depend on each others’ works.

We. That’s us. You and me.

Here’s my personal call to all creatives.

I’m fed up with watching things happen that are plain stupid and dangerous at the same time. Posting how stupid it is doesn’t make it better. Call me pathetic, but I want to DO something about it.

I’m calling the Creative Community in Europe and beyond. I’m asking musicians, composers, lyricists, authors, journalists, designers, photographers, directors, actors, developers, startups and researchers to participate. That’s quite a few of you. It is no modest approach.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to start yet another party. Or a political movement.

Much rather I’d like to get together with people. To exchange knowledge. To communicate. To enable people to get together and support like-minded creatives on a personal basis. They might even be not so like-minded politically. But all of them, they are creative.

Let’s do it our way — let’s connect and create.

Why? What happens if we don’t give a shit?

Recently, Laura Snapes published an article on Pitchfork. She interviewed music professionals who described in detail what the Brexit could mean for the music industries. Also, Bob Geldof took a highly emotional stand in favour of not leaving the EU. The numbers that Bob literally spat out and the outlook that Laura Snapes gave made me think — what is it that I myself can actually do about it?

The dark threat of nationalism and fragmentation.

The return of borders in the aftermath of the Brexit is likely to result in a truly negative impact on our personal lives and your business as an artist and creative. Laura Snapes’ article explains all issues perfectly:

  • Your touring costs will rise because of the carnet. The carnet is a detailed listing of all equipment that you have to show at the border. Filling in this carnet is time-consuming and expensive (UKP 1.000–2.000 per year).
  • Traveling gets much more difficult because of the necessity to apply for a visa. Again, it’s not available for free.
  • Sale of concert tickets will decrease due to a loss in “music tourism” which was on the rise. In particular, this will hit festivals.
  • The cost of vinyl releases will increase. Remember, though believed dead vinyl has become a highly valuable part of your portfolio. The majority of manufacturing plants is located in mainland Europe and the material itself is imported from there.
  • Funds from collection societies in support of upcoming artists will have to be augmented at the cost of your licensing revenues.
  • EU funds for music projects won’t be available anymore for countries leaving the EU.
  • Single countries have a much more difficult stand when negotiating with Google et al which has an impact on licensing revenues.
  • The EU worked, and is still working hard on a harmonisation of copyright which would result in an improved market for artists.

The fragmentation of the EU and its countries is tearing humans apart.

However hard touring is, physically and financially, it will become harder than ever. It is going to limit your reach and it will exceed your resources much earlier. The same goes for cross-border working in the game industries and for other tech startups.

Imagine a more extreme fragmentation of Europe with other countries demanding to leave. Even if it’s „just“ the UK to leave with its highly important market, we can expect a negative impact on the creative community on both sides of the fence.

What we, the Creatives can do about it.

We will carry on nonetheless. But we can do better. That’s what I would expect from a joint effort of ours, the Creative Community. Here, I would like to thank Jeremy Silver for his inspiring and motivating post „We are still Europeans“. There is no (Br)exit from creativity and humanity.

Everyone knows how great it is to have a friend in the town your playing. Offering a place to stay or a helping hand, lending a guitar or a keyboard, maybe even offering a slot on a bill where your friend’s band plays. We need more of these friends. We need to know who wants to lend a hand, and where. This is just one idea. It’s one to hold on to, and it is one that needs an infrastructure. A community for basic and real life support.

We can’t create laws. What we can do is to create a community no one can take from us.

Get closer. Connect even more. Collaborate more vividly across borders. Make friends abroad to rely on each other.

Creativity and culture are the foundation layer for better education, for a better life experience and for politics that are not raised on disappointment and anger. Creativity and culture, in its very core, is communication. It means to study other works. To learn from other creators, to build on other works. It is the key to understanding.

Therefore… we launch WE.

WE create art.
WE are the Creators’ Community.

So you think I’m a pathetic moron.

Sorry to disappoint you. I’m dead serious.

Take a look around. There are all sorts of networks and communities for promoters (Concert Promoters’ Association), conferences (We Are Europe), orchestras (An Orchestra Network For Europe) and contemporary music (Ulysses Network). Of course, there also is the International Artists Organisation.

Fair enough. And we need all them. Really, we do.

But where is a down to earth network or hub for creators of all sorts of kinds who just want to help out each other? On a personal basis? A place you can go to for a small favour, with no commercial interest. No membership or strings attached. You take responsibility just for what you are volunteering for. A breakfast, a bed, a mailing to friends. Maybe it turns out you don’t need that much equipment whilst touring. Maybe you don’t need a carnet at all.

In the wake of what’s politically going on in many European countries, we can help each other to reduce the disadvantages. Get together to create and educate — and in the long run to prevent things from turning worse.

We. The Creators’ Community.

Call it a network. Call it a cooperative. I don’t care. Any cultural exchange, any personal communication, any cooperations that are crossing borders are supporting artists and other creatives.

It might not turn out to be as worse as it seems. But is it wrong to support each other? Whatever the aftermath of the referendum will be — it won’t be wrong to lay the ground for a multi-cultural community of creators.

It would be far more than exaggerated to tell you I’ve got the masterplan to cure that deep cut coming upon us. We have to sit down together and make up our minds. I don’t know if this works. Maybe it fails at first sight. But we will make new friends in the vast creative community — and by this, we succeed.

A single voice, or a single frequency gets lost in noise.
One choir, one strong chord will be heard.

Where to start?

Simple as that: Go visit WeCreateArt.eu. Join us. Talk to us on Twitter and Facebook. Then we are going to work together. To chat. To create. To have fun. To get it rolling.

I’m going to set up a meeting to coincide with the c/o pop convention at Cologne. Connect with me and we arrange more for London or elsewhere.

If it rings to you, give me a call.

Unite. Create. We can launch WE.

ContentSphere

Wolfgang Senges

Written by

Founder @ https://www.ContentSphere.de // advisor in music & tech

ContentSphere

music business & technology. by Wolfgang Senges.

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