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Not Rocket Science (2010)

Written by Hasan Bakhshi, Radhika Desai and Alan Freeman

Outlining their radical new roadmap for cultural R&D, the authors’ proposals challenge two entrenched prejudices, which block arts and cultural organisations from playing their full role in society and economy. First, arts and culture are largely excluded from R&D by definitions based on its Science and Technology (S&T) origins. Second, the arts and cultural sector relies on a conception of creativity that mystifies too much of its work, preventing it from accessing valuable public resources.

Not confined to novel products or processes, arts and cultural innovation will yield altogether new ways in which arts and culture are embedded in the knowledge society and economy. So, for example, experimental development will trial new ways of engaging audiences, or explore new forms of collaboration between producers, and between them and consumers, through digital technologies. It will investigate how arts and cultural organisations can re-imagine their relationship with private sector businesses, social enterprise and public service delivery. In short, arts and cultural R&D will expand the sources of cultural, commercial and public value.

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Our ethos

Our ethos
Art and culture are one of the most participative, dynamic and social forms of human behaviour.
With their capacity to trigger reflection, generate empathy, create dialogue and foster new understanding they can offer a powerful and democratic way of expressing, sharing and shaping values. By helping to create an environment, and state of mind, directly conducive to the creation and development of new ideas, they challenge the status quo and provide spaces where anything is possible. They can help us build new capabilities and understand how to imagine a different way of being. They can enable us to design useful and meaningful things and are increasingly the basis of livelihoods and enterprises that are motivated by much more than profit.

MMM’s belief was that harnessing arts and culture’s expressive energy and growing the cultural and creative vitality of our communities were key to addressing the big, serious and growing problems of unsustainable economic growth, resource scarcity and climate change. Their community of practice shared a passion for realising art and culture’s role in helping to find new economic and social paradigms that recognise the limits of our finite planet and enable all life to flourish. Building the resilience of creative practitioners and arts and cultural organisations was, in their view, essential in achieveing that goal and it lay at the heart of MMM’s work.

Highly collaborative and open in our approach they believed that peer to peer support and mutual problem solving is key to addressing common challenges and building resilience.

Independent and sector led, MMM was a creative adhocracy. This means that we thrive by being fluid, flexible and adaptive.

Legally constituted as a company limited by guarantee without share capital, their organising systems were designed to be dynamic and organic in order to maintain maximum creativity and inventiveness.

They worked in cycles, drawing together people, ideas and money from a wide network of sources.

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Re.think

re.think was a global network designed to activate and support everyone working with art and culture to make the world more liveable

Themes
To make the leap to a liveable world, we need to find ways of activating and strengthening the kinds of values that will help us create more sustainable ways of living. The re.think programme and the resources on this website have been designed to show how engaging with art and culture can help us do this.

You can find examples of what people are already doing in the seed bank, relevant research and ideas in the policy pool, projects and people you can collaborate with in our Community of Practice and provocations and insights in our blog.

re.think’s vision is for a more liveable world.
Our mission is to host a global platform designed to activate and support everyone working with arts and culture to make the world more liveable.

This work has already been supported by the British Council, Council of Europe, Creative Scotland and the Cultural Leadership Programme

re.think is a global platform designed to activate and support everyone working with art and culture to make the world more liveable.
More and more people are coming to the realisation that there is something very wrong. We are coming up against the limits of our planet’s capacity to support us and are living beyond our means.

Yet, despite growing awareness that our planet has finely balanced and interdependent ecosystems and limited natural resources, we continue to selfishly squander them. As a result, key assets that we depend on are getting scarcer and our climate is changing. Our current model of economic growth, which has encouraged our over consumption is broken. Our wellbeing is declining and inequality is rising, fuelling conflict, mass migration, poverty and many other social problems.

Things have to change and we need to act fast if we are to find new economic and social paradigms that recognise the limits of our finite planet and enable all life to flourish. We need to begin by transforming the values of our society and economy within a generation. We need to find more ways to understand each other, disrupt vested interests and imagine and create more sustainable ways of living.

Mission Models Money’s belief is that art and culture are integral to this process of evolutionary change.

Art and culture are one of the most participative, dynamic and social forms of human behaviour. Their capacity to trigger reflection, generate empathy, create dialogue and foster new understanding means that they can offer a powerful and democratic way of expressing, sharing and shaping values. By helping to create an environment, and state of mind, directly conducive to the creation and development of new ideas, they challenge the status quo and provide spaces where anything is possible. They can help us build new capabilities and understand how to imagine a different way of being. They can enable us to design useful and meaningful things and are increasingly the basis of livelihoods and enterprises that are motivated by much more than profit.

re.think aims to show how art and culture’s expressive energy can be harnessed to help us make the leap to a livable world and offers a global platform for everyone who shares this goal. re.think will encourage recognition of arts and culture as an abundant resource with a vital role in helping us address the global challenges we face, able to galvanise action and effective change in values, mindsets and policies .

In order to achieve this we will bring together artists, designers, producers, curators, entrepreneurs, economists, academics, environmentalists, psychologists, scientists, technologists, activists, community organizers and campaigners to share practice, exchange ideas and start new projects together

Together we will explore, connect, disrupt and invent. We will find out what it is about the particularity of arts and culture that can help us rethink our future, discovering what works and why. We will help the people who still make the big decisions to make better decisions by understanding the integral and interconnecting role of art and culture in the great transition that lies ahead. We will mobilize our collective learning throughout our community of practice in order to stimulate the systemic change we need. We will join up our hope and optimism to that of others in the effort to push humanity on to its next stage of development so that we can make the leap to a livable world.

Bibliography

WWF (2008) ‘Living Planet Report’
Rees M. 2003 ‘Our Final Century’
Lovelock J. 2009 ‘The Vanishing Face of Gaia’
Gilding P. 2011 ‘The Great Disruption’
MEA 2005
IPCC 2007
Stiglitz J. 2009 ‘Freefall’
http://www.neweconomics.org/programmes/well-being
Wilkinson R. and Pickett K. 2009, ‘The Spirit Level’
http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/common_cause_report.pdf
for more of an explanation of the importance of values in responding to the challenges we face
http://www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=4224
Rifkin J. 2009, ‘The Empathetic Civilisation’
http://www.sustainableability.com

To make the leap to a liveable world, we need to find means of activating and strengthening values that will help speed up the systemic innovation we need.  The important values to prioritise are intrinsic or self-transcending – values that are associated with concern for bigger-than-self problems and with the behaviours needed to help address these problems. They include:

  • empathy towards those who are facing the effects of humanitarian and environmental crises,
  • concern for future generations and
  • recognition that human prosperity resides in relationships – both with one another and with the natural world.

re.think’s view is that these values and behaviours can be best nurtured through three concepts – ways of thinking which we believe will be core to our success in creating a liveable world:

  • Wellbeing: a fulfilling and happy life for individuals and communities
  • Democracy: capacity of groups of people to take shared decisions about their future – at work, at home and in other places of everyday life.
  • Sustainable Livelihoods: a means of living where the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required are sustainable

The re.think programme is organised around these three themes.

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About mmm

Mission Models Money (MMM) was an initiative that ran from 2004 until 2014. A network of thinkers and doers from the UK and elsewhere, its goal was to transform the way people working with arts and culture used their resources to create great experiences which had deep public value.

Publications, blogs and videos generated over the 10 years it operated are available through this portal.

re.think formed part of MMM’s last programme cycle. A global platform designed to activate and support all those working with art and culture to make the world more liveable, it ran from 2011 – 2014

re.source holds the complete MMM archive together with a range of tools and approaches curated especially for re.volution and materials created for re.think

re.volution formed part of MMM’s last programme cycle. A peer learning network designed to help renew mission, reconfigure business model and revise approach to money, it ran from 2011 – 2014.