One of the main objectives of the project “Joining creativity” is the establishment of contacts among representatives of creative industries in Northwest Russia and the Nordic countries. On the 16-21 of October a study trip to Finland and Sweden for representatives of the creative industries was organized. During this trip the participants got acquainted with the creative industries and shared experiences, as well as looked for new and interesting ideas and useful contacts.
Representatives of the Republic of Karelia, St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk took place in the trip. During the six-day trip they visited several universities, incubators and business centers, large and small enterprises, as well as workshops in Helsinki, Umeå, Skellefteå and Joensuu.
The study trip started with a visit to the Aalto University, where there are all conditions for students to develop at creative spheres. At the university there is a Media Factory (http://www.aalto.fi/en/about/for_media/) where the Fab lab situated. Fab lab is the laboratory or workshop for students and employees of the university, where they have the opportunity to use advanced equipment, as well as to receive consultation of professionals. In 2001, as part of social programs in the United States the first laboratory Fab Lab (abbreviation for fabrication or fabulous) was created in the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. It included such equipment as milling machines, which allows produce material, 3D printer for plastic parts, a tool for creating printed circuit boards, plotter for vinyl cutting and other similar equipment of production. This project was very successful and the network of laboratories Fab Lab has expanded all over the world - today there are more than one hundred of such laboratory-factories around the world. Moreover, in the Media Factory of the Aalto University there are a Web studio, rental of video and photo equipment, classrooms and workshops.
At the Aalto University there is the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Within this school different programs in the field of design, digital media, fashion, audiovisual presentations, architecture, art education and visual culture are offered. Students have the opportunity to practice skills in many workshops situated at the University.
From Helsinki our group went to the Swedish city of Umeå, which is the sister city of Petrozavodsk, and the capital of Västerbotten region. For two days members of the group had an opportunity to plunge into the creative environment of Sweden. First stop was a family workshop (http://www.bildhuggarn.se/), where Monica and Erik Nilsson work with glass, wood, iron and stone. The hosts gave a tour over their work place and told how they work with different materials. They shared their experience about whether it is possible to provide for a family only working in creative industry.
Then the group visited the Centre “Sliperiet” (http://sliperiet.umu.se/en) at Umeå University, where we also found the possibilities which students and employees have to develop their skills. There is the Fab Lab laboratory in the Centre with plenty of work places and premises, where students can use the equipment and get expert advice.
After that the representatives of creative professions headed to the North - to the city of Skelleftea, which is called the “younger brother” of Umea. In Skelleftea there is a Center “The great northern” (http://krenova.se/), where companies and organizations from the sphere of the creative industries can get work place, access to advertising site of the Center, and most importantly - they can ask for advice from more experienced companies placed in the same building. Another advantage of such Center is a creative environment, where representatives of different fields can communicate, share experiences and ideas and support each other.
The study continued in the Finnish city of Joensuu, which is also the sister city of Petrozavodsk. The group was able to visit places such as the Centre for culture and crafts, office of the light artist Kari Kola (http://karikola.com), SF Sound Studio in the Finnish forest (http://www.sfsound.fi/eng/), and also Joensuu Science Park (http://www.tiedepuisto.fi/ru/frontpage), where there is an incubator for companies, for the development of computer games and the advenced technologies (http://processgenius.fi/index.php). Joensuu, so familiar to citizens of Petrozavodsk, was opened completely from the other side. It is the city where people keep the traditions alive and at the same time develop the new technology, where people can engage in crafts and create computer games, where all creative people gain support.
During the week representatives of the creative industries of the North-West of Russia got acquainted with the experience of Finland and Sweden. They were able not only visit workshops, participate in workshops and ask questions directly to creative people, but also to learn how universities support students who have chosen the profession in the sphere of the creative industries, how a state provides support to the individual enterprises, and how different companies work together to help each other. This knowledge can be very useful both for the representatives of the universities and for entrepreneurs. In addition, during the trip direct contacts have been established, which is of prime importance to the project, because one of the main goals of the project is the help to internationalize the creative business.