How the idea for “Arts & Humanities Entrepreneurship Hubs” was born? Why did you see a need?
The project idea is born in the framework of the activities Materahub is performing to support cultural and creative entrepreneurs in making their organizations and projects more sustainable and from the work done on entrepreneurship education at all level of EU society. We realized there are certain faculties for which occupational stats are very low and academic staff and students are too focused on the subject of their courses and completely miss soft skills and other skills like entrepreneurial that could make their approach to life and job market easier and more interesting also for companies from other sectors not necessarily cultural or creative ones. We had the chance to cooperate with professors from Trinity Saint David University of Wales that soon realized the value of our idea and, being involved in entrepreneurship education, agreed to lead a consortium made of organizations that have experience in both culture and creativity and entrepreneurship education. Europe is experiencing a growth in the creative and cultural sector but while creative industries (ie videogames, design, videomaking, etc.) are already focused on entrepreneurial perspectives, the cultural industries (those related to arts, literature, etc.) are less ready to see themselves in an economic perspective. So from this need the AHEH project was born.
What kind of obstacles did you face during the development?
The most relevant obstacle is to raise awareness in Europe about the need for arts and humanities to activate paths for a number of other skills which are currently lacking in university courses. It is also to increase the understanding in companies of their need for employees that can be able to diversify the approach to the work in the company bringing disruptive ideas that could come from their humanities background. It is not easy but we are finding more and more organizations interested in our approach.
What is the current status of the project? Could you already implement it, how many people attended since then?
The project is on the first phase. We are conducting a European research to understand if there are similar examples of creative hubs in faculties of arts & humanities and we are asking to our target groups (students, graduates, academic staff, enterprises) what they think about the offer of entrepreneurship education in their faculties. From this first phase we will move to the implementation and development of the new training offer for students from one side and on the "how to build a creative hub" training for academic staff. In parallel to this the partnership is doing a strong campaign of communication and awareness raising. The first audience of our project can be estimated in the respondent to our surveys and the people we interviewed, so far hundreds in the 7 countries involved.
What are your next steps?
The project foresees the development of a training for the 4 targets, the creation of a virtual space where training offer and social interaction will be granted to participants and the first "network" for the 7 Arts & Humanities Entrepreneurship Hubs that will be created. We are then going to test the training in Spain and launch an official network for the creative hubs.
How do you think can cultural and creative stakeholders benefit from networks such as NICE?
NICE Network is the example of how connecting experts and organizations from different countries a European value can be created on a specific sector, in this case Culture and Creativity. The knowledge of how things are done in another country, the exchange of experiences and models, the possibility to cooperate on common objectives and needs it is all part of the added value of being member of a network.