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The Place! 2016 conference on culture-led place-making and urban development was held last week in Košice, Slovakia. This marks the second since the city was awarded the title of European Capital of Culture in 2013.


Topics included creative jobs, design thinking and the influence of big events on cities, to which Lucy Minyo contributed by presenting our pioneering work studying the impact of the Edinburgh Festivals.


The legacy of Košice 2013 was seen as a success, underpinned by strong long-term planning and the establishment of new legacy bodies, such as Place! conference co-organisers, Creative Industry Košice (CIKE). CIKE was behind the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Košice 2013, and continues to support creative professionals and the promotion of the city. This is in line with the city’s strategic plan for 2020; focusing on attracting and retaining talent, as well as supporting a 20% increase in tourist visitors.


The creation of new high quality cultural and tourist assets is exemplified by the conference venue Kasárne/Kulturpark; a multi-purpose cultural centre representing Košice’s largest investment project as Capital of Culture. Formerly a 19th century complex of buildings for the Austro-Hungarian army, the beautifully refurbished and remodelled interior, new pavilions and surrounding public space were designed by local architects zerozero.


This year’s Place! conference featured presentations on the birth of the Ars Electronica festival in Linz, the safeguarding of Vienna’s Danube Canal for free public use, the functioning of Poland’s Art Inkubator housed in Fabryka Sztuki (the Art Factory) in Łódz, and the establishment of the design incubator Nova Iskra in Belgrade.


The Nova Iskra model combines work space, education and business services, with co-working space, workshops and presentation rooms being offered to creative sector businesses. Responding to a lack of targeted education and further training for the sector in Serbia, a programme of lectures, seminars and workshops has been developed for young creative practitioners and SMEs.


A broader network of over 250 creative professionals are connected to Nova Iskra, either as associates, lecturers in education programmes, or direct coworking space members. Nova Iskra runs its own creative agency, either introducing projects to those in its network or bringing together and leading multi-disciplinary project teams. In this way, Nova Iskra offers a broad range of services to clients and greater coordination of access to market for creative professionals. It also responds to a growing trend amongst creative professionals choosing networked multidisciplinary practice as their preferred way of working.


Nova Iskra represents a particularly interesting way of supporting the development of the cultural and creative businesses in smaller cities. It also supports how creative professionals today want to work, and helps them directly in building their businesses.

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By BOP Consulting

Paul Owens

Co-Founder and Director

Paul is a leading international advisor and practitioner in cultural policy and creative economy. He is Co-Founder of BOP, and alongside his fellow directors he has pioneered now well-established methods to measure the impact of cultural policy. 

Paul Owens - Founder and Director | BOP Consulting

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Paul Owens

Paul Owens

Co-Founder and Director