‘Plakart’ Association Of Designers in collaboration with the British Council in Macedonia and with support of Ministry of Culture of Republic of Macedonia were organisers of the Creative Hub Conference – model that aims at stimulating creative ideas and designing creative hubs, as influencing the development of creative industries.

“The conference promotes a model that existed back in former Yugoslavia. A creative hub is like historically known OJL – Organization of Joint Labour, where everyone is involved in policy creation and all designers are provided with a space to fulfil their projects and are also responsible for its maintenance. This model should become a reality, a model that brings creative people together” – stated Laze Tripkov, organizer and president of Plakart at the conference opening.

British Council expert Lynsey Smith explained that there could be Hubs of several kinds, firstly as a collective that works at the renovated space(previously used in different aim -plant or craftsman manufactory) managed by one or few person which is considered joint workplace to creative businesses leaders from different sectors.

Lynsey introduced Creative Edinburg to the participants, where she was appointed a Director until 2013 and presented the models of financing of the creative hubs, as well as the experience that she gained while being a manager.

“Hubs are a good way to unite creative communities that will contribute to the economy. The best way to raise the awareness over their significance is to work together with the public sector.  We have only started to map them and perceive their contribution to the economy over the past 20 years. Bear in mind that 85% of the global economy is created by micro-hubs, small and medium enterprises ” – said Smith.

Borche Nikolovski from the Ministry of Culture Euro-Integration Department stressed that this conference will serve as a possibility to focus on hub network expansion and tackle existing models.

“The first research of creative hubs in Macedonia was done in 2009 in collaboration with British Council. We have annual call for projects in this sector and we support ideas that we consider representative” – Borche added.

Regarding this issue Laze Tripkov pointed out that creative industries and cultural projects must be addressed by concrete policies and strategies, that will provide support in medium and long-run and will indirectly contribute to creating various hubs/platforms. He added that he hopes this conference will be a chance to help the institutions to aim their policy goals in right direction.

Next Gillian Eason took the floor and presented the Creative Dundee project, which gained this city  the opportunity to be enlisted as the only city from UK  on the list of the design-cities of UNESCO.

The expert from UK ensured the participants of the conference that there is no need to be provided with physical space in order to function as a hub. Take Creative Dundee as an example – it is digitally driven project with its online base of the participants and members that could cooperate between them or make attempts to find common goals.

The second session was closed by Relja Bobic presentation regarding Belgrade creative platform – Nova Iskra, the space that was handed-over from town administration to this team of young creative people. Nova Iskra is well equipped space where creative young people could rent a desk, use all facilities and membership package includes help in promotion and networking possibilities.  As Relja stated – in 2014 Nova Iskra members achieved to close deals at the amount of 70.000 Euros.

One Architecture Week Director, Ljubo Georgiev, presented this great project along with One Design Week and their impact on the local economy and culture, which is a great opportunity for the municipality development. Ljubo has underlined that this kind of projects should be supported by institutions and showcased the example with One Design Week and One Architecture Week which they were forced to move from Sofia, where they didn’t receive acknowledgement from the local government and moved to Plovdiv. No doubt that was the reason why this city has flourished since this two initiatives moved in-town. OAW and ODW are attracting between 10.000 and 20.000, consequently this two projects indirectly influence the local business, mainly touristic and service sector.

Meta Stular was the last conference speaker. Her presentation was introduction of another model of a creative hub. Rog Lab – Museum and Galleries from Ljubljana is conceived as a production, educational and presentation space in a 30 m²‑container object in the capital of Slovenia.  It is dedicated to activities in the fields of architecture, design and contemporary art, their mutual connecting and cross-sector collaboration as well as international networking. Their most successful project are ‘Design DisABILITY’ and 3D Workshop offering technology and services for rapid prototyping, supporting creativity and stimulating professional development, but also creative workshops for kids that are held on regular bases at Rog Lab. The new Rog Centre is being prepared at the former bicycle factory. It is scheduled that Rog Factory will be renovated in couple of years.

There where several important conclusions at the Skopje Creative Hub Conference…Both the organiser and the participants agreed that the starting point should be increase of the sensitivity of local government and state institutions stakeholders to the creative industries urge. This is especially a concern to the institutions that are covering economy, finances, culture and social and labour policies. On the other hand one of the most important problems is the rising individuality and lack of collaboration between designers, artists; maybe as a result of the problem with stimulation and identifying of joint benefits.

Representatives from UK pointed out that those are problems that are common for every country ready to support creative hubs and those issues come sooner or later, but in order to achieve bigger impact on policy-makers or simply to receive significant feedback from the society it is of great importance to act as a community.

After the Conference Lynsey Smith and Gillian Easson where facilitating the workshop „Designing Creative Hubs”. Three basic ideas where promoted as an outcome from the workshop in order to achieve above mentioned goals: revision of the educational system and incorporating of school subjects that will address the development of creativity of young children and teenagers, need to implement design creative community and hubs and to undertake necessary measures for continuous dialog between creative industries representatives and policy-makers.

Photo gallery from the conference:

Creative Hub Conference