Bolstering the “Orange Economy”




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Dec 11, 2014
by Jonathan Elbaz and Louise Hallman
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Bolstering the “Orange Economy”

Salzburg Global Fellows join artists and entrepreneurs in Greece to discuss the creative economy

For many Salzburg Global Fellows, their Salzburg connections last long after they leave Schloss Leopoldskron—as recently shown by Salzburg Global Fellows who convened in Greece.

Co-organized by one Fellow and inspired by a publication by another, the day-long conference “The Creative Economy: An Infinite Opportunity for Growth” held at the Acropolis Museum in Athens on October 18 brought together artists, policymakers, journalists and entrepreneurs – including seven Salzburg Global Fellows.

The conference, partly organized by Salzburg Global Fellow, art historian Elena Mavromichali with Elpis Philanthropy Advisors, sought to spark international dialogue centered around a common focus: Greece, still greatly suffering following the 2008 global financial crisis, needs alternative solutions – such as in the “orange economy” – to repair its economic woes. 

The term “orange economy” was coined by Salzburg Global Fellow Felipe Buitrago in his influential book from 2013 The Orange Economy and Infinite Opportunity to describe the sector of an economy driven by creative talent and creative industries. 

Buitrago’s book focuses on the creative economy in Latin America, but the core concepts can be extended to other regions in the world, such as Greece. Mavromichali believes that bolstering creativity is a huge step in the right direction towards easing Greece’s economic plight, and points to the success of the Greek translation of Buitrago’s book as proof that people are supportive of his ideas. 

“Creative people in Greece see how this publication really addresses them,” Mavromichali said in an interview with Salzburg Global Seminar. “Young people and entrepreneurs need this information and this process of thinking in order to support their creativity and build for future projects…We have great support from professionals and artists who need the change, who need to discover the power of creative economy.”

In addition to the orange economy, the conference also examined legal technology, creative entrepreneurship, and in a lecture delivered by another Salzburg Global Fellow, Lyne Sneige, Director Cultural Affairs and Programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, the role of arts in conflict situations. 

Many of the ideas presented at the conference had germinated over discussions during Salzburg sessions. Buitrago and Mavromichali most recently attended the planning meeting for the Young Cultural Innovators program in 2013. They credit the organization as helping spark global collaboration around growing creative economies. 

“The networking you can create is amazing,” Mavromichali said. “But also I think it’s the environment. What makes it really unique is that you’re leaving your everyday routine, and coming into this wonderful place like a friend meeting another friend. Simple interactions create the most brilliant things.” 

The Salzburg Global Fellows who contributed to the conference include Kathleen Soriano, Fiona Kearney, Norman Palmer who all attended the session Achieving the Freer Circulation of Cultural Artifacts in 2008; Felipe Buitrago, Elena Mavromichali and Lyne Sneige who attended Promoting the Next Generation of Cultural Entrepreneurs 2013; and Lord Chris Smith, who attended the session Cultural Institutions in Transition: Making the Case for Culture in 2003.


You can read more about the conference, the publication and the speakers here: