Skjermbilde 2023 05 25 kl 12 41 06

Dáiddadállu from the eyes of an entreprenour

News 25.05.23

Did you know that Dáiddadállu (DD) is a dedicated art-economic entrepreneur? If not, I would like to tell you about DD's visions and challenges, about how we work to map, refine, package, market and sell art as a huge intangible value from Sápmi to the whole world. How we work systematically to manage and refine the broad and diverse value that art actually is, with the aim of streamlining the economy and the profitability of our art-professional business symbiosis that cuts across virtually all walks of life and professional fields. In order for you to understand the enormous value of this for us artists, I will try to give you an honest insight into both artist life, entrepreneurship and institution building.

Did you know that Dáiddadállu (DD) is a dedicated art-economic entrepreneur? If not, I would like to tell you about DD's visions and challenges, about how we work to map, refine, package, market and sell art as a huge intangible value from Sápmi to the whole world. How we work systematically to manage and refine the broad and diverse value that art actually is, with the aim of streamlining the economy and the profitability of our art-professional business symbiosis that cuts across virtually all walks of life and professional fields. In order for you to understand the enormous value of this for us artists, I will try to give you an honest insight into both artist life, entrepreneurship and institution building.

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The thinker as product

If there's one thing we artists are good at, it's digging into complicated themes or issues. Philosophize, examine, twist and turn in themes and materials over time. Preferably avoid logic and set systems, but spend a lot of time and effort translating feelings, questions and thoughts into a new format and a new language. To test and fail with materials and expressions, until we find something that makes sense. Something that can challenge or complement life, society, faith and soul. That is, the art. Many of us, myself included, work so intuitively that in moments of intensity we forget to write everything we think and do into a project description, and then end up doing most of the work pro bono. Thus, we are left with a very limited product after an enormous amount of time. Maybe we have a single work, a poem or a record? How much can you sell it for? Or do you get sold at all? How to create added value from all the work and all the experience invested in the one final product? That is what for us is product development and economic innovation, and what DD, as an artist-driven and business-oriented cluster, is very, very good at!

«Very few artists have agents who delve into the great matter behind the art in order to create sustainable and long-term earnings from it - for the artist. To do that, one must have a very special artist-driven motivation and then in-depth knowledge of the subject, the art, the artist and working methods. You must also have the ability to formulate it in sharp brevity, in a language that is adapted to different markets and geographies. Because the product (let's say the presentation of a Sami artist or work of art) will look very different in Sápmi than in national or international contexts. At the same time, the products have different relevance for different market segments such as the art industry, the education sector, the political sector, personal art consumers etc. And let me just say it - it is almost impossible to do this job effectively and well about one's own work because the amount of research, emotions and information is so extensive and far too close to oneself. It is likely that many artists are also at this point quite "finished" with the given work and thus also starting with what makes us artists - precisely new thoughts, new investigations, expressions, new questions and wonders.»

Let me also tell you about the symbiosis between me as an artist and Dáiddadállu as a collaborator, network, umbrella or mothership, if you will. To work the way we do, to live as an artist, you need a professional environment that inspires, pushes you forward, cheers you on and challenges you when needed. Which helps you to do what you should and want, but also sees you and your art in several different contexts, for example in academic contexts or, communication and commercial contexts. You need someone who understands the processes from beginning to end and thus also sees the intangible values that are built up in the invisible creation space. It is in this room that art is born. It is a demanding and often lonely space to be in, which makes artists vulnerable. If you don't have this environment, then maybe you have to create it yourself? That is why Dáiddadállu saw the light of day in 2014. DD is extremely important to many, myself included, but no matter how big or important we are, it must be recognized that DD is also a child with needs. What does DD need to exist? DD needs a physical place to exist from, DD needs clear and dedicated entrepreneurs who lead the development in the right direction and DD needs good employees who ensure that visions can be implemented. What do entrepreneurs and employees need to be able to do this job? They need a safe and functioning workplace that pays wages on an equal basis with other workplaces. Yes, and how are we going to solve all this?

This is where we come into N2 and our project "product development and economic innovation within Sami art" which is supported by N2 and Ovddos. Briefly explained, Ovddos is a restructuring program in Kautokeino municipality that works with projects aimed at business and community development. N2 is a three-year supplier development program where the owners and partners have joined forces to create an overall overarching investment in Northern Norway. The owners of N2 are the county municipalities in Nordland, and Troms and Finnmark county municipalities and the Sami Parliament, and partners are Innovation Norway and the Research Council. The program wants to create a future-oriented business life through increased investment in, among other things, a. innovations, increased competitiveness among suppliers and competence environments.

Daiddadallu event foto per heimly 3

The art industry's hamster wheel and quagmire

Artists do not have a fixed salary. The closest we get to a salary are time-limited artist grants and project funds. Artist economics is difficult and sometimes tough. The same applies to entrepreneurial activities. That is why it is extra exciting and challenging to be an artist as an entrepreneur to build an institution that is both art, industry and culture. No one in the public sphere knows where we best fit into systems and there are almost no arrangements to ensure basic operational support. When DD became aware of N2 in its sixth challenging year of operation, it was exactly what we needed to put security and predictability for ourselves on the agenda, in an industry that is built on short-term thinking and enormous unpredictability. Namely project financing!

Govva Dáiddadálu viesus.

For DD, which is a workplace, and eventually an important network and institution, now in its ninth year of operation, project financing means that we still live at the mercy of the fact that we are always able to cash in a good enough project in the project jungle, to pay our further employees and cover basic operating expenses. Because as you may have realised, it is not exactly realistic or sustainable to require artists to pay membership fees in such large sums that it would carry an entire institution. Project funding in itself is a fantastic opportunity to develop well-thought-out visions.

The problem arises when you do not have the basic financial security to be able to work in peace with long-term planning and vision work. For us, this means that our small administration wears itself out in a hamster wheel of projects, applications, reporting and accounting. While working with all bureaucratic requirements in public application processes, being responsible for the practical implementation of ongoing projects and other operations, entrepreneurship and logistics with around twenty artists and an international network, the same small crew must be calm enough to come up with new good project ideas. How are we going to manage this? I'm not saying that the spring projects so far haven't been good enough, but that the big picture bears the stamp of desperation to keep the wheels turning and survive from year to year.

The result is that you never achieve a resting heart rate to be able to look up and draw the big and most important lines, as all other systematized business development implies. Furthermore, it involves an enormous amount of unpredictability for employees and thus the institution. When we cannot plan long-term operations and employ people who can follow up long-term plans, we are unable to achieve the desired professional progression and development. The fact that we cannot offer long-term or permanent positions means that we are not competitive on the labor market. We spend a lot of time and effort training temporary employees about our projects and operating patterns, but lose them as soon as others offer permanent jobs. We are unable to retain skilled employees because most people have fixed expenses and need a permanent job for basic predictability in life and finances. And we have to start all over again. Advertise positions, wait for applications, interviews, training and so on. While the project time runs and the hamster wheel rolls.

Since the industry does not seem to be navigating away from this quagmire of an economic model, we must find other ways that make us better equipped for both operations and finances, while at the same time not losing focus on the artists and the art. This is precisely why we chose to bet so heavily on the N2 project and put a lot of our limited administrative resources into landing this project and implementing it with quality and dedication. With a clear goal of increasing earnings and financial security for the artists, while at the same time building this thinking into a larger sustainable business model for DD as an institution.

Daiddadallu foto per heimly 4

DD as a unique product refiner

On the N2 road, we have dived all the way into the margins of our own operation and philosophy to identify and systematize what we actually work with and actually deliver. What we do best and what steps we can take to make it more frequent, better and less resource-intensive. This has given us a clearer picture of what we should invest more or less in, what we should charge for, and how best to price it. One thing that has become very clear on this journey is that we need each other. Artists need DD and DD needs the artists. And with the right interaction, we can play off each other really well, to say the least! There have been no shortcuts here. We have worked systematically at an individual level with our artists, to find out which products we can create, which suit the individual artist in terms of knowledge, personal strengths and weaknesses, and working methods. This has been important in order to avoid situations where artists misnavigate resources and capacity and thereby lose out on comprehensive, long-term and efficient production of future art. In other words, we have identified products that work optimally for all parties and that provide the most efficient returns for both parties without us ending up as competitors.

The answer is Land 3 Photo Antero Hein

DD, as an artist-run institution, knows that the biggest product we must and should manage lies somewhere between the artist and the artwork, which is the artist's own most important sales product. We work to maximize the values that are often painstakingly built up over time, but invisible to the outside world and often also to the artist himself. And with around twenty artists in various art branches, we undoubtedly have a lot of potential for new product development. For us, it's not just about identifying new products, but also the right products. Had we not taken this thorough journey, we would, for example, have quickly thought that it would be smart to coordinate courses with the artists in the various art fields in our network. That the course as a product will be attractive to both the municipal sector, the cultural school bag, schools, art enthusiasts and so on. Easy peasy? No, not really! If we hadn't thought about it several times over, we would have quickly ended up competing with our artists to deliver this very product the next time someone looks for a course. Then we will not be the ones who stand in the way as an additional cost element if the artist himself already delivers or wants to deliver this product. DD thinks that DD and artists should never compete, but always complement each other. Every artist should be able to reuse acquired knowledge as a product, but it is crucial to ask yourself how, because art is a product that is totally individual-dependent. If arranging a course feels heavy for you, something you have to mobilize a lot of time and effort to plan to carry out, this is probably not a smart product for you, as it will bring profit in the moment, but reduce your overall work capacity in the meantime comprehensive and long-term perspective.

So when we talk about artistic products, it is certainly not the obvious physical works of art we are talking about, but the entire thought process and experiences from start to finish, seen in the context of the local, national and international market and in combination with several communities and customer segments, and measured against individual artists. I still believe that we artists must become better at seeing that even if we have sold the physical artwork, we are left with a lot of potential for exclusive products that no one else but you can deliver. Therefore, DD works dedicatedly on identifying and refining this value into exclusive products, and creating sustainable systems for sales and resale in many different contexts and contexts. Art is certainly not a fresh commodity and the more we build, the stronger and more attractive brand is formed for both artists and DD. And the more artists we become, the bigger our catalog of values that can be refined into attractive and profitable products. You know what I mean when I say that together we can play each other damn well? The potential is there, but we need resources to be able to develop it.

And believe me when I say that there is a screaming international market for Sami art, indigenous thinking, us and our products. Dáiddadállu is currently on a trip to Kalaallit Nunaat and to Oslo where we curate and produce exhibitions, works and conversations in new arenas and new ways, perhaps precisely because we were not brought up in gallery environments but in non-urban, small remote places where we have always had to find our own arenas for art to exist in. That is why you will soon find us on the streets of Oslo with sound works in containers, visual art as a street exhibition, or hanging on block walls or even projects on a roof.

As a bonus, we clarify and reinforce the many positive ripple effects and value of our product, art, for the wider community and not least for various institutions and sectors such as politics, education, research, health and tourism. There are many people who profit from the fact that artists can work with and make a living from their art.

Greetings Maret Anne Sara, artist and DD founder