Transforming economic systems through creative impact


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With its first symposium, the Creative Impact Research Centre Europe invited creative entrepreneurs, cultural workers, artists, researchers and other stakeholders in the field of the creative economies to deconstruct conventional economic beliefs and to discuss alternative frameworks in which unconventional ideas for a better future can thrive.

When? 11 May 2023, from 2 pm

Where? Von Greifswald, Lilli-Henoch-Straße 10, 10405 Berlin

How? Admission and participation in all parts of the programme were free of charge. Capacities for participation were limited. Parts of the event are available online.

The venue was wheelchair-accessible. The event was held in English with simultaneous translation into German as well as into English and German sign language.

Climate change, social injustices, vulnerable democracies … The present is largely characterised and shaped by various crises. At least in part, these have been caused by economic conventions that focus primarily on growth. In order to be able to deal with these challenges, however, it is vital to question traditional narratives and find alternative sustainable economic models, that take planetary boundaries into account and at the same time give space to social innovations and a flourishing impactful creative ecosystem. How can such an ecosystem be established and how can it promote sustainable creative and social impact – these questions were in the focus of the first CIRCE Symposium Transforming economic systems through creative impact.


The symposium opened with a keynote by Marieke van Doorninck: the former deputy mayor of the Urban Development and Sustainability committee at the municipality of Amsterdam presented the city’s experience with the Doughnut Model for a fairer and greener economy. The following panel discussion with experts from academia, arts and culture as well as from the creative economies focused on the needs of this broad creative ecosystem in generating not only economical but also social and cultural impact. How can the heterogeneous actors in this system interact and collaborate? What kind of structures, spaces and support do they need to thrive? An interactive workshop programme provided the opportunity to discuss the potential of creative ecosystems in responding to current crises and how they can contribute to a transformation towards a sustainable, equitable and crisis-proof economy and society. The symposium closed with a networking event in the evening to which all participants were most cordially invited.


Yolanda Rother

Yolanda Rother (she/her) is co-founder of “The Impact Company” and a board member at Stiftung Zukunft Berlin. She moderates and speaks on topics related to digital society, politics and open government, diversity and sustainability. The Berlin native is a graduate (Master of Public Policy) of the Hertie School and has lived in Brazil, France and the United.

14:00 – Admission

14:30 – Opening

14:45 – Keynote


Marieke van Doorninck

Marieke van Doorninck is director of Kennisland, social innovation lab, and former Deputy Major on Urban Planning and Sustainability of the City of Amsterdam. Marieke is an activist. Marieke is driven by values and has a wealth of experience in sex workers rights, human rights, sustainability and the circular economy. She believes it is important to support social movements from the ground up by creating space and giving people a stake in their own living environment, work and future. “Changing by doing is the common thread in my political and professional career, with social and ecological justice as the driving force.”

15:05 Uhr – Panel discussion

The fluid boundaries between sectors, which have long been tested in the practice of the cultural and creative economies, are not adequately reflected in the usual clearly defined sector delimitations. The unifying element here is not necessarily the respective submarkets, but the shared impact for equitable and sustainable ideas of society. How can these “creative ecosystems” be supported in a more targeted way in the future? What framework conditions and what impulses from practice can contribute to shaping a fairer, more diverse and more resilient economy?

On the panel:

Nabila Bushra

Nabila Bushra is a filmmaker, PhD candidate in Berlin and lecturer in Gender and Queer Studies. She researches on issues around global inequality, postcolonialism, and gender justice. Nabila Bushra is co-founder of Lost Film, a non-profit production company that produces socio-political genre films. In the very year it was founded, the young company was honored with the German government’s “Kultur- und Kreativpilot*innen 2021” award. Nabila Bushra was named one of the 100 Women of the Year 2021 by Focus magazine.

Christian Felber

Christian Felber is a book author, university lecturer and freelance dancer in Vienna. He is initiator of the Cooperative for the Common Good and the Common Good Economy. He wrote several bestsellers, most recently “This is not economy”, “Ethischer Welthandel” and “Die Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie”. His book “Geld. Die neuen Spielregeln” was named economic’s Book of the Year in 2014, and “Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie” made it onto the 2021 the SPIEGEL magazine bestseller list.

Anamik Saha

Anamik Saha is a Professor in Race and Media in the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. His research is on issues of race, culture and media, with a particular focus on creative and cultural industries and issues of ‘diversity’. He is the author of “Race and the Cultural Industries” (Polity, 2018), “Race, Culture and Media” (Sage, 2021) and the co-author of the AHRC-funded industry report “Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing” (with Dr Sandra van Lente, Goldsmiths Press, 2020). His research has featured across a range of media, including BBC Radio, The Guardian, TES and The New Statesman. He was included in the “The Bookseller’s” 2020 list of most influential people in the book trade. He is an editor of “European Journal of Cultural Studies”.

Jess Turtle

Jess Turtle is the co-founder and director of Museum of Homelessness, an award-winning new museum led by people with experience of homelessness. Prior to founding MoH in 2015, Jess worked across culture and heritage in the UK and Europe for more than a decade. Jess experienced homelessness as a child and young adult. This life experience has driven her to focus on facilitating justice and community healing through Museum of Homelessness’s survivor led work. To support this Jess has recently trained in Dr Gabor Mate’s Compassionate Inquiry and she is a certified trauma informed coach (TICC). She is a visiting tutor at King’s College London and Central St Martins and gives lectures and keynotes internationally. Jess holds an MA (distinction) in Psychosocial Studies from Birkbeck and has authored several publications and book chapters on trauma, culture and community. She has most recently been published by Routledge (2020) and Oxford University Press (2021).

16:50 – Workshop programme

What are the implications for the practice from the panel discussion? What can the creative ecosystem contribute to crisis management?

Topic 1: Social Inequality and Diversity in the Creative Economies

Moderation: Research Lab London

The creative economies have long championed diversity in their output. Their organisational and employment structures, however, remain marked by inequalities in terms of class, race, gender and generation which are prevalent within European societies themselves. This workshop explored this problem, its implications, as well as possible responses.

Topic 2: Curating Collaboration and Co-Creation

Moderation: Research Lab San Sebastián

The number of artists and creatives who are professionally engaged in non-artistic fields is on the rise – as is the interest of non-cultural organisations and institutions to work with them. Instead, patronage- or sponsorship-relations, collaborative structures and processes of co-creation emerge, which ideally are productive for both parties involved. This workshop explored how such complex and challenging partnerships can be institutionally promoted and supported to better unlock their transformative potential.

Topic 3: Funding Equities

How can innovative funding approaches for cultural and creative practices and projects be designed and what are the implementation options? This workshop explored new impulses for frameworks and programmes that can be applied to the broader creative economies.


Loubna Messaoudi

Loubna Messaoudi is the CEO Founder of BIWOC* Rising. She is a former airline pilot, holds a degree in media science and philosophy and also further training in sound and video design. Her career fields cover Cultural Institutions, Film Festivals, Film/TV Productions and NGOs in Germany and New Zealand.
Her work in the past few years has focused on the intersections of discriminatory structures of women and femmes of colour and the connected economic and social participation in Germany.
In addition, she offers mediation and intersectional diversity/inclusion training for companies. In 2020 she joined the Responsible Leadership Program of BMW Foundation.

Topic 4: Imagining Equitable Futures

The creative ecosystem has the power to imagine radical possibilities for new social scenarios, creating liberating spaces for thought and action that can initiate change. In this artistic led workshop, participants experienced those spaces of possibility and harness the power of imagination to design concrete “Equitable Futures” in a decolonial frame.


Sonya Lindfors

Sonya Lindfors (1985)  is a Cameroonian – Finnish choreographer and artistic director that also works with facilitating, community organizing and education. In 2013 she received a MA in choreography from the University of the Arts Helsinki. She is the founding member and Artistic Director of UrbanApa, an inter-disciplinary and counter hegemonic arts community that offers a platform for new discourses and feminist art practices. UrbanApa facilitates  workshops, festivals, labs, mentoring and publications among other things. Lindfors makes her own and collaborative works such as performances, curated programs and performative actions. Her performance works have been shown and supported by Beursschouwburg, Kampnagel, Spring Utrecht, CODA – festival, Black Box Theater Oslo, Zodiak – Centre for New Dance among others. She is a member of Miracle Workers Collective that represented Finland at the 58th Venice Biennale. Lindfors’s recent works camouflage (2021), Soft Variations Online (2020), Cosmic Latte (2018) and We Should All Be Dreaming (2018) that centralize questions around Blackness and Black body politics, representation and power structures, speculative futurieties and decolonial dreaming practices.  On a larger scale Lindfors’s time is divided between her own artistic work , educational work and working as the artistic director of UrbanApa. In all her positions she pursues creating and facilitating anti-racist and feminist platforms, where a festival, a performance, a publication or a workshop can operate as the site of empowerment and radical collective dreaming. Lindfors has been awarded with several prizes, the latest of which being the international Live art Anti Prize 2018 and the State Award for Public Information in 2022. During the season 2017 – 2018 Lindfors was the house choreographer for Zodiak – center for new dance.

18:30 – Get together & Networking