A corporation is never just a formal legal or management structure. Each also depends on knowledge, commitment and distinctive ways of working. Each flourishes based on informal relationships among its employees and managers and with its customers and other stakeholders. In other words, corporations are creatures of culture as well as contract. Internally, strong culture is a resource – but sometimes a blocker of change. Externally, culture is part of the water in which corporations swim, but taking it for granted is risky. Corporations can contribute to the culture in which they work, enhancing its creativity and its attractiveness to their managers and employees. But they can also be blindsided by cultural change and challenged by the complexity of working in many different cultural contexts at once. Zamyn helps corporations culture and thus understand a crucial condition of their effectiveness. Professor Craig Calhoun, Director of London School of Economics & Zamyn.
One of the values of art lies in its ability to question culturally dominant modes of representation. Art can challenge powerful categories like identity, production and desire. Whereas a media like advertising is supposed to tell us what we want, art – or at least some of it – is supposed to ask us what we want. It can stimulate an encounter with our experience of representations as such and highlight the way in which the realities we take for granted are constructed ones. Art might be seen as a culture's way of showing how its own systems of representation function. This role is made more complex by the fact that works of art can also do more than simply show. Darian Leader
Psychoanalysis has proved itself to be a unique method of questioning and cultural enquiry. By taking the unconscious and its effects seriously, and by recognising and exploring human passions and forms of enjoyment, it sheds new light on social and political stasis and change. Psychoanalytic perspectives can allow us to investigate the hidden logic of meanings, behaviours and ideologies, facilitating a deeper understanding of many of the processes and problems that characterise the world today. Darian Leader
Hanif Kureishi: If families, societies and our own psyches would prefer to control our speech... Read More
If families, societies and our own psyches would prefer to control our speech; if there is something about free speaking which makes politicians, mothers and censors nervous, then psychoanalysis as a free space invented by Freud where anything, however trivial, suspect or mad can be said is still essential. It is, after all, where silence is compelled that evil is done. The encouragement of free speaking as a form of dissent and of creativity is crucial in psychoanalysis, just as it is in literature and in life itself, where it is a vital component of human liberty and individuality. Hanif Kureishi
To thrive a corporation needs to provide the goods and services which a society needs or wants. For Adam Smith’s archetypal baker embedded in a small community, this is relatively simple; for a global corporation interfacing with multiple cultures which both evolve and often overlap, the challenge is complex. By bringing together the corporate and cultural world Zamyn deepens the understanding of both, illuminating the flow and counter flow of influences involved in the process of globalisation. This can lead not just to greater mutual understanding, but to cooperation and positive impacts. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of the Global Compact Foundation & Zamyn.
There is no doubt that growth has come at an enormous cost to...Read More
There is no doubt that growth has come at an enormous cost to our natural resources,
which are rapidly being depleted. WWF estimate that parts of the world are already
living off the equivalent of 1.5 planets. We are pushing at the limits of our ‘planetary
boundaries’. As a result, the prospect of what scientists’ term an ‘abrupt and
irreversible environmental change’ is now very real. We already see extreme weather
patterns fast becoming the norm. According to the Environment Agency, the UK spent
a fifth of last year in flood, and even longer in drought. The cost to individual
companies can run into hundreds of millions a year. These challenges to the sustainability
of our planet come before another two billion people enter the population – and
many more aspire to higher standards of living. And we face these issues at a
time when people’s trust in governments and other institutions to address them
is at an all-time low. According to the latest global survey, only 48% have trust
in their governments. Many in particular doubt the ability of political leaders
to internalise international challenges, like climate change, and to show the necessary
leadership. As a result, people are no longer asking, ‘who’s in charge?' Aided
by the rapid escalation in social media, increasingly empowered citizens are taking
matters into their own hands. Digital technology is allowing them to create large
communities of interest, share information fast and drive to action. We already
see whole regimes being brought down. Business has an opportunity to step up and
fill the leadership void, but it will require moving from an old licence to operate
approach to one based on a ‘licence to lead’. Companies that understand this and
are willing to become part of the solution to today’s social and sustainability
challenges will have a bright future. Those that don't will become dinosaurs –
outdated, outmoded and out-of-business. That is the challenge.
Paul Polman, CEO - Unilever, for Zamyn
Art does not take place in a sphere apart from social, political and economic realities… it is now more important than ever for us to demonstrate that art, politics and business all shape our shared global culture and to make the case that art has the power to change lives. Chris Dercon, Director – Tate Modern.