A cultural blog with a subscription system
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Team

Ásgeir H Ingólfsson

Creator
  • books
  • Films
  • Blogging
  • Travel

Further Information

Culture Smuggling is a website about culture. All sorts of culture, films and literature, music and art, street culture and urban art – but also about travelling, football and pubs, even politics once in a while. Here‘s a link to the site.

We must smuggle words, thoughts and culture acrossborders, between souls, between us. Between us and the other, whoever the other may be. We must speak with each other and write each other and whisper to eachother.

Or it all goes to hell. Maybe it will anyway, but it‘s no use staying silent while that happens.

This is an experiment, a driving exam for a cultural online blog. This will be a space car for travel stories, a sailplane for movie reviews, a radar for art. A pirate ship that you‘ll have to help me keep afloat.

The Subscription Crowdfunding

The idea behind the subscription system is simple – for every hundred euros a new article is funded, 500 euros funds five articles a month and so on. The idea is to keep the blog lively and active –but in order to do that I need your support.

This model also means it’s in the interest of the subscribers to encourage others to subscribe also, that way everybody gets more for their buck.

The idea is to have a good rally for the next month or so, until November 10th to be precise. The status then will determine what steps will be taken next, the near future, even if it will still be possible to support Culture Smuggling after that and the goal is to keep growing after that.

It is the goal of the website to monetize so everybody will be paid for their writing – and therefore this will mostly be a one-man band to begin with until some money comes in. If the money raised exceeds a full monthly salary, the possibility for more freelancers will open up – and it might even do so sooner.

The Philosophy

The name Culture Smuggling combines a few things I‘m interested in and also a certain philosophical stance, even a certain view of the world. The word culture has often been understood in two separate ways; as a synonym for the arts and also as everything people do. The idea is to combine those two ideas with a third – that culture is what combines people. Between countries and continents, between languages and centuries. Therefore, the name references both culture and the sharing of culture, but also foreign lands and wanderings, and translators as ambassadors of culture. That is also part of the reason I prefer to publish as much as I can both in Icelandic and English, that way I can smuggle Icelandic culture abroad and foreign culture to Iceland.

Few things are as crucial as smuggling culture, because culture is always in opposition and often uses the funds given to it from the state and/or the market to undermine both, to challenge the status quo and to smuggle new ideas into the subconscious of readers, listeners or an audience.

Publishing Plan

The problem with online media has often been this: quantity above quality. That is a normal reaction to an environment where clicks are the highest currency. It’s easy to say you’ll be different, but it gets harder as your operation is underway and there will be pressure to publish more, publish often rather than well.

The best countermeasure is simply to make a publishing plan and think of it in an old-fashioned way like a magazine or a newspaper. That’s why we use the weeks and the months as our table of content – where certain fixed items go with certain days and other items are on a monthly basis. This plan will not be written in stone, there will still be room to do what the internet does best – react to the unexpected, follow an interesting story whenever it appears.

The Loot: what has been smuggled and what will be smuggled?

Culture Smuggling is about varied cultural journalism and reviews, even if so far some have had more space than others, primarily because the editor writes most of the material and his idiosyncrasies will shine through.

Tuesdays are usually for movies and Fridays for music, Thursdays for flaneurs, Saturdays for poems and Sundays for stories. We have also written a little bit about TV shows, comic books and novels. Also, a little bit about football and travelling, art, photography and theatre. In the future we hope to publish more original short stories and poems.

Most of this material has been text-based but also some videos and podcast is something we‘d like to look into.

The best way to get an idea about the content is to simply browse the webpage and in particular the content bar to the right, but all of this will evolve if the funding goes well and the participation of readers increases.

The Smuggler

The main smuggler on this ship is me, Ásgeir H Ingólfsson. I‘m a journalist, writer, translator, teacher and text editor and I‘ve lived between Iceland, Czech Republic and England the last few years. I‘m born and bred in Akureyri, in the north of Iceland, and have also lived in Reykjavík, Sauðárkrókur and Laugarvatn, as well as the Tyrolean town of Längenfeld in Austria, Southampton in England and the Czech towns of Prague, Tábor and Zlín, not to mention numerous travels.

In other words, I’m a writing migrant worker.

I have worked as a journalist for more than a decade, both on staff and freelance. I‘ve mostly written about culture – but also a whole bunch about foreign affairs, politics and travel.

Lately I’ve mostly written for Stundin and RÚV, the National Radio. Previously I’ve written for The Reykjavík Grapevine, Fréttatímonn, Morgunblaðið, Smugan, Klapptré,Starafugl, Krítík, Cineuropa, Stúdentablaðið, Muninn, Kistan, Land og synir and Torfið.

I also edited the last three.

I’ve published two volumes of poetry, Grim Fairy Tales and The Future. The latter is also available in English. I also edited Bjarki Valtýsson’s book about Icelandic Cultural Politics.

I have finished an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Southampton and an MA in Journalism from the University of Iceland, a BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Iceland and Charles University in Prague and a teaching diploma from the University of Iceland.

Freelancers

It’s quite possible that freelancers will be hired for certain projects if necessary – or if the editor will be too busy with other work or simply needs a holiday.

However, the main goal is to ensure that Culture Smuggling has at least one employee, ideally full time, something that would be a dream come true. But then the next goal kicks in, to increase our budget so we can hire freelancers or even more people as part-time staff.

Other possible revenue streams

I don’t exclude other possible revenue streams, such as traditional advertising or even cooperating with other media outlets. That would be done to strengthen the foundations of the site and make payments for individual articles higher, without pressuring the subscribers. It could also help the site grow.

Yet if that would be done the subscribers would always be notified and told about the methodology. Transparency would remain the key word.

The subscribers would still always remain our anchor, because a media without it‘s readership isn‘t worth much.

The Fine Print

Finally, here’s a more detailed description of what you‘ll get for different subscription options. Yet the main reward should always be to keep Culture Smuggling going as an active inquistive website.

1: Culture Smuggling’s newsletter is usually sent once a week. There you’ll get the lowdown on everything that‘s happened on the site for the last week, in case you haven‘t had the time to keep up with us on social media that week.

2: The readers board will be formed shortly after the fundraising starts and understandably reader’s engagement will to a large degree dictate it‘s nature. The basic idea is that it can serve as an advisory panel to the site, is the platform for idea work and interesting dialouge about the site and culture in general.

For options 3 & 4 to kick in you need to be a subscriber for at least 3 months.

3: Culture Smuggling hopes to publish original poems and short stories as we progress. Those who choose that option will get a printed version of those poems and/or short stories to their doorstep twice a year (one poem and one short story).

4: A carefully selected book delivered to your door. It can be new, and it can be old, and not all readers will get the same book – it can hopefully be a nice surprise.

5) An advertisement for a charity organization of your choice. The ad and a link to their webpage will be available on Culture Smuggling’s website for as long as the subscription is valid – but of course you can always change what charity you support.

6) One article per month where you chose what art form to cover. Have a look at the content bar on the site to explore the options better and choose if you want to sponsor an article about literature, films, music or something else.

Yet you will not be able to choose what book or what record will be written about, that will always be an editorial decision.

7) An advertisement for your company or your business. Or any other company, for that matter. Not all companies apply though, smugglers can’t be choosers, but still, we‘ll say no to pyramid scheme ads or small loan ads, to name a few.

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Join the community
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€${subscriptionAmountReached} of €${ displayedGoal.target }
€${displayedGoal.target} reached
per month
${ subscriptionPercentReached <= 100 ? subscriptionPercentReached : 100 }%

${ getSubscriptionGoalLanguage(displayedGoal.title) }

${ getSubscriptionGoalLanguage(displayedGoal.description) }


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Get this! All gone!

Support of € ${ reward.amount } monthly ${ reward.amount * 169 } ISK


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