Our industries depend on knowledge through creativity and innovation  

16Jun 2021
The Guardian
Our industries depend on knowledge through creativity and innovation  

The creative industries refers to a range of economic activities which are concerned with the generation or exploitation of knowledge and information. They may variously also be referred to as the cultural industries  especially in Europe   or the creative economy and most recently they have-

-been denominated as the Orange Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Creative economy comprises advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, R&D, software, toys and games, TV and radio, and video games. Some scholars consider that the education industry, including public and private services, are forming a part of the creative industries.

The creative industries have been seen to become increasingly important to economic well-being, proponents suggesting that  human creativity is the ultimate economic resource    and that  the industries of the twenty-first century will depend increasingly on the generation of knowledge through creativity and innovation.

UNESCO, British Council and Make it Matter organised an event to celebrate the contribution of women in the creative sector which was held on 15 April 2021 on World Art Day. The event was a valuable occasion for over 70 creatives and cultural professionals to come together in the spirit of furthering the Tanzania’s cultural and creative industries. “The creative sector have high potential to foster inclusive and sustainable development.” said Innocent Bashungwa, Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports.

The panel discussion on how women as a collective play a catalytic role in transforming the creative sector shed a light on some of the achievements and challenges faced by women leading creative economy initiatives. Some of the challenges women in the creative sector encounter include, lack of business management skills necessary to run their enterprises sustainably; not adequate role models; lack of parental support compared to male counterparts; income and tax conditions; and transition to digital technology. UNESCO’s 2005 Convention for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions has recently published an Open roadmap with guidelines for supporting artists’ transition to the digital environment.

There is  therefore an urgent need to address issues of social protection, market access and exposure for artists and their works locally and globally. Professionalising the status of artists and defining their working conditions is essential to reaffirm freedom of artistic expression. UNESCO highlighted the need for promoting gender equality in the culture and creative sector. On the International Women’s Day this year, UNESCO published special edition report on the state of gender equality in the cultural and creative sectors, in order to highlight the consequences of gender inequalities for the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions.

World Art Day promotes the development, diffusion and enjoyment of art. It is also an occasion to shine a light on arts education in schools, as culture can pave the way for inclusive and equitable education. UNESCO is committed to support environments where artists and artistic freedom are promoted and protected.

The year 2021 was declared the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development at the 74th United Nations General Assembly and The African Union declared the Year 2021 as “The AU Year of the Arts, Culture And Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”. For a truly inclusive and prosperous creative economy to take shape, we must step up our efforts to promote gender equality in this sector.

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