Artists and policymakers in the Indian state of Goa work with UNESCO to strengthen their Creative Industries
Recommendations for stronger policies which protect and promote the creative industries in the western Indian state of Goa will be the focus of a UNESCO symposium on 21 and 22 August.
Around 30 key players from Goa’s Directorate of Arts and Culture; creative professionals and NGOs working in the field of visual arts, music, the film industry, publishing, and the media will work with UNESCO experts on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions to learn and explore new ideas.
"The 2005 Convention provides a robust and innovative framework for government, working together with civil society actors, to strengthen the cultural and creative industries at all levels", said Mr Raj Isar, International Expert leading the UNESCO workshop in Goa.
"For a culturally vibrant and well organised State such as Goa, implementing its provisions offers many truly significant opportunities", he added.
Indicators for monitoring the implementation of the 2005 Convention, such as the active involvement of civil society and artists in the design of policies and better policies for promoting training for artists, will be shared in detail during the Goa workshop. Priority areas in the western coastal state’s creative industries will also be identified. It’s expected that participants will help formulate recommendations on cultural policies for the consideration of the Government of Goa.
Goa has a lot to offer in terms of creativity – its Art and Literature Festival brings together writers, poets, artists and performers, attracting large audiences along with the renowned International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and "Sunburn", Asia’s biggest electronic dance music festival.
"Reflecting the wealth of cultural traditions, the Government adopted a Goa Cultural Policy 2007 to draw a roadmap for 21st century with the aim to usher creative potential of the people of Goa at the local, national and international level", said Mr Prasad Lolayekar, Director of Arts and Culture, Government of Goa.
"The cultural industry, and in particular the use of IT and electronic media, is one of the most important components of the policy in view of better market and public outreach of the artists", he explained, adding that they have also placed human rights and gender equality at the heart of their cultural policy.
"Principles of UNESCO 2005 Convention in many ways overlap with those of the Government of Goa. The Convention’s monitoring framework will be a useful tool for us to keep checks and balances on whether we are on the right policy track", he added.
Goa is also among India’s top 10 states with the highest number of state schemes for artists and craftspeople. It has 13 schemes, including financial assistance to local artists, scholarships, pensions and grants for cultural organizations, theatre and music groups (2015 government data). However, the reach of Goan creative professionals in international markets is still lagging behind.
The 2005 Convention encourages the introduction of cultural policies and measures that nurture creativity and allow creators to participate in domestic and international marketplaces. The legally binding agreement also allows artistic works/expressions to be properly recognized and financially compensated and ensures that these expressions are accessible to the public at large. A special provision to promote international cooperation, particularly for developing countries is a prominent feature of the Convention.
The workshop in Goa is the first in a series on the 2005 Convention that UNESCO New Delhi is organizing across different Indian states. With a population of over 1 billion people, this state-wise approach in India allows for appreciation of the vast wealth of cultural players and activities across the country. It’s expected that concrete action will be formulated based on the local needs of creative professionals.
"Goa in many ways is the ideal place to kick-start the workshop as it is known foremost as the hub for artists, be it music, literature, or theatre", said Moe Chiba, Section Chief & Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO New Delhi.
"Goa is also one of the states in India that invests the most in culture sector in terms of government spending and the numbers of schemes for artists. I believe this event will set an example for future workshops to follow in other parts of India", she explained.
The framework and implementation of the 2005 Convention has been monitored through the first Global Report: RE|SHAPING CULTURAL POLICIES, which will also be presented to participants at the Goa workshop by the Editor of the report, Mr Raj Isar.
Follow us on Twitter: #supportcreativity