This project follows in the footsteps of a previous project, “Creative industries development for the diversity of cultural expressions - Strengthening the sustainability of creative industry in Lao PDR”, which was implemented in 2012-2013 with funding from the Republic of Korea. During the 2012-2013 project, a detailed baseline study of the cultural industries in Lao PDR was produced as was a roadmap for the development of the culture sector through a multi-stakeholder consultation. Such a consultation highlighted the need for increased communication, networking, and collaboration among all stakeholders within the public sector, and between the public sector and civil society. The 2012-2013 project also highlighted the Lao Government’s interest in strengthening their cultural industries as part of a national development vision, illustrated by the creation of a special ministerial committee for the implementation of the 2005 Convention and the development of cultural and creative industries (CCI) for development.
Drawing upon the past initiatives and considering that the cultural industries remain segmented in the country, this project sought to contribute to improving internal collaboration to develop a good governance for culture and enhance the quality and diversity of Lao cultural goods and services in domestic and international markets.
The overall goal of this project was to contribute to building a good governance for culture through supporting the development of knowledge management systems and communication, and networking mechanisms among representatives of various government ministries, civil society actors and the private sector of the cultural and creative industries in order to strengthen the culture sector as a whole.
A virtual and physical cultural hub was set up to further develop the cultural and creative sector in Lao PDR.
Furthermore, the first ever Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR) for the 2005 Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was submitted by the Lao Government after the completion of workshops, consultations, and civil society were given the opportunity to provide inputs, feedback, data and information on the report. The coordination mechanism that was established among stakeholders in this process will be an important resource to further implementation of the 2005 Convention in the future.
A workshop on strengthening networking and knowledge management systems for Culture and Creative Industries in Lao PDR was organized from 18 to 20 September 2017 in Vientiane with 64 participants from various departments, ministries, and civil society organisations.
The workshop achieved its objectives: it reactivated public-private partnerships for the CCI sector; cooperation across ministries and departments was enhanced; and a workplan to finish the UNESCO 2005 Convention Quadrennial Periodic Report was developed. The planning process and the internal consultations among different stakeholders towards completion of the periodic report proved to be a good exercise to refresh the commitments and ownership from various stakeholders and to increase understanding of the Convention. It also stimulated reflection on the requirements to build a strong CCI sector in the country. Finally, the workshop confirmed that different stakeholders perceived the creation of a Cultural Hub as useful.
After the workshop and in line with the established action plan, two internal consultation meetings were convened by the leader of the working team, Mr Viengeo Souksavatdy, Deputy-Director of the Lao Heritage Department, in September and October 2017. These meetings allowed the working team to verify and compile additional information to be integrated in the QPR report.
STELLA, a cultural and creative industries hub, was established to be a central organization to foster exchanges among civil society organizations in the CCI sector and to house a virtual hub including all the useful legal frameworks and documents, directory for CCI, blogs and online forums. STELLA was selected following an open call for proposals.
A virtual hub (http://www.moomcreative.org) has been set up by STELLA to assist and promote the creative sector in Lao PDR. The website features the profiles of 29 individuals and organizations in different domains of the cultural and creative industries. The site also shares relevant news and information on events relevant to the creative sector, as well as relevant policies and documents related to the operation of a creative sector organization such as law on enterprises.
In October 2017, STELLA also set up a physical culture hub. This physical hub was not a planned part of the project, but the partners deemed its creation necessary in the context of Lao PDR. The physical hub will be used for stakeholders’ exchanges as well as for hosting special events, including seminars, emerging artists’ fairs, and capacity-building events. The hub was officially opened in the third week of January 2018.