Call for Expression of Interest: Economic impact study of the COVID-19 on cultural and creative industries

This call is for institutions or legal entities (i.e. for-profit or not-for-profit organisations)


This research is part of UNESCO Culture Sector's efforts to collect and systematise quantitative and qualitative information on the economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the cultural and creative industries.  


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the whole world, plunging the global economy into a recession. The current health crisis is likely to cost the economy US$1 trillion during 2020 (UNCTAD), while one estimate shows that up to 25 million jobs will be eradicated, wiping out US$860 billion to US $3.4 trillion in labour income (ILO).

Since the onset of the novel coronavirus, the pandemic has had enormous global ramifications for the creative sector. The pandemic has impacted the entire creative value chain – creation, production, distribution and access – and considerably weakened the working, social and economic conditions of artists and cultural professionals. The current global shutdown of live and public performance across all repertoires alone affects around 30% of royalties collected for authors worldwide while the global film industry has recorded a revenue loss of US $7 billion. While the profound disruption to cultural life and livelihoods caused by COVID-19 is evident, it has also served to reveal and magnify the culture and creative industries’ pre-existing volatility. Entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized enterprises, which often lack the necessary resources to respond to an emergency of this magnitude, are especially vulnerable.

As an important sector in terms of economic impact and employment, the cultural and creative industries are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. Impact studies have been carried out here and there, but often with a focus on a particular sub-sector or geographical region. Comprehensive impact assessments are also being conducted but are not necessarily able to capture the impact on the diverse nature of employment and business models that characterize the cultural and creative industries.


Based on existing data, to provide a comprehensive and accurate overview of the ways in which the crisis is impacting the cultural and creative industries, through quantitative data and qualitative analysis. The overview is intended to:

  • provide UNESCO Member States an idea of the extent of the economic and social consequences of the crisis on the cultural and creative industries as well as its effects on the cultural value chain
  • help them identify priority areas of intervention over the medium and long term and plan the sequence of their future interventions.
Scope of work

The consultant company will be responsible for:

  1. Carrying out a desk review of existing impact studies or assessments reports conducted by intergovernmental organizations, governments, research centres, cultural institutions or consulting firms addressing exclusively or partially the economic consequences of COVID-19 cultural and creative industries, ensuring the geographical balance of the sources consulted/analysed and the balance of the sub-sectors examined.
  2. Define a methodology for cross-checking the data collected and analysed to provide:
    1. Quantitative analysis on financial losses and job loss/conversion (micro impact), focusing primarily on cultural GDP and employment
    2. Qualitative assessment of the indirect economic consequences of financial losses and job loss/conversion (meso impact)

globally and aggregated by region, sectors, gender and any other categories deemed relevant.

    1. a projection of the effects of the crisis on economic models of the cultural and creative industries (macro impact)
  1. Propose meaningful visualizations of systematized data and identified trends for communication purposes.
  2. Identify areas where data are most lacking and further research should be considered.

Under this work, generating primary data from new research is not required. The work is to be based solely on existing data.

Qualification requirements

The research institution or partner should have at least 10 years’ experience, and a good record of accomplishments, in global research and analysis of employment and economic trends. Experience of research and work on culture sectors would be considered an asset.

The team must be able to consult sources of information in English, French and Spanish. The ability to consult information sources in additional languages will be considered an asset.


The consultant company should include in his offer:

  • A proposal regarding the team composition and structure with recent CVs. The requested team should have diversified skills including at least a Team Leader and an Economic Expert.
  • A detailed presentation of the proposed approach, strategy and methodology
  • A detailed work plan for the assignment, including timelines
  • A Financial Proposal, broken down by activity and quoted in US Dollars. If an amount is included for the purchase of data, please include the sources being considered.

Proposals should be submitted in English or French.

  1. A report in English or French presenting the data collected and generated, including visualisations and infographics as well as analysis and global damage trends identified, for communication purposes[1] (maximum 30 standard UNESCO pages[2]).
  2. A narrative report in English or French summarising the work carried out, including the list of reports or data sources consulted/exploited, the applied methodology, the List of raw data collected and the data produced from the collected data, the challenges encountered and the areas where data are most lacking and further research should be considered, for internal purposes.

The Contractor shall submit to UNESCO, in electronic format, the following:

  1. On or before 15th January 2021, draft report for communication purposes
  2. On or before 1st March 2021, revised and updated draft report for communication purposes
  3. On or before 1st April 2021, final report for communication purposes and narrative report for internal purposes.

Expressions of interest should be submitted by email, clearly indicating “Economic impact study of the COVID-19 on cultural and creative industries” to

Closing Date of Applications: 11 November 2020

[1] For a graphic idea of the desired product type, please refer to the Investing in Creativity kit available at:

[2] A UNESCO standard pages has 320 words.