CREATIVE ECONOMY AND AFRICA

The Palace of the Nations in Geneva where I had a meeting with the people running the Programme on Creative Economy and Industry

One part of development is culture. It is somewhat different from infrastructure and basic needs. Some time before moving to Mozambique I remember someone from Doctors Without Borders saying that those that work with culture are doing much more sustainable work than the doctors. She said that she just saves lives while those that work with culture work with the national pride and the sustainability for people to want to continue building a society. Anyway, this was an anecdote.

The Creative Economy, often based on cultural activity, is the fastest growing business in the world, some say. The architect and social thinker John Howkins wrote an interesting book about this, named THE CREATIVE ECONOMY, but my favourite ideas about these issues come from the American author Richard Florida, who wrote about the creative class and how that class is changing society through its own behaviour and needs.

I have been enjoying following the growth of culture here in Maputo (and maybe assisting little in developing it), to see what is the potential for design and industry, and of course all cultural activity like dance, music, film, television and nowadays web. There is actually lots happening here and very fast. I observe how people are being connected suddenly and fast to various activities via the digital media, both phone network and through social media via the internet. There is an active creative class here in this town. Yes true, one meets much the same people whenever one goes out to openings or other kinds of cultural events. But it is great to follow how active people are here. Dancers, actors, mucicians, film makers, photographers, artists and designers. I have been lucky to get to know some of them and through conversation follow what they are up to.

One of my tasks has been to help with planning a little workshop with UNCTAD about the creative economy. The idea being to pinpoint the major issues that might be in the way for development and hopefully also map the strengths for the countries here. I went to a meeting in Geneva to discuss this and we are now looking at strategy how to execute some kind of a workshop based on the programme of creative economy and industry. It has been interesting to work a within this boundary here in Africa, since I spent quite a lot of time addressing these issues in the Nordic countries, mapping strengts  and tasks in a global context. I participated in various research programs looking at how the Nordic Zone (Scandinavia and the Balticum) can develop in the future. This is also interesting to look at here in the Africa-Australis.

April 22, 2010  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: DESIGN, PONDERINGS

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