The Government and other stakeholders need to start looking more seriously at the creative industries as a business, as it is a great opportunity to provide jobs, foreign investment and to generate hard currency for the country, according to JAMPRO board member, Zachary Harding.
Harding, who chairs the marketing and project subcommittee and the innovations think tank within JAMPRO, was addressing journalists at a Gleaner Editors’ Forum, last week, ahead of Kingston Animation Festival, which is scheduled to take place from April 5-7.
“If somebody talks about BPO (business process outsourcing sector) or mining, everybody understands and gets very excited; you talk about creative industries and everybody say, ‘Well, you know those creative people, and it’s confusing and we are not really too sure what the value chain looks like and how it is going to derive income, and all that,” said Harding.
The JAMPRO board member argued that there were historical issues regarding the perception about creative people and their value.
“If somebody says they are going to graduate from school and become a lawyer, everybody is like very excited … but if somebody says I’m going to graduate from school and be a writer, it’s like you spend all your time in school to end up being a writer or an animator and it’s somewhat undervalued,” said Harding.
He challenged media outlets to find a way to support and to highlight stories of people in the creative industries that could position them as credible contributors to society.
Cultural and creative industries expert Dr Deborah Hickling Gordon said that creatives could get the respect they deserved if the processes were understood by the artists themselves and also by those people who were hiring them.
“There needs to be a process of people coming to understand what creatives do and the processes of the work that they do, because there are a lot of people who don’t see what the creatives do as work, so in my class, I teach students to break down their process every day and to put a cost to it and then they are able to see what the value is of what they do.
“There has to be a campaign that is really going to introduce what the creative economy is, who a creative is, what we do, what our processes are. It’s really an integrated process that needs to happen. It’s about bringing the stakeholders together and it’s a process that had started at one point, but we just need to create a campaign,” said Hickling Gordon.